Remember those United Colors of Benetton ads from the 90’s and early 2000’s that showed friends of diverse backgrounds? Those ads were always so kumbaya-we are the world’ish. Well here’s a shocker, a new poll released by Reuters shows that 40 percent of white Americans and about 25 percent of non-white Americans pretty much stick to their own race when it comes to making friends. Post-racial may not be real, but homogeny definitely is. The respondents to the poll included 4,170 Americans and was taken between July 24th and August 6th.
The figures highlight how segregated the United States remains in the wake of a debate on race sparked by last month’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of unarmed black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. President Barack Obama weighed in after the verdict, calling for Americans to do some “soul searching” on whether they harbor racial prejudice.
There are regions and groups where mixing with people of other races is more common, especially in the Hispanic community where only a tenth do not have friends of a different race. About half of Hispanics who have a spouse or partner are in a relationship with non-Hispanics, compared to one tenth of whites and blacks in relationships.
Looking at a broader circle of acquaintances to include coworkers as well as friends and relatives, 30 percent of Americans are not mixing with others of a different race, the poll showed.
Growing up in New Jersey was far from perfect, but our neighborhood and schools were pretty diverse. I had friends who spoke Spanish, Italian, Creole, Polish and Hindi. Even as an adult, my small circle of friends still come from various backgrounds.
It seems as though the 30 year old and under crowd are the ones spearheading integration when it comes to friendships and relationships.
Younger American adults appear to confirm this, according to the poll. About one third of Americans under the age of 30 who have a partner or spouse are in a relationship with someone of a different race, compared to one tenth of Americans over 30. And only one in 10 adults under 30 say no one among their families, friends or coworkers is of a different race, less than half the rate for Americans as a whole.
So Clutchettes, do you have a diverse circle of friends? Or do you tend to stick with your own race?