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Old 12-29-2008, 12:56 PM
 
447 posts, read 1,123,180 times
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The city of Holland is 18% Hispanic -- the public schools are 40%+ Hispanic. What's not diverse about that?

New Motto: "If you're not Dutch, you'll fit right in!" :-)

They welcomed my non-Dutch family in the early 1900's -- although it took some doing back then to get accepted. I beleieve that in the past 100 years, things have changed a little -- for the better.

 
Old 12-29-2008, 01:39 PM
 
356 posts, read 934,422 times
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It seems to be normal for immigrant groups to stick together, the Polish did in GR, the Hollanders did for a while. Eventually people get assimilated into the Yankee culture, unfortunately. People used to be a lot more supportive of each other, I think that came from the pioneer experience, or maybe just the immigrant in the new world experience. Then eventually everybody does the lowest common denominator Yankee grab what I can get thing.

I think its sad that there is so little respect for immigrant groups. They add a lot to this area, even if they are different from the monoculture of the USA.
 
Old 12-29-2008, 02:30 PM
 
12,551 posts, read 7,616,922 times
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Interesting conversation! The flaw I see in later comments, in regards to diversity, is the use of a particular city, in a metropolitan area, to demonstrate diversity. That is like taking a classroom of 30 students, isolating a corner in the class that contained about 7 students, and then inferring diversity based upon that subset, while ignoring the diversity of the entire superset. Grand Rapids represents about 25% of metropolitan (Kent, Ottawa and Allegan County) population. Detroit represents about 20% of the Metro Detroit population. Holland represents about 11% of the population of Ottawa County. Hence, focusing on the subsets is really disingenuous, if not done from ignorance.

The truth of the matter is that the Grand Rapids area is not very diverse. It is underrepresented, based upon national percentages, in its African America, Latino and Asian population and over represented in its percentage of residents who are white. Metropolitan Detroit is 20% black, compared to 14% of the nation being black. The Latino population in Detroit is under represented; however, there is a large Arab representation in the area, while the white population is slightly over represented.

One of the things that I don’t like about West Michigan is its lack of diversity racially. The Detroit area is diverse, but highly segregated, which blunts the diversity. What good is diversity if it’s not integrated? Worse yet, Grand Rapids area is not diverse and also segregated, although not a pronounced as Detroit. In Grand Rapids and Detroit areas, I felt uncomfortable going into certain areas that were nearly all white. I now live in the Minneapolis area and have yet to have that experience, even though the Twin Cities are less diverse than Grand Rapids or Detroit.
 
Old 12-30-2008, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,756,057 times
Reputation: 3838
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
Interesting conversation! The flaw I see in later comments, in regards to diversity, is the use of a particular city, in a metropolitan area, to demonstrate diversity. That is like taking a classroom of 30 students, isolating a corner in the class that contained about 7 students, and then inferring diversity based upon that subset, while ignoring the diversity of the entire superset. Grand Rapids represents about 25% of metropolitan (Kent, Ottawa and Allegan County) population. Detroit represents about 20% of the Metro Detroit population. Holland represents about 11% of the population of Ottawa County. Hence, focusing on the subsets is really disingenuous, if not done from ignorance.

The truth of the matter is that the Grand Rapids area is not very diverse. It is underrepresented, based upon national percentages, in its African America, Latino and Asian population and over represented in its percentage of residents who are white. Metropolitan Detroit is 20% black, compared to 14% of the nation being black. The Latino population in Detroit is under represented; however, there is a large Arab representation in the area, while the white population is slightly over represented.

