Monday, September 28, 2009

see no problem with being surrounded by other white people

About a week ago, someone left a comment on this blog that seemed way off the post's topic. I published it anyway, because it expresses a common white sentiment:

im a white guy ... I just want to be around my own kind ... I dont hate anyone but thats how I fell most comfortable ... I don't begruge that of anyone ... Its a natural desire. when blacks or any other group feel this way ... Im cool with i t... thank you.

Surely there's something being expressed beyond these words. Something that this person won't come right out and say, perhaps even to him- or herself. I sometimes hear this commenter's claim from other white people, that they spend most of their time around other white people because they just like people who are like themselves, because they're also white people (which then makes me wonder, are white people really THAT much like each other?).

I think what goes unexpressed in this common white claim about spending so much time with other white people is something like this: "I don't like people who aren't white." Or, perhaps it's even more simple: "I don't like black people."

So, it's not really that most of us are surrounded by white people because we just prefer our "own kind." In many cases, it's more that we don't like other kinds. And that we know we're not supposed to say that, so we don't say it, sometimes even to ourselves.

So okay, it's easy enough to point out that when white people claim that if blacks or any other group feels this way too, that's "cool" -- and when they thereby anticipate and also deny the charge of racism -- this common white claim about sticking to our own kind is hypocritical, and even delusional. What interests me more about it, though, is another common claim buried within it: that there's something benign or "natural" about overwhelmingly white gatherings.

White people often think like that about the very white groups they typically find themselves in -- that's just the way things are. It's natural. Like, whatever, it's not racist, you know? Maybe you're the one who's being racist, by insisting on pointing out race, when none of the rest of us want to talk about it, let alone even notice it.

I've been thinking about white homogeneity lately, and I now see something that I didn't see earlier during my very white American life (which reminds me -- isn't NPR's "This American Life" almost always about white lives? A very, that is, "white" gathering? If so, why don't they just say so?).

I'll put what I now see this way, and call it a hypothesis for now:

A) Even though white people still make up over 70% of the U.S. population, whenever a fairly large or significant gathering is all white, or almost all white, that's not an accident

B) Whenever a white person spends almost all of his or her time with other white people, that's not an accident either. 

C) Neither of these cases is benign, or natural, or just a random coincidence; digging deeply enough will reveal that racism is a root cause.

D) If A, B, and C are true, very few white Americans know that, or care to know it. And yet, at some level, they probably do know it.

From what I've observed, in others and in myself, a common white tendency is to fail to even notice how unnaturally white the gatherings of people around us are. And thus to notice or even wonder how, in one way or another, racism accounts for that.

What I try to do now when I encounter yet another very, very white gathering is to figure out how it got that way, and how it stays that way -- what's kept non-white people out, and continues to keep them out? If I can't figure that out, I at least I try to keep the unnatural whiteness of the gathering in mind, and I also try to point it out to other people.

I notice that in rare instances, some other white people do this too. Take Choire Sicha, for instance, who writes for the Daily Beast, and who certainly looks white in his author's photo. When Sicha wrote recently about the Emmy Awards, he noticed an overwhelming whiteness -- that of the award presenters, the award winners, and the crowd.

Sicha then acted like an abnormal white person, by seeing that overwhelming whiteness as a problem, and by trying to figure out what caused it:

As has happened before, last night brought that horrifying moment -- when the writing staff of many of the shows up for best comedy or variety show were displayed, including Jon Stewart and Conan O'Brien's. Let's look for the people of color! Hey, there's Wyatt Cenac, the lone black man, hired last year by the Stewart team! And -- oh, no, that seems to be it. But at least that young white Simon Rich, the son of the
New York Times columnist Frank and also Harvard '07, is working as a writer for Saturday Night Live.

If you worked for one of those shows, could you really face the shame parade of all-white faces at next year's Emmys? Wouldn't you go back to work and try to fix it? Maybe not -- because you would have done it years ago. . . .

[Back in the late 80s,] we thought that was the beginning of the end of the "black men can't open a big movie" era, when black actors were also making inroads on TV. But sometime between the original
Melrose Place and the new one, all that progress stalled. What did we get last night? A lot of white people, a bunch of oddly nervous Kanye West jokes -- and a lot of people eyeing Tracy Morgan suspiciously. Looks like Mad Men is the perfect show for our time in every way.

As I said, I think these are unusual insights from a white person about a very white gathering. Actually, the comments below Sicha's post demonstrate a much more common white tendency, a blindness to the white elephant that squats in so many rooms (and newsrooms, and boardrooms, and studios, banquet halls, university classrooms, corporate offices, law offices, and on and on):

[Your] 'all the white faces, all these caucasians!' material was tiresome, especially coming from what appears to be a White Boy.

I didn't see quite so many white faces getting awards at the Essence Awards. Terrible isn't it?

Can anyone tell what this article is about? Three paragraphs in, I gave up. Not worth it.

Choire, we gave them BET -- isn't that enough? Seperate but equal is a viable business model, no?

Okay, that last one seems sarcastic. I hope it is. The other comments perform a common white refusal to talk about white dominance, even when someone else points it out and tries to talk about it.

Again, I now try to do what I think Sicha is doing here, by analyzing very white gatherings. I go against my white training by "denaturalizing" them, as scholars sometimes put that kind of thinking, and ultimately, by showing that racism accounts for them.

Here's one other example. Remember the Huntingdon Valley Swim Club? The one in Philadelphia that turned away a busload of inner-city, mostly black and Hispanic kids this past summer? And then claimed that racism had nothing at all to with that rejection?

According to CNN, a state panel charged with reviewing the case (the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission) recently disagreed. The commission issued "a finding of probable cause that racism was involved in the [club's] decision . . . to revoke privileges of a largely minority day care center."

So yes, as so many observers and protesters pointed out at the time, the swim club's rejection was clearly motivated by racism, as were the comments spat at the day-care children that day when they entered the pool.

But again, what interests me more is another detail in the CNN report, the club's stunning, overwhelmingly white membership:

The commission noted in the finding that none of the club's 155 paid members this year was African-American and that last year there were "179 paid memberships, none of whom were African American."

In addition, the commission said that in 2009, the Valley Swim Club "made a concerted effort to expand the geographic range of its membership by engaging in a marketing campaign. . . . The respondent efforts were mainly directed at areas with overwhelmingly caucasian populations. . . . The respondent made no effort to direct such marketing efforts at areas with significant African-American populations."

