Some of My Best Friends Are White

Addressing the lack of diverse friends isn't a black or white issue. It's an individual one.

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That's when you decide you can either lament being the lonely only or go out there and make friends.

Part of the burden of blackness is that you have to be painfully aware of race at all times. Part of the privilege of being white is that you don't. For some of my co-workers, I was their first real, substantial friend who happened to be black. And some of those friendships became the most valued and amazing friendships of my life. I got to be myself (but not bitter), and they became more curious, and at times angry, about how little they knew about black history or black people. Then for some, there was that awkward conversation with their parents about what they were doing 50 years ago during the civil rights movement, and not always particularly caring for the response.

It's a challenging thing, at times, if you're not open-minded about making friends outside your racial comfort zone. And you have to be thick-skinned and open-minded to traverse those waters, set aside your own prejudices and get to that place of comfort where you can talk about race and privilege and culture and history, but also still talk about dating and family and work and all those other things that come with friendship.

Maybe now that she's become self-aware, Dunham is out collecting black friends like bottle caps. But ultimately, the burden of curing the 40 percent of their lack-of-black-friend problem isn't a black problem. It's not even necessarily a white problem. It's a problem of self-awareness that every individual must tackle on his or her own.

You can stay in your comfort zone or you can learn that your dad once screamed obscenities at black kids trying to go to school in the 1960s. You can stay in your comfort zone and last only three months as the only black person in the office.

You can stay in your comfort zone, but where's the fun in that?

Danielle C. Belton is a freelance journalist and TV writer, founder of the blog and editor-at-large of Clutch magazine.

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Danielle C. Belton is an associate editor at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.