The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Self-segregation": A Growing Social Malaise That Can Destroy The Greater Society

Chris Rock 2009, ".......My white friends have one black friend."

The Washington Post in 2009, published the Chris Rock segment as lede to its story about three quarters of white Americans don't have nay non-white friends. Do you have nay non-white friends. I surmise you are at least a progressive or an interested independent (If there is such a being as an independent) as you are reading the TPI

You are probably a liberal who recognizes the disenfranchisement of people due to what could be as minuscule as non-association from exposure to diversity. Yet, your social paradigm and views could fall well away from the open mindedness that often is inherent in liberalism. The hardcore separatist conservative stand on one side of the social spectrum, they stand out there festering in social misery and longing for your naivety and susceptibility. Despite striking the word "separatist," any political movement that nurtures a 92% race and ethnic composition is factually a separatist movement. On the other side of the spectrum are those who strive for exposure to people who they may not have as neighbors, but recognize doing the right thing via social interaction for themselves and their children. Someplace in the middle are those who influence social cohesiveness and are targets of Right-wing media, propaganda and flat out malfeasance. 

I like this image from a piece I published in March 2013. After taking the quiz exercise my rating generated the tiny red vertical arrow indicator towards the Far-Left. No surprise there in any sense.  The salient point is the Far-Right and inherent social creep from the right.

If you allow yourself to immerse in the perception of pristine living via aversion to diverse interaction, you are part of the three-quarters delineated in a 2013 Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) Survey. 


From September 21, 2013 through October 3, 2013, the Public Religion Research Institute: AMERICAN VALUES SURVEY 2013 conducted a critically important and relevant survey related to social interaction in America. The survey was conducted among 2,317 adults age 18 and older.

No we are not a color blind nation. I assert we are becoming far more racial divided and racially intolerant than anytime over the past half century. Our interest and concern is not so much where we choose  to reside nor with whom we choose to live. "Self-segregation" relates more to complete ostracizing ourselves from one another once we leave the workplace.  Frankly, hiring practices throughout decades also perpetuates clear segregation in the workplace.

The Atlantic published a piece this past week that is both cogent and poignant regarding our propensity to "self-segregate." With the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri as the central focus of the piece, Robert P. Jones, uses two PRRI studies to support increasing self-segregation.
Clearly white Americans see the broader significance of Michael Brown’s death through radically different lenses than black Americans. There are myriad reasons for this divergence, from political ideologies—which, for example, place different emphases on law and order versus citizens’ rights—to fears based in racist stereotypes of young black men. But the chief obstacle to having an intelligent, or even intelligible, conversation across the racial divide is that on average white Americans live in communities that face far fewer problems and talk mostly to other white people.
A 2012 PRRI survey found that black Americans report higher levels of problems in their communities compared to whites. Black Americans were, on average, nearly 20 percentage points more likely than white Americans to say a range of issues were major problems in their community: lack of good jobs (20 points), lack of opportunities for young people (16 points), lack of funding for public schools (19 points), crime (23 points), and racial tensions (18 points).

Disparities in Reported Community Problems, by Race

Public Religion Research Institute, Race, Class, and Culture Survey, September 2012

These incongruous community contexts certainly set the stage for cultural conflict and misunderstanding, but the paucity of integrated social networks—the places where meaning is attached to experience—amplify and direct these experiences toward different ends. Drawing on techniques from social network analysis, PRRI’s 2013 American Values Survey asked respondents to identify as many as seven people with whom they had discussed important matters in the six months prior to the survey. The results reveal just how segregated white social circles are.
Overall, the social networks of whites are a remarkable 91 percent white.* White American social networks are only one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. In fact, fully three-quarters (75 percent) of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence. This level of social-network racial homogeneity among whites is significantly higher than among black Americans (65 percent) or Hispanic Americans (46 percent).

Racial and Ethnic Makeup of White Social Networks

PRRI, American Values Survey, 2013

For me, a white man, hearing accounts of how black parents teach their sons to deal with police is difficult to grasp as reality. Jonathan Capehart’s Washington Post column after the Brown shooting contained a personal and poignant account of his mother’s lessons to him as a young black man:
How I shouldn’t run in public, lest I arouse undue suspicion. How I most definitely should not run with anything in my hands, lest anyone think I stole something. The lesson included not talking back to the police, lest you give them a reason to take you to jail—or worse. And I was taught to never, ever leave home without identification. 
The message is stark and real. We may not live as far-right separatist under the veil of conservatism, but our increased stretching of the nation's ethno/social fabric poses real and present dangers. Some are living along the path of the bold red semi-horizontal arrow in the political spectrum image above. Their self-segregation is leading to morphing from Moderate to Conservative to Far-Right as surely and dynamically as the effect of a celestial "Black Hole." Morphing exist with inherent insensitivity for those who, like it or not, do not share the same level of societal privilege. Let's explore a basic and visible example. 

We have become tolerant of police abuse of minorities; in some circles some relish the abuse. Hence, the multiple hundred thousand dollar slush funds for "gunmen" who kill young black men. Ferguson Police (COP) Darren Wilson's slush fund is reported in the $400,000 range. How pathetic for a cop who literally executed the teenager?

Our careless attention to matters of race and self-segregation facilitate manipulation from the Right as evident over the past three presidential elections. Since the days of Nixon and Reagan we have suffered racial divides that have delivered large geographic and social swaths of the nation to a GOP that promulgates policy against the greater good of those who cast GOP votes. Social votes lead to the 3Ps of GOP governance: Paradigm, Policy and Practice. The reality of the southern strategy vote and GOP policy led to the US economic collapse in 2007/2008. We have yet to fully recover from bad GOP policy possibly supported by your social vote.

Self-segregation feeds GOP policy and strategy. GOP policy ruins our economy and divides us along racial lines. Ultimately, our social idiosyncrasy and susceptibility to political manipulation is as dangerous as threats for foreign enemies. A reality that approaches over-the-top, if we factor growing economic divides like income inequality.

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