One of the things that I don’t like about West Michigan is its lack of diversity racially. The Detroit area is diverse, but highly segregated, which blunts the diversity. What good is diversity if it’s not integrated? Worse yet, Grand Rapids area is not diverse and also segregated, although not a pronounced as Detroit. In Grand Rapids and Detroit areas, I felt uncomfortable going into certain areas that were nearly all white. I now live in the Minneapolis area and have yet to have that experience, even though the Twin Cities are less diverse than Grand Rapids or Detroit.
I think it's disingenuous to compare Grand Rapids to Metro Detroit or Minneapolis. For one thing, Metro Mpls and Detroit are way bigger than GR, so they draw a more international crowd through their much larger employment base. Plus, they're just more well known, so they draw a lot more international immigration.

I agree with others though that the city of Detroit is probably less racially diverse than Grand Rapids. Having any one minority group represent 90% of the mix is pretty monocultural.

But if people insist on comparing a Tier II city to Tier I cities, Grand Rapids City must be doing something right then. It's one of the few cities in the Great Lakes/Midwest regions that has stayed near its peak of population of around 200,000 reached in 2000, without annexing any of its neighboring cities or townships. Detroit is about 1/2 of its peak. Minneapolis is down to about 370,000 from its peak of 520,000 in 1950. Chicago is down to 2.8 Million from its peak of 3.6 Million.

Not that I disagree that Grand Rapids needs to open up more to the increasing numbers of foreign born and minority residents. But apparently people aren't feeling uncomfortable in large numbers and leaving en masse.
 
Old 12-30-2008, 10:08 AM
 
143 posts, read 300,280 times
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As I read this thread, a new question pops into my head: What does it matter? In the course of our lives, does it really matter if the city in which you live is 15% or 25% Mexican, etc.? I say no and here is why:

I think that we tend to live our lives within a small circle which is comprised mostly of family, close friends, and the people that we work/go to school with. Within that small circle, it is easy for it to be comprised of almost, if not all, of one ethnic group, most likey our own, regardless of how "diverse" the area around us is. It is very difficult to maintain meaningful relationships with any group of people much bigger than our close circle, so how much does it matter what the rest of the city looks like?

Think about it, most of us do not mix it up with random people on the street. In the small interactions that we most commonly have with strangers, ethnicity really doesn't matter. Does it make a difference whether the cashier at the grocery store is black or white? No, not really.

Even when it comes to culture and ntertainment, I don't think it makes much different. For instance, I used to live in a city in which the vast majority was a single ethnicity with pockets of several others. However, there were lots of ethnic restaurants, cultural events, etc. because those small groups put it out there for everyone to experience. You could experience a variety of cultures in a city that was dominated by a single group.

I still maintain that the deographic of those around you that will matter the most in your everyday life is political views. However that's a different subject for a different thread.

Thoughts?
 
Old 12-30-2008, 10:23 AM
 
12,551 posts, read 7,616,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
I think it's disingenuous to compare Grand Rapids to Metro Detroit or Minneapolis. For one thing, Metro Mpls and Detroit are way bigger than GR, so they draw a more international crowd through their much larger employment base. Plus, they're just more well known, so they draw a lot more international immigration.

I agree with others though that the city of Detroit is probably less racially diverse than Grand Rapids. Having any one minority group represent 90% of the mix is pretty monocultural.

But if people insist on comparing a Tier II city to Tier I cities, Grand Rapids City must be doing something right then. It's one of the few cities in the Great Lakes/Midwest regions that has stayed near its peak of population of around 200,000 reached in 2000, without annexing any of its neighboring cities or townships. Detroit is about 1/2 of its peak. Minneapolis is down to about 370,000 from its peak of 520,000 in 1950. Chicago is down to 2.8 Million from its peak of 3.6 Million.

Not that I disagree that Grand Rapids needs to open up more to the increasing numbers of foreign born and minority residents. But apparently people aren't feeling uncomfortable in large numbers and leaving en masse.
Touché!

