The Friendship Quota
By Gino Diguilio
Pseudo-progressive: noun; “one who is apparently, but not actually, a political or social progressive.” Our culture is seemingly in a progressive era to the naked eye. However, I believe that most citizens fall under the pseudo-progressive umbrella.
I realized this during one of my classes late last week. The idea of inclusivity and commodification of minorities is something that I never had paid much attention to. I knew that in America all people are equal, but in hindsight, we are not. However in today’s society, minority groups have incurred the backlash of this pseudo-progressive world we live in.
Look at your friendships, for example. People want to seem with the times, open minded and inclusive to minority groups. I for one have had a first hand experience with this. Being a gay man, I have seen that people want to be my friend or be friendly with me to fill their quota or to feel like a progressive American. Being cool now a’days means standing up for equality to some people, and that’s not the case. When my classmates’ discussion continued, I was baffled by the amount of people that say that they think it’s cool to have a gay best friend, or even a friend of a different race that may be a minority. Is that what our country is coming to; being friends or acquaintances with people to make them seem like they are cooler and more welcoming?
How about trying to be friends with people that make you a better person, or bring out qualities in you that you couldn’t do yourself? Just because equality is becoming more prominent in our society doesn’t mean that we must fill a friendship quota or change the way we live our lives!
After hearing the conversation continue for a good 15 minutes, I came to the conclusion that having a gay best friend was something that was desirable for most women, and when men had a gay best friend they were thought of as an open minded individual. This honestly bothered me. There are so many people in the world that may have friends or even best friends that may not have actually spoken to them at all if they would not have felt the societal pressure to do so.
How does one adjust the stigma of having a friend that is part of a minority into an idea that is not based upon societal pressure and into something that is no longer in need of a discussion? Personally, I would recommend not letting everything you see on the Internet and television and the stereotypes they portray on minorities be the only resource of education. Be friends with whoever you want. But do not seek out certain types of people to make sure you are a progressive American. Life doesn’t work that way.