Sunday, March 04, 2001

Problem areas identified by panel

        After more than four hours of discussion Feb. 21, community leaders identified myriad areas where improvements in race relations are needed. But time ran out before the group could make any decisions or come to a consensus on what to do next.

        Here is a sampling of some problem areas they identified, and some thoughts they had:

        • Education: Proficiency test scores must be improved, especially among African-American children, so they can compete in the world. Too few teachers want to be in urban schools. Classroom expectations vary: Kids in predominantly white schools are taught and learn; kids in predominantly black schools are babysat.

        • Leadership: Who really cares, and how much?

        • Communications: Greater Cincinnatians of different races don't know how to talk with each other because of a culture of “polite silence.” Too many whites deny that a problem exists.

        • Employment: Opportunities are lacking for African-Americans in middle and upper management. True diversity in the workplace is rare.

        • Housing: 80 percent of poor blacks live in poor, inner-city neighborhoods, while 70 percent of poor whites live in middle-income, suburban neighborhoods.

        • Media: Media images are insensitive and lack balance depicting how African-Americans really live.

        • Police-community relations: Cincinnati police target young African-American males. There is deep mistrust between African-Americans and police.


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