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citykidd

Greensboro, The Divided and how city growth is Affected

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I am a native of Greensboro, and have seen this city go through many different stages. The city has grown, downtown is being revived, and now there is a wide spectrum of people from all of America and the world. But, one thing still disturbs me about this city is it divide between the whites and minority groups, especially among whites and blacks. One would think with five colleges and universities within the city limits would provide for a more progressive, open-minded setting. After college, many students do not remain in this city or region, for what I believe is a lack of corporation between western/northwestern citizens and southern/eastern citizens. The city even recently elected a man, whom I believe will put it back decades in race relations, which essentially affect growth in this city. One aspect can be seen through the lack of access to city watershed parks for minority groups. The lack of city festivals and gatherings is also an issue, mainly due to again, race.

I've come to the conclusion that those with influence, money, and power in the city don't want things to change, however, the same want growth. Does anyone else see major rift between the citizens of Greensboro, that not only is hurting growth and progression, but future too?

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I completely see the same thing that your seeing. And frankly, I wish this was something that is discussed more often. Having leaders and citizens that deeply care and help each other is very, VERY important for a city. All of the booming cities have that. And Greensboro has too much potential to be having such issues but yet they happen. The people here need to realize that we have to FIGHT for our changes and no one else is gonna help us. Just how Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas fought for growth, Greensboro will have to fight for it as well. It really pisses me off that the same people who say Greensboro is "boring" or "too plain" or "slow", are usually the same people that don't wanna do anything to help. That's the same type of thing that prevented Ms. Johnson from going back into office this term. Alot of the same people that voted for Johnson did not vote this time around. We need to realize that we cant afford to be lazy, every little thing can make a difference. Greensboro has made good progress but we can do even better. We all have to put aside our differences and work together for the sake of this city.

Oh and BTW, citykidd, where do you see Greensboro in the next 5-10 years? Do you think it will be much better? With more opportunities? I think it will but I'm interested in hearing other citizens opinions.

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I agree, I also see the divide. I also think people have perceptions about people of color as well. I've actually heard people say "don't go anywhere near a street name MLK Jr Dr" There is a perception that if the neighborhood is primarily minority, its a high crime area. That is totally not true but that perception is a reason you don't see a lot of retail in east Greensboro. Now it is true that crime is higher near public housing but if you look at the crime data, most minority neighborhoods that aren't near public housing have very little crime at all, no more than white neighborhoods in west Greensboro. Its interesting because when are looking to buy a new home, We subconsciously select neighborhoods with people that look like ourselves.

There are a number of cases where brand new subdivisions are built and you see an equal mix of white and black citizens. After about 3 or 5 years, the same subdivisions are almost entirely black. What happened? Why did all the white residents move out? This has been a pattern throughout Greensboro's history. Even when you go back to the early 1970s. There were neighborhoods in northeast Greensboro that were almost entirely white. Today they are entirely black. Some blame it on property values. They think if more minorities move in, their property values will drop. This is the kind of mindset we are dealing with in 2010 folks. But this goes far beyond neighborhoods being divided by race. Children are being taught at a young age. Go into any school cafeteria and you'll see all the black students sitting together and all the white students sitting together. So the divide begins at an early age. People need to learn to embrace people that may look different from themselves because we are all human. We need to teach our children not to judge or associate with people based on ethnic background. Even today, a lot of minorities are turned away from high management positions in many companies. Some companies will use the excuse that he or she is "over qualified" for the position. The problem is that racial issues will never be solved if people stick their heads in the sand and pretend we live in a colorblind world just because we elected a black president. Race will ALWAYS be an issue is some form or fashion.

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This discussion has some merit but I think a mod should reinforce basic UP ground rules for good measure....

