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jooseyjoose

Racial diversity in Northwest Arkansas

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Hello everyone. I am new to this board and I have found the information very helpful.

My husband and I are looking to move to Fayetteville. We are both born and raised in San Diego, Cali and have lived here our entire lives save for a five year stint in Portland Oregon (fantastic city!!!!!)

I am interested in what racial diversity Fayetteville has. Specifically interracial couples (African American male, white female). I briefly saw a thread about the black community in Fayetteville, but it seems it ended up being more of a thread about Jewish and Middle Eastern communities so I did not get a complete picture of the information I was looking for. Can anyone give me some info on how well recieved we may or may not be as a interracial couple? How large is the African American community?

My parents recently retired near Altus and like I said we are very interested in moving to Fayetteville. We have researched many aspects of the city and it looks like someplace we would absolutely love to live. We are both professionals (I am in the animal welfare field and he is in computer technology) and are looking to get out of the so-called "rat race" that is Southern California, as well as be closer to my parents.

Any information would be very helpful, good or bad ;) ! Thanks in advance.

Sarah

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I was raised in San Diego (North County- Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad, etc). I can honestly say that you will NOT see the same percentage of Blacks or other minorities as you did in SD. The amount of mixed race couples is also not as prevalent. BUT you have to balance this with the attitude of the people. My best friend growing up, black, married to a white woman, moved to Kansas City, and had more issues with his kids there than I honestly believe he would have here. KC had the same attitude, I felt, as SD and other large cities did. The people here are in stark contrast, with a much nicer attitude towards neighbors. Will you see as many mixed couples here? No. Will you see the same size black community? No. But if we were a mixed couple with children, I would not hesitate to call NWA home, and would stand by the belief that there is not many better places to raise a family. It is honestly way better, IMO, than SD in that area. I personally think SD is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. But with the gangs, drugs, crime, cost of living and other problems, I will likely NEVER live there again. Yes, some of these same problems exist here, but in comparison, they are non existant. Its a culture shock, but in a very good way. I can still remember the wierd feeling of people actualy waving to you as you drove down the road. Yes, I know they do that in SD also, but here they actualy use all 5 fingers! :D

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Census Numbers for Washington County (Where Fayetteville Is?) indicates that African American's made up 3,364. These numbers are low though, I would estimate it's around 4,600 in Washington County and possibly 1,200 in Benton County. Fayetteville is around 5 or 6% Black. Hispanics are prevalent in the city, with around 5% of the city, being Hispanic, but most Hispanics are found North in the cities of Roges and Springdale. Fayetteville and Washington Co. do have the third largest asian community in all of Arkansas, with Washington county having over 2,000 asians here. There's probably a few hundred Jews in the whole metro, along with a few thousand Indians (From the country India), and a few hundred Arabs and Middle Easterners. I myself am Middle-Eastern, but I don't live in Fayetteville. I live north in Rogers, in an area with far fewer Blacks in the area, and more Hispanics and Indians. If you do move here, I will say that you will be treated differently, but not in a negative kind of way, if that's what you were wondering. You do get looks, but most are friendly and curious looks. You will find that most people here are accepting.

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Thank you to both of you for such honesty and truly good information. You answered a lot of questions we have had! When we tell people here in San Diego that we are thinking about moving to Arkansas I get a lot of weird looks and "warnings" about our interracial marriage. But those are from people who have probably never visited the South anyways!

From the research I have done and all the forums I have visited, it seems Fayetteville is a fairly progressive city and we should have no worries.

We are really excited about our prospective move and after reading your two posts, I once again have little doubt that this may just be the place for us!

Thanks again! :D

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Thank you to both of you for such honesty and truly good information. You answered a lot of questions we have had! When we tell people here in San Diego that we are thinking about moving to Arkansas I get a lot of weird looks and "warnings" about our interracial marriage. But those are from people who have probably never visited the South anyways!

From the research I have done and all the forums I have visited, it seems Fayetteville is a fairly progressive city and we should have no worries.

We are really excited about our prospective move and after reading your two posts, I once again have little doubt that this may just be the place for us!

Thanks again! :D

Jooseyjoose,

While this area's not SD, I can tell you that I saw SEVERAL interracial couples at the churches I used to attend, Christian Life Cathedral of Fayetteville and Bentonville. They seemed very well accepted and many of them held significant positions in the church (and this is an evangelical Christian church, where IMO such couples should be welcome, and from what I could tell they were).

