Saturday, January 19, 2013

Expand Your Circle of Trust

Act #19:  Walk the Talk.

I have three black friends.  I'm talking circle of trust friends, not acquaintances, not people I used to work with, not former professors whom I love and respect, but three African-Americans, out of this entire world, that I would totally call at 3 a.m. with a problem, drive to their homes and crash on their couches, let them babysit my kid.   So what's the big deal?  Well, let me break things down.  I  graduated from an incredibly racially-diverse high school in Queens, NY.  I have about 1000 Facebook "friends" from all over the world.  I spent a huge portion of my 30's working in an office where I was one of only two non-African-Americans.  I attended and later worked at the first inter-racial college in the South, share an alma mater with Carter G. Woodson (Founder of Black History Month), and for 9 years held an office next to the campus's Black Cultural Center.  I currently chair our local human rights commission and for 8 years of my adult life, I worked as a Civil Rights investigator for city and state level human rights commissions.  Yet, I still only have three black friends.

I realize that this might sound contradictory to my earlier blog post when I discussed how universally declaring one's love for "all black people" was just as discriminatory as declaring one's dislike for all black people: (, but as we approach the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the second inauguration of our nation's first African-American president, I can't help but feel like the world's biggest hypocrite. 

You see, I have no excuse not to have a more diverse circle of friends.  Unlike those who live in non-diverse areas or who have limited opportunities to interact with people outside of their own race, I have had ample, extraordinary opportunities to develop and sustain relationships with some incredible African-Americans over the past 25 years, yet I only have three black friends in my circle of trust.  I have looked up to, collaborated with, trusted, became close, with hundreds of African-Americans over my lifetime, and yet there are only 3 whose shoulders I would cry on.  Today's act may indeed be my most personal and most difficult to admit - and it requires multiple steps.  Won't you join me?

Act #19:  Confront your own views and perspectives on race.  Let down your guard.  Look deeper.  Do not fear rejection.  Embrace the beauty of that which seemingly divides you.  Live your life so that you find yourself surrounded by a circle of trust that is rich and diverse, and fulfilling, and that is not limited to people who think, act, and look exactly like you.

Happy birthday sir.  Thank you.


  1. Great blog. Found through my Kentucky friend Grace on Facebook. Have a look at mine if you get the chance.

  2. Thank you Mari! I will check yours out too! Love Miss Grace!