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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 8: Race Is a Factor, Not a Foundation (Amber Buggs)


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Amber Buggs

When I first started thinking about the topic posed by UnCommon Bonds it was a surprise to me that deep interracial friendships among adults are rare. I looked around at the photos on my apartment walls and thought about my friendships—feeling confident that there was clear diversity reflected in those closest to me. So, I popped open my laptop to have a look at my Facebook community. To see if their images would lean toward my diverse friend base, or reflect the scarcity of interracial friendships. What I found struck me: photo after photo of dinners, vacations, and parties filled with only Black, or only white, or only Asian people. There were some people of varying races peppered in from time to time, but overwhelming the people I saw on my computer screen—experiencing milestones together throughout the years—tended to look like the person whose Facebook profile I happened to be on. I started to wonder why are theirs like this but mine is not? Why are the people who look like me peppered into my diverse friendship base instead of the other way around?

I identify as a biracial Black and Mexican American woman from a multiracial family. My mother is Mexican and my father is Black; my parents divorced when I was almost three years old and both remarried, adding a white stepfather and Black...

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