Let’s face it, if you’re the only Black or Brown person in a room full of well…the non-melinated, life can be tough. From the work place, to school, the various micro aggressions and lack of understanding can be draining. Add in the constant news of Black and Brown people being attacked or surveilled and you’ve got a recipe for anxiety.
Even social media sites like Facebook or Twitter can be a little too public for your honest feelings. Providing a space where you and a select group of people can relax and unload is crucial in this day and age. In this instance, group texts and apps like GroupMe, WhatsApp, and Slack can provide refuge.
Writer Aaron Edwards of TheOutline.com brought attention to how these modes of communication are crucial to Black and Brown folks. “Group chats are the trenches where I recharge while escaping to the bathroom on a bad “I’ve-actually-never-gone-out-with-a-black-guy” Tinder date (congratulations?) or after a stranger tries to pick at my hair without an invitation (Solange released a whole damn song about this in 2016 and y’all are still out here),” said Edwards. “Sometimes I get ignored (“hehe” a.k.a. “everyone in the chat already saw that tweet, please carry on”). Sometimes I get put on playful blast. Other times, they’re just a mundane refuge.”
Some of Aaron’s friend also chimed in on the life-saving attributes of the group chat. “They’re so important to me, especially as someone with anxiety,” said Tracy Clayton of Another Round podcast. “It takes a lot of energy to interact with people, even people that you like and love, but sometimes you get lonely, too. This way a bunch of my favorite people are in one place and always there for me.”
You can check out the other ways folks thrive off group chats, including one perspective from A Black TV professional in the U.K., over at TheOutline.com.