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Old 12-30-2008, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,742,937 times
Reputation: 3833

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
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.
It's more diverse than the national population as a whole (?) Or at least the city is (as suydam pointed out).

One city in this area, Kentwood, I would say is probably the most diverse city in Michigan. It has over 100 different countries represented in its school system, over 100 different languages, as well as decent sized African American and Hispanic populations (according to people I know who go there and their website).

As far as feeling safe, there are very few areas anywhere where I feel unsafe. But two that come to mind are extremely blighted neighborhoods where it appears that most of the homes and businesses are vacant and boarded up. Very few areas of GR give me that vibe. Many areas of Detroit, away from downtown, have that vibe (to me). The other areas are extremely poverty ridden rural areas. There are places in Northern Michigan out in the country that truly give me the hebie jebies (like I wouldn't want to break down).

I can't imagine anyone of any color feeling unsafe in most of Kent County. Unless they were specifically looking for trouble, or in a private neighborhood that doesn't really want any visitors (gated or something).

 
Old 12-30-2008, 12:43 PM
 
12,486 posts, read 7,590,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
It's more diverse than the national population as a whole (?) Or at least the city is (as suydam pointed out).

One city in this area, Kentwood, I would say is probably the most diverse city in Michigan. It has over 100 different countries represented in its school system, over 100 different languages, as well as decent sized African American and Hispanic populations (according to people I know who go there and their website).

As far as feeling safe, there are very few areas anywhere where I feel unsafe. But two that come to mind are extremely blighted neighborhoods where it appears that most of the homes and businesses are vacant and boarded up. Very few areas of GR give me that vibe. Many areas of Detroit, away from downtown, have that vibe (to me). The other areas are extremely poverty ridden rural areas. There are places in Northern Michigan out in the country that truly give me the hebie jebies (like I wouldn't want to break down).

I can't imagine anyone of any color feeling unsafe in most of Kent County. Unless they were specifically looking for trouble, or in a private neighborhood that doesn't really want any visitors (gated or something).
Yeah....there probably exist a block, somewhere in Greater Grand Rapids, if not a census tract, where there are Asians, Hispanics, Native American, African Americans and European Americans all living together. I am not arguing that one cannot find these GROUPINGS in the Grand Rapids area. What I am saying is that these areas of diversity are not MICROCOSISMS of the Grand Rapids area. In other words....the don't represent the BIG PICTURE of diversity.

In regards to safety.....If I suggested that I felt unsafe I failed to communicate my true feelings. In many places I visited in Grand Rapids or Detroit, where I was the only minority.....I felt very uncomfortable.....like I was intruding upon something exclusive and that I was not a welcome member of the club. Granted.....it could very well have been on in my head from the conditioning of living in a nation that has, for centuries, held such attitudes and that I had personally heard vocalized on far too many occasions (I had a teacher at Union High...in the early eighties....say that he wished all blacks were sent back to Africa). Back then you could say stuff like that and keep your job.....now you can't...but it don't mean that people don't still think that way. Its not like all the overt racist have died out. The younger generation, however, is much better.
 
Old 12-30-2008, 12:50 PM
 
12,486 posts, read 7,590,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan83 View Post

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.
I think it is fruitless to belabor the point, given that we are all working from our own working definition of “Diversity”. In the context of my usage of the term “Diversity”, size does not matter.
 
Old 12-30-2008, 09:48 PM
 
143 posts, read 300,090 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
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
Those are all valid reasons for choosing to live in one place over another. However, I think my point still holds true. Meeting those conditions would only require that an area have a large black population. There would be no real value-added of having a "diverse" area.
 
Old 12-31-2008, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,742,937 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyButler7000 View Post
Those are all valid reasons for choosing to live in one place over another. However, I think my point still holds true. Meeting those conditions would only require that an area have a large black population. There would be no real value-added of having a "diverse" area.
I think both you and IndenturedServant are right in a way. Grand Rapids was a big receiver of dutch immigrants, and it never exploded with African Americans moving here from the South to work in the big auto plants like in Detroit and Flint. It's no one's "fault" that the metro area is predominantly white (it wasn't planned that way).

