A review of more than 500 studies shows that when people of different races and ethnicities get to know each other, they show more compassion and understanding for one another. This is known as “intergroup contact theory,” (people from different groups being in contact), and is considered the primary intervention for reducing racial bias and prejudice.
And it’s not just about contact, but contact under the right conditions. Four conditions the article highlights are: the support of relevant authorities, common goals, a sense of cooperation, and equal status. These are some of the reasons why we invest in staff training, are clear about our “Commoner values”, foster cooperation in leadership challenges, and make it very clear that “status” is leveled at camp, like starting and ending on the same bus.