CINCINNATI - Although much of the anger that triggered Cincinnati's 2001 unrest centered around relations between Cincinnati police and the city's African-American community; for many people the conflict raised even bigger questions of race relations among everyone.
Has the Tri-State moved forward in race relations since then?
Look around Findlay Market on a Sunday afternoon, what you'll see now makes it hard to believe this historic market was in the middle of the unrest and tensions 10 years ago. It's not hard to see blacks and whites shopping together or interracial families enjoying a quick snack.
Merchants say they've seen business at Findlay Market grow at least 30 percent over the last four years as more people come to shop from homes far outside Over-the-Rhine or Downtown.
But shopping together doesn't mean there's agreement about the current state of race relations in the Tri-State.
"Actually, I think things are about the same," Shopper Rochelle Brown of Mount Healthy said. "The same things have been for about 20 years or so."
Darlene Rock of West Chester said, "I would like to hope it has gotten better. But I was never touched personally by the riots and things or what happened that caused the riots."
Walter Washington, Jr. put it this way, "Actually, Cincinnati has gotten much better. Opportunities have opened up for African-Americans and women in Cincinnati. I also believe that you still remain where you are, if you happen to be African-American. if you happen to be white, you are a little bit higher."
"I think people are judged too much on the way they look, their mannerisms or the way they speak, rather than judging the individual," Rochelle Brown added.
Among the people we spoke with at Findlay Market, we found sharp disagreements over whether the unrest in the streets during 2001 helped improve race relations or set it back. Some blame the portrayal of African Americans in the media for keeping people apart.
Karen Ibanez of Bridgetown said, "You are the media, but I'm afraid that sometimes, it's the media that focuses on the negative."
Rochelle Brown agrees with Karen, "Also I believe that sometimes, the news forecasts show black people in a more negative light. For instance, with the school districts, how they show Sycamore or Latonia, they all look better than many of the black schools... and I believe they should show black people in a more positive light."
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That feeling is also echoed by international human rights activist and scholar Naomi Tutu, the daughter of world famous South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Tutu was brought to Cincinnati in March by the Woman's City Club of Greater Cincinnati to be a speaker for their annual National Speaker Forum. She says media perceptions are not just a Cincinnati problem, but a national one.
"If I looked at race relations and if I looked at human relations based simply on what I saw on TV and the media in this country, I would be very depressed, because the stories that we see, are often stories of anger, bitterness, divisiveness..." Tutu said.
What should we do to improve racial relations in the Tri-State and make more of us feel comfortable no matter what neighborhood we visit?
One suggestion we heard was to keep talking about it.
"It's everybody's problem." Rochelle Brown says. "We all have to live together and what one person does is going to affect the other person. Somehow. Like when a black person goes into a white neighborhood and they're jumped all over, or whatever, they are not going to feel good. Just like a white person, it's the same thing. We have to come together and learn to love one another."
Karen Ibanez added, "Fear is the worst thing. And fear breeds ignorance."
We got another recommendation from Naomi Tutu.
"When we simply see a person or a group of people as a label, then we are able to oppress," Tutu said. "But when we open ourselves up to their stories, particularly stories attributable to those we know as 'the other', that is the opportunity for healing and growing."
We're hoping that our Ten Years Later project will start people, of all backgrounds, talking about race to each other again.
We realize that in the stories we post at WCPO.com and show on 9 News are only a small slice of the wide range of opinions about this issue.
Let us know how you feel by going to our Ten Years Later section and making your opinions and comments known.
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