Some of My Best Friends Are: Thoughts on Race and Community


I’m so excited to introduce you to Laila, a blogger at She and I have enjoyed many a late-night Twitter conversation and I’ve benefitted from all she has to say and I know you guys will, too. Her son, whom she calls “BB” for “baby boy,” is 8 years old, and they live in the Chicago area. As you know, we care a whole lot about cultivating healthy friendships around here, and today Laila is writing about her heart for interracial friendships, a heart that we share. She’s completely fantastic, so please make her feel welcome, you guys!


Some of my best friends are…

Have you ever hosted a gathering at your home and thought about the friends you invited? How do you know them? Where did you meet? What do you love about them that made you decide to do life together? And lastly…what do they look like?

I’m not talking about whether or not they buy their yoga pants from Lululemon or Target. I’m talking about race and ethnicity.


The end of 2014 led me on a Twitter monologue (sounds better than rant) about how one way to ease racial tension in the United States is for people to become intentional about getting to know one another. I’m not talking about making your family watch the entire Roots series. Or going to your nearest [insert local ethnic community] and having dinner for a night of culture.

 I’m talking authentic community with people who do not look like you.

Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Malachi 2:10

While segregation is no longer the law of our land, it still seems to reign in our lives. Whether intentional or unintentional, it has real consequences for how we do life.

How do you do that? How can you be in authentic community that is reflective of the diversity that God has created? This can be difficult if you live in a homogenous community. Reflect on why you live in a homogenous community.

What about your church? Who do you sit next to every Sunday? Your kid’s school? Who do they invite over for playdates? It starts small. It starts by taking an honest look at the people you have chosen to do life with.

God has called us to be in community with one another.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 emphasis added

Creating this type of community requires intentionality. It requires a love for God and His people.

Strike up a conversation while you wait for the school bus.

Extend an invitation for coffee or lunch.

Care about other people’s stories; share your own.

Be all in, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Sit with why you feel uncomfortable.


Sometimes being in community means we have to stretch and find a new comfort zone. But trust we will all be better for it.

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  • NZGlider

    I don’t mean to say that racism does not exist, but if you ask me to ‘group’ my friends, the first categories I think of are where I know them from (work, neighborhood, church, …), and if I have to think about who of my friends would blend well, even if they don’t know each other, I have to admit I think first of beliefs, economic status, etc… I actually have to think harder and more purposefully to think who of my friends is dark skin or not…

    What pushes me out if my comfort zone is to mingle with people who seem to think differently than me (e.g. as an extrovert I often feel challenged by introverts), dress differently than me (do I look frumpy next to them or do I look like a snob?), etc…

    • Laila

      I appreciate your comments.

      I often wonder if we’ve been told that thinking about race is bad? I think we when we ignore race we are ignoring the beauty that God created. So my question is, if you don’t think about race..why is that?

  • Amy Tilson

    You know I’m still pushing for you to be my next door neighbor down on the farm, Right??? Laila and Mel – you two just bless my socks off and I’m thrilled to call you both “Friend”. As I sat at our neighborhood table in Sunday School , I looked around closely – African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Southern , Northern, East Coasters. I love the variety in our class and our son’s class – our whole church for that matter. We were all the same trying to figure out how to love Jesus and each other better and teach our kids to do the same. It absolutely takes intention and stepping out of your comfort zone, maybe being the only one to step out of the comfort zone. You just have to do it.

    • Laila

      Amy, you know I am ready!! ((hugs))

  • Raewyn Smith

    I love this!! I have been working on being more intentional and think this is a wonderful way to keep working on it. I have always tried to see past color, though I know society tries to make us see a certain way. Thank you for making us all THINK :)





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