Cheryle Moses is organizing an event for whites in Georgia to meet black people in an attempt to forge friendships and mutual respect
At first glance, a networking event titled ‘Come Meet a Black Person’ might raise eyebrows.
But the organizers of the gathering, based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, say that it’s all for a good cause: crushing stereotypes and bridging racial divides.
‘It’s a great opportunity to start relationships,’ Cheryle Moses, the founder of black media organization Urban MediaMakers, told CNN.
‘And if you have a relationship with somebody, you are inclined to treat them like yourself.
‘If you don’t have that relationship, then you’ll only treat them based upon what you may have seen or read somewhere.’
A post on Urban MediaMatters’ webpage says it is inviting ‘diverse actors, filmmakers, writers, movie lovers,’ to the event to help ‘non-black people to put aside any pre-conceived notions about the black community’ at the event.
The shindig, to be held on Thursday at Cornerstone Coworking in Lawrenceville, around 25 miles northeast of Atlanta, will include food, drinks and giveaways.
But all of that is just social lubrication for what Moses hopes will be the start of new friendships and a breaking down of cultural barriers – helping strangers develop personal bonds, despite their cultural differences.
The event has the provocative title of ‘Come Meet A Black Person’ but it deals with a serious problem: stats show 75% of whites have no black friends, and 65% of blacks have no white pals
The event will be held here in Lawrenceville, and is run by Urban MediaMatters, which is a group devoted to black people in filmmaking and the media
That will be aided by a ‘cultural’ scavenger hunt, which is intended to help white attendees learn about the black community.
And anyone who’s feeling awkward or shy will be helped by staff, who will wander around the room and help to break the ice.
‘We can tell when someone is uncomfortable,’ Moses said.
It’s a new solution to an old problem highlighted by statistics released by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2013.
According to those figures, 75 per cent of whites in the US have no nonwhite friends, and even for those that have, their friends circles are 91 per cent white.
Similarly, 65 per cent of black people don’t have any white friends and the average black American’s friends are 85 per cent black.
‘In the black community we know of white people who don’t have a lot of black friends,’ Moses said.
‘But still, seeing a statistic about it just opened our eyes.’
Moses said that the response to the event has mostly been positive, and that if it is successful, further editions will take place in 2018.
Tickets cost $15, or $10 for Urban MediaMakers members, including food. All proceeds go to the Young Urban MediaMakers programs for youths aged 12-19.
The event’s description (pictured) says it hopes to ‘challenge the negativity’ of the ‘divisive and racist atmosphere of this country’