So what we have here in the Huntingdon Valley Swim Club is another overwhelmingly white gathering. As well as another gathering in which most of the members clearly see no problem at all with that. Another example of de facto segregation that probably seems perfectly natural to the white people involved, as well as comforting, safe, and even sort of "clean" (a cleanliness suddenly sullied by the entrance of black bodies into the mingled waters of the swimming pool -- a sudden impurity, which prompted some club members to pull their own children out of the pool).

Certainly that overwhelmingly white gathering would not strike most of the Club's members as "racist." That could never, ever be what accounts for all of us gathered here being members of the same race.

And so, as usually happens when the racially exclusionary practices that account for such overwhelming whiteness are pointed out, the white people involved contort themselves into rather desperate postures, suddenly reaching and stretching for alternative explanations. Instead of waking up to and admitting what's really going on -- racism.

As the CNN story goes on to say,

[Commission Chairman Stephen Glassman] said the swim club had 30 days to appeal the finding.

Joe Tucker, a lawyer for the club, said his client will do just that. "We believe this is wrong," he said.

"I believe the people at the PHRC are very good people, but they were put in a tough position. . . . If the PHRC would have decided against the children or in favor of the club, they would have been painted with the same unfair and untrue racist brush that the Valley Swim Club was painted with."

The day care center had originally contracted to use the pool during the summer, but the club canceled the agreement and returned the day care center's $1,950 check without explanation. The club canceled contracts with two other day care centers because of safety and crowding, swim club director John Duesler said.

Those facilities have not protested the club's actions.

The issue was exacerbated when Duesler told two Philadelphia television stations that the children had changed "the complexion" and "atmosphere" of the club. The comment brought protesters outside the facility.

Duesler later said that safety and crowding, not racism, prompted the cancellation.

So what I'm really wondering is, why wasn't the overwhelming whiteness of this club already considered a glaring problem by its members? That whiteness is not "natural." It didn't just happen. It's not an accident. It's also not something that's ultimately good for the club's white members, including their children. Especially their children.

As for me and my own life, I'm still in the process of waking up to how delusional and oblivious the whites-in-a-group mindset is. And to the racism that produced it, and still sustains it.

Most Americans are not clustered into more or less homogeneous groups because they just prefer it that way, like the proverbial birds of a feather who naturally stick together. In terms of race, and how it continues to profoundly influence where people in the U.S. live and work, most white people gather in overwhelmingly white settings because they've fled from non-white people. And because they still have ways, whether conscious or not, of keeping most non-white people out.


  1. I live on Long Island, THE most segregated area in the nation. It's quite easy to notice those "all-white" areas and the lengths taken to keep them full of whiteness.

    My university is currently located in such a neighborhood (rich, white) and many from that area prefer to keep it that way. Houses are not sold through normal means, one must have a connection (i.e. know a white person who lives there already) in order to purchase a house in that area. Walk around the neighborhood and diversity is nonexistent.

    These people feel threatened when POC enter their neighborhoods and they often claim to "not know why." My brother (we are hispanic) attends private high school in an almost identical neighborhood and reported getting stares or even had the cops called on him and his fellow POC friends simply because they made the mistake of being young POC men playing basketball on their school grounds which made the whites uncomfortable.

    At least in my area I have the opportunity to run into other races and quite frequently recent immigrants. I've met a scary amount of Americans from small towns who have never seen a black person other than on TV. Now that is something to be afraid of.

  2. I'm Asian and grew up in a majority white, middle-to-upper-middle-class area. I still am living in the town, but am planning on moving when I find myself a job; I just can't stand that it's so homogeneous. If I wanted homogeneity I would live in Japan! :P

    I also have been to slightly lower-income towns that were more diverse that sits right outside of my town and realized that the people there, whether white or POC, were much less snobby and obnoxious, and actually friendly. I know my parents wanted me to have a great education in my town, but when I raise my own kids I would like to do it in an area with as much of a sense of "community" as possible.

  3. I have been known to walk into a room and say, sarcastically, "oh goody, more white people." (I'm white)

    I've instigated many conversations with other white people and a couple of people of color on this issue and it can be very frustrating.

    For what it's worth, the people of color distrusted my earnestness and wondered if someone who is trying so hard would really be welcoming to potential integration. Point taken...

    To address the "are white people that much alike" question, well, yes. I mean to say, we are all pretty much alike in who we choose to be around. All my NPR listening - white - middle class friends all have, you guessed it, NPR listening, white, etc. friends. Never a person of color to be seen in person, only the coffee table books by the popular and accessible black authors.

    In my conversations with those people about the unrelenting whiteness of their lives, I get the impression that it just feels like too much work to reach past the easy conversations with the easy friends. They feel like it would be work to try to make friends with the "other," rather than staying with "their own."

    They really don't understand and are sad (but unrepentant) when I point it out to them, that they are marginalizing people of color and normalizing white people by these actions and thoughts.

  4. You may want to check out this post on Pandagon which underscores your point.

  5. i bet if it was john stewart making those observations that choire sicha did they would have nodded in agreement.

    it's so bloody obvious and still not addressed by that 'liberal' bastion of tv and film. all the diversity execs have acknowledged that they're losing the scrum (it can't even be called a battle) and are hoping just for crumbs.

  6. Although I agree with the majority of your comments, I'd really like to know why this is not true for minorities who prefer to be around other minorities?

    As a South Asian, I know many other Asian, Latino, etc individuals who seek out their own racial or ethnic group as a 'comfort zone'. A minority friend of mine who attended a predominately white university in a predominately white and upper crust area told me that she embraced being around other people who were the same ethnic group as her, more than she had in high school and before. The area she went to grade school in, the same place I used to live, was a high-minority one. About 20% or less of the population was white. There were about 40 white kids in a school of 700, at our high school (majority were Asian, followed by African Americans, Latinos, etc).

    She said that she missed the diversity of our home neighborhood and actually sought out minorities because she could relate to them more easily, being surrounded by a 'foreign' culture of whiteness.

    Why would this same logic not hold true for the comment this post stems from? Why are white people not allowed to just like white people and their cultures, values, etc without being labeled racist?

    This is not something I agree or disagree with, but I would like to hear arguments on why white culture is automatically 'bad.'

