Ben Passmore debuted Your Black Friend at CAKE a couple weekends ago, and he needed a long-arm stapler to bind them, so he asked if he could come over and use mine. So we’re sitting in my dining room, and I said
“I’m excited about this comic, the pages you posted online look awesome.”
And then Ben explained the origin, that he’s been reading a lot of Frantz Fanon, and thinking a lot about Pan-Africanism, and how he lives in this liminal state of being black, but not identifying with mainstream “black” culture. That he and another black friend have been having some long conversations about that precarity, and that this comic was based on those conversations, an attempt to talk about his own experiences being black in the 21st century U.S.
And in a normal conversation it would have been my turn to say something, ask Ben a question, or talk about my own thoughts or experiences. Anything! Anything could have come out of my mouth, but instead I turned red, and started sweating, and said “huh” through the lump in my throat and nodded, and picked up the comic and leafed through it hoping to find…I don’t know what. And then I saw at the bottom of the third page Ben had written “What white ppl fear most is ‘making things awkward.'” Continue reading