Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

The Browning of Ohio

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“An Asian family moved in down the street,” J says to me casually as we walk to the car one morning. 

I glance up the street in the direction that he indicated and see no one.  “How do you know?” I ask him. 

“How do you think?  I saw them.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t Latino?  I saw a Latino guy a few days ago with a kid that looked half black.”

The purveyor of all things Asians closed his car door and looked at me like I was clueless.  Of course they weren’t Latino.  They were Asian, possibly Chinese.  He knows Asian when he sees it; I think he sees Asian everywhere and in everyone. 

In the small village that we live in there are very few minorities.  When we moved in a few years ago our family added two to the small AfAm and AsAm categories.  There weren’t many brown faces around but the few there were here stood out. On the first street we lived on there was a black family that lived next door and an interracial family consisting of a white mother and biracial black son that lived catty corner from us.  A few months later a Latino family moved in down the street.  Passing by the elementary school I would come to recognize two Asian mothers picking up their Eurasian children.  When we moved on a cross street we again were the only people of color until we both thought we spotted a family of color although we couldn’t agree on the race.

During the race for the democratic nomination the national media noted how demographics of the state.  Ohio’s pretty white, they said traveling with candidates outside of the big cities.  They are struggling because of the loss of industry and people are leaving for other states in search of jobs.

But not so fast.  Last month new census information revealed while white 24,000 white Ohioans left the state the Asian and Hispanic population is growing.  Minority growth led to a net gain of 102,000 residents making Ohio the seventh largest state in the nation.

The bureau only offers state by state comparisons and has no clue where in the state new people have settled but it’s more than likely Asians and Hispanics have gravitated to already existing communities in larger cities like Cincinati, Cleveland, and Columbus.

The modest growth in minorities has lead to some small changes that doesn’t necessarily register with a lot of Cincinnatians unless they are looking for it.  Like the Cincinnati Asia Marketthat opened up in Evendale a few years ago or the format change of 1320amfrom urban gospel to latin music 24/7.  Both Asian and the Hispanic community have young professionals groups (NAAAP and CincyLatino, respectively).  In May there is a Asian cultural festival at the museum center for Asian Pacific American Heritage month and in September for Hispanic Heritage month there is a festival at the Hamilton County fairgrounds.

Many of the minorities come to Ohio in search of education and jobs. 

“Many come for college,” said Alyssa Naragon to the Cleveland Plain Deal.  Naragon, a Korean American, is a human resources manager for Huntington Bank in Cleveland.  She also leads a networking group called MotivAsians.

“I see a lot more Asians on the street than I used to, especially Asian-Indians,” Naragon said.

With an expanding brown community problems.  Jesus Sotelo runs La Favorita Supermercado with his wife Adrianna in Dayton.  He told the Dayton Daily News that after years of steady business growth he noticed a slow down.  He attributes it to a shrinking Hispanic population because police have been stopping Hispanics on the streets and in cars.

“People I know who have been here eight or nine years, they’re stable, but they’re not legal,” Sotelo said. “At first the police would stop people in their cars, so a lot stopped driving. Now they stop people for just walking.

Butler and Hamilton counties are also coming up with laws to deal with immigration.  The Springfield News reports that “… one bill would allow county sheriffs to enforce federal immigration laws at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The other — a retread of similar, unsuccessful past efforts — would require Ohio government to do its business solely in English.”

Is strict enforcement of laws that are a civil offense, not a criminal offense, be enough to make brown people decide to skip over Ohio as a prospective place to seek a new home?  If Ohio colleges should soon have more Asian American students than whites will that also make white Ohioans want to deter them from registering? 

And if we run everyone else out of the state will we let the place go back forrest area?

I don’t know.  But I do know that James was right.  I was out walking one day and saw a young attractive Asian couple working in their back yard and when I returned from my walk I saw a young black woman with a toddler boy and girl scurrying under her feet.  It was the same boy I had seen with the Hispanic father.  And at everyone I waved and smiled and they waved and smile back.  Walking beneath the trees, shaded by lush greens its nice to see brown in the right places.


Written by rentec

16 July, 2008 at 8:15 pm

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