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Old 02-10-2007, 11:41 AM
 
3 posts, read 37,077 times
Reputation: 14
Default Racism in Nashville/Knoxville

Hi,

I am thinking of moving to Tennessee, but I am a little worried about the racial climate in the region. I do not mean to offend anyone (in fact, I am thinking of moving there because I share many of the same "traditional" values), but as a Hispanic (dark skin), I'm worried about the atmosphere, particularly because my wife is white. I grew up in Illinois, and have lived in NYC, LA, and Boston. While I know racism is present everywhere, in those areas, it seemed like every other person was a minority (gay, ethnic, racial, etc.), and I never felt singled out because of my skin.

I am specifically applying to graduate school at Vanderbilt and UTenn, thus my concerns are those areas. Once again, I do not mean to imply that the area is full of hicks, I just don't know much about the South. My only experience is in Alabama, where I experienced no overt racism, but I did feel like everyone was staring at me as if I was Osama Bin Laden (not to mention how many times my "yankee" voice was mentioned).

Thank you!!
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Old 02-10-2007, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Tri-Cities area, Tennessee
359 posts, read 1,112,236 times
Reputation: 91
College towns are very diverse, so I wouldn't worry too much about this. Diversity is not only tolerated, but welcomed - especially in graduate school.

I always says that as long as you're comfortable with yourself, others (at least those that count - which is the majority) will also be comfortable with you. The 5% of people who are jerks (no matter where you live) should not be permitted to steal your joy. Don't let them.

What are you going to be studying in grad school?
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Old 02-10-2007, 04:18 PM
Jza
 
Location: New Jersey
152 posts, read 165,622 times
Reputation: 93
Wow Bojo. I wonder about the same things sometimes. My situation is opposite yours. I'm a white guy and my girlfriends Dominican with dark skin. If people in TN are indeed like they are on this forum, as long as we're not trouble makers, we should be ok. I know the feeling of being scrutinized. I've lived in Miami and now Jersey City.

Make a long story short... I also am trying to plan a visit before attempting a move to TN. I think after people get to know you there, it will override any first impressions they got from you whether positive or negative. If you're thinking about the move for the same reasons I am, you should be alright. We're not going there to tear apart their state or way of life.

I told hiknapster there was a guy who stopped his truck at a red light near my block and threw burger king garbage and soda cans out on the road. That's one thing I'd like to get away from.
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Old 02-10-2007, 11:31 PM
 
3 posts, read 37,077 times
Reputation: 14
GrannyLois: Thank you for your kind words. I just graduated from medical school and have decided to attend business school (although my huge student debt may change my plans of medical administrative work). My wife is pursuing a law degree and will be applying to the same schools as me.

Jza: Thank you for your response, I wish you well in your future move. I agree with you that as long as we are not offensive, we should be treated well. I am just a little paranoid because I feel the South MAY BE less tolerant of a mixed marriage of ethnicity and faith (i'm catholic, she's protestant). Moreover, I am not exactly a Latino that can blend in (I am pretty dark, and look even darker when walking next to my wife who is blonde and blue-eyed). I guess I feel that I am kinda of out of luck because in cities with little minorities, I feel as comfortable as an American wearing an "I luv the USA" shirt in the Middle East. Oh well. As for you, hopefully it will be easier. From the experience of my friends who have mixed relationships, it is much better to have a white male/minority female mix than the opposite. I don't know why, but that's life. Good luck.
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Old 02-10-2007, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Hell
606 posts, read 35,376 times
Reputation: 85
If you stay within the campus,you will probably be safe since graduate schools are diverse.
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Old 03-22-2007, 05:35 PM
 
26 posts, read 69,374 times
Reputation: 12
That is something that worry me too! But as grannylouis said,if you do the right thing,you are respecful,we are going to be ok.
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Old 03-23-2007, 03:01 AM
 
Location: Kenai Peninsula, AK
5,479 posts, read 8,897,152 times
Reputation: 1918
Sometimes I really do wonder what people think of Southern cities! <grin> There are so many people in Knoxville and Nashville that are transplants - you'll have no problems here. I am affiliated with the UT system as well, but I also venture out into "greater Knoxville" once in a while and there are people of every walk of life here -- Asian, Middle Eastern, European, South/Central American, Canadian, Oceaniac(?), African, African-American... Knoxville/Nashville urbanites are really no different than city-dwellers anywhere else in America.
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Old 03-26-2007, 01:33 AM
 
44 posts, read 227,750 times
Reputation: 43
racial climate in the region is something you should be concerned about. I think it is more than 5% that are not nice, and you are only able to ignore them so much. One of my best friends is Mexican, very dark, we have traveled a lot in TN and have had few times of thinking she was being treated different than others but there have been times. One time I stopped at a gas station in Nashville right by Opryland, I had my adopted black boy with me, we were followed around the store and then I was accused of stealing something. I was so mad I called the police, they said they were coming but I waited in my car a hour and they did not come. Now due to a health problem I have gained a lot of weight, I get that kind of treatment a lot! I just pray and thank God for taking care of me.
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Old 03-26-2007, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Oak Ridge, TN
119 posts, read 262,326 times
Reputation: 44
We don't live in the area yet...but we were in Oak Ridge this weekend (right near Knoxville) and I saw many multi-racial couples. I saw many people of color too....so I'd say you'd be fine. No one seemed to bat an eye at it.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:43 AM
 
1 posts, read 13,429 times
Reputation: 16
I live just outside of Nashville in Mt Juliet and I'm from Knoxville. I am African American and I must say me and my children have been made far more aware of our race in Middle Tn than I was growing up in East Tn in the 70's and 80's. After the election my children actually witness children tying nooses and it was supposed to be a joke. I have consistently taught my children to see people not race but it is getting increasingly difficult. We are looking at moving back to Knoxville as Middle Tn unfortunately is turning out to be a nightmare.
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