After 27 years of hard work, Nia Fordham become the sole black friend to her 100th white person!
Friends of Fordham held a cookout recently to celebrate the milestone.
“I’ve always wanted a black friend,” said Heather Fellows, Fordham’s Pilates instructor and white friend #86.”I think I speak for all of us when I say that we got really lucky finding Nia because we don’t really branch out very much.”
Upon leaving home to attend Vassar College, Fordham quickly made many white friends on campus.
“I noticed that I was the only black person in any given classroom at any time, so it made sense that I was only making white friends. Nothing out the ordinary.”
Soon though, Fordham realized that the friends she was making were different than the ones she had back home.
“They touched my hair a lot. Like, a lot. And they’d always say things to me like, ‘I don’t see color, it wouldn’t matter to me if you were green’ or ‘I just don’t think anyone should be able to say it’. The way they were acting was so unnecessarily self-congratulatory, as if they’d never had a black friend before me. And that’s when I realized they hadn’t.”
Fordham graduated as Salutatorian and also as the only black friend to 32 white students.
“I was nervous to befriend Nia at first because, for some reason, she didn’t seem to fit in,” says Mallory LaFreniere, a coworker of Nia’s, and white friend #40. “But I got to know her and she’s actually so kind and relatable! I realized she was nothing like the rest of them! My other coworkers, I mean…”
In the few years since then, the number of white people in Fordham’s life to whom she is the lone black friend has grown exponentially.
“I really didn’t do this on purpose,” says Fordham. “It’s actually a huge burden to have to be the representative of my entire race to 100 individual white people. Also, I see a lot of racist microaggressions from people trying to virtue-signal. This cookout, for example. Or all the selfies everyone made sure to get with me.”
Jim Redding, her former roommate and white friend #17, interrupted: “I’m personally not surprised she’s reached this goal. She’s been breaking down barriers as long as I’ve known her! It’s not easy being the first in your family to go to college.”
“It wasn’t a goal, and I’m not the first,” corrected Fordham.
“There’s that sassy attitude we’ve all come to know and love!” said Redding.
Fordham, meanwhile, has always had a diverse group of friends.
“It’s not that hard to find people that are unlike you if you just try? Either way, I guess I’m honored to be the only black friend to so many white people. Yay!”