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Readers View On Area Race Relations Different From Two Years Ago

January 21, 2015 Sunday Poll 7 Comments
The roses end at the spot where his body was left for four hours the afternoon Saturday August 9th, 2014
Tribute to Michael Brown on Canfield Dr

No surprise, but two years ago readers were more optimistic about race relations than now:

January 2013: The State Of Race Relations In St. Louis Are…

  1. Improving Slowly 62 [38.51%]
  2. Holding Steady 35 [21.74%]
  3. Declining Slowly 29 [18.01%]
  4. Declining Rapidly 18 [11.18%]
  5. Unsure/No Answer 13 [8.07%]
  6. Improving Rapidly 4 [2.48%]

January 2015: The State Of Race Relations In [the] St. Louis Region Are…

  1. Tie  8 [25%]
    1. Holding Steady
    2. Declining Slowly
  2. Declining Rapidly 7 [21.88%]
  3. Improving Slowly 6 [18.75%]
  4. Unsure/No Answer 2 [6.25%]
  5. Improving Rapidly 1 [3.13%]

Note that two years ago polls were open for 7 days, now the polls are only open for 12 hours — that’s what the vote count is lower now.  Of course, these polls aren’t scientific.

I actually think things are improving now — because of the events in 2014. Let me explain, I think many more white folks, like myself, now have a much greater awareness of the problems faced by blacks, browns, & tans. There’s more dialog now about problems and solutions. Awareness…

The percentage of Americans naming “race relations” or “racism” as the most important problem in the U.S. has climbed dramatically to 13%, the highest figure Gallup has recorded since a finding of 15% in 1992, in the midst of the Rodney King verdict. In November, race relations/racism was cited by 1% of the public as the most important problem. (Gallup)

Hopefully today’s youth/Millennials will continue to keep these problems in the spotlight so they’ll get addressed rather than swept under the rug.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    I disagree (that things are improving), at least around here. And I’m primarily focused on racism between Caucasians and African-Americans. Asians and Bosnians are stereotyped (as every group is), but face fewer hurdles than Hispanics or Blacks do. And there are two specific areas where change is very possible, style and goals.

    First, the “Ferguson Protestors” continue to march and disrupt, demanding “respect”. On Monday, they even disrupted a ceremony at Harris Stowe honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. Unlike MLK, and others of his generation, who were fighting for specific goals, things like voting rights and equal rights, things that are quantifiable, the current generation is fighting for something that is earned, not given. And, unfortunately, reality check, being disrepectful is a poor way to gain “respect”.

    Second, the current hip-hop style of saggy pants, dreadlocks, no smiles and hard stares, combined with the distinctive St. Louis African-American dialect and colloquialisms, creates a stereotype that matches most of the mugshots of the young black males arrested for our every-other-day murders and Ferguson-related looting. It doesn’t matter if you’re a police officer, an Asian merchant or middle-aged white suburbanite, a young, black, male who looks and sounds like a lot of other local, young, black, males WILL be stereotyped as a potential criminal (and treated accordingly).

    Is the stereotype “fair”? Yes and no. We base every interaction in our lives on how previous ones have gone – we learn from experience, we categorize, based on multiple factors, and act accordingly. Is every young, black, male a thug and a criminal? Absolutely not! But doing something as simple as smiling and showing some respect will go a long way towards getting respected, in return. It’s a tough position to be in – you want to “fit in” with your peers, yet the stereotype of your peers scares a lot of people. Until either that stereotype changes or you choose to dress and act differently, discrimination will continue, for very rational reasons.

    • Allen says:

      I work in an entertainment venue, depending on the act, we get people from all walks of life. With certain acts, the white people that attend are dressed in jeans with holes, some have dread locks, yes white people with dread locks, some are dressed in unflattering attire, my point being, are you going to tell them that they should smile and show respect? You sound like all white people walk around in suits and ties. The pendulum swings both ways, the media points out everything anytime a black person does something wrong, not the same for white people, and another thing, just because a person is black does not make him or her have to answer for every black person in america, until white people realize that the problems belong to everyone, not just the black community, the problems will just go on and on.

      • JZ71 says:

        Yes, I know that some white folks favor dreadlocks (and they look silly). The difference is that they’re a much smaller minority, within their race, than in the African-American community. And, yes, it doesn’t matter what race you are, smiling and showing respect will get you further in any interaction than not smiling and not showing respect will! No, I don’t think that “all white folks walk around in suits and ties.” And yes, “the pendulum swings both ways” – when I was growing up, those dirty, drug-smoking hippies didn’t get any respect, either, and they were, for the most part, white! My point is that if you’re in your teens and twenties, and you choose to rebel against conventional norms, as many do, you WILL be discriminated against. It’s not “fair”, but it is how life works!

        As for “respect”, when I was in the elementary grades in the sixties and seventies, we had winners and we had losers. Not every child was above average and not every child “got a ribbon”. If you grew up expecting, but not earning, respect, in the ’80’s and 90’s, life is going to be a bigger challenge. Part of solving the “problem” will be accepting that there rarely is something for nothing, something, anything, is usually earned, not just given . . . .

