In Fact or Fiction I recommend a fiction and nonfiction book on the same topic. This month you can choose a thought-provoking novel about a friendship tested when a white police officer shoots an unarmed Black teenager, a poignant memoir about two very different women becoming friends or both! Either way you’ll explore complicated aspects of these interracial friendships.
Sunshine Kids Day Care may have brought them together, but genuine affection kept fiery Jen and the more reserved Riley together. They’ve helped each other through bullies, breakups, college, careers, infertility and family troubles. Although Jen is white and Riley is Black, race has never been an issue between them. However, if Riley is being honest, there are things Jen has said and done that have made Riley uncomfortable, but she has kept quiet for the sake of their friendship.
Now Riley can no longer be silent when Jen’s husband, a police officer, is caught up in the tragic killing of an unarmed Black teenager. Riley uses her platform as a television reporter to expose systemic racism. Jen feels like Riley betrayed their long friendship by exposing her husband. Can their friendship survive? As authors Christine Pride and Jo Piazza say about We Are Not Like Them, “come for the friendship, stay for the social justice.”
After Martha Manning a white, comfortably middle-class writer finishes delivering her gifts as part of the local Adopt-A-Family Christmas program she shakes off the discomfort of her visit by reassuring herself she never has to do it again. But when the recipient of the gifts, Raina, a young Black single mother with a toddler girl and twin infant boys, calls to thank Martha, a tentative friendship is born.
What could have been overwhelming barriers to a meaningful friendship – Martha never had a Black friend, Raina never had a white friend, and awkward situations involving money – were overcome by their mutual need for each other. Martha provides a safety net of sorts for Raina by babysitting, helping her financially and listening to her troubles. For her part, Raina and her exuberant children bring brightness and zest to Martha’s life. A Place to Land by Martha Manning is the beautiful and moving story of their journey together as friends.