    I don't consider my Asian friends raciest for having mostly Asian friends. They share experiences and a culture that no other ethnic group could understand in the exact manner. 'White culture', whatever it may be, does exist. So why are white people racist to want to 'share' it?

    My answer to this is that, white is not a culture. The term, American, does not denote an ethnicity. But moreover, WHITENESS has no cultural value or anything. You can be Irish, or Irish American, or Scottish, or Czech, or just freaking American, but there doesn't seem to be a deeply entrenched set of values, beliefs, traditions, etc attached to being simply white.

    There are other answers to this that I would like to hear.

    The only real thing I disagree on is that, in any situation where white people exclusively are gathered, it is not a coincidence-- I do not believe that to be true. I went to a private university the other day for a lecture, and I was surrounded by a sea of whiteness, but I understood that it wasn't because all these people were racists or some conspiracy had been put together to mesh all this pale skin on one campus-- it was because white people tend to be better off, and this private school is a religiously-oriented one, and this private school is expensive. It's not intentional, and more of a coincidence than anything else.

  7. I'm sorry, but as usual, you lost me early on with this kind of statement:

    "Surely, there's something being expressed beyond those words. Something that this person won't come right out and say, perhaps even to him- or herself."

    Come on now, this is hardly fair or persuasive, is it?

    Right out of the blue you magically knew that there was "something beyond" what he said? And you just knew that whatever it was, it was something that he probably couldn't even say to himself. You don't explain why you're so sure of it - you ask us to simply take your word for it. And then you later call the guy (and people like him) hypocritical and delusional - pretty rough stuff considering that your reasoning for judging him so harshly is based on no evidence.

    I've seen some posts on this blog that show real cases of racism. This example doesn't pass the test for this reader.

  8. Another bash whitey post. Since the number of actions, non-actions, attitudes or expression trough which a white person can express "racism" seem to be on constant multiplication, I think it's normal that for their peace of mind they should live with their own kind and avoid any new pitfall of the expanding PC code. Of course we learn from this site that any white person that doesn't go into a non stop orgasm at the very presence of a POC is a just a hair breath away from shoveling Ziclon-B on black children. Since I live East-European country I can vouch that there is a life beyond POC's. Not everything revolves around them and their lack doesn't turn white people in boring zombies that shuffle here and there in their meaningless, non-enriched lives .

  9. The "we gave them BET" comment really irks me. Nobody gave BET to blacks -- BET was founded by two black entreprenuers (who didn't need white permission.) But anything blacks have is seen as being due to the benevolence of whites -- and apparently it needs the permission of white people. What would giving BET to blacks look like? Does the commenter imagine that any white, by the virtue of his whiteness, has the authority to decide which aspects of black culture to allow?

  10. I don't think there's anything terribly wrong with people (of any color) gathering with those they feel most comfortable. You see it everywhere, in all races. I live in a very mixed neighborhood, I chose the area specifically because it wasn't full of white people. I don't think that's necessarily racist, since I'm white myself.

    I'd rather be in a mixed group of people in the same socio-economic class. That's where the line is drawn, as far as I'm concerned...class distinction. Yes, I said it! And I have no problem saying I don't want to live around a bunch of poor, uneducated people (black or white) because their values & their ways are not acceptable to me. And before everyone gets all up in arms, do you willingly go live in a poor, desolate area? No.

    I'm not talking about community service, volunteerism, social services...I'm talking about living & educating your kids in these areas. you just don't do it. People like to be around those that are like themselves. I don't find it deliberately racist, in most cases.

  11. Hope it's OK to post a link. Racism 101 covers the objections in the comments so well.

  12. plasticknoise wrote,

    "Why are white people not allowed to just like white people and their cultures, values, etc without being labeled racist?"

    Because labeling that preference "white," and truly preferring people who are white over other people who are not white, but who DO also share one's values, culture, beliefs, preferences, etc., is racist. Preferring "white" people, "no matter what," is racist, is it not? It means excluding others who are not white, even if they're like you (if you're white) in a lot of other ways. Like, say, both being Americans, first of all, if it's in the U.S.

    pn also wrote,

    "I went to a private university the other day for a lecture, and I was surrounded by a sea of whiteness, but I understood that it wasn't because all these people were racists or some conspiracy had been put together to mesh all this pale skin on one campus-- it was because white people tend to be better off, and this private school is a religiously-oriented one, and this private school is expensive. It's not intentional, and more of a coincidence than anything else."

    Wow. Is this why Asian Americans get called "honorary whites"? I agree with Macon, white homogeneity like that is not an accident. Think first of all of the land that was seized from non-white others, land where that university sits. Think of slave labor that very well could have built the building you sat it. Think of Chinese exclusion laws; Chinese workers built railroad tracks that may well have brought supplies to build that Historically White University, and then when they were finished, they weren't allowed to become citizens, and they weren't allowed to attend a university like that one. Think of how a whole history of economic access for Whites Only resulted in that sea of well-off white faces. A history of affirmative action for whites. yes, "white people tend to be better off," but that's not an accident.

  13. Thank you PixieCorpse, I think that's a relevant resource.

    Here's an actual link, so readers don't have to cut-and-paste:

    "Racism 101"

  14. Wow that link refutes half of the comments you get here daily. Very good stuff there. This post reminded me of my high school, my football teams and home town. Its so true but it does encompass every race.

  15. I've been a lurker for a long time... this is my first comment.

    I recently moved to Western Michigan, my husband's hometown. He and his family always described the town as being "predominantly white" using the term not as a preferred feature about the area, but just the way it is. I was surprised then to move here and find that just 10 minutes away is a city with a very large black population. In my mind, two neighboring towns are in "the same area" so I don't think we live in a "predominantly white" area at all. I would find this refreshing, but they weren't entirely wrong.

    Our two towns are actually quite segregated. It really bothers me. I've brought this up in conversation with both my black friend(s) and my white friends. Of the two black people I discussed this with, one shrugged and said, "Yeah, I don't really get it either" and the other changed the subject, clearly uncomfortable with the topic. My white friends, none of whom I would consider racist, at least outwardly, seem to have adopted the "birds of a feather" theory.

    One white friend actually told me after I said that I hoped a family of another ethnicity would buy the house next door to me, that "they don't want to live by us." She's a fairly new friend of mine and even though her statement made my blood boil, I let it go. It's not the last time we'll discuss this.

    The fact of the matter is, our two neighboring towns are really segregated and I find it disturbing. I'll continue to point this out to people and make them think about it. Thanks for keeping this blog and keep the food for thought coming!

