As I read “especially among athletes” the thought something in common comes to mind.
Looking at my own life, I came of age in the 60s. Instead of the typical neighborhood high school I took a bus, or walked three miles when the weather was nice, to an integrated vocational high school. Before mandated busing this was voluntary. Schools were still largely segregated in the early 60s. When I graduated I was a minority race student as there were more black students overall than white. Kids from the projects. I didn’t have a high school social life as I hung out with old friends in my neighborhood and worked after school. The only thing I had in common with my classmates was class. Didn’t make friends beyond acquaintance with black people.
I enlisted in the Marine Corps and went to Vietnam where we relied upon each other with our very lives. I made meaningful friendships with the dark green Marines. We were a brotherhood with something in common. It was the 60s and there were the race issues of those days but we got passed them.
On the job as a young man I liked to play bid whist (a game I learned in the Marines) on breaks and at lunch time which at that time in Georgia was a game for black people. A partnership game where my presence created a salt and pepper team my nickname was Salt. I had meaningful friendships with black people even away from the card table.
I was a dirt biker. No black people doing that in those days so friendships through that were with white people. Thanks to martial arts I made friendships with black people who were also martial artists. Even though as an old man I don’t train like I did my best friend to this day is a black man.
In my retirement I’ve started playing the ukulele. White and brown folks but I’ve only seen a few black uke players on the internet, but not at jam sessions so far. I can’t say that it is the instrument but maybe the genres of music common to the instrument.
I have a circle of friends dominated with interracial marriages with a mix of white, black and Asian in all combinations. Comfortable in each others company because we have that something in common.
I didn’t write all that to be about me but since I can’t read minds I can only speak for observation of myself and my circle of friends. The most important element for the presence or absence of meaningful friendships across races is to have things in common where friendships are also formed within your race. Race was was not, and is not, the issue. Enjoying the same things and/or shared experience are the enablers.
This may be why I am a frequent critic of the steady white privilege/supremacy drone. We’ve known about that forever, I don’t see it as helpful at this time as it is separates rather than joins. To me, walking the walk of having meaningful relationships where equality is the prevailing assumption is a better path to solving the problem than name calling and accusation. I like this article because you didn’t go there.
Your book isn’t out yet so my understanding of your thinking is based only upon this article. Is the something in common element something that you have noticed in your studies? The passage I highlighted may indicate that although you didn’t elaborate on it.