How To Meet People Who Are Different from You
by Amanda Abrams
Posted December 14, 2020
An analysis of more than 1,000 wedding photos demonstrated that Whites, in particular, are unlikely to have Black friends who are close enough to serve as their bridesmaids and groomsmen. A 2016 study showed that White Americans’ social networks are 91% White; Black Americans’ friends and acquaintances are 83% Black. Americans also tend to spend time mostly with people of similar religious persuasions and political orientations. And our neighborhoods are increasingly homogenous.
That push to self-segregate is clearly powerful and can be difficult to resist. Good intentions, by themselves, are not enough to change those patterns. To build a life populated by a genuinely diverse circle of friends and acquaintances requires a conscious effort approached with patience and creativity.
It shocked me to recognize what we’d done, but that’s American life in a nutshell. The population is all over the map when it comes to race, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual identity, and political affiliation, and yet, somehow, we consistently wind up spending time with people who look, act, and think much like we do. More…