Home > Uncategorized > Americans Claim to Like Diverse Communities but Do They Really?

Americans Claim to Like Diverse Communities but Do They Really?

deomgraphic pewBelow is a link to the blog “Social Capital”.  This blog discusses the impact and role of social capital as it relates to building a civic society.  The PEW Research Center released a study on social segregation that is truly eye opening and illustrates the difficulty in achieveing an integrated society as well  as workplace.

A book called, “The Big Sort” highleights the social segreagation that is discussed in the Pew Report.  But, while the entire book is very interesting I found one point in particular that I thought was astonishing.  And that point was that the major factor in segregated neighborhoods was not race, but instead belief systems.  The belief systems could have been organized around politics, religion, or an arcane interest like mountain climbing.  The point was that societal segreation was not rapidly expanding due so much to increased racial bigotry, but instead to our desire to group ourselves with people who “think” like us.  What makes this notion so fascinating is that this is the same dynamic that in opinon we see manifesting itself in the workplace.  Just like in society people in the workplace create cliques and clans not so much around race as instead around modes of thought and areas of interest.  This insight I think is both good and bad.

It has a negative aura because the end result is that even though people are not primarily segregating themselves along race, they are still finding other reasons to group themselves with those that are similar.  In a way this points out the potential futility of eradicating bias.  In other words…people will always find some way to segregate themselves.

But, on a more positve note these latest findings point out that we are making progress combating racial segreation.  While this is good news even better news is the fact that the current segreation is primarily organized around modes of thought and interest which we can I think more easily combat then the external factors of race.  Different thinking patterns and ideologies can be bridged with understanding and interaction.

Below is the link to the social capital blog and the link to the original Pew report.

http://socialcapital.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/we-want-diversity-but-live-increasingly-in-segregated-communities/

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1045/americans-claim-to-like-diverse-communities-but-do-they-really

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    This article was very insightful because one must realize that although the race segregation is in upward progress, there is still segregation in the workplace and in our neighborhoods. It seems that there will always be cliques and clans and I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a bad thing, because let’s be honest, we all hang out with our friends because most of them, if not all, are the same as us. For example, I don’t surround myself with gothic, rock music-lovers because I prefer a different clothing style and like hip-hop. Most would agree that they don’t have friends that are opposite of them but I think what this article is trying to embed in our brains is that, of course, you create cliques and clans and form groups with those who are similar to you, but what one needs to do, is become culturally accepting. This doesn’t I have to become best friends with my rock music-loving co-worker, but it does imply that I need to keep an open mind, judge her based on her actions rather than her appearance, and simply, understand and interact with her in order to combat our differences.

  2. Innovative Diversity
    August 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    It seems as though the main difficulty in increasing diversity is the fact people are more accepting of views divergent from theirs. Since the main factor against mingling with people who share different views than your own is that it is uncomfortable, once people understand another’s point of view, it becomes familiar and one more barrier is broken. It is important to speak with others and share your view, this alone can increase understanding between differing views. In one study done, people who were more confidant in what they thought were less likely to argue and more likely to have a constructive discussion with someone who had a different view. So by sharing your thoughts with others, knowing it is okay not to agree with everyone, and to discuss the differences are first important steps to bridging the gap of disagreement in order to promote understanding.

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