Monday, May 07, 2007
The Most Segregated Hour of the Week?
11:00 is the most segregated hour of the week. But is it now? My wife and I received a gift certificate from one of those trendy bistro type places located in one of Philly’s up and coming neighborhoods. You know the kind of place where new two bedroom condos start at about $400,000.00 (and that’s not Monopoly money baby). It’s one of those neighborhoods that boasts its own Starbucks, several art galleries and the usual smattering of local pubs and brand name shops. It’s certainly the kind of neighborhood that would attract one of those cool po-mo churches with the quirky name (something like ‘The Underground Warehouse’).
Anyway Sharon and I were enjoying some much needed husband and wifey time when we both noticed how few people of color there were among the hundreds of folks milling about the area and dozens in our eatery. That’s not to say that this area is racist (we were greeted warmly and received excellent service) or that black folks aren’t welcome. But as I sat there I had to wonder why we weren’t in a more integrated setting. The area had a mostly young and presumably open minded and liberal crowd. (you know the kind that would be the first to tell you of how many black friends they had) It’s fairly close to a number of mainly black areas, is quite walkable and has all the right stores. Yet aside from us and about 3 or four other black families it was an all white setting.
Which brings me to the question again regarding self selected ethnic separation. As a society do we self separate along ethnic lines on purpose or unconsciously? Does it just shake out that way or do we in our heart of hearts simply prefer to be among our own? I ask this in light of the number of times I’ve been told that the millennial generation is much more integrated and much more comfortable with diversity than any previous generation. How can people who’ve grown up with such diversity and blast Jay-Z on their car stereos end up in exclusively white settings by their early 20’s? Do young black folks and other minorities truly value integration for the sake of integration or is it just part of the package of making it in the mainstream culture? Are we simply making nice at work and school, but when it comes down to really chillin the old adage ‘birds of a feather’ still holds sway?
My wife and I had a good time this though I couldn’t help but wonder if Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. has replaced Sunday morning at 11:00 o’clock as the most segregated hour of the week.
To Him Who Loves Us…