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I would like to add that one can not extrapolate the rest of Arkansas from NWA. They are two quite different animals. Little Rock and NWA have nothing in common, but are still more alike than they are to any of the rest of the state. I've lived in several smaller towns in Arkansas (Helena, Forrest City, Russellville, and now Fayetteville) before moving here and the attitude towards race, sexuality, hell even women is markedly different. Helena and Forrest City both have near majority black populations (possibly even a true majority in Helena now...not sure), but the cities certainly were racist. Interracial couples were really looked down upon and still are (my grandparents live in Helena, so I get some exposure to town when I visit...). Fayetteville just isn't like that (and I assume the rest of NWA isn't much different). It is a pretty homogenous culture here with the only spice from the Hispanic population, but the people who are here are already from all over and are a fairly liberal (in at least SOME ways...this is the most politically Republican part of the state...) group. I honestly think that about half of the black people I know are IN an interracial relationship or have been in one in the past, and I don't remember any of them saying anything derogatory about the local culture's attitude...

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Here's my 2 cents... where I work I have met more interracial couples than anywhere else I've ever lived and I've lived everywhere between both coasts. I work in Bentonville and all of these couples live in Benton County or across the Missouri border. When I first moved to NWA 8 years ago it was pretty rare to see any African Americans anywhere, but these days it is much more common. Still not quite as diverse as I would like NWA to be, but getting there. I've never once heard anyone say anything racist since I've lived here.

In considering NWA for your future home, please don't even consider racial diversity a problem here. Racial diversity isn't the best here, but you and your spouse would be making NWA a little better just by moving here. :D

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My honest opinion from someone that has spent a lot of time in the area but doesn't live there. Fayetteville has a larger African-American population the rest of the area and has a very open-minded attitude you would expect in a college town. I don't think you'll see a lot of racist attitudes or draw many glances there. I do think you'd prefer Fayetteville to the rest of NW Arkansas, though.

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^^

I agree with Apork and I hope it didn't seem like I was trying to sell anyone on Benton County to the north. I was just trying to say that you wouldn't see any racial problems anywhere in NWA. Fayetteville is a more urban city and has a more happening downtown area. I just didn't want anyone to think that if you drive 10 minutes north into Benton County that all of a sudden the racial diversity dissappears and you'll run into racial issues, because that's not the case. NWA is more than just one city and wherever anyone chooses to live their home is Northwest Arkansas.

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You know, I was thinking about this thread today while at work, and thought of something. My first experience with racism was not in Arkansas. It was in S.D. I would imagine you guys have, or your children already have had experience with close minded ignorant people right there in open minded enlightened Southern California. While it will not be wise or helpful to point this out to some of these people who have said something to you about moving to the south, it may help you in your own piece of mind.

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I know of several interracial couples in the area and have heard of no problems. Hate crimes are not very common at all. The most welcoming city would be Fayetteville in my mind and has the largest black population in the area. It is not uncommon to be out at a restaurant or a bar taking a late night drink and have an interracial couple come in. Fayetteville is very open minded. I do know there has been some movement .

You may be interested in this article:

http://www.arktimes.com/Articles/ArticleVi...c3-5a510e18457a

http://www.pnoshonline.com - you will see several interracial couples.

On a side note: Both Fayetteville's Police and Fire Chief are black.

Good Luck and Relax - You will love this place

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Ditto for what others have been saying. I grew up almost my entire life in Fayetteville. All types of people live there, so I think it goes without saying that there's a lot of tolerance.

It's still Arkansas, so there's still a lot of good ol' boys but no where near like other places I've been to. Heck, you can even drive out in the back roads around Fayetteville and see just as many retired "progressive people" (sorry, couldn't think of a pc term for hippy) living side by side with "hillbillies" (well, couldn't think of one for that either). Not meaning to categorize people, but trying to illustrate the diversity of people who are attracted to Fayetteville and the surrounding area of NWA.

