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To what extent do your friendships represent a range of diversity, in terms of class, race, religion, and ethnicity?Among my friends across work, home, other social interactions (not  including social media) my friends group is not as diverse. Many people I  have chosen to be my friend or have consider friends have all at some  point share some sort of similarity to myself or some kind of relatable  story. If I consider my small most intimate group of friends now I would  say the most common thing for us is that we have known each other since  elementary school and the 4 of us have all experienced going through  parental divorce during high school. Outside of this group the majority  of my friends are of Christian faith and primarily of african american  (black). While my at work friends, being that I am active duty army, I  do have friends that are majority black, few Korean and some Hispanic.  All my friends would identify in the middle class, some on the cusp of  low class to middle class.How have you personally been challenged to draw from a diverse pool  of individuals in your experience of “close” friendships? What are some  of the barriers, if any?The major barrier for me when it came down to who would be considered  a close friend was relatability. As an African American man in America  today, relatability is important to me. I will not go into the details  of the political and social issues for the black community but I do feel  as though the people who would closely relate to me is my fellow  African Americans. Not saying that other races cannot empathize but I do  feel as though other races couldn’t fathom what its like to look like  me and still be profiled. Even in uniform, sure my fellow soldiers can  relate to deployments or combat trainings, but outside the uniform I  don’t believe my Korean friend whom I’ve known for 6 years could fully  understand what it’s like to be me outside this uniform. Please do not  get me wrong, diversity is a beautiful thing, in fact its what makes are  Nation awesome. But unfortunately compared to my friends who are not  African American, they can accurately trace their heritage to their  country of origin, while for myself seeing as my people were slaves and  brought here with no records, I can only identify myself with a  continent, not a specific country of origin. So yes, relatability has  been the biggest barrier for me when it came to a diverse friendship,  but for the friends I do have that I love and who love me understand  that. We have open conversations about racial topics and we each respect  the others views.

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