*OBF: Only Black Friend
Being the OBF is dangerous. I said what I said. You, as a Black friend, in the ashes of Orange Thanos, you need to be mindful and critical of whom your friendship group is! Consider this your first and last warning in regards to your own tokenism.
I do understand that with the expansion of educational opportunities, remote working and job expansion, that it is impossible to keep the same friend groups, or have those friend groups be homogenous! I am saying being mindful when you are consistently the OBF in a friend group. There is this sense of awareness that you have to develop which allows you to be cognization of what is, what is not, and what will be. Let me break it down this way.
What Is. Being the OBF is sometimes isn’t avoidable. No one moves in this life without needing, talking to or even befriending other people. However, being the only ANYTHING in a community or a friend group, is—concerning. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself, “Why am I the only one that looks like ME in this space?”
What Is Not. In the interest of honesty, remember that every friend is not an ally and a ally is not always an accomplice. The world is too dangerous for you to not know who is on your side! There are too many stories of OBFs in situation where they needed assistance or to be verified by someone else (aka someone non-melaninated) and–weren’t! Be mindful of this, because once it is shown to you, it cannot be unseen.
What Will Be. The danger that I speak of in regards to being the OBF is the ever looming threat of tokenism. It is the threat that whenever something happens in the culture or to them, you will either be either excuse to continue microaggressions, or ‘the Black friend’ they know. Don’t allow yourself to be set up for failure because there are people in the world who don’t think diversity and inclusivity matter. Yet, these are the same people believe since they are friends with you they have met both requirements.
Just like when you were younger and you were told to look both ways before crossing the street? Look around before you get invited into the all-White friend group with no mirrors.