Did you ever harbor the belief that the Internet was somehow obligated to become a "force for unity?" Have you ever found yourself speculating on such a concern? Riva Richmond, a writer for the New York Times' blog Gadgetwise, informs us of yet another breed of social engineering busybodies now operating on the race-ethnic front.
In Does Social Networking Breed Social Division?, Richmond cites a new subdivision in the ever-expanding diversity/multicultural/race industry. For example, Harvard researcher Danah Boyd, is distressed by surveys that show that most Internet users of social networking sites tend to gravitate towards people similar to themselves. She has discovered that young people who use Facebook are generally "white, upper-class and college-bound," as opposed to MySpace users, who tend to be blacks or Hispanics who have not completed college.
Boyd claims that this information demonstrates a "modern incarnation of white flight," a situation that should not just concern the general populace, but "should scare the hell out of us."
Yes, it's really scary when white folks seek out social venues to freely associate among themselves. When will they ever learn that they cannot get away from the coloreds? How have they failed to glean this message, after decades of targeted laws and relentless societal pressure to conform to the rules of our "inclusive" society? What will it take to convince whites that "flight" is simply not possible – even on the Internet?
Still more "studies" on the subject come from Northwestern University professor Eszter Hargittai, who expected these differences by race and ethnicity on the web to "disappear" over time. Instead, she reports that such differences persist and have become even more pronounced. Much to the consternation of these social meddlers, Hargittai explains that people tend to use these sites "to connect with people they already know."
If choice such as this continues to be allowed for too long, how can we expect to achieve that "inclusiveness" so fervently desired by the likes of Attorney General Eric Holder? Recall how he lamented the fact that blacks and whites are failing to commiserate adequately "on Saturday and Sunday." (See Outfoxing forced inclusion and The everlasting quest: To transform whites.)
Notice, although blacks and Hispanics are choosing MySpace and, therefore, associating as they please, the condemnation goes to "white flight," or to those whites who are "fleeing" to Facebook. As in past censures of white behavior, the unexpressed presumption is that the coloreds would not be hanging out together (online or elsewhere?), if the whites would only open their doors – a sentiment more than implied by Holder, the man who wants a "dialogue" on race.
The notion of minding your own business and leaving people to their own personal preferences, does not occur to the likes of Danah Boyd, who worries that, if we don't address "head-on" this virtual form of social stratification, "inequality will develop deeper roots that will further cement divisions in our lives." Say, what?
Karen De Koster, on the Lew Rockwell blog, offers a solution to this newest integration conundrum: "Maybe we should just enforce busing on Facebook. Set up quotas on both Facebook and MySpace, and where those quotas don't line up, the government should bus white folks from the suburbs of Facebook to the inner city of MySpace by closing down their accounts and locking their computers out of potential Facebook registration."
Or, failing De Koster's suggestion, maybe it's time to set up more of those multicultural workshops, re-education centers, and "sensitivity" training sessions found on college campuses and in corporations around the country, to enforce the "proper" views on race. Not until participants in these programs demonstrate their belief in the "correct" doctrines that promote racial inclusiveness, should they be allowed membership on any of the social networking sites.