Was anyone shocked by last week’s Reuters/Ipsos’ poll that found that about 40 percent of white Americans have no non-white friends?
Although America’s demographics are changing, it is still a place where whites, especially those with money and power, can virtually shield themselves from those who don’t look like them. From the boardroom to the country club to church on Sunday, they can live in a lily-white world without giving a thought to what it is like for others.
And we wonder why it is so hard for non-minorities to contemplate that racism is real. It is not an excuse, but it is easy to see why some whites fear blacks. In many cases, the only black faces they see are mugshots on the six o’clock news.
So should their lack of socially diverse interaction concern us? We say “YES,” because this one-worldliness manifests itself in jury boxes, newsrooms, legislatures, schools and human resources offices.
The answer can’t lie with minorities, though. We can’t and shouldn’t launch a “Befriend a White Person” campaign. They must step out of their comfort zones and embrace a reality that they won’t soon be able to avoid.