New NLC Survey of 126 Cities Says Race Relations Have Gotten Worse since 9-11

By Pionke, John | Nation's Cities Weekly, October 6, 2003 | Go to article overview

New NLC Survey of 126 Cities Says Race Relations Have Gotten Worse since 9-11


Pionke, John, Nation's Cities Weekly


Despite the increase in patriotism since the September 11 attacks, race relations have gotten worse in America according to a new survey released by the National League of Cities.

The survey of 126 cities showed that 71 percent of those responding said that race relations have worsened since 9-11.

Another 49 percent said that race relations have deteriorated as a result of the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action.

"There are daily reminders to us all of how important this issue still is in America, and that promoting equality and ending racism, prejudice and discrimination requires awareness, commitment and action," said Arlington Mass, Selectman and NLC First Vice President Charlie Lyons

"If we really are devoted to the ideal that all people are created equal, then we need some serious thinking about how to build communities where equality, fairness and inclusion are our guiding light," he said.

The survey also showed that in the last five years, cities are becoming more diverse ethnically and culturally, increasing the need for better race relations The survey was done to spotlight race issues as part of the NLC Fourth Annual Race Equality Week observed by cities across the Unites States September 29 to October 4.

"Immediately after 9-11 tension toward Arabs was slightly higher. However the community seems to be at peace again," said Connie Quarlee from the Zanesville, Ohio, Department of Fair Housing. "Since then there have been a few cases of discrimination and racial profiling. We have had public forums by the Civil Rights and EEO Commission and spent money on raising diversity awareness through fair housing billboards, signs, radio spots and participating in community events."

The survey showed that city officials are seeing an increase in diversity in their communities and, as a result a rise in race issues.

Sixty percent of respondents said that the racial or ethnic composition of their communities has become more diverse in the last five years.

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