I learned about a ‘bliss point’ this week while listening to an episode of the podcast This American Life called Nice White Parents. The episode was about school integration in the United States. The narrator of the podcast said the ‘bliss point’ was the percentage of a population of a school that needed to be white before most white parents would consider sending their children to that school.
That bliss point is apparently 26% for white parents of middle school youngsters. So if white parents know that about a quarter of their children’s school mates will also be white they are comfortable sending their child to a racially integrated school. In an article I read about school integration the authors say the ‘bliss point’ for white parents of elementary school children is much higher at 60%.
As I was looking for more information about ‘bliss point’ I found out it is also a common term in the food industry. The bliss point is the amount of a certain ingredient in an item of food be it salt or fat or sugar that makes that food optimally delicious sending endorphins to our brains that make us want to continue eating that food. Of course, food manufacturers are eager to find the bliss points of their products because being sure they have one is the best way to increase sales.
Bliss point is kind of a tricky term. It sounds like something good. But in actual fact bliss points can slow social progress and make you eat in an unhealthy way.