If the name, “Tiffany Jolene” rings a bell, then you’re well up to date with your viral internet personalities. You will recall that her Facebook post about not being the “right caucasian” for certain black men who bash black women, and I was so impressed with her that I invited her to our YouTube to speak on this issue, and do a guest post. Now without further ado…
Being a white woman married to a black man and raising black children; friends and family are far from permanent or long lasting. Over the past three years, I have cut off many friends and even family members who had kept a lot of their bigotry and racist ideals to themselves, likely because of their fear of it affecting our relationship. They had done well to keep it hidden, avoiding certain conversations or topics and discussing them in private instead with like minded people, but the mask will always come off eventually.
Over the past 3 years, as more and more murders of black men and women by the hands of law enforcement were being covered in the media, tensions rose. Comments that some of my friends or family once kept to themselves started flowing from them in emotionally charged outbursts as they argued with me that “all lives matter” and “blue lives matter” and “well we didn’t see the beginning of the video.” I was disappointed but I wasn’t surprised. Instead I was hitting the block button on both social media and in real life. I was sure to make clear to anyone else who remained in my life; where I stood, why I stood for it, and that not only will I not budge but I will go to toe with you if need be. My circle grew small, but I was content with knowing that I had gotten rid of people who were toxic to my family (and friend’s) lives, and that the people who remained were the people who mattered.
I would never have imagined, that the people who knew me best, claimed to love me the most, and understood and supported my views, had limitations or stipulations on what they were wiling to accept. Thats why it came as a surprise to me when my two very best friends, one white and one Latina (needed for context), would eventually abandon our eight year friendship over my bonds with and defense of black women.
Roughly a year ago I was added to a Facebook group called Rules To Winning, created by my now close friend, Jennifer Renee. The group was created to provide a safe space for black women to learn and grow, provide each other support, and network. I was extremely blessed to be apart of her group and it was there that I met so many amazing women who I now call my family. As my family grew and I created these new bonds, my friends list grew. This was a real-deal sisterhood like nothing I had experienced. It is no coincidence that it was at this time, my two best friends began to distance themselves from me, and stopped supporting me altogether.
These two girls were in my wedding, we were all at the hospitals each time our kids were born, we attended every holiday dinner together, Sundays at the beach, took the kids trick-or-treating together, fireworks, everything we did; we did together. We had been best friends for 8 years. I couldn’t figure out what it was about my seemingly joyful life that was driving them away from me. I had started writing more, and they wouldn’t like or comment, never told me they were proud; but my Rules To Winning sisters were cheering me on every step of the way. When I started my blog it was my sisterhood that spent hours talking to me, encouraging me, giving me advice and ideas, and pushing me to start. My two friends were silent.
But then they started becoming vocal about race related topics, only in the comfort of our group chat. All of the topics were in reference to black women. I was never the one who brought these things up, it seemed it was just randomly on their mind. They’d argue that the women on my friends list or black women in general were too sensitive and always over reacting about race issues. I was perplexed, but thought it was still an opportunity to have a discussion and perhaps they’d learn something from a different perspective. However, no matter what sense I brought to the topic, they were combative, stubborn, disrespectful, and insulting. It felt as though they were taking my defense of black women personal, and were becoming emotionally charged whenever I didn’t agree with them or tried to expand on something.
“Why do you always defend them so hard? You know you’re not a black woman right?”
When you love people dearly, you almost don’t want to accept the fact that you may have been detrimentally wrong in your assessment of their character and what they stand for. Realizing that you may need to cut off or walk away from a friendship that is bonded so tightly and brought you so much joy, growth, and comfort over the years feels devastating. I tried to find ways to express myself to them without a major conflict, because I knew that eventually shit is going to blow up between us, and they knew that. They know my mouth, they know how I feel, and they know how I can rip someone to shreds when it comes to something I feel passionately about, and I felt that they may be baiting me into an explosive argument.
It was my friendships and the support from black women, that had been somehow bothering them to the point of not even supporting their best friend.
This was why they were so angry every time they texted me about race-related topics like the Shae Moisture backlash, telling me that its non-inclusive to say only black women can model for their products and that black women just get upset about everything. Even though I tried to explain that black women lack representation a great deal in the media and how much of a slap in the face it was to experience that lack of representation in marketing for a product created for and by black women.
Or when they argued with me in length about culture appropriation arguing that black women were hypocrites for wearing blonde weave and blue eye contacts, and refused to listen to me when I tried to educate them on culture assimilation and how/why black women have to assimilate to European beauty standards. They had become the racists you can’t reason with because they were too emotionally attached to their opinions.
Things finally came to an end and our friendship dismantled over a Facebook comment roughly four months ago. In the comment section of one of my posts, one of my friends from the group made a comment joking about calling white women “that white hoe over there” and that was when one of my former besties (the Latina) decided to chime in and say “haha thats so funny because I actually like to refer to my black female friends as “that dumb black cu–”
I WAS SHOCKED.
How in the hell could I have possibly been friends, best friends, with someone for eight years who could ever bring herself to type something that disgusting? I immediately deleted her comment and texted her in the group chat between the three of us. “Dude what the FUCK? Why the fuck would you say some shit that nasty!”
“I was making a point. She was being racist, so I was being racist back. I have white friends and I am defending them.”
“First of all, she was joking around this wasn’t even a deep discussion. Second of all, it didn’t even involve or concern you and you attacked her! And what you said was disgusting.”
“She was racist first. Why didn’t you delete her comment?”
“She wasn’t being racist. There is no such thing as reverse racism. She also wasn’t disrespecting anyone!”
“Thats bullshit. She was talking shit about white women, she can dish it out but she can’t take it?”
I stopped responding. I was blown the fuck away. They know better. They absolutely KNOW BETTER. Was this a real argument? After all the shit we have discussed in length over the years are they honestly under the impression that black women (or men) can be racist. Did she really think what she did was even remotely warranted let alone LOGICAL?
Once I gathered my thoughts on how I wanted to proceed, I realized that they had already both blocked me on every single one of my social media pages and my phone number. They cut me off. I haven’t spoken to or heard from/of them since. Along with them, I did lose roughly ten mutual friends who I removed because of the affiliation. Their siblings who I’d grown to love, their in-laws who I considered family, all gone.
They cut ME off because I was defending and refusing to allow them to disrespect black women. I suppose to them I had chosen “a side”. I didn’t even know until then there was divide. See it was perfectly fine for me to date black men, marry black men, and have black children. Apparently they crossed the line at defending black women.
I was shocked, and it did sting, but not for long. They didn’t belong in my life to begin with, it just took them longer than most to reveal their true nature. Luckily I had a large support system to remind me that it was for the best, that I was outgrowing them and their chapter in my story was over. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last, and these days I’m okay with that because I know what is meant for me will stick with me. I lost two friends, but in the process I had already gained a sisterhood.
Check out Tiffany’s blog here.