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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 7: Friends in Real Life (Thembisa S. Mshaka)


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· 7 ·


Thembisa S. Mshaka

I am not just Black. I am blackity Black. Not easily pegged for being ‘hood, street, bougie or militant, but all of the above in any given moment. On top of and inside all this blackity Blackness is serious smarty smartness. Not a rocket scientist by any means, but a highly educated lover of words who became a razor-sharp critical thinker. More on that educational path later.

I was told I was intelligent from birth it seems. My late mother had a favorite story about how I corrected her mother-in-law on the pronunciation of a word. “It’s not lie-barry, Grandma, it’s lie-brary.” If I wasn’t worried about backlash from correcting my own very stern grandmother as a kid, I’m not going to be too concerned with holding my tongue around anyone else. I can be intimidating.

And yet, I make friends easily. I am a true Sagittarian, so I love celebrating, I am the most fun as a travel partner, I live for adventure and am the life of the party. I am also a gift-a-holic. I love the whole gifting thing, no matter what side of it I’m on. I’m not high maintenance. I don’t need to call or be called several times a day, don’t’ sweat invites to stuff. We could not talk for weeks or months and I won’t take it personally. I have two kids...

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