In a 100-friend scenario, the average white person has 91 white friends; one each of black, Latino, Asian, mixed race, and other races; and three friends of unknown race. The average black person, on the other hand, has 83 black friends, eight white friends, two Latino friends, zero Asian friends, three mixed race friends, one other race friend, and four friends of unknown race.Everybody get that?
91 white friends.
9 different race friends.
83 black friends
17 different race friends.
If you take the numbers on face value it is interesting, but there just isn't enough data to draw any real conclusions.
The US population is largely white at 72.4%, with a 12.6% black minority. Of course "white" is a variable number if you include "non-hispanic whites" the number goes up from there to around 83.6%. Numbers from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States
So we don't have an even distribution of "races" in America, but more importantly we don't have an even distribution of races in America geographically.
You are more likely to have a lot of hispanic friends if you live in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico or Calfornia than if you live on the North Slope of Alaska, rural Maine, or on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. You won't find many Pacific Islanders in rural Wisconsin, or African Americans in Havre, Montana, or Jackson, Wyoming.
If you live in Louisville, Detroit, or Chicago, having black friends will not be a problem. If you work for the US Army, having black friends won't be an issue. If you spent your life on a farm in Iowa two hours from the nearest major city, might be kind of a tough slog to find your token black friend.
Sorry, we really haven't done any math here yet, so I promise to get around to it. So here it is, calculating the "standard deviation" of races in the US based on the wikipedia data gives us 25.6%. If you use a different subset of data breaking out non-white hispanics and the rest then you'll get a different standard deviation, but it won't be so different as to disprove the point I'm about to make.
If we assign every human being in America with a statistical chance of being "white" of 72% then every American should have 72 white friends, plus or minus one standard deviation. That means anywhere from 97 white friends, to 47 white friends.
When we look at the numbers quoted in the linked article, whites fall in at 91 white friends, which is a tad on the high side, but within the realm of standard deviation.
Blacks on the other hand, blacks are way outside the standard deviation, like really outside, beyond two standard deviations. Is that because they are racist? Or is it because of all the other factors already noted, such as geographic clustering? I would say that it is more likely do to geographic clustering than anything else.
Race relations in America are getting better. Not as fast as some would like, and I think mainly in spite of the current administration rather than because of it, but crap like "white people don't have enough black friends, RACISM!!!" isn't helping.
If you really want to help all Americans stop telling people they need a college education to be successful. Bring back our respect for skilled labor. Welding, plumbing, construction, even truck driving and warehousing are all honest jobs. Stop the madness in dumbing down our schools and start holding back children until the do measure up. It isn't a punishment to teach someone at their level, it is a punishment to pass them through an uncaring system and toss them out into a world with no marketable skills or even basic math and language skills.
I say this now because this is what I want for my children. I want a world that challenges them as they grow into competent adults. I don't expect them to win a Nobel Prize, I do expect them to know how to work hard and treat other people with decency and kindness. Having me for a father is just a handicap they'll have to overcome on their own.