Race Relations

Yeah, you’d hear somebody saying something stupid every once in awhile… the few, not the many.

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Transcript for Race Relations

I mean, I’ve known Valparaiso since I was, you know, five years old. Valpo was your typical, small-town that—it was different than Gary.  It didn’t have the industry. It didn’t have the diversity, and, you know, we would come visit all the time, so, in fact, the reason I’m here now is because my uncle knew one of the principals here in the firm. Then they asked me to come here for the opportunity to do my internship here, and then they offered me a job after I got out of school. So, that’s how I ended up in Valparaiso through my uncle knowing one of the principals here in the firm. I’ve been at the same job my entire career, and that’s for thirty-five years now this year. I went from being a high school kid that worked there during my summer off at high school to being an owner of the company.   

Valpo had some issues with race relations in its early days, and there may still be some remnants of that, I mean, it was known to be a Klan hotspot, or gathering of folks, so, in fact, I’m on the plan commission here in town, and one of my first experiences was dealing with a street that is down by the university—I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s right behind where Industrial Revolution restaurant is. It’s a dead-end street, and at the very end of that street, the street gets really wide, and I always wondered why that street was so wide, but I heard it had something to do with a black family wanting to live there. The city forced the developer or the builder to build that street wider than all the other streets in that area for that house. It made no sense functionally, but someone pushed the issue because a black family wanted to move into that house.

Well, since I’ve been here, the attitude of people toward the university and the diversity it’s bringing—the negative comments that I’ve heard have been from individuals: people that are close-minded and prejudiced. You know, it’s just a—the few, not the many. Yeah, you’d hear somebody saying something stupid every once in awhile, but it was a backwards individual or two speaking up or saying something dumb.  

In many ways, Valpo has stayed the same, but the university has changed it. It’s created diversity in the city just by, you know, the sheer number of students that come here from China, or from India, or Pakistan, and all over the world. And I know the university is actively recruiting students from all over the world, so that’s gonna keep evolving. So, Valparaiso will evolve with that.