Video: In Ben Passmore’s comic Your Black Friend, a black man sits in a cafe and watches as one white person diligently ignores the casual, anti-black racism of another. On some level, both of the white folks know that what they’re doing is wrong, but neither of them is willing to acknowledge it.
Image: Silver Sprocket
But Your Black Friend isn’t actually about either of the casually-racist white people at the back of the cafe. Its real focus is on what it’s like to be a black man who is out with his white friend specifically while witnessing this kind of thing. Your Black Friend hones in on the unique kind of indirect bigotry that springs up when people who don’t see themselves as racists fail to call out racism when they see it – something that not everyone understands is dangerous in its own way.
Your Black Friend conveyed how that willful ignorance makes people complicit in systems of discrimination, but the point is driven home even better in a newly-animated short film from Doggo Studios that’s based on the comic. Narrated by Passmore, the animated Your Black Friend has an added dimension of nonchalant vexation that perfectly matches the story being told.
These are the sort of racially-charged annoyances that every single person of colour is all too used to dealing with. Take notes, white people.