ATLANTA (CBS/CNN) — What seems like a lost sketch from Dave Chappelle’s hit comedy show is scheduled to really happen later this week.
The “Come Meet a Black Person” event on Thursday in Lawrenceville, Georgia, near Atlanta, is a real life attempt to bridge the racial divide.
The creator and promoter of the event, Cheryle Moses, is the founder of Urban MediaMakers, a group of independent black filmmakers and content creators. She says she was inspired to host the event after a 2013 Public Religion Research Institute’s survey found 75 percent of whites have “entirely white social networks without any minority presence.”
In addition, the study found that for most whites, their circle of friends is about 91 percent white.
Likewise, about 65 percent of black people don’t have any white friends, and the average social circle for a black American is about 83 percent black.
“In the black community we know of white people who don’t have a lot of black friends,” Moses told CNN. “But still, seeing a statistic about it just opened our eyes.”
The event specially asks that white people who don’t have any nonwhite friends to attend.
What Moses and Urban MediaMakers hope to accomplish is more than have the cliched “conversation on race,” which everyone talks about having, but rarely have. She wants people to connect on a more personal level.
“It’s a great opportunity to start relationships,” she said. “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.”
ID badges, food and race
Thursday’s event will have all the trappings of a typical networking mixer: ID badges, food and drinks, giveaways. But it will also feature a “cultural” scavenger hunt that will help attendees learn about the black community, as well as Moses and others from Urban MediaMakers greeting whites and engaging them in conversation.
“We can tell when someone is uncomfortable,” Moses said, so they will go around and break the ice and introduce people to each other.
The reaction to the event has largely been positive, although Moses did say some people were initially taken aback by the event’s name.
One woman told Moses the title pretty much stopped her in her tracks, but then the woman “totally got it” when she read why they were holding it.
If all goes well with this event, Moses said her group would like to make it a regular feature in 2018.
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