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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 5: The Support I Need (Liza A. Talusan)


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Liza A. Talusan

As a professional who works in diversity, equity, and inclusion education, my daily work calls me to be both provocative yet hospitable, risk-taking yet careful, patient yet outspoken. As you can imagine, balancing and navigating this world and work creates a great deal of tension. There are days when my emotional and intellectual pendulum swing so far left and right that I lose sight of center. And, at the center of this emotional journey is my own complicated experiences of identity as a woman of color, as an Asian American, and as a product of a predominantly white environment.

Over my lifetime, I have traveled a twisted road toward embracing my racial and ethnic identity. I was born in the United States to immigrant parents, two young doctors from the Philippines who moved across the globe to begin a new life filled with hopes of opportunity and promise. Though they landed in Boston and spent the first few years in a predominantly Black neighborhood and community, my parents were socialized to believe that the suburbs were the ideal place to raise a family. Within four years of their arrival in the United States, after working double shifts and alternating work schedules, my parents moved my sisters and me from our racially diverse apartment building to a predominantly white suburb twenty-two miles outside of Boston. Though I spent the first formative years...

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