Why Do Black People Flock to Each Other?

By Sowhatiff Jenkins

This is a question that I have been asked in more than one way by the majority population.  For undergrad, I attended a majority white university.  Big surprise.  For grad school, the same thing.  For those of you in the workforce, I’m sure you too have to deal with the same thing: being one of very few black people, or minorities in general, in any given situation, be it sitting in the classroom, or heading to the break room to warm up lunch.

Thoughts about this come up without outside prompting.  I know I have stopped myself a few times as I feel myself congregating with or gravitating to people simply because they are black.  Sometimes I find myself wanting to fight this urge, mostly in an effort to expand my social circle and learn to be comfortable with others.  Forgive me, as I grew up in an all black and Latino town, and went to an all black and Latino high school.  Anyway, I am always intrigued when asked by a classmate or colleague of mine, what it is that makes black folks “stick together” so to speak.

Sometimes this question it carries with it a connotation of “Damn, black people stay segregating themselves.”  This has got to be my favorite.  When I walk into my classroom of 100 students, and about 10 of the students are black, and scattered randomly throughout the room, I don’t ask myself “Damn why are all the white people sitting together?”  When you make up the majority, it is likely that you’ll end up sitting next to someone that looks like you.

So why is there beef when I want to save 6 seats for my friends?  Its probably because we stick out like sore thumbs:  All the chocolate and caramel folks lined up in a row.  People assume that we do this because we are trying to keep them out, but why can’t we just be trying to get in where we fit in?  What’s wrong with me trying to be comfortable?

I think the issue comes up because people in any given majority don’t have to think about being a part of that majority.  When people all around you are ::insert any group distinction here:: just like you, you don’t have to think about fitting in, because you just do.

People are too sensitive sometimes.  My wanting to sit with my black friends has less to do with me not wanting to sitting next you, and more to do with me wanting to sit with my friends.  I mean, can I live?


10 responses to “Why Do Black People Flock to Each Other?

  1. Senor RightCoastLexSteele bka God's Gift to Humanity

    Black people smell familiar. That’s all I got.

  2. Suprisingly I had the opposite problem in school… I made it a point to avoid cliquing with the other people of color. I don’t believe we all have to like each other just because we are few in number and I was sick of feeling forced to sit in the seat they saved for me. But I had the problem of other minorities getting upset with me because of this…. so it goes both ways 🙂 The non-blacks wonder why we clique up and if you dont clique up the blacks think u are an uncle tom…..

  3. Yea, I have a problem with not wanting to be with your own folk. I’d be the one mad that I saved a seat for you, and you didn’t sit there. Its not about wanting to be best friends with all of the people of color…never that. For me, its for solidarity, and comfort. I like seeing people that look like me, especially when most of my days are spent immersed in the majority. Who the hell wants that? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to mingle, but I feel like one should recognize their place at home. We got your back…they more often than not, don’t.

  4. LilBrownSkin,

    I’ma have to disagree. I think one can recognize their place at home without diving into chocolate city at every opportunity. Solidarity is great and all, but I don’t think congregating at every chance and being a United Front is the best idea all the time. I kinda feel like everything has a time and a place. If I’ma sit in a cluster of folks that look like me, it’s probably cuz I know em already. I can do all that introduction stuff before or after the event. I got issues with the obligations to take certain actions simply cuz my skin is tinty. I guess I’m a rebel.lol.

  5. Yea…the assumption is you know them…or have attempted to get to know them. That goes with the whole not running away from Black people to begin with. I wouldn’t just sit in a sea of brownness cuz they’re brown. Hopefully, you’ve gotten to know them, and want to sit with them. But I realize my position may be a little extreme…that’s my aftermath of going to all PWI’s…I healed a little differently than others…lol…I became ULTRA Black.

  6. WithRainbowSprinkles

    I like black people, not all of them though…I think I tend to flock to the pretty ones…

    Besides that, I think it blows that we even have to think about what it means that we flock to one another. I agree with Sowhatiff on how come no one asks white people why they sit together. Why don’t they save a seat for lowly lil’ black girl me?

    Also, studies have been done that show that all people will flock to those who look like them. In the class I TA, the white girls are the minority and they all sit together. The down-home cool ones sit in the front and the blonde, sporty, Tiffany’s wearin’ ones sit together in the back. But the study said that when you put people together in a room, even when they are all of the same race, they will still flock to those that look like them. For example, someone wearing Uggs and a North Face may go over to someone else wearing Uggs and a fleece pending they aren’t crazy-lookin’ otherwise.

  7. Vanessa aka Miss V

    we flock together because we’re cool, lol.

    but seriously, i’m all about hanging with people that you’re comfortable with, whether they are black, orange, or purple. for me personally, there is a time and place for everything as Slim said… there are some black people that i wouldn’t want to be associated with, so i avoid them like the plague. however, i’m not going to lie, for most of my college career, i spent my time with other black folk despite the fact that i went to a majority-white school…. and I wouldn’t change that if I could.

    what pisses me off is when non-black people complain that the black people always stick together. just like Tiff said, they stick around their people all the time, so whats wrong with us doing the same? and on top of that, if they really wanted to hang with “us,” why don’t they make the effort to be down? why is that we always have to try to be down with them?

  8. late comment, tiff.. but i remember the WPs were trying to take Uj away.. and they had the nerve to say that removing the 150 black people and placing them in dorms on north campus occupied by 3,000+ students would enhance THEIR college experience…

    .. like with an extra .25 black people per hallway is gonna make a difference.

    a big ass sugar cookie with one little chocolate chip is still a sugar cookie.

  9. Hahaha at the sugar cookie analogy. And a pan with pie crust and cream is still a cream pie.!

  10. Sowhatiff Jenkins

    LMAO at the sugar cookie!!

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