We should use Facebook and other social media to make all kinds of friends friends for real.
Just before going to bed, I was perusing one of my favorite Liberal sites, BurntOrangeReports.com. I ran across a link to an interesting article from the Washington post titled “Three quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends.” Of course I figured the title was just a click bait. OK. I took the bait.
Following was the revealing graphic from the article.
America is a huge country. Just maybe Vermont, Utah, and other very White states where everybody were the culprits. Maybe urban centers where minorities are in more compact areas were the culprit. That could easily explain physical friendship. Since these are averages and did not seem to reflect my environment, I decided to dig deeper.
I remembered that a Coffee Party friend told me that Facebook was a mostly White environment. I told him that was not the case. I told him it was just a reflection of who he decided to associate with. Another friend chimed in and said he noticed his Facebook friends profile got more diverse as he worked in the Moral Monday’s movement in North Carolina.
The reality is almost everybody is on Facebook. Right? I don’t think I know anyone who does not at least have an account whether they use it frequently or not.
I did a random test of my personal network of friends. My friends network was as diverse as one could get with folks of every race and many nationalities, (Panama, Jamaica, Trinidad, Dominican Republic, Peru, Denmark, Mexico, Taiwan, Ireland, England, South Africa, and beyond).
I randomly checked a few friends’ friends networks to see how they stacked up against the chart. I had a few friends that were complete exceptions to the chart. Most were much better than the charts. There were however a substantial amount that were similar to the chart. And I actually had a few described by Chris Rock above where I was their only Black friend.
In our rather polarized nation, why don’t we use social media tools like Facebook to explore cultures and potential friends a bit deeper. It is virtually risk free with a huge upside potential, a better country where we really celebrate our differences and commonalities not only in platitudinous rhetoric but in real deeds.
Hey, think about all the new foods and cuisines fixed the right way and new dances to add to your repertoire. Seriously, change starts with you. Why not start by diversifying your Facebook friends and trying to entertain true friendly conversation. It is easier to empathize when you are familiar with others.