Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Student journalist experiences integration difficulty in Nashville

New Mexico State University reporter Jayna Boyle described a recent trip to downtown Nashville with Hispanic and African-American co-workers, and found Nashville lacking in comparison to her home state:

"Just as individuals who are colorblind can distinguish between tones and colors, a large number of New Mexicans take note of the differences among people as a level of respect, but those differences are not usually issues of concern. The same cannot be said for other regions of the country."

"Recently, I attended a journalism convention in Nashville, Tenn., with two of my co-workers at the Round Up. When we were walking in the downtown area, we received some interesting responses from people."

"Because one of my co-workers is Hispanic, the other is African American and I am Anglo, we were quite an unusual trio to most of Nashville."

"While dining in restaurants, we received dirty glances from other customers. When we were walking down the street, someone in a passing car catcalled about our group."

"One night, we decided to check out one of the local clubs. While wandering around, we noticed a surplus of young people flowing into the streets. However, every other street was different. One street had only Anglos lined up to get into clubs, while the next was peopled with African Americans waiting to get into different clubs."

"After we found a club that seemed the most accepting of all of us, we settled ourselves as much as possible. However, at one point my Hispanic friend went to the restroom and was asked by an Anglo girl, 'Do you speak English?' After her question was affirmed, she proceeded to ask, 'But you're Hispanic, right?' Apparently Hispanics are not very common in the Nashville area, because my co-worker was asked if she was Hispanic once more before the night was over."

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