  16. What is interesting to me is as a black NPR listening person I have more in common with my co-workers (mostly white) than my personal friends and relatives. Minorities stick together because we are forced to. I have been in work situations where my co-workers never invite me to lunch. So if I work with a group for 4 or 5 years and am only invited to the team building functions and never invited for a drink or lunch otherwise when another minority is hired of course we are going to eat lunch together. Maybe we have something in common in we are both being excluded and we have a life history of that exclusion. But I think it's unfair to assume we are going to lunch together because we feel more comfortable in our own group.

  17. "which reminds me -- isn't NPR's "This American Life" almost always about white lives? A very, that is, "white" gathering? If so, why don't they just say so?)."

    I have been thinking EXACTLY this, lately. And I've been trying to figure out why it is that it always feels so white to me, even when stories are about or reported by people of color.

  18. I think it's useful here to distinguish between racism and prejudice. What you're arguing, macon, is that every single all-white gathering occurs out of not just racism, but prejudice.

    One of these things is easy to argue, and the other makes people angry. As AE explained so well, there are certainly all kinds of racist reasons why a gathering of people might be all-white.

    But whether it's motivated by white discomfort with non-white people is much more difficult to argue without research to back it up. I'd love to see that research, by the way - interracial comfort levels among whites, how that compares to interracial comfort levels among other groups, what causes it and what could lessen it, how it affects economics and political dynamics, etc.

    Also, it sounds like you're arguing that 100% of white people in any all-white gathering of any kind dislike non-white people. Is that what you're saying, or are you just saying that there must be a critical mass of prejudiced people for the group to have turned out so pale? If the latter is closer to your thinking, then what do you suppose that critical mass is?

    I actually came across an interesting fact on that topic lately in Nurtureshock, an excellent book about child development that had a chapter on race. I can't quite recall and I don't have the book in front of me, but there was some statistic in there about how when the percentage of whites in a group falls below 75%, they start to leave the group en masse, which was one factor that explained segregation in school sports teams (a mostly black basketball team and a mostly white swim team at the same school, for example).

    Fundamentally I think you're right that racial prejudice often results in a sort of voluntary segregation, and this is being studied, mostly in the context of school as far as I can see. Why do all the black kids sit together in the cafeteria? And so on. Actually, I think there's a book called that - oh, turns out there is! Sorry, don't know how to post a link:


    Anyway, this is well worth exploring, but I think the way you put it - talking as if every single person in an all-white gathering just doesn't like non-white people and backing it up purely with your own suspicions - is rather off-putting.

  19. I made it a point to stop attending parties, get together, and public places where I knew I would be the only POC there. It's a very uncomfortable situation because you know it isn't an accident.

    I spent my entire education before college as the only person of color (private school), so my taste in music, film, books, activities are pretty diverse. But nevertheless, these situations are isolating, and can be damaging to the psyche. Introductions are usually generated by yourself and if not welcomed can leave you with feelings of rejection. Jokes, especially racially charged jokes if aren't laughed at will paint you a victim or worst, unfriendly (black woman with attitude). There's also the paranoia, which can run high in any social setting (black/white), but it all white gatherings are more likely. The opposite of the paranoia results in becoming the "clown"- the funny black person aimed at entertaining and engaging everyone, all in efforts to make yourself more comfortable and usually resulting in the opposite.

    It's not about white people, it's about "purists" who gather with color being a factor; and when privilege is involved, you get racism.

    There are those who will seek you out because you are black. Which is empathetic to say the least, but is still another glaring reason why not to be the only person at an all white get together. You can't stop the comments, however well-intended, they can be extremely painful for all involved.

    There are some white people who actually enjoy being around POC. They claim to be able to "be themselves". This kind of belief only bothers me in the presence of the exact opposite- whereby this white person has a group of only white friends and I'm their "black friend".

    But there are some cases in which color is an issue in group of POCs, and those situations can be just as isolating as 'all white' gatherings. But for the most part these gatherings only take place in the presence of a racist environment, whereby POC need a retreat, a place to go and get "some love". Their only requirement is that you are a "feelin'" POC- you don't have to be a POC, you just have to show "some love". The perception seems to be that POC are seeking one in the same, and they aren't. They are seeking respect, love, and kindness for who they are; and with race relations being what they are the fact is, you are less likely to get that in 'ALL white' gatherings. You are more likely to spend your time trying to defend your humanity: "No, you don't have to change the radio station.""No, I haven't seen Everybody loves Chris."

    It's the day and life of a token black person.

  20. I think there must be a difference between 2 types of racism. First is the discriminatory mean racism, the second is the "leave me alone" racism. In the case of the swim club, canceling the contract was discriminatory racism since they had already been given money and signed papers. As long as they didn't sign any contracts like that and limited their recruitment on white zones that is "none of your business" racism. Just because somebody doesn't want to be with people of other color doesn't make it evil in all cases. The idea that all spheres of life ought to be perfectly integrated hits me as totalitarian and unrealistic in view of mankind's innate factionalism. As for the link, just because it says 101 doesn't make it so.

  21. I'm not really sure how I feel about this post. While I think very homogeneous groupings should not be taken as natural and that people who consciously prefer may be harboring racist ideas, I do not think that this should always be considered as racist. Most people do not consciously decide who their friends will be, alot of that is taken on chance and being in the right place at the right time where you can strike up a conversation with a person to get to know them better and even form a friendship. And if institutionalized racism (and the like) keeps multicultural gatherings from happening there may not always be a chance of forming strong friendships with people not of your own race. I could actively go out and seek a friend of a different race, but that kind of defeats the purpose. I was lucky enough to be placed in multicultural settings and allowed to form friendships with many different types of people, but people in a heavily white (or other race) area will have a harder time forming friendships with people of a different race in general.

    I'm not sure how much sense that made. I got an idea of what I mean but sometimes I have a hard time articulating. But I think institutionalized racism and the like has a large part on keeping people from mixing well and forming strong multicultural friendships. Not to say that people's own racist ideas and feelings cannot play a part in this. When people are constantly surrounded by a homogeneous groups often times believing racist stereotypes is much easier. But there are many things in play, I think. People should be able to examine homogeneous gatherings and think about why it is excluding others or making others feel excluded, and people should be able to examine their own racist feelings if it is keeping them from forming relationships with people of a different race, but I do not think just because someone has mostly white friends or finds themselves in mostly white gatherings they are automatically a racist person. I guess when it comes to feeling more comfortable in a homogeneous grouping then that person will have to examine their own motives, but it's not really fair to put words or intentions in their mouth.

