Guest Columnist: Shakurah

Interracial Friendship Barriers

By Shakurah

 

Recently, I read an article at:

http://news.change.org/stories/what-are-the-barriers-to-interracial-friendships, by Nadra Kareem Nittle, that discusses the rarely spoken subject of interracial friendships.

 

Even though the article is from 8-27-2010, it is still highly relevant and current.

 

I found this quote from the article very interesting:

 

“…Because research shows that whites are the group most likely to prefer racial isolation. When whites and blacks were asked to describe the racial makeup of their ideal neighborhood, for example, whites typically preferred all-white areas, while blacks preferred racially mixed areas….”

 

What would account for why white people typically preferred all-white areas?

 

The article does not directly answer this question, but I hypothesize that for at least some white people, many prefer all-white areas because they associate darker-skinned minorities with higher crime rates and they don’t want minorities bringing crime and violence into their “perfect” neighborhoods.

 

Some white people ascribe the most negative traits of humanity to darker-skinned minorities, while ignoring that those same traits, such as a tendency toward assault, rape, robbery, and drug abuse exist among white people as well.

 

Maybe this bias in favor of white people by white people (which really reflects the racist, historical “separate but equal” love of segregation) reflects an over-valuing of white people and an undervaluing/devaluing of people of racial minority status.

 

As far as the finding that black people preferred racially mixed areas, I can say as a black woman that I concur with this.

 

I have always enjoyed and actively sought out racially and ethnically diverse areas to live and work in. I find these types of areas and neighborhoods more enjoyable in terms of cuisine and cultural activities to engage in.

 

In ethnically diverse areas, I always felt a greater level of comfort in my surroundings. On some level, I feel there is less of a chance that I will be discriminated against or be the target of racial hate and if I am, I will receive more support from my community.