I’m a modern woman. And as a modern woman, I have certain modern values: I always smile at the homeless, I tip my servers 20% (unless the kitchen got my food wrong), and I try to keep myself surrounded by diverse groups of people. So many of my fellow white women fail at that last part, but I refuse to allow myself to get stuck in a homogeneous lifestyle. So of course I have black friends, two in fact: Jeena and Brigitte, both of my nannies.
I personally don’t understand how anyone could be happy only ever being around people who are just like them. How are you ever supposed to grow if you refuse to explore perspectives other than the ones you grew up around? Sure, I’m from an all-white town, and also I currently live in a different all-white town. But that’s why I went out of my way to incorporate black friends into my life. They also just happen to be the two women responsible for most of my children’s care and upbringing. That’s how close we are!
Of course, I recognize the implications of having two black women raising my children. I’m not blind. But to me, Jeena and Brigitte are more than just the women who make sure my kids get to school on time and do their homework and get to their extracurriculars. They’re also the women who come on vacation with me so I won’t have to waste time monitoring my own children, the women who I sit at the dinner table with to enjoy a meal that they cooked catering to my specific dietary restrictions, and the women who I trust seeing me at my very worst and expect to comfort me accordingly. That is true friendship, and that is what we have.
And frankly, I feel like a better parent for making sure my kids are around people of color. Most kids at their all-white private school don’t have that opportunity: most of their nannies are even white! But my children are growing up in a home that fosters diversity, for at least 10 hours a day and $12 an hour. They will grow up knowing how to make friends with their peers from all backgrounds. And when they finally get the chance to do so in college, they will be prepared. I can thank Jeena and Brigitte for that, which I will once they finish up this week’s laundry.
Look, I know that I’m an anomaly when it comes to wealthy white women. But talking about diversity and being about diversity are two separate things. I am the latter. Don’t believe me? Just ask my black friends. Seriously, I can give you their numbers, but you have to promise not to poach them from me. My heart has never been fuller and my kids have never been cleaner!