But I always through that the whole point of reading was the opportunity to learn about people who are not exactly like you? To have the opportunity to experience lives other than your own?
I also wonder if some readers just don't notice characters who are "other" and automatically make them like themselves in their heads. The Wasband was a huge fan of David Weber's Honor Harrington series. But somehow he had failed to notice (until I pointed it out to him, actually made him go back and read the descriptions) that Honor's best friend from school was black (she's described as having skin that matches the space black of her naval uniform). And because her best friend was black, that meant that her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, was also black. Despite reading and re-reading several books in the series, he'd totally failed to notice that the most powerful ruling family in that quadrant of space was non-white.