Social media networks are segregated.

  • Among white Americans, 91% of people comprising their social networks are also white (PRRI 2016)
  • Among black Americans, 83% of people comprising their social networks are also black (PRRI 2016)
  • Black social media users (68%) are twice as likely as whites (35%) to say that at least some of the posts they see on social networks sites are about race or race relations (Pew 2016)
  • Roughly two-thirds (67%) of whites who use social media say that none of the things they post or share pertain to race (Pew 2016)

The Starbucks incident was shared widely in both black and white social media networks.

  • In a HuffPost/YouGov poll, 80% of white respondents said they knew something or a lot about the Starbucks incident, but 48% of those individuals said the Starbucks incident was isolated. 
  • This, and the verbatim responses--including "I didn't know this happened until you shared it" and "There must be more to the story"-- from so many white people who consider themselves aware, shows that there is need for many more white allies to speak up in their segregated social networks.
  • This story made it to mainstream media and bridged the divide, but it also highlighted that when allies speak up, it makes a difference.

White people who responded to the Starbucks incident are now engaged in the conversation.

  • Without the continued communication within white networks, the momentum may be lost.
  • If information crosses social media networks, it will more likely make it to the mainstream media, which will increase awareness and action.
  • We’ve watched this event cause many real life conversations about racism, both between white people and between white people and people of color, that would not have happened without the comfort level that came with the public conversation.