"The woman making the inquiry is definitely the odd person out. It is very common for women of all races and cultures to have close bonds with one another." A Commentor
For those who missed the discussion of Tripping Prince Charming which was held on my Facebook page, I've posted a bit of the conversation here and the remainder on the TPC blog
Three strong, independent women with no time for romance or girlish notions of knights in shining armor meet their match in three lovestruck men determined to make them believe in Prince Charming and happily ever after.Though the discussion was to be lighthearted it did become a topic on race and it's relationship to making and being a true friend. It began with a series of questions from a reader who later emailed, saying I and some of the people got her intent wrong.
"I have learned to recognize my prejudices and to get over them. The fact that those people saw
racism in my question proves that they, too are racist. Otherwise they would have taken my question at face value, in the same vein as it was asked... Perhaps if I had been present in the discussion I could have made all that clearer."
MY RESPONSE: I think it would've been a different conversation if you had been there. More than being a racist thing, I believe it was more like a knee-jerk reaction. With those of the Black race it felt as if the human factor was being questioned.
Whether or not those answering were racist or merely stating an opinion, is on them. I personally saw no racism, not even from you. I saw confusion from you both in the friendship arena, and then in the cultural. Does that mean you are racist? I honestly felt as if you saw the Black race as different when it comes to having the same emotions as any other people.
Which is why I posed your questions, I too wanted to know if others felt friendships were different within their area of life. I know nothing about a certain "culture" because I have always been around varied people. As far as I am concerned, and it seems as if many saw it, race didn't play a role in how we react to people we call friends. We agree, we disagree, we move on.
I am no different when it comes to feeling as if I'm being examined by race than anyone, I always wonder where it's coming from. It's human nature, not racism.
Closed minded, in my opinion is a focus on one thing, not necessarily the be all and end all of thought. I would think if anyone was questioned in a stereotypical vein they would feel defensive.
No different than if someone said, you can't be friends with redheads because they fly off the handle. Or wondering if all redheads fight ? Or asking if blonds can learn anything because they seem brainless. People defend their ideals.
Talk on culture causes conversation and not necessarily anger or dissent. I think if you ask a question you have to be able to accept all of the answers. It's the only way to develop a hypothesis.
If you see me in a different light than I have always shown myself, then I can't help that. I'll see you as no different. I am and will always be the same person.
I wanted to share it with those who missed it. The discussion began with a few questions from a White (I mention her color because it pertains to her questions) reader who couldn't join, but sent her questions in a note.
"First let me explain something about my own life that may be relevant. I grew up moving constantly so got to the point where I really did not have any close friends like the trio in your book. So part of my confusion may come from that.
But, I also wonder if my question stems from a cultural/racial difference. My problem is that I don''t know how to decipher which is which. The relationship between the three women is so close and so candid . Their dialogue is very direct. This is not in any way a criticism. I thought it was very well written - but it didn't feel "real" to me. So my question is,
"Do young African American women actually form bonds that close and are they really able to be so frank with each other? Is that really how such friendships work?" Or am I the anomaly and, "Do all young women who form close friendships as teens and interact that way with each other?"
Is there a cultural difference, subtle though it may be, between how Black women relate to each other in the U'S. and how white women do in the same society?
Third, what about cross racial friendships. Are there differences?
This really struck me as I was reading because I felt like I was looking into a foreign culture. It was richly and beautifully portrayed but I had difficulty relating to it. I'd love to touch on this when I write my review but it would help if I got a better insight into my questions. In other words, is it just me, because I've been isolated and never formed such friendships, or is this really a cultural difference that you have illustrated so well?
That's what made the discussion on the thread so interesting. It is these subtle differences that can't be grasped unless you have grown up in a particular culture. For me, unless, as I said, I am the odd one out, (definitely possible) if your trio had been white I would have found your story far less believable.
I would truly love to pursue this question in the discussion, both because I think it would get into some really interesting ideas but also because I will learn from it."
READER'S QUESTION: Do young African American women actually form bonds that close and are they really able to be so frank with each other? Is that really how such friendships work?" Or am I the anomaly and, "Do all young women who form close friendships as teens and interact that way with each other?"
Donna Dillon-Truckenbrod I don't think race has anything to do with it.I know I have a group of friends that know EVERYTHING about me, and we have these such interactions frequently. Without them, I would be lost.
Ey Wade I have always taken friendships as they come, no matter the race. It is a matter of kinship and not necessarily of culture. Everyone brings something different to the table.
Ey Wade That's how I feel too Donna.
Ey Wade READER'S QUESTION: there a cultural difference, subtle though it may be, between how Black women relate to each other in the U'S. and how white women do in the same society?
Inknbeans Press Friendships that last from childhood are almost like extensions of one's self. These people can finish your sentences and laugh at a one word comment because they associate it with 'do you remember that time...' They are also convinced they know what's best for you. That seems to describe Lillie-Rose, Carmella and Ivy.
Ey Wade I agree. I loved those girls because they knew each other by a simple facial expression or the use of a certain word.
Inknbeans Press Regarding the second question: Is it race or location? These women reminded me, to an extent, of the characters in Steel Magnolias.
Laurie E. Boris I've seen close female friends being utterly frank with each other.
I'm not sure of where things went left, but each person brings a bit of self into conversations. Interpretation and perception is individual, neither right nor wrong. Please pop over and join the discussion. More @ TPC blog