It would be insensitive to say that we’re living in the most racially divided era in American history but in light of the past couple of years — between the shooting of unarmed African-Americans by the police, the Trump administration, and the backlash to Black people speaking out about these injustices — it’s been easier to make that claim.
In light of this tension, Urban Media Maker (UMM), based out of Georgia, is creating opportunity for white people who have never been in a position to meet Black folks through an initiative called “Come Meet a Black Person,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Brilliant, bold, or downright funny — whatever you want to call it, it’s real.
The program’s founder, Cheryle Moses, created the event after seeing a 2014 study from Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) that showed a whopping 75 percent of white people do not have Black friends or any other friends outside of their own race.
“It blew me away because as a black person you kind of know most white people don’t have black friend, but to actually see a number, that quantifies it. I know everything about white people, but a lot of white people don’t know much about our culture or our community. Not real stuff anyway… There are a lot of woke white folks and black folks that don’t know how to reach out to each other.”
In Moses’ head, if she creates a safe space for Blacks and whites to meet without the normal external pressures it would dictate a productive interaction, and strides could be made in alleviating some of the racial misunderstandings.
Moses has even incorporated a scavenger hunt so people find things from various cultures. Moses said,
“I am looking forward to it because I believe it will help break the ice for a lot of folks who want to be friends with people who are nonwhite, but don’t know how to go about it.”
‘Come Meet a Black Person’ launches November 16 and will be held at Cornerstone in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
We may not see the results or benefits from this experiment until years have gone by; genuine relationships take time to build.
But if this goes anything like Moses predicts and improves race relations even a little, then she’s done a good work, even if the whole thing is a little goofy.