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The science behind sticking to your race

Written by: Tatyana Phelps, Copy Editor

Although segregation was outlawed in the 1960s, students sometimes tend to segregate themselves from people outside of their race. However, this action may be caused by sociological factors rather than personal choice.

When looking at the statistics, VSU can be called a diverse college. According to Niche, 35 percent of VSU students are African-American, 54 percent are white, 4 percent are Hispanic, 2 percent are international, and the other 1 percent is Asian.


Despite the wide range of backgrounds and cultures at VSU, students can sometimes be found to normally associate with people of the same color. However, there are some organizations on campus that demonstrate a diverse group of students, such as the Gay-Straight Alliance, Anime & Manga, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Women of Diversity.

The Women of Diversity president, Kandice Smith, finds joy that her organization is able to break past the differences in skin color.

“The main reason I love my organization so much is that I learn about them as individuals, but I also learn about their culture through their conversation, their experiences,” Smith said. “We represent over 20 nationalities, but at the end of the day we see each other as human beings, with feelings, dreams, ideas, and goals. We see each other as sisters. It just so happens that some of us have more or less melanin that the other.”

Smith believes that the separation between races that may occur is not always intentional and that society plays a major role in the way people view racial differences.

“I believe that people have the tendency to stick to their own race because it’s comfortable, it’s familiar,” Smith said. “It’s so much easier to think to yourself, ‘she and I have something in common because she and I have the same skin; we must have experienced the same things growing up. We must have the same culture, the same heritage, (and) the same ideals.’ I think it’s a subconscious method of survival (in) a way. It is both a psychological and sociological thing.”

Smith is correct — it is a sociological factor. Thomas Hochschild, VSU sociology professor, has studied race for years.

“You’ve heard the phrase ‘birds of a feather flock together,’ right?” Hochschild said. “Sociologists call this tendency for people who are similar to stick together the ‘homophily effect.’ Race, ethnicity, social class, gender, religion and political affiliation are but several characteristics that people use to organize themselves. People are generally more comfortable being around others with similar values, attitudes and behaviors.”

According to Hochschild, the way people view race begins at a very early age and starts in the home.

“Parents can counteract the homophily effect by seeking out a diverse group of playmates, as well as a home in a diverse neighborhood, for their children,” Hochschild said. “These children are more likely to be open-minded about others when they become adults.”

Hochschild feels that despite the fact that many people are more comfortable being around people who are more similar to them, many students at VSU don’t let differences in skin color change who they socialize with.

“One thing that I love about Valdosta State University is that students of different races and ethnicities can be seen interacting throughout the campus,” Hochschild said. “At other universities I have taught at, I typically saw ‘co-presence without co-mingling.’ In other words, people of different races and ethnicities would be in the same room or geographic area, but they rarely interacted with each other.”

While some teachers believe that race does not affect our campus, some students feel otherwise.

“I personally believe that (race) does (affect) VSU,” Smith said. “It affects many campuses across the United States. We are the nation’s future. Many of the students on campus are the result of interracial/intercultural relationships. To have such a clear divide, to see each group hang out with their own can be difficult for those students, and it can also be challenging for those students who desire to reach out to others who are unlike them. I feel as though it causes a ‘them vs. us’ mentality.

“In the United States, society dictates that you should stick with ‘your own kind.’ A lot of people see an interracial couple or even a group of diverse ladies, such as the ladies in my organization, hanging out…and it’s an anomaly to them. It is an anomaly because we are taught to stick with our own,” Smith said.

Hochschild said people are all too quick to say race isn’t an issue in our world.

“It is fashionable for people to say that ‘a person’s race doesn’t matter to me,’ or ‘we should just ignore race and it will go away,’” Hochschild said. “The problem with this line of thinking is that there are significant racial disparities in the United States in regards to the criminal justice system, socio-economic status, educational outcomes, political representation, health outcomes and media depictions. To ignore race is to ignore the harm currently being inflicted on millions of people because of their race. Sociologists refer to these pleas to ignore race as a form of ‘color-blind racism.’

“As good Americans and responsible citizens, we need to be informed about racial data, and mature enough to address these disparities in a meaningful way,” Hochschild said.



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  1. I’m going to call BS on some of what the author, or those whom she quotes, has said about race, racial differences, and the social significance attached to them. First, race isn’t skin color. It’s whom you ancestors were. Human characters subject to the laws of heredity, whether structural or mental, whether cosmetic or performance-related, flow along family lines, which in turn are bundled into the wider association that we call ‘race.’

