Race and Community: Personal Experience

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Race and My Community 1

All of my experiences and opinions on cultural diversity are derived from living my entire life in Bourbonnais, Illinois which is a culturally diverse town with approximately 30,000 residents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau my community is made up of about 50% Caucasian, 41% African-American 0.27% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, and 1.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latinos of any race makes up 9.25% of the population. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) Some racial issues that I deal with in my community are racism, lack of equal opportunity and inequities within certain community organizations.

Although my community is very diverse, I would say that there is a significant portion that does look like me and a significant portion that does not depending on your location within Kankakee. The North side of Kankakee is predominantly African-American while West Kankakee is made up of mostly Caucasians. Leaders in my community are mostly Caucasian and male and generally seem to treat most members of my community the same. I do think that overall, people in Kankakee are more accepting of people of different races than in some other areas because this is such a diverse area.

In 2000, Kankakee was rated as the worst community to live by the Places Rated Almanac. This rating provoked Jay Leno to contact Kankakee Mayor, Don Green and interview him on air. Leno had two Gazebo’s sent to the Kankakee County Courthouse hoping the town could turn itself around as the "Home Of The Twin Gazebos." (Savageau, 1999) Although this was amusing to the residents of Kankakee it did spark great effort to make improvements. Race and My Community 2

I personally have not been treated badly by other members of my community. However, being Caucasian with a fiancé who is African-American I have witnessed several incidences of racism. Several years ago I was interested in renting an apartment and met with the...
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