      • Mark says:

        I think it is interesting to note that the majority of those in the African American community who have achieved “success,” as “success” is generally recognized in 21st Century society, are those who have managed to shed the dreadlocks, baggy pants, angry/empty facial expressions, ghetto-speak. It’s almost as if the more UN-African-American they are, the more successful they will be. Even “Reverend” Al Sharpton (not that I have any level of respect for this guy) doesn’t act like a stereotypical AA. B.Obama, O.Winfrey, J. Mathes, M. Jackson, E. Holder, D. Washington, C. Rock–and the list is much more inclusive–all fit the mold of those AA’s who don’t/didn’t act and look like AAs. Even the King Of AA’s, The Rev. ML King himself, didn’t act or look like an AA. I wonder why? I’m certain it was no accident! Did he have some insight that he was reluctant to share–lest he’d be shunned or rejected? If I were a young AA, I’d think twice about how I spoke, how I dressed, and how my facial expressions would be interpreted by others–and then I’d do something constructive about it. In Europe, AA’s tend not to look and act like AA’s, and they’re typically well accepted there in all walks of life. I see it daily! (And if “inclusion”/”acceptance”/”equality” are really not all that important to the AMERICAN AA community, then so be it….but they shouldn’t be too surprised when Sam Cooke’s message isn’t soon realized.

        • cameron strickland says:

          I know you mean well but I need to say this. I have heard this many times from people of all backgrounds, I grew up saying this and then one day after I thought about it I found this way of thinking to be troubling. Here’s what you said that I want to point out (“I think it is interesting to note that the majority of those in the African American community who have achieved “success,” as “success” is generally recognized in 21st Century society, are those who have managed to shed the dreadlocks, baggy pants, angry/empty facial expressions, ghetto-speak. It’s almost as if the more UN-African-American they are, the more successful they will be.”). Many people, because of stereotypes, assume that acting “black” means acting “ignorant” and being “uneducated”. Where as being white means being “aware” and “educated”. Growing up society wanted me to believe that being a preacher, a lawyer, an entertainer, or an athletic star was the way to go and that I should sag my pants and not be my best because I was black, I had to be less than others. My cousin’s grandmother told me that I was “acting white” for speaking ‘proper English’ and not slang and that I was teaching my cousin ‘how to act white!’ Please remember that there is no such thing as acting black or white. However there is a black culture and a white culture and there always will be but thats not the point. Black/African-Americans advanced in society because they were able to communicate their knowledge, beliefs, and culture to general American society just as good as or better than any White/Anglo-American. So when you go around seeing young people sagging and giving you a hard look, it means they’ve either grown up in circumstances where that was socially acceptable or they’re just plain ignorant and choose to show their ass. And GHETTO TALK (does not exist) is Ebonics. To be a successful African/Black-American you must know both Ebonics and English. All of the successful people you named know how to walk comfortably in both worlds…please don’t ever call Ebonics “ghetto speak”. thanks

          • JZ71 says:

            What you’re talking about is the classic struggle that every immigrant group faces, holding onto the traditions of their home country versus joining the great melting pot that is America. My grandparents were immigrants, English was their second language and they didn’t speak it well. They ate some, to me, some pretty strange foods. My father straddled both worlds, spoke “perfect English” as well as (I assume) “perfect” Lithuanian. He served in WW II, went to college, married an Irish Catholic girl and other than being saddled with a “weird” name (under “American standards”), fit into both worlds. I grew up in the suburbs, a typical white boy with all the stereotypes that carries. I don’t speak Lithuanian and I have little knowledge of the “homeland”. I’m a mutt and a proud American.

            Most other immigrant groups go through a similar progression, with the the grandchildren of the original immigrants becoming mostly “Americanized”. It doesn’t matter if they’re from France, Korea, Mexico, Vietnam, Germany, Somalia or Iceland, most people buy into the American dream. What I find to be both interesting and disturbing is that a (large?) portion of the African-American populaton resists this process, that acting responsibly is classified as “acting white” and that using mainstream Engish is classified as “talking white”. It’s only “white” in that “white” is the majority. And I’m less disturbed by sagging and dreads (which is just “the style” and will look pretty stupid in 10 years, just like mullets, huge afros and bell bottoms do, now) than I am about the use of language and the culture to “not be your best”. Every other group tries to “better” themselves while holding onto some of their histories and some of their traditions. As long as any group insists that “there is a black culture and a white culture and there always will be” there will continue to be friction. We’re not a white, black, brown, yellow, pink or purple country, we’re all Americans. We all have histories, we all have traditions, but like the Kentucky state motto states, “United we stand, divided we fall”!

          • dempster holland says:

            One major difference between the European immigrant experience
            and the African American one, is that somewhat in the second
            generation and almost universally in the third, intermarriage
            between the various European ethnic groups ts common, whereas
            with African Americans and Europeans it is still quite low. The
            results and implications of this single difference are considerable


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