DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a white best friend growing up in our small town. We were close throughout high school, but we lost contact during college. After 15 years apart, we recently reconnected through Facebook. It was like old times again. That is, until about a month ago. He recently posted a meme that pointed out the differences in how police handle black suspects versus white suspects, accompanied by a horribly racist tirade.
I found myself shocked and disgusted. I immediately canceled our scheduled meetup, but I did not give him the real reason why. I just wanted to break away quietly. However, he does not seem satisfied with my explanation and has been pushing me for the real answer. Do you think I should write him back and tell him the real reason why, or should I just block him and avoid this matter altogether? -- Ebony, Not Ivory, Atlanta
DEAR EBONY, NOT IVORY: You definitely should tell your friend the truth. The fact that you were friends years ago means that you had a true bond. Time has passed, but he clearly still respects your opinion. Use your connection to educate him. Since he has been persistent, admit that this is a difficult conversation for you to have, but you are prepared to have it. Then, specifically tell him what upset you. Be as detailed as you can so that there is no question about what your thoughts are. Give context to help best paint the picture. Let him know that his comments crossed the line into offensive. Make it clear to him where you think that line begins.