I remember being told that a challenge researchers face in science is that it is very difficult to get a pure observation of something. There is a unique aspect of matter in that the simple act of observing it changes it. Now, that is a challenge that scientists face as they perform their research, but it can be a great asset to the people of our communities as we look at the racial realities of our nation.
Check this out! Here is a map of the US that is compiled of 308,745,538 dots. Each dot represents a different person counted in our last census and each dot is color coded based on race and ethnicity. That means you can zoom into your own neighborhood to see the racial breakdown of different blocks and communities. The simple act of observing, of looking at your local area, will give you insight that will change the way you see your community and the people of your community.
- What do you notice about your neighborhood?
- How is your current neighborhood the same or different than the neighborhood you grew up in?
- Is the racial breakdown and breakup that you see what you expected to see?
- Does your relational network mirror the demographics of your community?
- How do you think the racial makeup of your community influences your views on race issues that arise?
Take some time to zoom in and zoom out. Look around the country at different cities and regions. Next time a news story hits the headlines, look this map up again and take a look at where it happened. Observe.
I think this is one of those times that when you see it, it changes you.
Thanks to The University of Virginia’s demographics research center for creating such an amazing resource.