Perils and Promises: The Impact of Cross-Racial Friendships on Women of Color

“Identifying and naming the emotional impact women of color experience in their friendships with white women—particularly during times of conflict. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Patrice Gopo Contact Me

About this pastoral study project

Some may argue that cross-racial friendships (specifically between people of color and white people) nurture necessary societal change. Whether or not this argument is valid, friendship across races can both expand understanding and also suffer because of our racialized society and the impact of white supremacy. In addition, significant limitations exist to the suggestion that if people of color and white people just become friends, we’ll together heal our world. First and foremost, friendship alone cannot repair systemic injustice. Specific to this proposed topic, though, women of color have historically borne the burden of racial injustice. The emotional impact women of color experience in their friendships with white women is likely not neutral, especially during times of conflict.

From a personal perspective, in some of my friendships with white women, I’ve struggled to address the impact of broken race relations. Along the way, I’ve clung to the stories other women of color have shared about similar experiences. Now with greater understanding of the pervasiveness of these struggles, I hope to draw attention to this crucial issue through researching cross-racial friendships, editing an anthology where women of color consider their friendships with white women, and recording conversations with anthology contributors.