When I think back on my undergraduate years, I find it strange that I don’t remember a single white classmate. Well, that’s not exactly true. There was one white girl that used to be all into diversity that used to date a black guy and be a member of all these multicultural groups. But other than her, I don’t remember the name of anyone in my class, anyone that I studied with, anyone. I was an advisor for the CLC and don’t remember any of the other advisors, even though I saw them every week and worked on programs with them. I was in study groups but don’t remember any one of them. It’s as though I wiped white folks out of my college experience. The most I remember is one boring party at one of the frat houses where everyone just stood around and drank beers and talked with no music in the background. And then a couple of other frat parties with one of the cooler frats that lots of music and lots of alcohol.
Finding an old journal is a treasure. Makes me wish that I journaled more often. It’s so interesting to see how I’ve changed and honestly how much I’ve stayed the same. But going through a journal for a class in undergrad, I realized, I don’t remember a single white person that I have in those pages. I list names and actions and I can’t put a face to the names to save my life. I have a journal entry about one girl I worked on a semester project on, and I don’t remember her at all.
Now that I think about, the same could be said for graduate classes too. There are very few non-blacks that I would remember in a few years, if it wasn’t for Facebook. And that’s a sorry and sad thing.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a non-black friend that I hung out with or talked on the phone on a regular basis. I remember making a goal when I moved to the Bay Area to find a non-black friend. Well, that didn’t work out. When I moved to Nigeria, there were a couple of folks that I could have been friends with, an employee’s wife, another co-worker. But I just never made a lot of time for them. Definitely not in the same way that I made for black or Nigerian friends.
I think there is an inherent mistrust there or just me feeling like there isn’t much in common, even though intellectually I know that’s not true. And the times when I have started to make a non-black friend, something happened to let me know that we weren’t as close as I thought. It’s definitely something that I see as an issue. I wonder if that will ever change.