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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 16: Letters (Roberta Samet / Imani Romney-Rosa)


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Roberta Samet and Imani Romney-Rosa

When the two of us are together, there are always three of us—Roberta, Imani, and the work against white supremacy that first brought us together. To say our meeting was improbable is putting it lightly. How did we find ourselves members of the same synagogue? How is it we trust each other completely? How did we come to be sitting together in the same room, on a beautiful spring day, talking about “Undoing Racism” in our Jewish community? These are the questions with which we grappled as we exchanged personal emails over the course of several months. The emails were online conversations about anti-racism organizing that we had been working on together for two years.

September 29, 2015

Dear Imani,

How can I represent the white part of this uncommon bond? It forces me to look at my whiteness in a way that does not come first in relationship to our friendship. The collective message of white superiority is powerful. Let’s say, looking at whiteness is an acquired taste. In the right circumstances, I eat it in doses that I can tolerate but can’t honestly say I return to that restaurant for comfort food. ← 167 | 168 →

I see this friendship as an encapsulated entity with a race analysis surrounding it … informing, instructing, accompanying.

There is always the personal and the collective. Personally, whatever...

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