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

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.

Answer:
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 DiversityInc.com. 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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9 Comments

  • Terri Lyons

    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

  • 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?

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