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Having white friends ‘can be exhausting’ so we stick with nonwhites, Harvard student says

This is your fault, How I Met Your Mother

White supremacy rears its ugly head in an unexpected group at Harvard University: white liberals looking for nonwhite friends.

Harvard Crimson “editorial chair” Ruben Reyes has a novel explanation for why so many of his peers of color are clustering together without a hint of pale skin among them: sitcoms with white-dominated casts.

Friends, Girls and How I Met Your Mother conditioned white people to think that nonwhites are “one-dimensional figures to fill supporting roles” in their lives, argues Reyes, who insists his two best friends are white:

Often, students of color like me end up in a precarious position. We want to make the most out of our time at predominantly white institutions like Harvard, which means making white friends that we might not have had at our segregated high schools. But we also want to avoid the racial insensitivity that can be a burden on our mental and emotional health.

Navigating this fine line reveals a truth that makes people scream “reverse racism”: Having white friends, as a person of color, can be exhausting. It’s much easier to make friends with other people of color who already understand the way the world pushes against you because of the melanin you carry in your skin. As Erin White argues, “in one way or another, White friends, largely, just aren’t safe to have” because of “their unconscious but blatant biases against and misunderstandings of Black People.”

White liberals who try to make friends with people who don’t look like them are putting these victimized students of color in “uncomfortable social situations” and becoming a “burden” to them, Reyes says.

His solution, unsurprisingly, is to read their preferred authors before applying for friendship: Junot Díaz, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Amy Tan.

If you don’t like reading, Reyes says you can “watch Ali Wong and Hasan Minaj’s stand-up comedy.”

Reyes doesn’t seem to consider that it can be exhausting for white people to be friends with someone who constantly judges them.

Read the editorial.

MORE: New trend of segregated graduations for everyone but straight whites

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IMAGE: Dear White People

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