Race and Your Community
Misty L. Charnesky
March 20, 2011
Gregory D.S. Bascomb
Race and Your Community
Welcome to Johnstown, Pa, residing in Cambria County and connected closely by Somerset County. Decades of racism have been documented in the area including both Cambria and Somerset Counties; the state of Pennsylvania alone has been a location of many discriminatory and racist accounts. Johnstown and surrounding communities are still working to overcome racism in the area, as most areas are small towns and rural areas with many, what we call, “rednecks.” In the more rural areas of our communities, there is still a high occurrence of racism. I have lived in both ...view middle of the document...
I do not see people running around in business attire much, mainly I can tell by the people and buildings, as can visitors, that we are depressed and have more depression on the way as jobs are increasingly nonexistent.
There are similarities in dress around town. Many residents are wearing jeans and T-shirts, most not in good shape. Many second-hand stores around carrying name-brand clothing but are still unaffordable for many. Between the ethnic groups, there is not much difference in appearance or finances. I do have to say that many of the jobs within the school districts are mainly white, more than they were years ago. I believe this is mainly because many of the welfare families stay on welfare. They keep birthing children in order to collect. Johnstown has many big families locally and of those, many are Black.
Proven in the Sarah Palin rally on October 13, 2008 racism is still very much alive. One person even held up a monkey and made racial slurs. Many people can find the video of this almost everywhere on the web. There is documentation from visitors and residents of Johnstown stating the economic depression and racial events. One particular visitor commented, “Johnstown seems like a nice town, though seemingly economically depressed.” (Matthew E. Miller) Matthew also commented, “Even for rural Pennsylvania, I saw a shocking lack of diversity.” A high percentage of leaders in the community are White as is the population percentage as well. I have seen instances where Blacks get easier access to welfare and other programs. This is just a way to pacify them as well as keep them at a lower status without forcing them out of town as they did in 1923.
I am an average American composed of many ethnic and cultural groups. I personally call myself a “Heinz 57.” In my lineage are Polish, American Indian, German, Italian, and French, among others. My lineage is hard to trace but much of the information in the text about the American Indians interested me. I may only be a small percentage of Blackfoot Indian, which is rare, but I have feelings for these people. Taking land that was rightfully belonging to the Indians still bothers me. The suffering that all American Indians had to endure to be considered Americans upsets me. In my area, there is a small cultural diversity, as was said before. Johnstown has a few cultural events surrounding the Polish and Dutch culture but not any for African Americans. I guess you could say that my area is a “closet” racist area. Many people here do not say what they believe out of fear of riots or racial fights. In the rural regions, you can still find members of the KKK, which is still active in some parts.
The local media here does not seem to veer one way or the other when it comes to racism. However, maybe I am not seeing something that others are. The crimes reported do seem to be mainly Black but there are also many White crimes reported on the local news. Depressed areas bring...