This is the alpha version of another project I am working on called the Race Diary. I’ll continue to update this page as the project moves from alpha to beta to production.

In the meantime, here’s the general concept. The majority of white people (70% to 75% by some estimates) do not have a single black friend. Think about that for a minute. Most white people I know bristle at that thought, but it turns out to be true almost all of the time.

Don’t believe it? Think about the following events. Then consider how often the people around you during those events were the same race as you. I know these are COVID times, and our interactions are pretty limited, but be reasonable in your answers to these questions and don’t let yourself off with the easy answers. Most people can come up with single examples of diversity, but for these questions consider a reasonable time period; say maybe the last 45 days.

Also, before answering these questions, grab a notebook and keep track of your answers. For simple math, create 2 columns. The first column is friends or other customers, and the second column is employees. Now, consider each question and place a checkmark in the appropriate column each time you interacted with a person of a different color. Ready? Let’s begin.

  • The last three times you went out to dinner. What race were the people at your table? What about the customers at the tables around you? What about the staff?
  • The last three stores you went to. Who did you go with? Were they the same color as you? What color were the other customers? What about the employees?
  • What about the last social event you attended, not including work events. What race were the people there? If there were people there of a different race, did you talk with any of them?
  • What about your neighbors? Do you have any neighbors of a different color? Do you know them? In fairness, you should actually know them, not just live in the same neighborhood.
  • What about your work colleagues? Are any of them a different race? Do you actually know them and talk with them occasionally? Outside of the office?

How did you do? Were most (all) of your interactions with people who are your same skin color? If you did interact with people of color, were they your friends or were they employees or coworkers with whom you don’t have a social relationship? No one but you sees your score, so I’d encourage you to be honest.

Just like starting a diet, the first step should be to get on a scale because it tells you where you are starting. And, most white people only interact with other white people.

If most (all) of your friends and most of the people you interact with are the same color as you, then you can start to see how complicated the problem of race relations becomes.

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