For one thing, white folks are more anxious than ever to prove that things are different. And since they're such a paradoxically hyper-individualized group, white Americans are now trying to prove that when it comes to racial differences, they themselves are different. The best way to do that, it seems, is not to make some sort of collective, communal-minded effort, like fighting for social justice, or against systemic racism or the racist death penalty, or like, whatever.
No, the best way to prove that a New Day really has dawned is to find a black friend. And plenty of white folks are trying to do just that. In fact, as the Onion recently reported, America's black people are getting kind of "creeped out" by all the white people smiling at them:
A majority of African-Americans surveyed in a nationwide poll this week reported feeling "deeply disturbed" and "more than a little weirded out" by all the white people now smiling at them.
First witnessed shortly after President Obama's historic victory, the open and cheerful smiling has only continued in recent months, leaving members of the black community completely unnerved.
"On behalf of black people across this nation, I would like to say to our white brethren, 'Please stop looking at us like that,'" said Brown University psychology professor Dr. Stanley Carsons. "We're excited Barack is president, too, and we're glad you're happy for us. But giving us the thumbs up for no reason, or saying hello whenever we walk by, is really starting to freak us out."
In these increasingly hard times, with things even worse for most blacks than they are for most whites, it's a wonderful thing that some enterprising and helpful black folks have found a way to do two things at once: keep working, and help out with the white search for black pets. I mean, friends:
But then, if you're white and you happen to know Avril Lavigne, you could save some money by just asking her how she found her black friend:
Or better yet, you might just ask Sally and Johnny, a couple of "down" white folks who've been bragging about their black friends for years now, over at "Black People Love Us!"
Actually, come to think of it, if you're white, or even if you're not white, and you're thinking about the whole "black friends" thing? And you want to, like, make fun of white people for searching for black friends so they can use them, as like, dehumanized accessories? If you're looking to make a funny like that, maybe so you can like, make yourself feel superior to those other, clueless white people? Then you might stop and think about how that kind of satire is already passe. And then, not do it.
A lot of goodhearted white people have been latching onto special black friends for a long, long time. Just ask damali ayo. Or read her book on the topic, which came out almost four years ago.
damali can tell you all about How to Rent a Negro. And about how to humorously skewer the common, patronizing, self-serving, and self-making white desire for interracial harmony and absolution. Thing is, though, she did it a lot better than you ever could.
[Hey look, damali has a new book in the works--yay!]