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iluvclt, that is a good response to a most difficult topic. Roanoke didn't experience the stress of the 1960s race riots in the major cities and I think
there is an awareness here(at least in Roanoke City)that African Americans
are important and everyone must work & live together, especially in these rough economic times.
As a former Roanoke resident, raised here and living here all of my life until the past 2 years, I can give you an upfront and honest opinion of life in the "Noke" as it is called. Blatent racism as well as elitism does not exist here: the problem is, its overt. This is an area that is segregated by sectors. The reason for the separatism is due to the economic disparity that exist in this city. Employment is coveted in this area, with a majority of the high paying jobs being filled by mostly Caucasian employees. Every major company in this area has mostly white employees, with a minute and I do mean minute amount of minorities employed. I guess this is because of the federal mandate by the EEOC to require a percentage of minorities to be employed by the larger companies.
Personally, I would recommend living in the North County/Peters Creek Road area. There is more diversity in this area, low crime, and more tolerable communities in this areas. (By I581/airport area). What you WILL encounter when living in Roanoke VA is subtle exclusion of the black community. There are events at the civic center mostly for White entertainers. There are city community events that are vastly segregated: such as the Henry Street Festival for the black community vs. the Festival in the Park that hosts events for Blue Grass, Rock, Symphonic, Country Western yet excludes headliners for R&B performers unless it involves a local group. Your neighbors may be NICE to you in other sectors that are predominately white, but they will always watch you and the first time you are out of order you will be labeled by the community. And the out of order definition can be such simple issues: music too loud (yet not too loud to you) during a family get together, a stranger walking through your neighborhood that you know but others have never seen before. You will see for yourself upon moving here.
The saddest thing about living in Roanoke is the fact that the black community is very aware of the disparity that exists here, along with the few black community leaders that are in office, yet nothing is done about it. It is what it is, which is why the white community fails to see the problem. To be the largest city in SW VA, it is, quite honestly, the most backwards city I have ever lived in. There is a thin line of order that the black community must walk to stay "ok" in the eyes of the community. I promise you one thing: if your husband drives a luxury car, and is driving through a NICE area with out of town tags, nine times out of ten I PROMISE you he will be followed by a white police officer, his tags ran, and an excuse if one can be found will be made for pulling him over.
I know the rumor that you are describing. Roanoke VA has been considered in the past the Racist City of the South, and after 25 years of living my adult life there, I sadly have to concur.
Roanoke is not known as an African American magnet by any means. Although there is an African American community in Roanoke City it is nothing like Richmond, Hampton Roads, which was closer to the port of entry for many
slaves. Because Roanoke rarely existed during the post civil war era it never attracted African Americans here for employment, until the 1930's when Roanoke became a major railroad center. In todays world of 2012 cities such as Charlotte, Atlanta have become the big centers of African American culture due to their expanding employment opportunites. Many people say Roanoke is full of
old people, rednecks and gay people, plus I don't think African American youth
really go for country music, pick up trucks or weird art museums.
I would like to post my experience although this may divert from the "black/white" in Roanoke discussion you have had. I lived in New River Valley (Blacksburg, Virignia Tech area) for 7 years and then I moved to Roanoke 4 months ago. I am an educated Asian who spent half of my life in the US and has a professional career. And I don't have a heavy Asian accent, by the way, meaning if I go out there, I don't look like a person from Asia having difficulty in speaking English and not knowing what to do. I have lived in big cities, West Coast, Mid-west, NC and small towns as well. In my work I deal with corporations, executives, professors, and I have volunteered at shelters, and I am so used to mingling with people of all social status and all colors. Having lived in Roanoke for a few months so far, I can say that Roanoke is one of the most unfriendliest place to Asians. As others say, in Roanoke segregation is very obvious, but then if you are neither white nor black, you don't get segregated, you get IGNORED. When I go to some shops, it's like I don't exist! I have seen white people not mingling with blacks AND vice versa. And I have seen both of them unfriendly to Asians. I don't want to exaggerate, but I feel it is kind of bad here. If you have lived in other regions and cities, you notice the difference here how unfriendly people are to those of other races, and as some people say, that's the way to live here and people are used to it. I cannot get used to it. My stay in Roanoke may not be long because of this treatment I get in Roanoke. I am sure Roanokers are upset if they hear anything like this, but it is true. I thought Blacksburg was bad for a college town, but it is much worse here. I hope that Roanokers humbly listen to people who lived elsewhere before and share their unpleasant experience living here. You don't think you are that way, and I am not saying it is 'racist' or 'discriminating,' but definitely UNFRIENDLY to "other" races. I heard from my white American friend that it is also the Applachian culture that is one reason for people here being unfriendly to any people outside their click/clan/race. I am a church goer and it is the same at church or outside church, it's everywhere, which is very sad. I love this area and I got used to the way people are, but when I travel outside of the area, I notice the difference in how people are. Sad, but true.
These are challenging words Masam-une, but you are obviously speaking from the heart. Thanks for sharing, though the message is not an encouraging one.
Great job on resurrecting this thread. This thread had two, first-time posters, one being the OP, that tricked people that actual live in the Roanoke area to respond. If you look at the OP's other post, they really moved to Indy: International Village Apartments
This site is an incredible source of information and can assist everyone with gaining further information on every topic imaginable. Bringing old threads back from the past is not always a bad thing. But just like Craigslist, there will be those that try to fan the flames of chaos and paint topics in their own way, like graffiti on railcars. Do gangs really think those railcars won't leave the city?
its definitely segregated in Roanoke for the most part. A lot of racial undertones too. Im half white half hispanic and the ones who know by just looking at me that Im hispanic (and are white) have said few disrespectful comments about me or give me mean looks. I live in NW Roanoke City which is mostly African American and they show me more love than whites do tho few been *******s to me too. Originally Im from Cali but my mom moved me out here when I was 12. Kinda wish I was back there because it was so diverse there,just a lot of crime where I was from compared to Roanoke which is in general safe with lil shady spots.
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