Anyway, the size of the metropolitan areas is irrelevant in the context of my usage of Detroit, Grand Rapids and Minneapolis. Sure….if you and I take a test and you score higher than me…..I can give you many reasons why you got a better grade than me. Maybe you had more time to study. Maybe I got sick. Maybe I was late and did not have enough time to finish. However, the metric (the test score) is the metric regardless of the reason influencing the score. The score is the score. By the same token, Detroit and Minneapolis may have more reasons to be diverse than Grand Rapids (not that I accept the proposition of the correlation between size and diversity being intrinsic), but the fact remains that Grand Rapids is not very diverse….for whatever reason you want to articulate.
 
Old 12-30-2008, 10:34 AM
 
12,551 posts, read 7,616,922 times
Reputation: 4767
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyButler7000 View Post
As I read this thread, a new question pops into my head: What does it matter? In the course of our lives, does it really matter if the city in which you live is 15% or 25% Mexican, etc.? I say no and here is why:

I think that we tend to live our lives within a small circle which is comprised mostly of family, close friends, and the people that we work/go to school with. Within that small circle, it is easy for it to be comprised of almost, if not all, of one ethnic group, most likey our own, regardless of how "diverse" the area around us is. It is very difficult to maintain meaningful relationships with any group of people much bigger than our close circle, so how much does it matter what the rest of the city looks like?

Think about it, most of us do not mix it up with random people on the street. In the small interactions that we most commonly have with strangers, ethnicity really doesn't matter. Does it make a difference whether the cashier at the grocery store is black or white? No, not really.

Even when it comes to culture and ntertainment, I don't think it makes much different. For instance, I used to live in a city in which the vast majority was a single ethnicity with pockets of several others. However, there were lots of ethnic restaurants, cultural events, etc. because those small groups put it out there for everyone to experience. You could experience a variety of cultures in a city that was dominated by a single group.

I still maintain that the deographic of those around you that will matter the most in your everyday life is political views. However that's a different subject for a different thread.

Thoughts?

As an African...American....It matters to me for culture reasons. There is not one radio station in the Grand Rapids area that plays black music 24/7!!! WSNX plays Hip Hop and pop...neither of which I am a big fan of, plus, it does not offer news and perspectives from the black community...which I value. There is a black AM station on 1140 WJNZ...but it goes off when the sun goes down. In Detroit....I could choose between black R&B, Black Oldies, Hip Hop, Jazz...you name it.....as well as non black music if I got in the mood. If there are not enough blacks in an area....you cannot support certain cultural things like music.....certain concerts and plays will not come to town.....more importantly.....when I was single I liked having a lot of black women to choose from. Not that all women are not beautiful....because they are....but my prefence is black women. The black population in Grand Rapids is relatively small and the black middle class is even smaller.....and if one is single looking for a certain type of women.....its hard. In Detroit it was all day everyday....black women . Minneapolis is even worse....but I have settled down and married....and don't need the extra temptation
 
Old 12-30-2008, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
419 posts, read 1,249,556 times
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Originally posted by monkeybutler7000:
Quote:
I think that we tend to live our lives within a small circle which is comprised mostly of family, close friends, and the people that we work/go to school with. Within that small circle, it is easy for it to be comprised of almost, if not all, of one ethnic group, most likey our own, regardless of how "diverse" the area around us is.
Having been raised in the GR metro, but now living elsewhere, I think that what may strike people moving into West Michigan is the extent to which the above is possible. For folks in the dutch reformed communities, one can go to school with people just like oneself, go to church with the same people, and work for a business owned by someone like yourself. It is very possible to minimize contact, which some choose to do, with anyone who isn't "one of our people." So for someone moving into Kent or Ottawa counties, they encounter this critical mass of people who seem to have no inclination to want to get to know anything or anyone different from themselves or their current environment.
From one point of view, it is an incredibly secure environment in which to grow up. But it can also be viewed as incredibly stagnant.
Now understand the whole "if you're not Dutch, you're not much" sentiment is not at all unique to the Dutch. When I moved to ND/MN, I was ridiculed for not recognizing Olsen as being Swedish or Danish as opposed to Olson, which would be Norwegian. And almost 20 years later, I still get the all-too-familiar refrain of "Well, you're not from here after all."
 
