Community

Louisville residents have mixed feelings on race relations in the city.

Roughly 760,000 people live in Metro Louisville, according to U.S. Census data. Close to 70 percent of those residents are white, 22 percent are black, nearly 5 percent are Hispanic and 2.5 percent are Asian.

A poll conducted last summer by the New York Times and CBS News found most Americans consider the state of race relations in the U.S. to be “generally bad.” Nearly 40 percent of the 1,200 respondents said they believe race relations are getting worse.

In a recent survey conducted by Louisville Magazine, about 64 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents said Louisville is not a racist city, though nearly 77 percent acknowledged that the city is racially segregated.

At a community forum this week at the Chestnut Street YMCA in West Louisville, the discussion centered on how race mixes with justice and poverty.

After the forum concluded, WFPL News asked about a dozen attendees what they consider the state of race relations to be in the city. The respondents were all black, ranging in age from mid-60s to 16-years-old.

Here’s what we heard:

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“I’m a little disappointed with the state of race relations. I’ve been in Louisville for over 20 years, and I feel like there is a definite turn in the way we view each other racially.” —Josephine Layne Buckner

“It’s more or less the complex of how we’re thinking. Instead of bashing everybody else, we’ve got to look at the source of the problem, and the source of the problem lies in the neighborhoods.” —Aaron Bryant

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“I believe the state of race relations is like a small stream in a river. It flows at a slow pace. Yes, we’ve made some large strides since 1964, but they’ve been at a snail’s pace.” —Savvy Shabazz

“With the situation with Judge [Olu] Stevens, with the situation with [Mall St. Matthews] even, it seems like it’s turning back to like it was back in the ’60s.” —Jerry Bouggess

“We’re not really mixed together like we should be. —Bryan McNairy

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“There’s a racial gap right now, but it’s all blown out of proportion. It’s not like it used to be; you don’t want to go back to where it used to be.” —Le’Rell Broom

“Louisville, not just now but probably for the last 10 years, is a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode.” —James Linton

“It’s not that bad compared to most communities. We’re actually doing pretty good.” — Takorey McIntosh

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Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.