Black & White in Kentuckiana: A look at race relations


by Rachel Platt

Posted on November 22, 2009 at 11:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 25 at 7:34 PM

How serious of a problem is racism where you live?

It was one year ago our first African American president was sworn into office and it seemed a nation coming together.

One year later, are we doing better with race relations?

We took that question all over Kentuckiana, from the east end one man tells us WHAS he sees progress.

In the south end a resident says Louisville is doing pretty good but there is room for improvement. 

In the west end Corden Porter says he gets along. As for southern Indiana, one woman tells us racism is alive and well, but we’re more honest about it now.

At the Wall Street cafe in Jeffersonville, chicken is frying and the conversation is lively.  Lively conversation is truly the daily special.

To our surprise though, some people wouldn't talk to us about race but those who did were ready to talk.

Barb Anderson campaigned for Barack Obama and heard the n-word.

In our SurveyUSA poll, WHAS11 asked the question: Have you ever heard someone use a racial slur?

91% said yes, 8% said no and 1% were not sure.  We also asked; Have you yourself ever used a racial slur? 44% said yes and 55% said no.

Dr. Jean Wilson says she is able to love, but can others say the same?  She’s a pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church. 

She said WHAS11’s Rachel Platt was privileged and being the reporter I asked her what she meant. She said because I was white, I was born privileged. It was an eye opening conversation.

There were more to come as we headed to Expressions of You Coffee Shop and talked with Corden Porter, a retired GE worker.  He says if one black person commits a crime, it’s believed all black people do it. 

Corden, who’s an African American, is still fuming about a recent incident when a white woman grabbed her pocketbook when he walked by.  He was with his wife when it happened and he got angry.

Porter says he's never even had a traffic ticket, so we ask; Have you yourself ever been discriminated against because of your race? 37% said yes and 61% said no.

When we asked; Have you ever seen someone being discriminated against because of their race? 58% said yes. 

Corden's wife Joyce says only bad in the black community gets on TV and that's not reality. She says there are many good examples in her family but they never get on TV.

Dr. Blaine Hudson, a professor at U of L, has spent his life talking about race relations.  The grade he's handing out in Kentuckiana is not a good one at a D+.

This is the first of a series called Black and White in Kentuckiana, an in depth look at race relations in our area.  Check all this week for more.