Tim Smith and “Drinks & Dialogue” attendees ponder “Why is Asheville so segregated?” (VIDEO)

“Why is Asheville so segregated?” was the topic at a Drinks and Dialogue event in held on Aug. 21 at the Haywood Lounge in West Asheville.

AskAsheville interviewed several attendees in this 80 second video.

AskAsheville says there will be more videos coming soon on the event.


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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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9 thoughts on “Tim Smith and “Drinks & Dialogue” attendees ponder “Why is Asheville so segregated?” (VIDEO)

  1. Jeff Fobes

    Ami Worthen blogs (with photos) about the event here: http://ukulelerockstar.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/drinks-dialogue/

    “…A truly diverse group of about 50 people gathered at the Haywood Lounge to discuss their experiences related to race in Asheville. Everyone was respectful and engaged. I made new friends and was inspired by people’s desire to connect and to break down the invisible barriers that separate us. Our conversations moved to DeSoto and lasted until the wee hours of the morning….”

  2. Clay Henderson

    It is good that newcomers from northern areas are talking about this. Because Asheville is a shining city on the hill concerning black-white relations. Blacks and whites get along very well here. If you don’t think so, then walk the streets. Smile and say hello to people you meet. Notice the black people respond in a friendly manner just like most of the whites do (perhaps a few new arrivals from up north who aren’t used to smiling at strangers are reluctant at first). Try it. I have always gotten a friendly response from black folks around this area (I am white).

    Ironically, some of the northern cities are the most segregated. Last year the Chicago Tribune ran a two part series that concluded Chicago was the most segregated city in the United States. Yes, Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Columbia, etc are MORE integrated. So I think it’s time some of us let go of pre-judged opinions about people and places, and just BE FRIENDLY to one another! Light a “smile-candle” and see that it is a good thing!

    Those worried about “segregation” here in Asheville need to ask themselves if they live in diverse neighbors. There are plenty of neighborhoods that are diverse in this town. Like Montford, Kenilworth, and the area south of Charlotte St…MLK Blvd area. Just to name some. Next time you move, move to a neighborhood that is diverse. And do remember to smile and say “have a good day” to everyone you meet, especially those of other races!

  3. Jack Monteath

    I’ve also noticed there is no racial divide here in Asheville. The only time I hear race brought up is by people who moved here from somewhere else. Why is it some people need to find strife where there isn’t any?

  4. Betty Cloer Wallace

    This anecdotal commentary is interesting, but it would be much more meaningful and less alarmist if accompanied by some recent demographic data for Asheville City and Buncombe County (as a whole and by communities) regarding race, ethnicity, economics, etc.

    To start out with a foregone conclusion (Why is Asheville So Segregated?) without some good supporting data seems to be a rather insubstantial foundation for meaningful dialogue.

    Some percentages would be helpful.

  5. SocialLifeAvl

    Yes, I would like to think that the 3 black people that you only saw in the video, speaks for the majority of black people here. The dialogue was much broader than what was captured. Also, yes there is a major racial divide in this city. Look around the city and it’s clear that it is. As the host of Drinks and Dialogue the crowd was in agreeance, so much that we had a 3 hour conversation about it. Come experience Drinks and Dialogue again Sat Nov 13th at Burgermeister’s 697 Haywood Rd. 8pm

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