Old 12-30-2008, 10:51 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
3,095 posts, read 5,629,849 times
Reputation: 4404
Quote:
Anyway, the size of the metropolitan areas is irrelevant in the context of my usage of Detroit, Grand Rapids and Minneapolis. Sure….if you and I take a test and you score higher than me…..I can give you many reasons why you got a better grade than me. Maybe you had more time to study. Maybe I got sick. Maybe I was late and did not have enough time to finish. However, the metric (the test score) is the metric regardless of the reason influencing the score. The score is the score. By the same token, Detroit and Minneapolis may have more reasons to be diverse than Grand Rapids (not that I accept the proposition of the correlation between size and diversity being intrinsic), but the fact remains that Grand Rapids is not very diverse….for whatever reason you want to articulate.
This argument does not fly with me. In a rural area, there might be a town of 100 with a couple of large hispanic families (for example). If there are 20 Hispanics in a rural town of 100 (20% Hispanic), is it more culturally diverse than Detroit? If the score applies exactly the same from Chicago to Minneapolis to Detroit, then I bet we have thousands of small towns in the U.S. that should be at the top of the "diversity" list.

I don't really see the point in criticizing (or praising) a city for it's diversity (or lack thereof). People are people. We are all different. Even within a (supposedly) homogenous group, there are always plenty of differences that are overlooked. I understand everyone's desire to categorize and group everything, but it gets a little ridiculous sometimes.
 
Old 12-30-2008, 11:38 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,019,907 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
Interesting conversation! The flaw I see in later comments, in regards to diversity, is the use of a particular city, in a metropolitan area, to demonstrate diversity. That is like taking a classroom of 30 students, isolating a corner in the class that contained about 7 students, and then inferring diversity based upon that subset, while ignoring the diversity of the entire superset. Grand Rapids represents about 25% of metropolitan (Kent, Ottawa and Allegan County) population. Detroit represents about 20% of the Metro Detroit population. Holland represents about 11% of the population of Ottawa County. Hence, focusing on the subsets is really disingenuous, if not done from ignorance.

The truth of the matter is that the Grand Rapids area is not very diverse. It is underrepresented, based upon national percentages, in its African America, Latino and Asian population and over represented in its percentage of residents who are white. Metropolitan Detroit is 20% black, compared to 14% of the nation being black. The Latino population in Detroit is under represented; however, there is a large Arab representation in the area, while the white population is slightly over represented.

One of the things that I don’t like about West Michigan is its lack of diversity racially. The Detroit area is diverse, but highly segregated, which blunts the diversity. What good is diversity if it’s not integrated? Worse yet, Grand Rapids area is not diverse and also segregated, although not a pronounced as Detroit. In Grand Rapids and Detroit areas, I felt uncomfortable going into certain areas that were nearly all white. I now live in the Minneapolis area and have yet to have that experience, even though the Twin Cities are less diverse than Grand Rapids or Detroit.
As a metro area, you're correct... Grand Rapids/Wyoming MSA is not as diverse as the nation. Wikipedia says: "The racial makeup of the MSA was 85.71% White, 7.40% African American, 0.53% Native American, 1.51% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.82% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.02% of the population.".

However, someone seeking diversity need look no further than Grand Rapids itself to find true diversity. More so than Detroit, for example, Grand Rapids itself is a great microcosm of the country as a whole: "The racial makeup of the city was 67.30% White American (62.5% non-Hispanic White), 20.41% African American, 0.74% Native American, 1.62% Asian American, 0.12% Pacific Islander American, 6.63% from other races, and 3.19% from two or more races. 13.05% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The city had a foreign-born population of 10.5%."

So, my personal conclusion is: If diversity matters to you, Grand Rapids is a great city to investigate, even if the MSA including it is less diverse.
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