In The Trouble With Friendship, Benjamin DeMott argues that it is suggested, all too often, that the solution to our troubled race relations is just, well, getting to know and like each other. Television and the movies, for example, are replete with examples of racial harmony. I mean, who doesn’t have a black friend or neighbor!?
DeMott’s friendship ideology obscures the institutional causes of racial inequality that undergird racial tension in our society. Learning to like each other is not going to solve racial inequality in our society because individual one-on-one racism does not exhuast the disadvantage faced by people of color in our society.
In this light, I present to you three pictures, submitted by Muriel M. M., of posters found in an elementary school.
The posters reflect the friendship ideology. Of course, it is nice to encourage friendship and support across racial lines, the danger is in letting our race education stop there.