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UnCommon Bonds

Women Reflect on Race and Friendship


Edited By Kersha Smith and Marcella Runell Hall

UnCommon Bonds is a collection of essays written by women representing multiple identities; all uniquely addressing the impactful experiences of race, ethnicity, and friendship in the context of the United States. The essays unapologetically explore the challenges of developing and maintaining cross-racial friendships between women. A primary goal of this book is to resist simplifying cross-racial friendships. Instinctively, the editors believe that there is a unique joy and pain in these relationships that is rarely easy to summarize. The essays reflect narratives that challenge assumptions, disclose deep interpersonal struggles, and celebrate the complex sisterhood between women across racial lines.

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Chapter 2: It’s All About the Rhythm: Birthing Sisterhood (Stacey Gibson / Jessica Havens)


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Birthing Sisterhood

Stacey Gibson and Jessica Havens

A conversation between sister friends

In this conversation we hope to explore the ever-evolving dynamics of our own interracial friendship and how we arrived at this point. What we have included is a transcribed conversation, following in the footsteps of antiracist feminists who have come before us. Women have always made story and talked into, with, within, and through each other. In a world saturated with posts, tweets, updates, and downloads, it is the warm, rich vibrations that can only be felt when we speak to each other across a table that eclipses the digital dissonance. It allows each of us to retain our individual voice and authorship of the written piece, while allowing for complexity and disagreement.

Conversation Jump-Off: How Have Your Friendships With Women of Other Races and Ethnicities Evolved or Devolved Over Time?

Stacey: My relationships and friendships with women of different races have evolved as my standards and expectations around relationships have evolved. The number of cross-racial friendships has decreased exponentially over the ← 13 | 14 → years, but the authenticity and integrity of those new and remaining friendships are more lush, more dynamic, and more affirming. In past years what may have been identified as a “friendship” was quite often something else altogether. Those relationships were seemingly “friendly” enough, but because there was no acknowledgment of the...

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