February 24, 2009

Social Segregation

86%

While most Americans say they have friends of a different race, pluralities of whites, blacks and Hispanics say they only have a few.

The voluntary social segregation in America, recently commented on by Attorney General Eric Holder, can be seen in Pew Research data showing that while most have a friend of a different race (86%), pluralities have just a few. In a speech recognizing Black History Month, Holder warned that if America did not begin to address and discuss issues of race, “the coming diversity that could be such a powerful, positive force will, instead, become a reason for stagnation and polarization.” Holder, echoing speeches by President Obama, noted the success of the Civil Rights Movement has yet to eradicate voluntary social segregation, and this has made conversations about race uncomfortable in America. A 2007 Pew Research survey found that while a large majority of Americans say they have friends of a different race, pluralities of whites (45%), blacks (35%) and Hispanics (39%) say they have “just a few” friends of a different race. About a third of whites and blacks say they have “some” friends of a different race, and very few say that either “all” or “most” are of a different race. Read More