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Published in: Diary of a Black woman in Italy

Interracial Friendship.

By simone

Till you are not a stranger with a different skin color, you will never understand what is like to feel like an alien. I've been living in Italy for almost 15 years and sometimes in some places some people still look at me surprisingly as an alien. I don't know if things are changing but even the new generations aren't that open minded as people want to think. I Came in Italy at 18 years and only 15 years ago no one of my classmates would seat next me. And still i was pretty just like i am today so i don't think there's been a major change.

When people look at me today, the self-confidence i have, they automatically  think i am French or African-American. And it annoys me as hell. Just as if Blacks from Africa can't have a culture or know how to dress and good manners. Yes there are a lot of desperates that comes here, but not everybody coming by boat are illetterates or uncivilized (although if i still don't get what civilization is. well that will be another topic). Just  as there are a lot of analphabets in Africa they are also in Italy and Europe. And please do a research you will find out Africans in terms of demographic proprotions and economic access Africans  are more educated than European. I am not kidding.

from my daily experience, being black in Italy  is something that can be stressful. when getting out of your comfort zone and your milieu, you have to restart from the beginning. You are constantly being observed. Most of he person you meet in public offices don't give you the due respect. Don't mistake me, there's a difference between being respectful, and condescending. Some are nice and adopt the paternalistic tone and some are really condescending. I hate both. Just be formal with me like you were to the white lady before me. And if there's something i constantly fight for, is the right to be called Madam. I don't understand why it's so instinctif for them when in front of a black person to address him by his name. It's just like a psychological game the play. as  if they are saying: you can be smart, beautiful, proud but still you are black. Its really annoying, and you are constantly on your guards. and i have to say for people like me who rarely use public transports are even safe from daily racism acts. Most of my altercations with white folks happened on a train or a bus because most of the people you get in contact with are frustrated, exhausted  and because they think you are week or vulnerable you become kind of scapegoat. This is the public side of Black the living.

Then you have the private side, made of relations and friendship. Before I could really understand the friends who were sincerely mine,I had to experience three types of friendship.

The friend who  like you because you are you, because you got affinities and all the rest. They are few jut like in every real friendship.

The Superficial friend. the one that sees you trendy, so well educated and wants to show you off in her milieu like " hey look! I've got a black fashionista friend".  I guess nowadays to have a black friend is as trendy just like to have a gay  friend.

Sometimes when invited to some occasions I will tell my husband playfully you know they invite me to color their party. Naomi of the poors(laughs).  And I will go because I know that by talking with some few I can educate them to think differently. They may realize I not just a pretty figure with a sense of style as they do say but that I have a well made brain (without false modesty). But sincerely I prefer this type of friend than the one who will tells you " X told me i am so courageous to hang out with you. Even if she wanted, she would never have the stomach to. she would feel so observed".  Whatever! This is the type of friend you black people should stay away from especially if you are young and still searching for a place in the society . it can be devastating for your selfesteem from time to time and you will convince yourself you are inferior. she isn't just trying to show she's the good one like "I am not ashamed to hang out with a black" but she's underlining her superiority. That reminds me of a good friend of mine during university period. Then,I was (and still am) a close and too proud person. I was the one to stay away from my classmates. it was just selfdefence to avoid to be hurt. I felt some even wanted to talk to me but they were intimidated and i could understand them because i know it's not easy to approach  a black angry face lol. this guy approached me and started being kind and polite. When I will miss some classes he would spontaneously  give me notes, text me to inform me a course has been postponed etc.. He was cool but the day he started to court me and came out from the friendzone, he took that argument " you see I am not afraid to be with you, I am the only one who came forth". I told him gently that if I ever had for one second the idea to get into a relationship with you, you just screwed it. I am not desperate and i won't choose a guy just because he's the only option i have. And please i don't want to know if your friends will never be with a black girl!  I knew that, yes maybe some guys would not be with me because of the social pressure, but i also knew a man had to got balls to approach. I've always got a serious face that intimidates even the males of my community. it wasn't just a race issue though i knew to some it was. So never get into a friendship or relation with someone who tells you such thing. No one has to emphasize or tell you he's doing you a favor to be with you. Because if you do accept such thing, there is when you start  to settle for less.

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One comment on “Interracial Friendship.”

  1. Very interesting post Simone! I understand what you are saying! I teach English and can you imagine what type of people I meet and the expression, when they find out that their teacher is black! I am so proud of whom I have become, I would not change it for anything in the world!!

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