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Old 11-14-2017, 12:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Come Meet a Black Person

A Georgia networking event wants to help white people 'Come Meet a Black Person' - CNN

OK, let's grant that it's appalling that a black filmmaker feels such an event is needed. It's appalling that an often-quoted study found that 75% of white folks have no black friends, and 65% of african-americans have no white friends.

However, apart from the obvious isolating factors of racism and economics, there is the often-forgotten fact that according to the 2010 census, only 13% of Americans identify as black, and if you add those that report themselves as black+some other race, you're only up to 14%.

If you're born into many primarily white communities, you don't have to avoid blacks, you just don't run into them. You have to pro-actively search for multiracial experiences.

So, what do you think. Is this event a good idea, or not?

I find myself wondering if the only white attendees will be well-intentioned liberals who are ALREADY seeking out multiracial events. And who will have the well-founded suspicion that blacks in attendance will make fun of them once the event is over, lol!
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Despite your (very valid) questions in the last line, I think it's the only way our country moves forward. The only way we get over our centuries-old wound of racism is 1) we acknowledge that it exists, and that it is rooted in the experience of slavery, and 2) we start to encounter each other as family, friends and equals.
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i think the event is a good idea. This may help a few people but those people that are going to go are already open minded to the idea.

the people that really need to go are the closed minded and won't due to prejudice thinking.
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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However, apart from the obvious isolating factors of racism and economics, there is the often-forgotten fact that according to the 2010 census, only 13% of Americans identify as black, and if you add those that report themselves as black+some other race, you're only up to 14%.

If you're born into many primarily white communities, you don't have to avoid blacks, you just don't run into them. You have to pro-actively search for multiracial experiences.

And yet, living in a 97.99% white country, I have Black Chinese and Indian friends who live here, and know several more if I stretch that to acquaintances.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm lucky that I live in a mixed race area and that my work place is also very mixed race. If not for that, I would not have had much opportunity to meet and become friends with people of different races.

Even people who are "open minded" to different races and cultures can learn something. Unless someone grows up side by side with a person of a different race and shares their community, family, economic and educational experiences, they just can't know. Reaching out is a great way to serve that and to improve life for all races.

I'm with Asher on this:
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The only way we get over our centuries-old wound of racism is 1) we acknowledge that it exists, and that it is rooted in the experience of slavery, and 2) we start to encounter each other as family, friends and equals.
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Old 11-14-2017, 06:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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OK, let's grant that it's appalling that a black filmmaker feels such an event is needed. It's appalling that an often-quoted study found that 75% of white folks have no black friends, and 65% of african-americans have no white friends.
Racism, brought to you by, in many areas, an insular society that accepts Faux-style stereotypes and would rather shoot first & ask questions later, ignorance, and unscrupulous politicians like Rump who love to play on the fear generated by that ignorance, may not be much affected by such efforts, but ordinary decent folks who just don't happen to know anyone who's African American could be reached.
I would add a security detail just because I'm probably over-cautious and suggest sharing food or a meal to break the ice.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Nika Talaj View Post
A Georgia networking event wants to help white people 'Come Meet a Black Person' - CNN

However, apart from the obvious isolating factors of racism and economics, there is the often-forgotten fact that according to the 2010 census, only 13% of Americans identify as black, and if you add those that report themselves as black+some other race, you're only up to 14%.
Georgia and Alabama both have larger %s of non-white Americans than some other areas. I can't think of a time when I didn't know [and make friends with] 'blacks', but to be fair, I was weird enough where they were the main ones to accept me as me, and I never judged my friends based on skin tone [or anything else physical, for that matter].
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Growing up in NH this meant being in a town of about 2,000 with one black person. He was adopted into a white family so I am sure he had culture shock when he grew up! At UNH (around 10,000) there would be articles once in awhile in the school paper about the 7 african american students. I commended their restraint for not punching out someone there who was siccing reporters on them.

Living in VA, and now DC, has been interesting. This just is a variant of the human model I never grew up with. All the fuss to me makes as much sense as blondes discriminating against brunettes.
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Old 11-15-2017, 07:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't need to have "special event" to help me meet a "black person". I can just knock on my next door neighbor's door, or go to the grocery store, or ride the bus, or go to the library.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't need to have "special event" to help me meet a "black person". I can just knock on my next door neighbor's door, or go to the grocery store, or ride the bus, or go to the library.
But the question is, do you (and not so much specifically "you," but all of the "yous" in America)?

Yeah, a lot of us live side by side, but I'd hazard to guess that most white people have never sat down to dinner in a black neighbor's house. Or struck up a conversation with a random person on the bus who doesn't look very much like themselves. Or gone to a church that isn't heavily segregated, because like the saying goes, that's the most segregated hour of the week.

