11 April 2019
In her essay, Danah Boyd talks about how the United States has always been diverse but segregated. She mentions how the United States can only operate as a healthy democracy if we find a way to diversify our social connections. From her point of view, the technology and tools around us are allowing us to self-segregate with no trouble. The argument that in many aspects of our lives we are self-segregating and the opportunities for doing so are increasing is valid and important because we are seeing proof of self-segregation taking place and the outcomes of it.
Boyd brings up a strong point about the impact of social media on self-segregation. Author Danah Boyd states, What I wasnt prepared for was how quickly they would all get on Facebook, map the incoming freshman class, and use this information to ask for a roommate switch (78). This is a strong, important, and valid point because we are seeing how social media; particularly Facebook in this instance; is making it easier for the students to get in touch with each other and attempt to get a roommate switch immediately without considering diversification.
Most of us have access to the internet, which in-turn provides access to social media platforms. These social media platforms simplify self-segregation by allowing us to enclose ourselves with others who have mutual interests, ideals, practices, etc. With just the tap of a couple buttons; social media allows the creation of different subgroups for different types of people.
This is analogous to the way that a college campus employs college clubs. The college campus representing a social media platform, while the college clubs represent the different subgroups in the social media platform. People will join what they know and/or are interested in.
Boyd puts out a weak point when she talks about Americans self-segregating and the outcome being tears at the social infrastructure. Boyd claims, The American public is self-segregating, and this is tearing at the social fabric of the country (74). This is a weak and invalid point because now more than ever we are seeing people come together and unify through hardships regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Although many of us do self-segregate; a lot of us are adapting to diversity and learning to embrace it. Boyds claim is also very dependent on region. Some regions are more self-segregated than others. There are constantly people of different backgrounds or walks of life gathering together to support different causes. For instance, in the past months there have been people of various races, ethnicities, and occupations rallying and marching in different areas of the United States to protest changes in gun laws and show support for those affected by school shootings or mass shootings.
Some people believe that self-segregation doesnt affect a persons potential. According to Boyd, By self-segregating on campus, students undermine their own potential while also helping fragment the diversity of the broader social fabric (79). Opponents of the argument would object by saying that many successful people in life have gotten to where they are in life alone or without social and or cultural unification. However, Boyd would disagree. She would say they are incorrect because by self-segregating they are missing out on potential opportunities down the line. Some people are capable of being independent, but most require some type of support. Research reveals, The impact of affirmative action, rapid demographic changes within the United States, and increased demands for access to higher education have compelled institutions to continue diversifying their student bodies and focus on improving intergroup relations (Kim et al 57). This is important because it demonstrates the continued need for diversification as it improves intergroup relations.
In conclusion, the argument that in many aspects of our lives we are self-segregating and the opportunities for doing so are increasing every day is valid and important because we are seeing proof of self-segregation occurring and the effect it has had on us. This impacts me as a person in Southern California because California is very diverse meaning that we must unify and understand each other in order to function better as a society. California is a region that is very dependent on diversity both economically and socially.
Boyd, Danah. Why America is Self-Segregating. Citrus Guide to Reading and Writing, W.W. Norton and Company, New York, pp. 73-79.
Kim, Young, et al. Testing Self-Segregation: Multiple-Group. Research in Higher Education, vol. 56, no. 1, Feb. 2015, pp. 5758. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s11162-014-9337-8.