'A NON-FRIENDSHIP'Editor: I am surprised that the Sun...


March 06, 1994


Editor: I am surprised that the Sun Magazine editor wasted space in the magazine, and readers' time, on a non-story abut a non-friendship between two middle school girls -- one black, the other white ["The Color of Friendship," Jan. 23]. The so-called story emphasized all the negatives of race relations in Baltimore.

This article is not about friendship; it's about an ephemeral in school camaraderie. This is very common among students and among workers: people who feel an attraction toward each other but the attraction is only a school "thing" or a work "thing." A camaraderie such as described in the article happens all the time -- among same-race people as well as across racial lines.

The camaraderie does not extend beyond school or the workplace. And it does not last once the people are separated by a change in jobs or school.

The test of friendship [between Mya and Dawn] was the birthday sleepover hosted by the young woman who lives in Hamilton. She said she did not invite her black friend because she did not want her to feel out of place. If this were a "real" and "true" friendship, she would have ensured that her friend was invited and felt a part of the event.

I grew up in Baltimore when racial lines were much more sharply defined than they are today. Yet, when schools first integrated and many black students enrolled in formerly all-white schools, these same interracial camaraderies were very common. However, in many cases these relationships included visiting each other's homes, attending birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, class-day parties and the like. Those of us growing up in this era had less experience with interracial social life than exists today but we were able to forge relationships that lasted through high school.

If you want a story of real friendship . . . find those people who attended school in the late '50s and early '60s in Baltimore and examine a friendship that began at that time.

Bettina M. Scott, Ph.D


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