Having said that, I am a native of Greensboro but have been in Raleigh for 22 years. Raleigh and Wake County have plenty of issues of their own as the election of a new conservative school board has brought to the forefront but it still does not seem as stark as Greensboro. Here is my take:

Raleigh's growth has taken place primarily post-civil rights era. People of all races, religions etc. benefited from a wealth of opportunities here and with good times the old divides tended to dissipate.

Greensboro's economic golden age was what...1900-1970 or so, based on manufacturing. In those days segregation was still very common but there were strong middle classes across ethnic groups. This segregated city was therefore more or less cemented in that economic boom time. Mental attitudes were cemented as well.

None of this musing though is meant to bad mouth Greensboro or say everything is peachy in Raleigh of Charlotte. Poverty has a clear correlation with education, and is easily tied to historic conditions for minorities in this country. The question that is being discussed in Wake County now is a chicken and egg problem.....does economic mixing in schools (busing) lead to success or does properly funded "neighborhood" schools lead to long term natural socio-economic mixing. Where a city is growing is only a symptom of the underlying problems. Ideally of course, there would be no racial correlation with economic status and ensuing growth in a City. Each City being unique, the answer may be different for a given City.

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Greensboro has its issues like everywhere, but it has historically always been a tolerant place.

I don't see any major race issues. Are there issues? Yes. But not unlike what you find elsewhere. The reason why you hear about race frequently in Greensboro is because Greensboro is a diverse city. There is a large minority population. With that any tensions come out and are talked about. This is a good thing. Greensboro has had minority police chiefs, fire chiefs, school board leader, city manager, mayor, etc.. If you really want to see racism go to many other parts of the country where there are small minority populations.

The biggest problem I see is a socio-economic one. I think people tend to align themselves along lines of wealth more than anything.

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The city even recently elected a man, whom I believe will put it back decades in race relations, which essentially affect growth in this city.

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All the comments I'm reading here ignore one simple fact about all US cities, not just Greensboro: Blacks of a certain income stick together, just like whites do. I'm from Greensboro and all through my life growing up in the northern suburbs, I have noticed that middle income blacks and whites have more in common than poor whites and middle class ones or poor blacks and middle income black suburbanites. That's a fact that's true in any larger city. It has no reflection on Greensboro's lack of progress, just how post civil rights America has become more attuned to class over race. Race is still an issue, but no so much so when two income groups are in parity. This explaines a black president and how he was able to connect to the middle class values of a large majority of working people. That's why there are so many black elected officials in Greensboro (and other cities). They could not have possibly been voted in by only %20 of the population. It's always blacks in inner cities who are seen as needy or crime ridden. Politicials (black and white) use this perception to their advantage.

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I think gso27 hit the nail on the head. The class issue is more than likely the culprit rather than the race.

But incidentally, do y'all think that the geographic split will impact Greensboro in the long run? It's ironic that the majority of the growth appears to be north and west, while the area around the interstate appears comparatively undeveloped. In the Upstate of South Carolina, Greenville and Spartanburg have most of their growth concentrated around I-85 rather than away from it.

To that end, how do y''all think that the growth in the northwest part of Greensboro impacts the need (or lack thereof) for loop freeway or freeway access in general to that part of the city?

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I think gso27 hit the nail on the head. The class issue is more than likely the culprit rather than the race.

But incidentally, do y'all think that the geographic split will impact Greensboro in the long run? It's ironic that the majority of the growth appears to be north and west, while the area around the interstate appears comparatively undeveloped. In the Upstate of South Carolina, Greenville and Spartanburg have most of their growth concentrated around I-85 rather than away from it.

To that end, how do y''all think that the growth in the northwest part of Greensboro impacts the need (or lack thereof) for loop freeway or freeway access in general to that part of the city?

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no doubt. When you combined the loop, Bryan Blvd and close proximity to the airport, there is going to be an explosion of development from hotels, retail and homes. I don't think we can stop it but I do think the city and developers need to work together for better quality , pedestrian friendly mixed-use development so that this area doesn't look like West Wendover Ave at I-40.

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