There’s nothing like having a best friend that shares your viewpoints, your perspective, and possibly knows you better than you know yourself. You know the saying “birds of a feather, flock together”….if this is always the case, then chances are there aren’t contrasting views and varied opinions in your “flock.”

We’re living in a climate of increased racial sensitivity. The racial divide and overt racism that has reared its head in our political process, justice system, and sadly in our everyday interactions with one another must be challenged and reconciled. It’s in times like these that everyone needs to extend their reach to someone of another race.

We’ve witnessed the race-baiting being thrown around in this Election, the racial tensions after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, and the constant misconceptions of racial identity across the board. We cannot afford to sit on the sideline and watch as America deteriorates along racial lines.

Racism is America’s original sin and it serves as a detriment to all Americans — the ones that came over on the Mayflower and the ones that came over on the Clotilde, and everyone in between. I won’t pretend we’re living in a “post racial” society…but it is within reach. Naturally when racial tension arises, people tend to align themselves with people who look and act like them. It’s a comfort zone. A comfort zone that must be broken in order for America to truly reach a post racial society.

As a proud product of a HBCU, an upbringing in predominantly black environments, and as a community loyalist…. I’ve enjoyed a cushy comfort zone. That is until I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone.I can testify that breaking out of my comfort zone has increased my knowledge, broadened my perspective and soothed my spiritual well-being. Consciously or unconsciously holding onto negative stereotypes and resentment toward racism, sexism or any “ism” manifests a spirit of inferiority. I’ve found that cultivating diverse relationships, having the difficult conversations about racial differences and being willing to challenge your own viewpoints will change your outlook and life experiences for the better. Comfort zones tend to keep your viewpoint one-sided, your outlook tainted, and your life experiences hampered. Breaking out of your comfort zone is not to be confused with “fitting in.”

Simply put, breaking out of your comfort zone presents you with 2 options: stay within your comfort zone (seek out people that you most identify with and surround yourself with them) OR carve out a new path toward diversifying your friends, your surroundings, and most importantly your perspective. We share a world with people of all stripes and all walks of life…Now more than ever, we must challenge ourselves and each other to branch out and explore friendship outside of our race.

Have you broken out of your racial comfort zone Cluthchettes?

Krystal Glass is the Host and Moderator of a series of thought-provoking dialogues held in Washington, DC with the aim of strengthening the black community through open forum conversations and interactive workshops.

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