But there are a lot of employers, especially on Healthcare Hill, who are trying to attract an international and diverse talent pool. You can't change the population makeup as it stands, but accepting people and their cultures will go a long way, especially if those people happen to be non-Christian. The Chamber of Commerce seems to understand this pretty well and is aggressively working on diversity issues.
 
Old 12-31-2008, 08:33 AM
 
12,486 posts, read 7,590,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyButler7000 View Post
Those are all valid reasons for choosing to live in one place over another. However, I think my point still holds true. Meeting those conditions would only require that an area have a large black population. There would be no real value-added of having a "diverse" area.
Well…..I get tired of black folks sometime….and like experiencing different cultures, attitudes, looks, environments….which I can only do the more diverse an area is. Although I have my preferences, for the long term existence, I like variety. Living in an all black, all white or all anything environment would be extremely boring to me. I don’t like the feeling of not having different options. Its not that I need to actualize on every option, but that I just feel better knowing that there are things DIFFERENT to be tried…..not better….not worse…..just different.
 
Old 01-01-2009, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Emerald Coast, FL
181 posts, read 547,073 times
Reputation: 129
As an adult, and having the opportunity to have lived in other places to formulate a basis of comparison. I think that GR is extremely polite, and rather friendly.

If you aren't CRC, you may experience some barriers. Thankfully, some of that seems to be changing. As a kid, I had a rough time attending Forest Hills Central Middle and High Schools as my family was probably one of the few lower-middle class families in the district, and the kids were evil to me and referred to me as poor and trashy. As an adult, though people have been usually very friendly to me. When I get guff about not having a "home church" I'm cool with it, because I know that I can stop wasting my time hanging with that person. It can suck while looking for a job, however.

I worked in retail when I was pregnant and unmarried. I experienced a lot of customers noticing my bump and then immediately looking at my left hand for a wedding ring. They would say things like, "Oh, is your hand too swollen to wear your wedding band? You should put it on a necklace so that people don't think that you're single!" or, "Gee, I bet your husband is so excited about the baby coming, isn't he?"

Even though I experienced that junk while living in GR, I'm still amazed at the friendliness and propriety of people when I come back to visit. I've especially noticed the neighborly attitude in EGR. It's probably not as friendly as the suburbs of Phoenix's West Valley, but it's way better than Philly!
 
Old 01-02-2009, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,409 posts, read 27,048,745 times
Reputation: 16531
It is way too conservative here. Everybody is way too uptight and there just isn't a whole lot to do. I moved away from Grand Rapids for a while, and just came back to visit for the first time for the Christmas and I really doubt I'll come back.
 
Old 01-03-2009, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,742,937 times
Reputation: 3833
Quote:
Originally Posted by burgler09 View Post
It is way too conservative here. Everybody is way too uptight and there just isn't a whole lot to do. I moved away from Grand Rapids for a while, and just came back to visit for the first time for the Christmas and I really doubt I'll come back.
Do you have any specific examples for those playing along at home? I'm doing a little research of my own, so if you could name names of people who are uptight also, I can steer clear of them.

Thanks!

BTW: Did anyone on here go to the big downtown New Year's Eve bash? How was it? I hear there were like 20,000 people at Rosa Parks Circle.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3262/...d5d0fa45_o.jpg
 
Old 01-05-2009, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Midwest America
194 posts, read 889,487 times
Reputation: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Do you have any specific examples for those playing along at home? I'm doing a little research of my own, so if you could name names of people who are uptight also, I can steer clear of them.

Thanks!
I don't know if you are being sarcastic, but if you are, I had a darn good laugh! I haven't personally found GR conservative and uptight, as I previously worked for a Detroit company run by evangelical christians – by which I sadly was considered a "heathen." They had prayer meetings that at lunch which they attempted to bring me into. I respect their beliefs, but I don't want to feel ashamed or guilty for my own beliefs or lack thereof. CRCs have nothing on the evangelical brand.
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