I'm thinking of my high school, where there were the lunch tables where the black kids ate, and the tables where the white kids ate, and there were just a very few where there were groups of friends that were mixed. There was no one telling the kids to do this, we came up with that on our own.

Sure, we may live close together, but that doesn't mean we don't do a really good job of avoiding each other.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't need to have "special event" to help me meet a "black person". I can just knock on my next door neighbor's door, or go to the grocery store, or ride the bus, or go to the library.
Same here, while most of my post-NH good friends are white (shared interests and the like) I would need to go through a list of everyone else I know to figure out who goes in what racial box (although I know there are plenty of people in that second category of pretty much any culture and skin tone). Color is simply is not a major data point I bother to store about people but in a city there is more of a mix than in rural areas. For example, soon after my genital surgery I was showing the results to a room of other transwomen who asked to see it .... and I was the only white woman there.

Probably the trickier thing about defining who is a friend who is black is defining who is a friend. Coworkers? Neighbors? People you interact with other than as a customer?
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Probably the trickier thing about defining who is a friend who is black is defining who is a friend. Coworkers? Neighbors? People you interact with other than as a customer?
That was my first thought. My personal definition of a friend is someone that you invite to spend your free time with, whether it be hanging out at your home or their home, or go out to free-time type social events together (bar, dinner, movies, activities, etc.).

I don't think it counts if you only talk or socialize with someone at work or at an open-to-the-public type group social gathering, like church or the gym. Those are coworkers and acquaintances, but I do think a lot of people will still call them friends because calling them acquaintances feels a bit cold and rude.

It also seems like a lot of older people have very few friends. Off the top of my head, my parents only have a handful of friends and at least one of my friend's parents only have 2 friends (another married couple). When I was growing up, I don't ever recall my friends' parents having a lot of friends that they hung out with either, but that isn't the best example. Of course everyone is different and some people are more social than others. So from that perspective (assuming that a good portion of older people have very few friends), it doesn't seem odd that a lot of white and black people don't have any black/white friends.

As for this event, I don't know that I agree with it. Seeking out a black friend specifically because they are black seems fake or at the very least forced. Being actual friends with someone should be natural, regardless of skin color or background. I would think that hosting social events with a focus on including all races in hopes that it will spark some friendships would be more effective than a "find yourself a black friend" event.
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:31 AM   #13 (permalink)
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It also seems like a lot of older people have very few friends. Off the top of my head, my parents only have a handful of friends and at least one of my friend's parents only have 2 friends (another married couple). When I was growing up, I don't ever recall my friends' parents having a lot of friends that they hung out with either, but that isn't the best example. Of course everyone is different and some people are more social than others. So from that perspective (assuming that a good portion of older people have very few friends), it doesn't seem odd that a lot of white and black people don't have any black/white friends.
Exactly, if you are working or whatever almost all the time your social circle is often very small, even for things like weekends. Which means your friends in that definition tend to be people you have things in common with. You pretty much HAVE to expand the definition of friend to get a clearer picture.

That spurs another thought. We are using a pre-internet definition. I probably hang out here and on other forums more than typical RL social places. So why do we value RL friendships more?
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Old 11-16-2017, 02:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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That spurs another thought. We are using a pre-internet definition. I probably hang out here and on other forums more than typical RL social places. So why do we value RL friendships more?
That's a whole separate can of worms there. I know lots of people online, some I have known and hang out in a private forum with for 20+ years now, we have even met before offline at cons or little trips. Are these people any more or less friends because I don't physically see them regularly?

What about the couple of college and high school friends I know on Facebook? Not the "randomly friended" ones but the couple I actually interact with still?

Hell even my coworkers are all in other cities. We have weekly calls, we have a little chat thing at work. I have never met most of them.

I feel like the idea that your friends have to be your neighbors is a little outdated.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Exactly, if you are working or whatever almost all the time your social circle is often very small, even for things like weekends. Which means your friends in that definition tend to be people you have things in common with. You pretty much HAVE to expand the definition of friend to get a clearer picture.
A clearer picture of what?

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That spurs another thought. We are using a pre-internet definition. I probably hang out here and on other forums more than typical RL social places. So why do we value RL friendships more?
I wouldn't say it is a pre-internet definition.

To some degree, internet friends still can fall within the definition of a friend that I provided above, since you are spending your free time with them. But it is also a gray area, similar to the open-to-the-public activities that I would consider people to be more acquaintances than friends. IMO it is because you may not necessarily be doing those public social activities (be it church, gym, SL, chat room, or MMO game) to spend time with a specific person or people. Many times you do those public social activities for the sake of the activity itself and socializing is just one of the benefits.

There is also the issue of anonymity on the internet. An internet friend could easily be a completely fictional persona that they dreamed up. While it is possible that real world friends could also be elaborate fictional personas, its not as easy or common. In addition, IMO, being an internet friend usually takes little to no effort. Being a real world friend generally takes physical effort. That might be part of why we value real world friendships more.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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That's a whole separate can of worms there. I know lots of people online, some I have known and hang out in a private forum with for 20+ years now, we have even met before offline at cons or little trips. Are these people any more or less friends because I don't physically see them regularly?