    Again, sorry if I'm a bit scattered brained. :\

  22. Pine said: "I'm not talking about community service, volunteerism, social services...I'm talking about living & educating your kids in these areas. you just don't do it. People like to be around those that are like themselves. I don't find it deliberately racist, in most cases."

    In fact, Pine, you'd have trouble finding much of anything that is "deliberately racist" in this society. Don't almost all obviously racist utterances come with a denial of any racist intent? Beyond that, deliberate or blatant racism isn't the problem here. The number of truly racist, bigoted people that there are couldn't possibly keep entire populations in subservient positions vis-a-vis white culture. As Macon suggests in his thoughts about all-white gatherings and neighborhoods and so on, there is a more powerful--but largely invisible--force of racism underlying white culture in general. To deny this is to imply that those whole populations of color somehow keep themselves down, either by genetic inferiority or by collective lack of motivation, either of which is a patently racist conclusion.

  23. Thanks for this - I've been thinking about the "birds of a feather" explanation a lot lately. Just moved to an academic-ish job at a large midwestern public university in a largeish-sized city. Have been repeatedly surprised to walk into meetings where 90% or more of the attendees are white. If I mention it, I get "well, we're in the midwest!" as an explanation of some kind.

    But that can't explain it. Because at my previous job, same type of work, at a large midwestern public university in a smaller, less-diverse city, there were waaaay more people of waaaay more "colors" around.

    The student bodies don't look very different, but the professional staff and faculty really do. This cannot all just have "happened that way!" I don't doubt that this school is open and tolerant and I'm pretty sure it's not systematically not-hiring people of color. But my previous employer, not perfect itself by any means, was clearly doing something more, something better.

  24. Vick I have to ask what exactly is your issue with Macon? What is your issue with us moving from complete segregation to now and thinking it's a start but not the end. Because your comments always read the same to me. "Things are fine the way they are and the way they are isn't racist in any way"...

    And I just don't understand why anyone would be satisfied with our status quo. So again what is your issue with introspection, questioning, and growth? And why in the world would you read a blog like this since you seem to have such an issue with it.

  25. This post gets it exactly right. White people have the luxury of looking around at the whiteness that surrounds them without ever wondering why it is that way.

    But there is no way you can discuss the history of the United States without addressing the legacy of segregation, redlining, and towns and neighborhoods that have been kept forcibly white through threats and intimidation. And institutional racism, and the list goes on.

    And while many people object here that most white people are not openly racist, I say, okay, but still I have been stunned at just how openly racist a lot of well meaning, well educated whites can be. I'm white, and I live in a predominantly black neighborhood in Washington DC. I can't believe how many times I have had friends or acquaintances come by my house and within the first few minutes comment that I "live in the ghetto" or ask if the neighborhood is safe. Or just people in general commenting that my neighborhood is "sketchy" when I tell them where I live. I tell them that it is a mellow, middle class neighborhood with families, and that it's pretty safe, but I bristle at the assumption that so many people make, that the neighborhood must be the "ghetto" (I abhor using that term to ever describe a neighborhood anyway) just because most of the people that live here are black.

    That is racism, and that is so commonly expressed, I've heard it from so many people, and I don't think that they even know that it it is racist.

  26. Man, after reading the comments I had to scroll up and see if everyone read the same post as I did. This is an interesting example of how equating "racism" with a purely personal failing that makes you flat-out EVIL can really shut down discussions of racism. Nobody wants to be EVIL! I'm not RACIST! But I don't see any evil individuals here, just a long history of social stratification, discriminatory laws, organized campaigns of terror against people of color living in certain areas, and white flight, all of which have now receded so far into the past that we can refer to our segregation as "normal" and "natural." Sigh.

    I think there are two different things going on in the above post. There's the individual level, and yes, I do believe that the idea "I don't like being around other kinds" is implicit in the statement "I just want to be around my own kind." In this case, though, I think Macon is talking only about people who specifically say this. There are also many white people who really do "happen" to find themselves in situations where everyone else is white, as unfortunately this is all too easy in today's society. These people are certainly not evil and probably not even racist, but they have BENEFITED from an invisible SYSTEM of racism. Claiming that these gatherings "just happen" to be all-white is, at best, naive.

  27. Is it really possible to draw a clear line between this topic and the issue of immigration?

    What are national borders if not this phenomenon writ large?

  28. All white people are exactly the same in at least one respect: When they hear someone speaking a 'foreign" language near them, they are sure that they are being talked about...

  29. I guess I'm one of those white people who actually feels UNcomfortable around a bunch of white people. I feel very different from them because of my upbringing. I don't show it outwardly, but the first thing I feel when I come upon a white gathering is - different, though I look and sound like I fit right in there. I feel bonded to the "people of other ethnicities" or POC with whom I was raised, but on the surface I appear different.

    I DO notice all-white gatherings because inside I'm busy preparing to acclimate myself around them. I do notice a line-up of all white anchor people on TV. I notice that even now in 2009, African-American literatures are an elective in school, not mandatory AND not included substantially in standard American Lit classes, as though African-Americans aren't American and therefore didn't produce any American Literature or it just isn't worthy of being a mandatory read. I notice a lot of things that seem to just fly right under the radar as "normal".

  30. me as a lesser ejucated white in a small town hafe seen the lite from this writin. i hafe ben pushin to elemanate raciality from my comunitee one persun at a time

    u've done a lot for me macon and i thank yuo for having me relise how racial i am as a lily bland white. so i have ben hangin with minoritees and adopting there culsure n stuff. we need more color in r liefs.

  31. Nice post- I have been thinking about the intentional whiteness that surrounds me lately as well, and am still grappling with my role in that.

    On a related note, I also notice that sometimes I go to large gatherings and glance around a room and see whiteness - only to later realize that actually there are PoC present and in some significant numbers. I notice that I assume a group to be white if I do not see dark skin. I am not sure what this means, except that in some way I am not actually seeing the white eyes are trained to glance over somehow. I am thinking about how I myself "white-wash" a crowd and what this might presume whiteness. How this both erases valuable and meaningful differences, and perpetuates "color-blindness" in some way.

    I'd love any other thoughts on the subject.

