You know the old saying, "birds of a feather flock together," right?
There's also "opposites attract," although I think we probably just made these phrases up in order to justify the behavior we saw around us, and in reality it can go either way.
But something I noticed ever since coming to college (my campus has around 30% diversity - no comment for now whether this is negative or positive) was that the people of color almost exclusively hung out together.
I pose this question as a multiracial, multicultural person coming from a 98% white hometown: is joining and actively participating in multicultural groups (such as an African American society or Asian students association or Latinx American student group) self-segregation, or is it simply finding a group of people who understand the finer points of your culture and speak your language?
I say "joining" and "actively participating" because I am a repeat offender of "joining" clubs and groups and getting emails about events and meetings... and never attending.
Active participation means you seek out the members of the group, become friends with them and maybe even spend time with them outside of meeting times.
The members of my family have expressed differing opinions on whether joining racial or culturally affiliated groups is a good idea. I remember excitedly reporting to my older sister that I had just signed up for the African American society, and I was surprised when she responded that she had been invited to join the one at her institution, but declined as it was self-segregating and she wanted to expand her social circles.
As time went by, I stopped attending African American society and Asian student association meetings mostly because I was far too busy.
I remained on the email list, kept up my friendships with the people I had met, and often went to the large events. I noticed that the black, Asian and Latinx students were clumped up together in the dining hall (except the athletes of color, which is another interesting can of worms).
My friends, who are also for the majority people of color, and I had realized that POCs stuck together. I can count the number of close white friends I have on one hand. Of course I have several more peripheral white friends, but my good friends are almost exclusively POC.
I continue to grapple with this question as I attend race talks, events and workshops. Am I isolating myself, and is this indirectly causing problems like mistrust and stereotyping? Or am I discovering that I'm not alone in my experiences, building a support network, learning about race relations and making sure my voice is heard?
Maybe it's both - and the real issue is how to balance it all.