A Practical Guide on How Not to Approach Talking About Race or Any Serious Issue (2)

I wrote a post entitled: MrMary’s Black History Month PSA: Why Do Black People Talk That Way, I made the point that in the context of American history, we are a distinct people. We have our own way of looking at the world and expressing what we see.  Quite often when I talk about the African American experience I ask my friend to think about how they interact with people when visiting foreign nations. Now this may seen a little excessive but I want to paint a scenario for you


Hypersegregation  is form of racial segregation that consists of the geographical grouping of racial groups. I will base my following statements on the study published and available by Springer scientific. Segregation can be conceptualized as consisting of five dimensions:

  1. Evenness -refers to the differential distribution of groups across neighbourhoods
  2. Exposure -measures the probability of interaction between groups
  3. Concentration – refers to the amount of physical space occupied by the minority group,
  4. Clustering – indicates the distance to the center of the urban are
  5. Centralization – the degree to which minorities live in areas that adjoin one another

masseyWhen a group is highly segregated on several  dimensions of segregation in  a given metropolitan area, it can be considered to be hypersegregated.” To date, the only racial  group that  can be characterized as hypersegregated in U.S. metropolitan areas  is blacks. Blacks were hypersegregated in 16 metropolitan areas in 1980 and in 29 metropolitan areas in 1990. In American Apartheid, Massey and Denton contended that these patterns of segregation have dire consequences: ”

“[Segregation] systematically undermines the social and economic well-being of blacks in the United States. Because of racial segregation, a significant share of black  America is condemned to experience a social environment where poverty and joblessness are the norm … where educational failure prevails, and where social and physical deterioration abound. Through prolonged exposure to such an environment, black chances for social and economic success are drastically reduced.”

Real Life Consequences


The segregation that many young African-Americans experience causes them undue stress which has been proven to undermine cognitive development. Even African-Americans from poor inner-cities that do attend universities continue to suffer academically due to the stress they suffer from having family and friends still in the poverty stricken inner cities. Education is also used as a means to perpetuate hypersegregation. Real estate agents often implicitly use school racial composition as a way of enticing white buyers into the segregated ring surrounding the inner-city.


Poorer inner-cities often lack the health care that is available in outside areas. That many inner-cities are so isolated from other parts of society also is a large contributor to the poor health often found in inner-city residents. The overcrowded living conditions in the inner-city caused by hypersegregation means that the spread of infectious diseases.  Poor inner-city residents also must contend with other factors that negatively affect health.


One area where hypersegregation seems to have the greatest effect is in violence experienced by residents. overty, high unemployment, and broken families, all factors more prevalent in hypersegregated inner-cities, all contribute significantly to the unequal levels of violence experienced by African-Americans. Research has proven that the more segregated the surrounding European American suburban ring is, the rate of violent crime in the inner-city will rise, but, likewise, crime in the outer area will drop.


I wanted to use facts, readily accessible facts to paint for you a picture of how different the America I grew up in is from yours. I’m not being extreme in saying we have to approach race interactions sometimes like we live in two different nation. This I feel accords us the space for open mindedness to exist. If we want to talk about police brutality and I have in mind that you lived differently from me, and you have in mind that I lived different from you then we can let go of the need to generalize, the need to push our own political agendas.  We can talk just as two human beings.

1.-Malcom-X“And when I speak, I don’t speak as a Democrat. Or a Republican. Nor an American. I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy – all we’ve seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced only the American nightmare.”
Malcolm X



9 thoughts on “A Practical Guide on How Not to Approach Talking About Race or Any Serious Issue (2)

  1. “We can talk just as two human beings”. I’ve always felt that this is best…you describe your experiences, I describe mine, and neither of us invalidates the other because we can acknowledge that we’re in different communities, and discuss ways to make EVERYONE’S experiences better.


    1. I was inspired in part by your post Weird experience at the Dinner yesterday to write some thoughts on how we can all approach serious topics regardless of race and such. I hope to do more with this and more with some other topics. Hope you are doing , hope you are well and doing ok


      1. Hi, Dave. I’m doing fine, just incredibly busy at work. Makes it difficult to comment as much as I’d like.

        I like all the posts you’ve written about this so far. Hopefully I’ll be able to lend more to the discussion soon!


  2. Great way to think about it. I’m an immigrant and nobody would think twice about my having different customs and foods, and speaking with an accent 🙂 African-Americans have been treated like strangers in their own country for so long that adopting this perspective makes perfect sense.


  3. Hi first time visiting your blog properly and what a brilliant post to begins with. I always thought it would be a fascinating social experiment to take a couple of dozen people picked totally at random and place them all either blindfolded or in a pitch black room and ask them to talk about their early childhood I would expect their experiences to all be pretty much the same these days they would have the same memories of games they played, tv shows, toys then ask them to work out how old they were when they learned prejudice, I do believe all forms of prejudice are learned behaviours


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