Ask the White Guy: ‘I Have Black Friends’ Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t Racist

Question: Why is it whenever white people defend their racism, the first thing they default to is "I'm not a bigot" and the second thing is "I have friends who are black"? I could scream.

Ask the White Guy, Luke Visconti, DiversityInc CEOQuestion:

Why is it whenever white people defend their racism, the first thing they default to is “I’m not a bigot” and the second thing is “I have friends who are black”? I could scream.

It’s disorienting for white people who think they really aren’t biased to be confronted with a reality they have not considered. You’ll also hear things such as “Oh, I guess we have to be politically correct” as opposed to something more accurate like “I guess I can’t manhandle your self-esteem anymore.”

Considering most interracial conversations happen at the workplace (Americans are socially very segregated), these common phrases of denial demonstrate how diversity training is crucial to productivity and engagement.

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

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  • I completely agree. One of the most racist white people I know has two children by my Black father. She tries to use that as her justification. I have had to tell her for years that liking that man has nothing to do with your racist attitudes and beliefs about other Black people or Black people as a whole. In addition, I am more than 20 years older than her oldest child and I have had to teach them not to model their mother’s beliefs but to love the part of them that is Black and to be proud of it. Friends are friends because of the things they have in common. It has nothing to do with the sociopolitical reality or a person’s general beliefs about a group. Thanks for that Luke. It is time that got clarified and understood.

  • Friendship is very overrated. Especially if a black person considers someone white as a “genuine” friend. If the two work in the same environment, and the white one is approached by his manager who is also white to betray his black friend…this person will do it in a heartbeat… this I know from experience from several situations. Having a good friend either black or white, that is loyal considerate, honest and has your back, if very hard to come by.. But to expect a white person to have all these qualities and be your friend, is reaching for heights that are too high to reach. Just my opinion,

    • Luke Visconti

      I’m not going to deny your reality, but I will point out that you would not want to be stereotyped in a similar way. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

    • That can be said of any friend black or white, male or female. But the question is would you stick with a friend in the workplace if that meant losing your job?

    • I think you definatly need to re-think your opinion on white people it seems highly unintelligent infact if this is your opinion you need to get around more and meet a ton more people because this comment makes you seem rather blind… A human being is a human being. RACE DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING. Get of your high hores

      • You can not be serious with the absurdity you just wrote. On what planet do you reside. “Unfortunately” and I do mean unfortunately racism is in full swing in the Americas and in the world. Your ignorance is what we call “covert racism” subconsciously you aren’t even aware. And this is giving you the benefit of the doubt. Ask yourself if I were to host a dinner party at my home what would the attendees look like. How many would if not all look just like me? Start here, and work up to betterment please.

    • That is ridiculous. For one thing, you really shouldn’t compare a situation such as one’s job. And race doesn’t matter for that. One of my beat friends who is also my coworker, is a black woman who has gone off to stand up for me to executives. I have equally done the same for her, and I’m a white man. We don’t do it because of race, but because of who we are and how we were raised.

      We were both raised in different walks of life, but both hold the important value that when you find a true friend, you hold onto them and appreciate them. Our races played no part in it.

  • Sounds like this Luke guy has found a job that’s all about nothing. Why do we need some overpaid ‘white guy’ telling us what we are or aren’t? What kind of BS non-job is this? Its a whole career based on an unnesseasry fake job. I hope my tax dollars aren’t helping to pay this charlatan. I should start something similar based on some vague and unproven so called, social science. Gotta hand it it to you Luke you are making a killing off of those who seek answers for their transgressions and guilt trips. Luke….you suck so go get a real job.

    • Luke Visconti

      You emailed from Santa Fe Community College. There’s a reason why you’re miserable with your life. Wake up. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • I totally concur. A standout amongst the most supremacist white individuals I know has two kids by my Black father. She tries to utilize that as her support. I have needed to let her know for quite some time that preferring that man has nothing to do with your bigot mentality and convictions about other Black individuals or Black individuals all in all. Moreover, I am more than 20 years more established than her most seasoned tyke and I have needed to show them not to model their mother’s convictions however to love the piece of them that is Black and to be pleased with it. Companions are companions due to the things they have in like manner. It has nothing to do with the sociopolitical actuality or an individual’s general convictions around a gathering. Much obliged concerning that Luke. The time it now, time that got illuminated and caught on.

  • Hello, I have a question.. I have a co-worker named Robi. I am a gay white male and she is a straight black female. We became best friends earlier this year. She has to be the most trustworthy,honest,reliable,thoughtful,caring,and loving person I have ever met in my whole life. Im “open” about my sexual orientation,yet very masculine. Im having an issue about something thats been really “grinding my gears” so to speak…Why is it that people seem to stare at us where ever we go?? I mean I have to admit, the two of us are not bad looking people(not conceited,just being honest) but its just frustrating in a sense to feel like the two of us when we are together anywhere are being stared down…its very uncomfortable, but it doesnt seem to bother her though.. I really need some help on this one.. why do people stare at us? How do I begin to “block” this kind of thing out? This has really made me aware of how ugly and rude and disrespectful people are in this world and society. What is wrong with this country?

    • Wow Ken!…..Yes indeed, First you are so not alone.I stumbled upon your comment.I just had to share this, I am a 54 year old white woman, grew up in Philadelphia, Pa. I guess in a middle class white area. Currently married for 16 years to a Black Man, we live in St.Louis. I work is in Transportation, my best friend is a Black Gay Man. Hopefully, still today you are closer than ever with your best female friend, despite the ugly unwelcoming stares you get from people several times daily. I hope is that you’ve taught yourself to look past the sad ignorance people seem to not want to correct about themselves, Our creator, wants us to love life, and yes, the people that we all encounter. Ken, consider yourself Blessed, you and your friend and special.

  • A white dude

    P.s. I hope that everyone will soon come to realize that this is all being caused by propaganda and that the gov wants it this way, they want everyone to hate each other and be segregated right down to the very family unit in terms of divorce laws. Down to the very atom. This is how you keep a population of desperate citizens “weak”.

    Open your eyes….

      • A white dude

        And you didnt approve my other comment which made perfect sense? You reply “please”? How does that contribute at all? Youre just as brainwashed as the others in this country man. Let me guess youre also one who believes there is no other life inbthis universe than what is on earth….

        It is useless to make any effort to get through to some people. Ie, mind my own business. If there is a lesson weve all learned recently, that is to not help others, keep to your own, be quiet and look out for family and self only. Cause everyone will use you and betray you in a heartbeat for the benefit of themselves, and anything you say will be twisted and used against you.

        Gnight Luke and it was great to make a difference today in this collapsed ” selfie” society.

  • African Diaspora

    I have a friend who is bi racial,she has a friend who’s white and clearly prejudice against blacks..she says things like “you guys are different you’re not like those people” or “no disrespect against ur race but those people are scum”…she’s referring to an encounter she had recently with a few black people. But she will tell u all day she’s not racist…my friend even said her friend is not racist she just says ignorant things. But my friend is not speaking to me because I told her,her friend is racist and that she coddles her and continue to make excuses for behavior..

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