  32. Erin - That's gotta be Benton Harbor/St Jo, right?

    Private gatherings are a bit harder to pass judgment on, but when it comes to patterns of settlement, there's really no two ways about it: Segregated neighborhoods occur because the white people leave. It is only voluntary segregation on the part of those with the power to move. It really is amazing that white people would rather flee to ticky-tacky fall-apart-in-ten-years subdivisions in third-ring suburbs than to stay in beautiful old brick home neighborhoods next to black people, but that's exactly what's been happening for at least 50 years. As Elizabeth and others have said upthread, there is hardly a more clear, obvious, living example of systemic racism in the US than where people live and with who. Whether or not you invite a black person to your party is a far less important issue than whether that person can walk down the block to your house or whether he has to drive an hour out of the urban center to get there.


    are white people really THAT much like each other?

    Yeah, that's the fallacy in the guy's statement. I'm a white guy yet my own kind are not people with white skin, they are people with similar values, tastes, education, beliefs, dialect, cuisine, etc. Even if 100% of the people with whom I share those things are also white, that does not make all white people My People, as any European - like, from Europe - could tell you in an instant. It is category error. Somali Americans like to hang out with ... Somali Americans, and have nothing particularly in common as a group to African Americans except that they both suffer from racism in the US. Even then, I wouldn't begrudge two peoples with a common experience of suffering a bit of solidarity. Two peoples with a common history of oppressive behavior? Not so much. I submit that the intragroup differences among some white Americans are just as pronounced and significant as intergroup differences among whites and non-whites. They're just harder to pick out in a crowd.

  33. Okay, I'm just gonna be honest with you. This will sound "racist" but it's based on experience. Go to a black pool and observe for a few minutes then decide if you really want to go swimming there. My guess is that you won't, but maybe you can prove me wrong. Good luck.

  34. From the perspective of the people described in the post -- They probably believe that it's easier to live a homogenized life.

    Isn't it easier to obsess about achieving the dying American dream for yourself?

    I agree with Lost Left Coaster who said White people have the luxury of looking around at the whiteness that surrounds them without ever wondering why it is that way.

    A luxury no one should ever force them to give up in the name of something they don't believe in anyway.

  35. Just wanted to chip in, I agree with many of the viewopints expressed here. But in regards to one point made by bluey-

    "....Nurtureshock, an excellent book about child development that had a chapter on race. I can't quite recall and I don't have the book in front of me, but there was some statistic in there about how when the percentage of whites in a group falls below 75%, they start to leave the group en masse, which was one factor that explained segregation in school sports teams..."

    I do think there is truth in this, but how do you explain high school football? In urban areas, the teams are usually less than 50% white, but the white guys who play are not deterred by it. The same goes for the white guys who are really into basketball. Most teams have at least one or two.

  36. Sorry about the fake link, Macon. My 'puter-fu is weak.

    Victoria, having spent the past 30-odd years in a city where the population has traditionally been about 50/50 black-white and now has an increasing Hispanic population, this white chick is not comfortable in all-white situations either.

  37. That's one of the reasons why I think America's race problem is the worst compared to other countries. I live in Chicago where a 1950's mindset is still present and interracial friendships are just not seen here. What's the point of America being a melting pot and nobody is melting together?

  38. I posted a comment yesterday (Pine--by the way, should I identify myself as Pine each time? [yes, you should -- macon d]) and then today I mentioned this subject to someone and here are some of her comments. She thought about some recent gatherings of her all white friends and never wondered why there were no black people or any other race for that matter--because it's pretty well know that black people are not interested in these things. She is in a sewing club/circle, she helps her granddaughter with horse shows, and she plays cards with a group of volunteers once a week. She said she sought out these groups to join and wasn't invited by a friend. She assumes that if black people were interested, they'd seek them out, and none ever have.
    Someone else commented that their white friend said "they don't want to live by us". Well I got the same sentiment from a coworker who's black. I can ask her anything & she'll tell me. She said she & many in her circle didn't want to live or associate with a bunch of white people. She also told me once that our co-worker from Africa does not consider herself "black" as described by American people, she wants to be called African. This is because one of our work-related customers referred to her as "the black girl that I talked to". She was highly offended at being called black, and thought she should have been called "the African girl that I talked to".
    Anyway...I fear I have veered off the subject. Love these topics and this blog, brings up so many different perspectives.

  39. Hey Kalkin, the white athletes in those situations you reference are typically "the wrong type of white person". I am sure many of them feel the way Victoria does so playing on a team in the minority doesn't bother them so such. Like me they probably cared more about improving and winning at the end of the day, not racial comfort.

    Teams that I have played on were pretty tight, race notwithstanding and we only segregated during meal times which I could blame on the comfort level of all parties. Not sure why that is but I remember that quite vividly especially in High School, love your teammate but eat with your people was the norm.

  40. "Go to a black pool and observe for a few minutes then decide if you really want to go swimming there."

    Oh, for God's sake. Seriously?

    My son and I spent good bits of the summer at a pool where majority of swimmers were black (what the heck is a "black pool"?) and we had a fabulous time.

    What you said SOUNDS racist because it IS.

  41. kalkin - I have no idea. I don't follow sports at all. I was just using that as an example of research that has been done about racial composition of groups and how it comes to be.