I had several black friends in junior high-high school. Never thought anything of it. (don't think I had any in my class in elementry, though, but that's probably changed)

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I agree with the others that I wouldn't think you'd have any problems in Fayetteville, but I don't feel the same way about it being due to the fact that Fayetteville is "progressive". I'm not saying it is or isn't, I'm just saying that racism is ridiculous in any form or fashion, and if we have to be "progressive" not to be accepting of other races, then there's a problem with society in general. (I know, getting borderline philosophical here.) Right now I'm in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and while it is a much smaller area than Fayetteville, with an even smaller percentage of non-whites (though as the area grows the percentage is increasing), and I saw two interracial couples and several black familes here today, and I can honestly say that from what I observed they were not treated any differently, or occasionally, better, than white couples/familes. I think a lot of it is because people who live here (Mtn. Home is a very "imported" city, a large majority of people here are not native to Mtn. Home, or Arkansas) really want these southern stereotypes to go away, and are going out of their way to be friendly. Unfortunately, it is not this way everywhere. Just an hour west of here there is the headquarters of the most famous racist group in the US (I will not give them the satisfaction of acknowledging their name). They don't come to Mtn. Home thankfully, but I would not live in Harrison for that reason alone. At any rate, I can't imagine that you'd have any problems in Fayetteville, and I welcome you to the area, and the forum.

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I agree with the others that I wouldn't think you'd have any problems in Fayetteville, but I don't feel the same way about it being due to the fact that Fayetteville is "progressive". I'm not saying it is or isn't, I'm just saying that racism is ridiculous in any form or fashion, and if we have to be "progressive" not to be accepting of other races, then there's a problem with society in general. (I know, getting borderline philosophical here.)

I agree, thus my comments in the other thread, though I got a bit more "political" with it than you.

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Wow I got on the forum today and I am so pleased and touched by all the wonderful posts!

Neither myself or my husband really had too many worries ourselves, we honestly don't care what people think of our relationship, however it was nagging at me to ask the inevitable question. My parents moved to Altus and my mother said that she did not see that there would be any issues there either. However they had a bit of an experience in Altus and they are both white. They were given a bit of grief about being from California. My mother was concerned about the welfare of a child in a run-down home that had no electricity or running water so she called Child Protective Services. The next day, the brother of the Mayor or Sheriff (can't remember which one it was) came by my parents home and gave them the "Y'all ain't from 'round here and we don't do things like that. If you're going to stay here you're going to have to learn our ways". This really happened! She was floored to say the least. I guess my point is, is that you don't have to be a specific race/creed to get a bit of prejudice once in a while and you are right when you say that sometimes the worse situations happen in places you would never expect it. I did have the worst experience ever right here in San Diego.

I used to be a flight attendant and the first place I was stationed was Salt Lake City. That is the first place outside of San Diego my husband and I ever moved....now THAT was a shock! We did get some stares but I like to think it was more out of curiosity. Salt Lake has a very small black population. My husband (who by the way is half white) used to say "It has been over a week and I have not seen another black person".

The defining moment in me posting the questions I posted was that we were at one of my family functions the other night and the husband of my stepmothers friend used to live in Arkansas (Ft.Smith) and Louisianna. He went on for over an hour about how things are not the same there and that we really should be concerned. He is some big shot corn plantation owner or something like that and still travels to that part of the country, but I think the smaller towns. He kept on saying "I'm just warning you". Anyways, to heck with what he says, you all seem much more knowledgable than he did. To be honest, I was wondering how he really felt, if ya know what I mean!

This Urbanplanet forum has been a great means of information for me. I get on here and then all of a sudden it's an hour later, oops!!! I have learned a lot about the area and seen some absolutely beautiful picutres! You all live in one of the prettiest places in the country, for sure.

Thanks again everyone!

Sarah :thumbsup:

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Wow I got on the forum today and I am so pleased and touched by all the wonderful posts!

Neither myself or my husband really had too many worries ourselves, we honestly don't care what people think of our relationship, however it was nagging at me to ask the inevitable question. My parents moved to Altus and my mother said that she did not see that there would be any issues there either. However they had a bit of an experience in Altus and they are both white. They were given a bit of grief about being from California. My mother was concerned about the welfare of a child in a run-down home that had no electricity or running water so she called Child Protective Services. The next day, the brother of the Mayor or Sheriff (can't remember which one it was) came by my parents home and gave them the "Y'all ain't from 'round here and we don't do things like that. If you're going to stay here you're going to have to learn our ways". This really happened! She was floored to say the least. I guess my point is, is that you don't have to be a specific race/creed to get a bit of prejudice once in a while and you are right when you say that sometimes the worse situations happen in places you would never expect it. I did have the worst experience ever right here in San Diego.