What about the couple of college and high school friends I know on Facebook? Not the "randomly friended" ones but the couple I actually interact with still?

Hell even my coworkers are all in other cities. We have weekly calls, we have a little chat thing at work. I have never met most of them.

I feel like the idea that your friends have to be your neighbors is a little outdated.
Interestingly there seem to be people of two minds when it comes to the net. When I am playing an MMO or doing whatever I know I am interacting with real people and show them the same consideration as a person actually here in real life. Meanwhile other people are baffled that someone here IRL does not automatically get more attention.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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A clearer picture of what?
A clearer picture of who you socialize with.



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I wouldn't say it is a pre-internet definition.

To some degree, internet friends still can fall within the definition of a friend that I provided above, since you are spending your free time with them. But it is also a gray area, similar to the open-to-the-public activities that I would consider people to be more acquaintances than friends. IMO it is because you may not necessarily be doing those public social activities (be it church, gym, SL, chat room, or MMO game) to spend time with a specific person or people. Many times you do those public social activities for the sake of the activity itself and socializing is just one of the benefits.

There is also the issue of anonymity on the internet. An internet friend could easily be a completely fictional persona that they dreamed up. While it is possible that real world friends could also be elaborate fictional personas, its not as easy or common. In addition, IMO, being an internet friend usually takes little to no effort. Being a real world friend generally takes physical effort. That might be part of why we value real world friendships more.
Does it really matter if who you are interacting with is a true representation of them or not?
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:18 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Does it really matter if who you are interacting with is a true representation of them or not?
It may well be that the personality someone displays on the net is a truer representation of themself than their real-life persona - e.g. a 'devout church-goer' who sends death-threats on twitter, or someone repressed by family in RL who 'spreads their wings' in a virtual-world avatar.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:22 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Another interesting aspect is when someone has multiple avatars/characters on a given service/game. Each provides a peek into a different aspect of the person, or at least how they view what each avatar represents.

You can also get meta information. Are all of them pretty much the same just with minor differences? If they are different, in what way(s)? Maybe they only use 1?
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:29 AM   #20 (permalink)
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So why do we value RL friendships more?
I am not sure we do, or at least we are doing it less and less. I know I have friends in SL that I am closer to and know more about their real life than some of my RL friends. The one thing I could not tell you about any of them is their race. It just never needs to comes up. Maybe that is a good sign or something.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:33 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:47 AM   #22 (permalink)
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A clearer picture of who you socialize with.
Still not following what you are trying to get at. Socializing with someone doesn't mean they are a friend. Plus, you don't need to change your definition of 'friend' in order to figure out who you socialize with.

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Does it really matter if who you are interacting with is a true representation of them or not?
For me, yes it does matter. If I am going to have a friendship worth valuing, it needs to be with the actual person, not their fictional alter ego.

Other people it may not bother to be friends with someone who is essentially role-playing and still others may also be fictional personas themselves (in which case you have a fictional persona having a fictional friendship with another fictional persona...the functional equivalent of pretending to be friends because it fits the role-playing).
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:08 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I am not sure we do, or at least we are doing it less and less. I know I have friends in SL that I am closer to and know more about their real life than some of my RL friends. The one thing I could not tell you about any of them is their race. It just never needs to comes up. Maybe that is a good sign or something.
I get it all of the time. When my spouse walks in and I am on SL or a MMO she expects me to drop that online activity (in a situation where it would not be the same if I were entertaining company). I have explained that there are actual people behind those avatars and her response is people in RL always get priority over people on the internet.

The response completely mystifies me.
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Old 11-17-2017, 01:28 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Another interesting aspect is when someone has multiple avatars/characters on a given service/game. Each provides a peek into a different aspect of the person, or at least how they view what each avatar represents.

You can also get meta information. Are all of them pretty much the same just with minor differences? If they are different, in what way(s)? Maybe they only use 1?
This is another great angle on this. When I played WoW In played each character a bit differently based on little back stories I had made for them. Like by Blood Elf Warrior was kind of crazy and my Orc Hunter was dumb but noble.

It's kind of a way to push and express different parts of one's whole self. Or at least that's how I liked to think of it.
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:26 PM   #25 (permalink)
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One reason it might be hard to meet a black person is that we keep throwing them in jail.

Black Men’s Sentences 20 Percent Longer Than White Men’s For Similar Crimes

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A report released last week from the USSC ― an independent agency of the U.S. judicial branch ― looked at federal prison sentences in the United States from Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2016, and found that black male offenders received sentences on average 19.1 percent longer than those of “similarly situated” white male offenders.
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