No need to apologize, Keri! I sometimes lose track of comments myself and forget to come back to them for a while. It comes with the territory on this platform.
Anyways, I’m not entirely sure how we can correct this problem at a societal level either. And to be honest, I’m not sure we even can — at least, not on any kind of grand scale. People are naturally tribal, but the desire to self-segregate used to be countered by the demands of the real world. For instance, I had a pretty diverse group of friends in college. Some of them I met in class, others lived in the same dorm as I did for the first two years I was there. And I learned a lot just from interacting with them on a daily basis, which is of course one of the principal benefits of diversity. But so what happens as online courses become more popular? How will students learn how to sympathize with and understand each other when their degree programs can all be completed over the web and they’re never forced to interact with anyone at all? Imagine how much harder it’ll be for them to understand any perspective outside of their own.
That seems to me to be the path we’re on right now, and I have no clue what can be done about it — although civility dinners sure sound like a pleasant (and delicious) start! :)