Buffalo One Of Nation's Most Segregated Cities

BUFFALO, NY- It's the dichotomy that is Buffalo and Western New York.

The same place that has the reputation as being the City Of Good Neighbors, can also produce a scene like the one in Cheektowaga where a woman on a cell phone video continually uses the N-word.

Both Pastor William Gillison of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, and former Buffalo Common Council President George Arthur had the same reaction after watching the now infamous cell phone video.

Arthur was one of the people who sued to desegregate Buffalo schools back in the 1970s, and later ran for mayor in 1985.

Arthur says that at times, one of the things that gives us our identity, clearly defined neighborhoods like Parkside, or the East Side or the Hispanic Lower West Side, also helps to keep us separate.

George Arthur: "What has not been happening is that there have been no conversations. The problem is that the discrimination and the racism has moved inside and there's use of code words and other things, people will say hey I'm not a racist to my face or to your face but then when they go in the house it's a whole different story."

Pastor Gillison says sometimes it's the city's very design that divides us.

Pastor William Gillison: "When we built the 33 the 33 in and of itself was the height of division. It was built a certain way so that those who came from the suburbs, really wouldn't have to go through the East Side of Buffalo."

Both men feel that honest conversations can help bridge the divide between us.

George Arthur: We need to talk about it, we need to get it out in the open."

Pastor William Gillison: "People don't know each other. They don't take the time to actually know each other."

Despite the area's problems both men remain optimists.

George Arthur: "We've come a long way, we still have an awful long way to go but yes I am very optimistic that our children will grow up and not have the racism embedded in them that some have today."

Pastor William Gillison: "You put two children together who are of different ethnicity and they'll play together until someone comes along and tells them they're different."


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