  42. I notice that quite a few of the white people that are posting on these forums are normally in an all "white" neighborhood. I have lived in a mostly dominate black neighborhood for a little over a year, and it has been fairly terrible. My car has been keyed, my tires have had bolts put into them, and my car has been broke into twice. Every time I see one of my neighbors, I wave and say, "Hello". No response is ever returned, unless it is a small child. Prior to these events happening, I served in the United States Army for several years. I stood alongside every race you could think of, and I never really had a problem with any of them. I made quite a few friends with blacks, Hispanics, Cubans, Islanders, etc. After I got out of the Army, I came to where I am now to deal with this crap. I was never racist before moving to where I am now, but I slowly found myself drifting towards hating black people. After my car was broken into and damaged severely, I had to of course go get it fixed. I took it to a repair shop and dropped it off. Sadly, my wife could not pick me up at the time, so the shop owner had an employee give me a ride. The ride home was going to be 35 minutes alone with an older black man. It was like night and day when I was talking with this black man. He and I discussed all sorts of interesting things about his family and my family. We talked about sports and found we had tons of things in common. It was a very pleasant 35 minutes, to which we both enjoyed and shared a firm handshake at the end. I have seen this man several times when passing by his place of work and he waves every time. What I am getting at is that there are good and bad people in every race. I have come to hate the word "Racist" since it is dropped for every little stupid thing. Do any of you even know what that word REALLY means? Just so we are clear Racism is: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    Notice the big words "superior" and "rule". So if I were to say that I am not really attracted to black women, most people would look at me and call me "racist". When I say that I am not attracted to black women, this does not mean that I think all black women are ugly. Generally, when I have been around most black women, we really do not have anything in common, and we generally do not get along. I do not know why this is, but it seems to happen very often, and the world keeps turning anyways. I have 3 black girl friends who I care for very much, and each of them have black husbands. Does this mean that I could call them racist? No, and I would not. What is even more funny is the fact that one of the black girls, Ashley, would always run her fingers over the top of my head while saying, "I love feeling your hair, it is so soft!". Granted she was not a stranger, but I just thought it was funny to think of it. Nonetheless, most people are going to have an opinion about one person based on skin, gender, or whatever else. I think my main problem is seeing white people getting slammed with the word "Racist" anytime someone feels the need to use it. Cont....

  43. Finally, I use to be a very religious person. This all changed when I decided to do a little research of my own, and not automatically believe what was drilled into my head for several of my childhood years. Before assuming that white people, black people, or whoever else is the root of all racism. Look up the other races, and look up crime reports. Look up what the Australian wrote a book about with whites and how the book was kept off shelves. Look at FBI crime reports, and hate crime reports. After you look up all of these things, do not just assume that this tells you anything or everything. After you find out whatever information you so happen to uncover, research genetics of these races, and the chemical level differences in races. This may reveal to a few of you which race is committing the most acts of violence within America, why they are doing it, and maybe even change your perspective on dropping the word racist any chance you get.

    Live life and have only live once!



  44. "After you find out whatever information you so happen to uncover, research genetics of these races, and the chemical level differences in races. This may reveal to a few of you which race is committing the most acts of violence within America, why they are doing it"

    I have absolutely no idea what particular brand of pseudo-science you have in mind (chemical levels? wha?), but it sounds like you're heading toward a conclusion along these lines: "a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior"

    Interesting that you define racism, and yet seem to have absolutely no idea what it means.

  45. Jason you seem to be justifying racism yet claiming that you hate when racism is mentioned for every "little thing". While you're researching crime stats and genetic racial differences, pick up some books on subtle racism and white privilege. You can't fit racism into one dictionary definition. It's not that black and white.

  46. Jason---

    I think you shouldn't justify raciest beliefs. Too many times, you will find that racism is confused for socio-economics. If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of minorities that are not financially well-off, there will be crime and etc. But the same goes for white neighborhoods where people are generally poor or less well off. This has nothing to do with race.

    If you put a bunch of people, regardless of race or ethnicity, in a spot and they don't earn enough money or have a decent education, there will be crime and safety issues. Again, nothing to do with race.

    And as for your last point- you are indeed mentioning a 'pseudo-science.' Are you advocating eugenics? Why don't we just sterilize all those people with 'different chemical levels' or gentrify every ghetto, every cultural enclave, etc?

    That science you pointed out is false. It's like the science that stated, during colonial times, blacks have smaller brains and THUS must be less superior. Yeah, whatever.

    Blacks do probably commit more of a certain time of crime, same with hispanics, and same with whites. But it boils down to social and economic issues-- whites commit more white collar crimes because they tend to have more money.

    On another note, I saw someone comment about how Africans are offended at being called 'black.' The same goes, as a generalization, for blacks being called Africans.

    African and black denote two different cultures, although I hardly see why one should get offended at being called the other.

  47. @AE(commented on my first comment).
    I completely agree with your points, I was coming from a different perspective on the word 'coincidence' I suppose.

    But one question that has not been answered, which I posed in my first comment is,

    Why are minorities not considered raciest for seeking out other minorities? Minorities will outright admit that, I am Pakistani and the majority of my friends are also thus because I feel more comfortable around them. They have the same values and beliefs as me.

    Can this POV not stand for white people without us assuming that those values and beliefs include a resentment towards POCs?

  48. Zayn- Nope, but close. Grand Haven/Muskegon.

  49. Plastiknose, I tried to speak to your question in my previous comment. The answer to me is that Pakistani-Americans or Pakistani expats in America are a distinct group. You don't look for black-haired, brown-complected people to hang with, you look for people from your background. The only background white people share as a group that they don't share with any other American as a group is a history of benefiting from racism and the conscious or unconscious exercise of it. Not exactly something to throw a party around.

  50. Plastiknoise, I think the difference between POCs and whites involve comfort/refuge from the majority. When you are the "token minority" or the smaller number you seek for safety or other reasons the comfort of seeing someone like you.

  51. I am almost always in homogeneous all-white spaces, and I'm not often consciously aware of it. My university is very nearly all-white, though we have a large international student population that is mostly Chinese. Very few of the small-minority of PoC at my university show up to the same clubs and social events as I do, and the section of the dining hall where a lot of the geeky kids sit (including me) is virtually all-white. I don't make much of an effort to socialize with people with whom I don't share interests.

    Is this racist? Yes, I would say so. The university I attend has definitely got some issues with being - well, not exactly exclusive, but sort of formally unfriendly to people who aren't able-bodied straight white men (who make up about 60% of the school's population). The fact that I go to university has got something to do with the social privileges my ancestors had, and statistically speaking with race. The community I spend nearly all my time in is not homogeneous by accident. Our hero Joss Whedon was racist in under-representing PoC in a lot of his work, and there are a lot of other examples of problematic stereotyping of People of Color in speculative fiction and anime and stuff. I'm not a member of that community for random reasons, either - some aspects of my access to and experiences with speculative fiction storytelling shaped this interest of mine. That the library had a ton of these sorts of books and that I felt comfortable spending a ton of time there in my home town quite probably had something to do with my being a respectable white girl in a nearly-all-white upper-middle-class suburb.

    Am I racist, if I continue to go to the Science Fiction Society and eat meals with other white geeks and not really make an effort to counteract this social conditioning and befriend more PoC? I don't know. I feel like it'd be horribly awkward to walk up to random PoC on campus and try to make friends without having things in common. I want to attend a more diverse graduate school, and I try to be anti-racist and aware of stuff like this in my daily life, but I feel like I haven't taken much real action to change these issues.