I used to be a flight attendant and the first place I was stationed was Salt Lake City. That is the first place outside of San Diego my husband and I ever moved....now THAT was a shock! We did get some stares but I like to think it was more out of curiosity. Salt Lake has a very small black population. My husband (who by the way is half white) used to say "It has been over a week and I have not seen another black person".

The defining moment in me posting the questions I posted was that we were at one of my family functions the other night and the husband of my stepmothers friend used to live in Arkansas (Ft.Smith) and Louisianna. He went on for over an hour about how things are not the same there and that we really should be concerned. He is some big shot corn plantation owner or something like that and still travels to that part of the country, but I think the smaller towns. He kept on saying "I'm just warning you". Anyways, to heck with what he says, you all seem much more knowledgable than he did. To be honest, I was wondering how he really felt, if ya know what I mean!

This Urbanplanet forum has been a great means of information for me. I get on here and then all of a sudden it's an hour later, oops!!! I have learned a lot about the area and seen some absolutely beautiful picutres! You all live in one of the prettiest places in the country, for sure.

Thanks again everyone!

Sarah :thumbsup:

Sarah,

I'm repeating myself to others here but...this area is not California, and there are definitely some places where a black person would be in the minority here, though I don't even think that "minority" status is quite what it used to be. (Case in point...when I took my son recently to the Siloam Springs pool. I saw one black young man there, one black young woman...the young man seemed to be having a blast. Saw some (India)n and lots of hispanic kids there, too.)

But I'm here to tell you, EVERY TIME I shop at the new Wal-Mart in Jane, MO (just across the state line from Benton County, AR, where 20 years ago the local Optimists Club "Sunset" logo on a "Welcome" sign was said to be a code for "N***er, don't let the sun go down on your back here") I see black folks (some employees), hispanic folks (some employees), (India)n folks, asian folks. EVERY TIME I visit I see a different set of shoppers from the same minority groups. Not long back I saw a rastafarian shopper in full gear who looked like he'd just caught the "yes-i" from Montego Bay to Bentonville. I've also seen more than one obviously gay couple at that Wal-Mart. (And I hate to compare being black with being gay...but being gay is a different kind of minority, somewhat...for a different discussion board.)

This is in a county (McDonald, MO) which used to be called "Booger County" by locals and where 20+ years ago I WOULDN'T have let the sun go down on my back there if I were a minority.

Whatever you've heard about Wal-Mart, know that it (as well as J.B. Hunt and Tyson Food) has helped diversify this area to an amazing degree. There are now estimated to be 3,000+ individuals from India here. There are about 10 (India)n families (all upper middle class) that I know of in my subdivision, along with 2 black families and 2 asian families. (The Hispanic families, LOTS of them seem to live in enclaves...however, the couple next door to us have an adopted daughter from Guatemala. There's an adopted girl from Russia around the corner up the street.)

And again, this is in Benton County, not Fayetteville in the next county to the south where everyone's talking of. It's a fascinating place to live, and be alive in, right now.

(BTW, as I type this I'm watching people move into the new Discount Bible store a few stores down the shopping center from our gift shop in Centerton, AR 4 miles west of Bentonville. The Discount Bible store is owned by an Iranian man, a convert to Christianity from Islam who is a pastor at a Benton County church. His daughter, who lives in this town, will run the store.

Is this a great country or what?)

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Sarah,

I'm repeating myself to others here but...this area is not California, and there are definitely some places where a black person would be in the minority here, though I don't even think that "minority" status is quite what it used to be. (Case in point...when I took my son recently to the Siloam Springs pool. I saw one black young man there, one black young woman...the young man seemed to be having a blast. Saw some (India)n and lots of hispanic kids there, too.)

But I'm here to tell you, EVERY TIME I shop at the new Wal-Mart in Jane, MO (just across the state line from Benton County, AR, where 20 years ago the local Optimists Club "Sunset" logo on a "Welcome" sign was said to be a code for "N***er, don't let the sun go down on your back here") I see black folks (some employees), hispanic folks (some employees), (India)n folks, asian folks. EVERY TIME I visit I see a different set of shoppers from the same minority groups. Not long back I saw a rastafarian shopper in full gear who looked like he'd just caught the "yes-i" from Montego Bay to Bentonville. I've also seen more than one obviously gay couple at that Wal-Mart. (And I hate to compare being black with being gay...but being gay is a different kind of minority, somewhat...for a different discussion board.)

