It's a curse, man.
Yesterday, I, who is white, went to the cafeteria for dinner, and was one of the first people in. I came in with a friend of mine, who is black (this is important, not random) who asked me to sit with her. I said "sure, where?" She said "at the black people table." So there we went, the only two people at the start of the meal. She said "okay, when we sit here, you can't invite any of your dumb cracker friends to sit here." I understood what she said to be a joking way of saying "I sit here with my friends, who happen to be people of color, and would prefer to not have them feel the need to sit elsewhere if a bunch of strangers show up." I could also tell that she, being a younger student, felt the need to try harder to fit in with her mostly older friends.
Were I an anthropology major, I would be looking at a way to study people's seating habits in the cafeteria. What she was asking was simply a verbalization of the mostly unspoken rules that govern most everyone's habits. It's just that, well, when you add race into it, things get complicated.
Anyway, my response was basically "sure, but what if they just sit here without my invitation?" And no sooner do I ask this, then a white friend of mine shows up, and makes like she wants to sit. She sees something is up, and I make it clear that something is indeed up (she thinks it's a cockblock) so she goes elsewhere. But no sooner does that happen then some other white or mostly white or identified white friends of mine show up and sit down. Sorry. I guess I'm too popular. Hah. This is a bit of a mess.
Speaking of popularity, I got five phone calls last night. I mean, five "hey Rowan I want to talk to you phone calls." From people in five different cities (New York, Philadelphia, Yellow Springs (where I am), Columbus, and Sacramento). I dunno what my previous record might have been, but I'm sure it's shattered.
Speaking of phone calls, I have a new phone. It should be working by tonight, so call if you want me to ever be able to call you.