We all remember the middle and high school cafeteria and your table reflecting your popularity, social circle, etc. My high school wasn't much different, except it was all girls and by junior and senior year most in the upper socio-economic stratospheres (and those who were friends with them) ate off-campus. Anyway, the idea's the same - you eat with your friends, and your friends are "like" you.
I always remember in high school we had this Race Relations club where we'd talk about self-segregation and how important it was for us not to close ourselves off to other people even in places like the cafeteria. This didn't really stop the behavior, but it at least acknowledged it. It turns out we were right. This new study confirms that when you sit with people who have diverse backgrounds, you are more likely to think of your campus as a racially positive environment, much more so than if you do not sit with people of diverse backgrounds.
Anecdotally, I agree. In high school, I had a lot of good friends who came from different backgrounds than my own, and we all hung out and ate together, but at my (very white) college I hardly made any friends who weren't white with wealthy parents. Plus, I could only afford the meal plan the first year. The lack of racial diversity, and the self-segregation (on both sides, I'm sure) was disheartening to say the least.
Now that I'm in the working world, I feel like my colleagues come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, which is great, but the vast majority are still white. I hope someday that changes. I'd really like to sit at the diverse kids' table again.
Oh Slate, never change!
1 month ago