This is in a county (McDonald, MO) which used to be called "Booger County" by locals and where 20+ years ago I WOULDN'T have let the sun go down on my back there if I were a minority.

Whatever you've heard about Wal-Mart, know that it (as well as J.B. Hunt and Tyson Food) has helped diversify this area to an amazing degree. There are now estimated to be 3,000+ individuals from India here. There are about 10 (India)n families (all upper middle class) that I know of in my subdivision, along with 2 black families and 2 asian families. (The Hispanic families, LOTS of them seem to live in enclaves...however, the couple next door to us have an adopted daughter from Guatemala. There's an adopted girl from Russia around the corner up the street.)

And again, this is in Benton County, not Fayetteville in the next county to the south where everyone's talking of. It's a fascinating place to live, and be alive in, right now.

(BTW, as I type this I'm watching people move into the new Discount Bible store a few stores down the shopping center from our gift shop in Centerton, AR 4 miles west of Bentonville. The Discount Bible store is owned by an Iranian man, a convert to Christianity from Islam who is a pastor at a Benton County church. His daughter, who lives in this town, will run the store.

Is this a great country or what?)

/quote]

Thanks for the info!! I was excited to read that you saw a Rasta :yahoo: ...as my husband just chopped off his dreads a few years ago. We visit Jamaica every year...my mother-in-law (who is white) even has a house there! My husband was actually brought up in the Rasta culture.

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A good fact about Fayetteville Joosey Joose, is that Fayetteville has more people from California, than any other state.

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A good fact about Fayetteville Joosey Joose, is that Fayetteville has more people from California, than any other state.

mcheiss...I live on SE 6th St., 2 blocks north of the David Glass technology center and several blocks southeast of Memorial park.

Joosey, glad you got a kick out of that. What was cool was that no one seemed to be staring at him in an untoward manner.

I'll take the discussion one step further, again speaking of "gay" people. At what I call "Wal-mart central", the store across from W-M's world headquarters, when shopping for groceries one night about 1-2 years ago I heard the guy in front of me tell the checkout clerk "I like your pins" in a somewhat, er, different-sounding manner.

When it was my turn to check out I looked at the clerk's buttons (W-M clerks frequently have pins from vendors or buttons advertising products like videos all over their vests, if they wear them, the way girl scouts used to have merit badges on their sashes). Among his other product buttons he had: 1) an upside-down rainbow triangle pin and; 2) a button that said "I (heart) Ashton Kutcher".

Curiosity got the better of me and I asked him: 1) "Does anyone at the home office ever give you a hard time about wearing those buttons", and 2) "What's it like being gay here in NW Arkansas"? (I've got several GBLT friends...though it shouldn't matter, I'm an evangelical Christian conservative whose worldview is probably the same pretty much as Dr. Jerry Falwell's and Dr. James Dobson's. However, I've also told some of these friends how different this area is from what it used to be...one of my former acquaintances who is gay had a very difficult time living in the Arkansas River Valley).

To which the clerk replied:

1. "No." (Amazing, but again, he was working right across from headquarters), and;

2. "Not bad." He noted among other things Eureka Springs (we've got a thread about that here somewhere) and their pridefest. He did say that the traffic here was getting too much for his liking so he was moving to Little Rock. :blink:

Of course, after I was checking out the girl clerk at the next stand was staring at me like I had three eyes. :rofl:

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^^

It's not uncommon to see gay couples shopping together at Wal-Mart or anywhere else for that matter. There are clubs in NWA that have Drag Queen contests. NWA is about as diverse as it gets in this country. We only lack the quantity of diversity which, hopefully, will become a thing of the past. I for one cannot wait until there are as many African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Indians and all the "others" in NWA as there are caucasians. Where NWA suffers the most is economic diversity, which may someday also be a thing of the past.

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A good fact about Fayetteville Joosey Joose, is that Fayetteville has more people from California, than any other state.

I am assuming that was a typo, and you meant to say city. :D

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I am assuming that was a typo, and you meant to say city. :D

No, I actually ment that Fayetteville has more people from California than any other State.

I know it doesn't have more Californians than any other city. :lol: Sorry, it's worded a bit bad.

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So what Matt is trying to say is that Fayetteville has more people FROM California than FROM any other state. It's too hard to tell up here in Benton County which state is more predominant. If I had to pick the most out of state license plates I've seen up here I'd have to say Kansas. There are at least a dozen cars in my apartment complex with Kansas tags.

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