Friends, this is awkward but it needs to said:
Minorities are not tokens for you to look cool.
And I’m not just talking racial minorities. LGBTQA, refugees, people with disabilities.
We need your friendship and your alliance but I personally could do without the “token friend” status.
I’ll come at it from my perspective. I’m an adult woman in a wheelchair and I am not here to make you look more accepting. More evolved. Less basic.
I have amazing friends. Friends who truly see me for me. They see my flaws, my quirks, the way I laugh uncontrollably at my own jokes. They have seen me fail and disappoint them and they love me anyway.
You know what happens when you’re the “token friend”? When you show you’re human, when you royally screw up, the friends that saw you as an accessory usually peace out.
I have often walked away from these relationships feeling like a stripped car, not really knowing why until much later.
Unfortunately, this was my normal for a long time. I had lackluster friendships, in part because I attracted the type of people who wanted to be seen with me without ever truly knowing me.
When I started making friends with other people with disabilities, I found this side of myself I had never known before. I rested in the comfort of others with similar life experiences. But the reality is that for the majority of the day, I am the odd one out.
It doesn’t happen as often as it used to. The whole “token friend” thing. But when I see it happen, either in my own life or the lives of others, I go full Mama Bear. I’ll fight for equality until the day I die and that starts by not patronizing or pandering minority groups.
You can notice the fact I have a disability. In fact, I want you to notice and appreciate the fact that we are all uniquely fearfully and wonderfully made.
I just don’t want you to treat me differently because of it.