DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a Black woman who is close friends with a white woman. We were chatting on the phone when I started casually complaining to her about the men that I've dated in the past. Every man that I’ve dated has been Black, and she knows this. She told me that I need a “new type.” When I asked her what she meant, she said that I need to stop dating only Black men. I didn’t know how to take this comment. I don’t fully think that she meant for it to seem racist, but it definitely came across that way. Could this mean that my friend is racist? -- Weird Comment
DEAR WEIRD COMMENT: Ask yourself how you would react if a Black friend had said this to you. Why? Because it sounds like your friend was mainly trying to tell you to expand your horizons. Open your eyes to other men who may interest you, regardless of race. While you may not be interested in that idea -- from whomever may suggest it -- you might not think it was racist if it came from someone else.
That said, talk to your friend about it. Tell her that her comment didn’t sit well with you. Ask her about whatever is worrying you. For example, does she think there’s something wrong with Black men? Since she said “stop dating ONLY Black men,” I don’t think that’s what she meant. But ask her, and talk through your thoughts and feelings about dating and race. Allow this moment to be a potential breakthrough in your understanding of how you both think about this sensitive topic.