I eagerly read Brittney Cooper's article on Salon this week, "The Politics of Being Friends with White People." While she and I have many demographics in common--being the academically accelerated Black girl in mostly white classes--there are huge differences in our experiences. I think much of that may have to do with geographical context.
Unlike Cooper, whose bio says she grew up in Louisiana, I grew up in Berkeley, California. Cooper talks about how it was the norm for white people in her community to vote Republican. I can understand that it would be difficult to form close ties with white people whose political ideologies have been traditionally been associated with racist legislation and racist political positions. Growing up in Berkeley in the 70s and 80s, Republicans were rare. In this kind of urban, progressive context, racism is a big no-no. White people have plenty of racist thoughts and feelings, but they learn how to keep them hidden, a false sort of progress.