Does a Diverse Wedding Reception Require a DJ Who’ll Play More Than Rap and R&B?

Race Manners: Last we checked, “minority” and “nonminority” weren’t relevant musical genres. What is your real worry about having your respective friends and families socialize together?

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Not only is it unlikely that a race war will break out before you cut the cake, but I doubt anyone will even be uncomfortable.

What the DJ can’t do is ease your stress about all the potential complications of having your diverse friends and relatives in the same place. I wonder whether you have a little underlying anxiety about how all these people will relate to and perceive one another, separate from the music. It’s worth thinking about because, while this will probably be the largest gathering you have for some time, a lot of these people are going to be around forever. You’ll want to be able to be yourselves with all of them—and trust that they can comfortably be themselves around one another.  

So give your guests a little credit for flexibility and for openness to new people and experiences. If things still feel at all shaky, add alcohol, “The Electric Slide” and “Happy.”

Oh, and when it comes to navigating cultural differences beyond the wedding, think twice about any statement you have to preface with “I am not racist in any way.” That will do a lot more than any playlist to ensure that you make a good impression on everyone in your diverse circle. 

The Root’s senior staff writer, Jenée Desmond-Harris, covers the intersection of race with news, politics and culture. She wants to talk about the complicated ways in which ethnicity, color and identity arise in your personal life—and provide perspective on the ethics and etiquette surrounding race in a changing America. Follow her on Twitter.

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Previously in Race Manners: “Should a Black Writer Write White Characters?

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