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Old 09-21-2013, 10:49 AM
2 posts, read 1,991 times
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Hi, I'm a senior in college graduating in May 2014. I'm wondering if Cincinnati has anything to offer for young professionals, especially as an African American woman. Should I relocate? If so, where? I'm an English major hoping to work in book/magazine publishing and editing for a few years. Then I will be applying to law school. Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:52 PM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,936,243 times
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This is a "perennial" question. With C-D you can send an e-mail directly to anyone who posts, which you might want to do with the person who started the thread below earlier in '13:

African American Young Professionals

As much as P & G dominates the economic and - by extension - social landscape of Cincinnati in general, its influence is all the more strong in the AA sector. Few other employers outside of government, academia, and health care have as strong of a "minority" hiring record. Writers of many aggrieved posts here and elsewhere on the Web testify to being the "token" among a work force. As such, tales are recounted of indignities from being told by a courier "a qualified person has to sign for this" all the way to questionable patterns of job promotions. Outside of the office? Well...if you work downtown you can go to a chain restaurant or McBrewery, and "'you people' have Mahogany's," at The Banks. Or you could ascend to Mt Adams. There's a jazz club there! And every time you turn around lately there's something new, fun, and hip to discover in Over-the-Rhine now that more and more...I mean, nice people, and that includes some Blacks, moving in too, really...never mind.

I'm the wrong person to try and hype Cincinnati with a poker face.

NYC is still the place for the literary industry such as it is, and the Meccas for credentialed AA adults in this country continue to be DC and Atlanta. (Chicago and New York also have a notable upper-middle-class and higher Black population partly by dint of sheer numbers.) It's no accident that Cincinnati has one of the worst poverty, crime, and segregation records of any place. The "haves" leave in droves so the proportion of "have-nots" climbs. Silverton and North Avondale/Paddock Hills are the only two areas which are desirable and somewhat safe AND can boast of visible numbers of comfortable, let alone well-off, AA residents. Other sections that Blacks who have "made it" call home (Westwood, Kennedy Heights, Roselawn) contain blocks with much curb appeal but also continually grapple with terrible schools and perceived - if not actual - high crime. Suburbs like Forest Park and North College Hill are phasing downward overall.

So why stay?
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:52 PM
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,729,032 times
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Finding a job right out of college is really tough. I hope that you stay, but when you're first starting out, sometimes it makes sense to think of the job first and the location second.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:16 PM
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There are a lot more black professionals in other metros. I think the answer to your question depends a lot on your personal preferences. If you strongly desire to be in a place with many AA peers, you should probably go to DC, Atlanta, Chicago, NYC, or LA. Maybe even Detroit. If you're okay with having a social network that consists of some other AAs but is probably mostly white people, then Cincinnati should be perfectly fine. In some sense, you'd get to be a big fish in a small pond in the AA professional community. If you're so inclined, you could leverage that position to try to make a more hospitable environment for others like yourself who are in/looking at the area (like by starting an organization for local AA writers).

While Cincinnati has a decent sized AA population, it seems to me most of the professionals move elsewhere. But that doesn't mean you have to be one of them! Obviously you see something of value here, so ask yourself if that trumps having a large network of AA peers, or how significant the race of your peer group is to you.

One thing is for sure: Cincy would be better having more black professionals!
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:39 PM
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,729,032 times
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But ultimately OP's plan is law school...so for the long term she'll probably be in whatever metro area surrounds the law school she chooses.

I would be shocked if there are more than one or two job openings a year in book and magazine editing in Cincinnati for someone without experience. I hope I'm wrong. It is a field I know nothing about.
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:55 AM
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My answer is short: OP, I think given your specific circumstances that you can do better than Cincinnati.
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:27 AM
190 posts, read 178,282 times
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Like someone else said, if you don't mind having a network comprised of a handful of African-American professionals and mostly white professionals otherwise, you may find Cincinnati to your liking. But you're looking at a very specific industry that Cincinnati is not known for. It's hard to say much else w/o knowing more about your situation and what else is important to you (cost of living, social life, etc.).
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:46 PM
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Thank you all for the advice. It has been very helpful. I really value diversity; something I don't think Cincy is big on. I think I will try a bigger city and see what happens. If things don't work out, I can always come back
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:07 PM
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Cincy has a lot more economic diversity than bigger cities, generally. Lots of lower-middle and middle-middle class people here. Bigger cities are more top/bottom-heavy, with lots of lower and upper-middle class people and not much else. There just isn't much class-diversity among African Americans in Cincy, unfortunately. Mostly because people like yourself tend to move elsewhere, to places which do have that, which is completely understandable. Though it's also a vicious cycle, since when people like you leave, there aren't people like you around. Know what I mean?

Anyway, it sounds like you don't have much or any experience living elsewhere. And for anyone, black white or whatever, in that boat, I recommend to get out and experience the world. You're young and mobile. Now is the time to find yourself and your tastes, and that includes (especially) your tastes in geography. Figure out what the alternatives are like, and you may (or may not) decided Cincinnati is home, after all.

As far as racial and ethnic diversity go, Cincinnati does not have it. Despite a growing Asian and Latino population, Cincinnati remains more-or-less a black-and-white American town. Hopefully, with the city's ongoing economic and cultural resurgence, there will be a swing in its attractiveness to immigrants and this will change some. For now, it's the coasts and Chicago which enjoy that distinction.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:31 PM
Location: Over-the-Rhine, Ohio
548 posts, read 607,694 times
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I'm white, but have many black friends in this city. Generally the attitude is that there is a very strong, welcoming community for young black professionals, but it's not that large. The thing I've noticed is that all of my black friends say they HATE living in "racist old Cincinnati" but then they all leave for a year or two and come running back to Cincinnati because they're social network was so much stronger here than elsewhere. The thing I've noticed about the bigotry here is that it's all out in the open. I lived in Milwaukee and Chicago before this where everybody pretends like they're not racist but secretly vote affirmatively on racist policies like redlining and blockbusting. In Cincinnati the bigotry is right out in the open. I've hear the n-word and the f-word (I'm a gay man) more times in this city than everywhere else I've been combined, and quite frankly I appreciate it. It lets me know exactly where I stand with the people I'm surrounded by. It also leads to many passionate discussions with people on the streets. That's probably why Cincinnati has more riots on its books than any other American city. Everyone here is VERY passionate. This is a good segue to the other issue in the original post.

The passion in this city creates a VERY vibrant art and design community. As a result, Cincinnati is to Graphic Design what New York is to Fashion and LA is to Acting. It's tough to get into, but once you do you're designing for the top brands in the world. If you're looking to do Graphic Design work for a magazine, you might find work here. If you're looking to work as a journalist...not so much. Just take a look at our local paper. It's complete garbage. Sure, there are some worthwhile publishers in this city, but there's hardly a concentration.

Cincinnati's a great city and definitely a viable option. It's just a matter of what sort of climate you're looking to get into.
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