    We are all related. Yes, that is true. But we are not all related to the same extent. Metaphor time.

    If a house is on fire, and my relatives are inside, and I’m the only one who can save them, then I will go for them in order of consanguinity. I’d rescue my natural children first, then my brothers and sisters, then my nephews and nieces, then my first cousins… You see how this is going? I’d probably keep hauling people out of the fire as long as I could, but there would come a time when the fire was so hot that I’d care more about me than about them.

    If you can understand why someone would behave that way, then you should have no trouble understanding racism, because it’s the same principle.

    Second, the most important racial disparities are the ones we are born with. The social consequences mostly follow from those. Most socio-economic differences are effects, not causes. The causes are biological. You’ve shown us the percentage breakdown of the VSU student body. Would you care to show us the breakdown by major area of study? How would physics, astronomy, or math break down in racial percentages of the students at VSU majoring in them? What majors are the black students of VSU largely pursuing?

    No, don’t turn a blind eye here. It’s important.

    I’m a VSC (pre-University status) alumnus, graduated in 1982. But I live in West Virginia now, and I haven’t had a look at the VSU campus in a very long time. I don’t really know what percentage of your physics majors are blacks. But I will predict, based on what I’ve learned about race, that the percentage is quite, quite low. If I’m wrong, please feel free to call me down with a drum roll and a trumpet fanfare.

    Look at the table on this web page. It shows the average IQ of persons (studied) who took each of the selected majors in college.


    Now look at the first chart to appear on this page:


    I challenge you to put together a chart like that for VSU’s student body, except instead of gender ratio use the ratio of black students to white students. If you can’t easily ascertain the IQs of your fellow students, you might ask the university administration to provide their SAT scores, and use those instead.

    You’ll discover—I predict—that Arthur R. Jensen and J. Philippe Rushton were right about the mostly biological cause of the racial gap in IQ scores, in SAT scores, in ACT scores, in CRCT scores, in school grades, and, eventually, in socio-economic status. These gaps follow from something that no environmental patch can remedy. Which is, of course, why 50 years of trying THIS social program and then THAT intervention, etc., has never met with success. It’s also why, on every occasion in which you’re liberal methods have seemed to have success, it has turned out to be an illusion, a fraud, a work of corruption. You are, to make another metaphor, trying to douse a fire with gasoline, and every time you fail you conclude (again and again and again) that the bucket you tossed it from was painted the wrong color. You never learn because the truth is contrary to ideals you hold sacred, such as the one about racial equality.

    Third, the common lack of racial harmony is a natural phenomenon. For most of us, if not all, nobody EVER sat us down and “taught” us not to socialize with people of other races. That is, the miseducation upon which the theory of Smith and Hochschild depends never took place. Children have been, rather, bombarded with the opposite message: “Mix it up, kids!” It came to them from TV, magazines, movies, school, the extent to which they’ve understood official public policy, and, yes, even from their parents. But that message doesn’t stick very well. Why not? Because it defies nature, whose truths will always reassert themselves, however much they are denied, because they have all the weight of the universe behind them. Civilization will be broken down to dust before ever a liberal overturns the laws of nature as they apply to humans, who are tribal primates that organize themselves into groups and compete for dominance and for resources in and between groups.

    We’ve often heard liberals complaining that some racist or other has, with his mouth alone, undone all the “progress” toward racial harmony that has been made for many years. All right, then. The racist isn’t the villain. The villain is the guy who wants to structure society in such a way that, like a house of cards, it will come crashing down if ever anyone says a wrong word or is misunderstood. Nobody sane would work to build a world so fragile. But that is the world the Left wants, and it is why they rely upon censorship, and upon hate-crime hoaxes, and upon intimidation, and upon ignoring inconvenient facts. It is why they use Thought Police. When everybody has the freedom of speech and has the equal protection of the laws, including white people no less than others, it’s a sure bet that someone will Say The Wrong Thing. To counter that, you have to use muscle and deception, and you have to make an example out of a James Watson or a Glayde Whitney now and then.

  2. For many white Americans raicsm does not exist when discussing affirmitive action or white privilege. But, tell them you are going to date their daughter or son (being Asian, black etc.) they will change the tune fast and tell you how much racism there is and how hard life will be for interracial couples.

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