Americans Claim to Like Diverse Communities but Do They Really?

Below 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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