Author Ben Philippe chronicles a lifetime of being the Black friend

Ben Philippe talks about his new collection of essays, Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend: Notes from the Other Side of the Fist Bump.
Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend is a book by Ben Philippe. (benphilippe.com, HarperCollins)

Putting this interview in context: Author Ben Philippe was born in Haiti, raised in Montreal and has lived for many years as an adult in the United States. As he's grown, he's experienced racism in many forms — from the casual missteps of friends to the vitriolic utterances of strangers. His new book, Sure, I'll be Your Black Friend: Notes From the Other Side of the Fist Bump, recounts these moments in a series of essays, musings and confidences to the reader.

When Ben chatted with Talia Schlanger on a recent episode of Q, the conversation ranged from his memories of family and his first encounters with being seen as different, to the visceral fear he's lived with as a Black man grappling with stories of police brutality and the incessant terror that he might be next. In this interview, he also acknowledges writing an alternative reality that is difficult to hear, playing out an imaginary nightmare scenario where he instills horror rather than suffering it.

He says, "It's a grotesque dystopia in which I have to be at war with my friends and family. People I love." That doesn't mean Ben intends harm — instead, he offers a no-holds-barred view of where dread can lead your imagination, while you live your actual life as a pretty nice guy.

Please note: the images described can be triggering for some listeners.