  52. Nice post macon.

    While I agree with pretty much everything you said, one thing stuck out to me as maybe not true - that white people still make up over 70% of the U.S. population.

    I looked this up the other day, and according to the U.S. census bureau as of 2008 white persons (non-Hispanic) make up only 65.6% of the population.

    If you include Hispanics, then white people do make up 79% of the population. But I get the distinct impression (not living in the U.S.) that Hispanic people in the U.S. are generally considered to be PoC and not 'white'?

    Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

  53. cinnamon girl, "Hispanic" is a weird term in the US. People generally think of it as an ethnicity, kind of, because most Hispanics in the US are a Euro-indigenous mix of some sort. But "Hispanic" is more of an "origin" than a race. You can be of any race and still be Hispanic if you are "of Hispanic origin," meaning before you or your family came to the US they lived somewhere south of the border first.

    I knew a woman once whose lineage was completely Italian. If her family had come straight from Italy to the US, she would be considered white. But because they came from Italy and then lived in Argentina and then came to the US, she's Hispanic.

    Yeah, it's weird. The upshot of it is that there are Hispanics of all races, but Hispanic whites are probably regarded a bit differently than non-Hispanic whites. They're counted separately in the census, anyway.

  54. There are differences between the races. Not to be *racist* (Dun, dun, dun! LOL!!) but it's true. The part of the brain that moderates ethics is not as developed in black people as in whites and Asians. That's why Jason here has experienced vandalism to his car living in a black neighborhood. Most white people would not vandalize a random car just for the heck of it, because they see that this is wrong, and inconveniencing someone else. However the ethic systems of black people are based on immediate self interest, so their thinking would be more along the lines of "Hey, this could be fun. I'll do it!" Hope no one is offended by what I said, but it is true...

  55. In regards to the percentage of whites in the US:

    "Non-Hispanic whites account for 69.1 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2000 Census data. However, because the non-white population is heavily clustered in relatively few counties, the average U.S. county has a population that is 79.6% non-Hispanic white."

    The 2008 census shows a 65.6% overall white population. If you apply the same margin from the 2000 census, in 2008 the average U.S. county has a non-hispanic white population around 76.1%.

  56. You know how people tend to look like their pets? Well, think about it -- they also tend to look like their friends.

    I was in a sorority (yeah, yeah...whatever), and the format of one of our rush parties was basically that as girls filtered in, sisters would grab one or two of them at a time, lead them around the house, banter with them for awhile while secretly scoring them on their personality and hair, etc. The other sororities at our school did things the same way, so when the rushees entered the house, they knew the routine. They'd glance around nervously and expectantly, trying to figure out whom to make eye contact with, who was going to approach. And the sisters -- who milled around the foyer as the party filled up -- were wondering much the same thing: "hmm, I know I am supposed to take someone...maybe her? Nah, Lauren's got her, uh...maybe her?"

    Watching the party progress, it became clear that both the sisters and the rushees were drawn to girls who...resembled themselves. Short girls frequently paired off with short girls, preppy with preppy, crunchy with crunchy. Hair color, bearing, hometown -- all of these were reliably consistent, generally speaking, among the spontaneously-formed sister-rushee pairs.

    This faintly amused but did not really surprise me. The girls were nervous and were all searching, subconciously and otherwise, for conversation partners with whom they'd have something in common. Regular adult cocktail parties are pretty similar. To the extent that this principle is partly to blame for the phenomenon of all-white gatherings, I'll concede it obviously has racist effects, but I don't think it is driven by racial animus, and it certainly is not an impulse exclusive to white people.

  57. Brian wrote,

    The part of the brain that moderates ethics is not as developed in black people as in whites and Asians. That's why Jason here has experienced vandalism to his car living in a black neighborhood. Most white people would not vandalize a random car just for the heck of it, because they see that this is wrong, and inconveniencing someone else.

    That's ridiculous. For one thing, in the white suburban neighborhood that I grew up in, people often had their cars, houses and yards vandalized by bored teenagers.

    And where did you hear about these supposed brain differences? Or have you yourself dissected some humans? And even if you have, how did you know where "ethics" are located in the brain?

    Your simply saying "it's true" doesn't make it so. And your claim that you're not saying something racist by spouting this pseudo-scientific crap -- your prefacing of a racist claim with "I'm not a racist, but . . . " -- is, sadly, mighty white of you.

  58. I haven't read the dozens of comments above mine, so forgive me if I reiterate a point someone's already made.

    I think it's an individual vs institutional thing. No individual white person in the all-white group thinks of themselves as personally responsible for the whiteness of the group, because none of them (hopefully) said "I want to form an all-white group." So nobody takes responsibility for changing the group's racial makeup.

    I live in one of the most de-facto segregated cities in the country. I think segregation begets segregation. If white people all live in the same areas, work at the same companies, go to the same schools, etc., then of course they're going to form all-white groups, because white people are who they know. And so the cycle perpetuates itself.

    My workplace is entirely staffed by white people. There used to be a couple of nonwhite people working the lowest-paid jobs, but they've left, and now it's all white. I doubt any of my employers see a problem with this.

    We recently hired a new employee. The people responsible for hiring probably figured they were hiring the best candidates, all of whom happened to be white. And probably the people who applied were mostly white--because it's a predominantly white suburb; because white people are more likely to have the education (Master's degree) to do the job; because white people are more likely to have connections to the people who already work there. So my employers can tell themselves it's not their fault, that the most qualified candidates just happened to be white. They probably don't even think about it.

    I think most white people think of themselves as not responsible for this stuff, because it's perpetuated on a much bigger scale than an individual basis. They don't think of themselves as racist because they see racism as an individual trait--the individual hatred of another race. But they perpetuate racist systems and practices in little ways, ways they might not even notice because they've never bothered to examine their thoughts on race beyond "I'm not a racist, so I could never do anything racist."

    Which is why I like this blog, because you make me question my own racist assumptions and behaviors. Thanks for writing.

  59. Check out the first two comments on an article about early childhood development:

  60. I suppose I'm one of those 'different' white folks, because I feel extremely uncomfortable in all white settings--like, is this some racist gathering? why am I in this place with only white people? My sphere of influence is seldom all white, seldom all Christian, seldom all anything and that's the way I like and want it. It gives life greater richness, meaning, and authenticity. Thanks for a wonderful exploratory post.


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