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UnCommon Bonds

Women Reflect on Race and Friendship

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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.

For more information, please visit: www.uncommonbondsbook.com

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Chapter 14: Sliding Doors, Intentional Choices (Paulette Dalpes / Berenecea Johnson Eanes)

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· 14 ·

SLIDING DOORS, INTENTIONAL CHOICES

Paulette Dalpes and Berenecea Johnson Eanes

Why Is Our Relationship Uncommon?

The fact that we live in a world where our bond is uncommon is at the root of why it is unique and yet tragic. Our story is both distinctive and universal. The choices we made throughout our lives led us to the moment where our friendship was born. It was by chance and yet purposeful. Like moving through a sliding door onto a train leading to the next life moment and opportunity. What sliding doors did we choose to move through or which ones did we let pass? What intentional choices to move forward or stay in place ultimately created the opening where this inimitable friendship became possible?

Relationships between white women and women of color, especially AfricanAmerican women, have a complicated history in the United States given the roots of slavery and white supremacy. Truly deep friendships between Black women and white women can take years to build. Likewise, while relationships between women across sexual orientation are rare, it is even more uncommon when these friendships include differences across race (Galupo, 2009).

Our society and the spaces we grow up in conspire to keep us separate across difference. With regard to race, this conspiracy is built upon hundreds ← 145 | 146 → of years of colonization and domination, the legacy of which continues in every facet of our current...

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