Thank You for Being a Friend


Ashley Ragone

            On New Year’s Eve 2021, American icon Betty White sadly passed away at the age of 99, only seventeen days short of her 100th birthday. Many people have reflected on her legacy both on screen and in American culture, known for her several television records and philanthropic endeavors. In 1954, during a time of discrimination and racial segregation, Betty White had a black tap dancer named Arthur Duncan on her show. She defied requests to take him off the show due to his skin color, telling people to “live with it”, a very bold move. Her strength was also seen through her television projects and career that she chose instead of prioritizing her personal life, beloved shows such as Golden Girls that remain popular today. She became an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, supporting marriage equality for all, and an animal lover that spoke up for important causes. Upholding her career in Hollywood for several decades, she defied the stereotypical and ageist qualities of the entertainment business, not letting her age hold her back from her endeavors. Many fans of White are planning to honor her memory through the #BettyWhiteChallenge, an initiative to donate money to several charities and animal shelters on her birthday. Betty White will always be remembered for her spunky personality, original humor, and iconic career spanning almost a century. Quoting The Golden Girls: “Thank you for being a friend!”