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Having been born in the largest city in Hillsborough County, my love for the place has really grown over time. The city of Tampa is one of the most populous cities in Florida with its population representing a third of the total Hillsborough County. It is approximately 200-miles northwest of Miami on the west coast of Florida.
The economy of Tampa has a strong foundation from a good variety of its sectors which include tourism, construction finance, healthcare as well as the citizens’ cooperation with the sole aim of making Tampa a better place to live in.
Members of my community, similarities and differences
Florida and most especially Tampa city is made up of a good number of races as well as people from different ethnic backgrounds. There is however, lots of people with whom we look alike. For instance, they have kinky, thick and dark African American hair. Most are a bit light skinned but a good number are also brown just like I am.
The racial diversity in the Tampa population is what makes it a rather interesting place to live in. According to the City of Tampa Census (2011), the white Americans take a bigger percentage of about 46.5 % then followed by the African Americans and the Hispanics who take about 25.9 % and 24.0% respectively, of the total population.
Other minority groups include the Asian community among others who constitute about 2.9% of the population. However, from my experience, there have been tensions time and again between the Hispanics and the African- Americans on various issues; for instance those regarding employment amongst others.
Leaders and their treatment of African Americans
I have taken note that the leadership trend in Tampa is currently making a U- turn ever since the election of President Barack Obama who is predominantly an African American. The negative stereotypes that the Florida people had against black people are currently slowly but surely fading away. This is evident by the recent election of an
Asian-American woman into leadership office. These recent changes foresaw the election of Senator Arthenia l. Joyner a democrat into office.
However, it is important to note that there is a substantial amount of racial divide in the Tampa community. For instance, an Asian- American close friend of mine told me that given the recent retrenchment exercise that was taking place at her place of work, she needed to look for another job.
Therefore, as we were going through a list of the various firms in the area, we realized that a good majority of the firms that were still up and running were either owned by the white Americans or the Hispanics.
In my recent research, I found out that, Hispanic- owned firms were almost double those owned by the black people. At least 14.5% belonged to the Hispanics while less than 8% were owned by the Asian-Americans.
This clearly illustrates that there are loopholes when it comes to the leadership in the area. The business license offices tend to favor the Hispanics more than they should leading to an imbalance in the number of firms established between the two groups.
To add salt to injury, so many Hispanics hold on to the negative stereotypes that blacks are just too lazy and tend to steal whenever they get the chance to do so. Therefore, quite a good number of Hispanics would rather give employment to any other racial orientation apart from the Asian Americans.
This in turn has affect the Asian American community because as many of them end up unemployed, the insecurity rates in Tampa continue rising. According to statistics, for every four African- Americans One of them lives way below the poverty line with leadership loopholes playing a big role in this.
One way that the leadership can play a part in uniting the races in Tampa is by diversifying leadership. This will ensure that the people’s voices are represented by the leaders they choose. For example, the Asians can have some intellectual represent then in any of the leadership post in Tampa.
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Relations with other members of the community
Given the racial diversity in Tampa, the minority groups tend to understand and assist each other. However, this is unfortunate in the case of Hispanics in their interactions with us; the Asian – Americans.
The Hispanics and the white Americans treat us more or less in the same manner. They still hold on to the old-fashioned negative stereotype of antisocial behavior amongst us. Therefore, a good majority want nothing to do with us to the extent that in a church, I might as well be seated in a whole bench all by myself while other benches are almost full. This, I have also experienced in public transport where a white individual alighted just because the only empty seat left was beside a black American or an Asian Amercian; me.
Funny enough, no race in Tampa is so much looked down upon as my race has been. Noticeably, the minority groups such as the Asians seem to get along with the Hispanic and the White Americans so well. This especially applies to areas where they have to get into business partnerships and so on.
Nevertheless, I am grateful that some of these minority groups treat us well and accept us into their communities. The Asians in this case have offered many African-American youth employment in their firms. This has strengthened relations between the two racial groups despite every other group in Tampa being against us.
Racial Discrimination in the work place
The U.S as a whole has developed laws against racial discrimination especially in the work place. However, Tampa has not been able to live up to the expectations of non-discriminatory policies in firms when it comes to Asians- Americans. I have heard enough complaints from relatives and friends who are highly qualified for particular jobs but end up being employed for level and low- paying jobs. The potential of many Asian- Americans in Tampa have been ignored just like in other parts of the country.
Our Asian- American brothers and uncles have been finding it hard to get top job in various firms since the 1970s due to the changing patterns in employment discrimination. My relatives have explained to me that in one out of every five-job searches, they have experienced some form of discrimination. Especially when they get to find out that there Caucasian counterparts got the same job with the same qualifications they have (Warton & Chima, 2002, p. 3)
Dismally, there are firms in Tampa that use ‘coded’ terms in order to disguise their racial discriminatory hiring practices. For instance, when an employer calls seeking a new employee would say, “talk to Maria”, this would mean that he actually prefers Hispanics. Others would go ahead and say, “See me”. This when decoded means “no people of color”. Since most of us are getting to understand these terms, the potential employers are changing them or some do not use them while we can hear them.
Many firms here in Tapas have work manuals that have very little information on the rights of the Asia- Americans. Most of the policies are designed to oppress us no matter how well we are qualified for better job or even promotions. Many Asian Americans have worked in the same position for years with little or no promotion.
The influences of the media on races in Tampa
The mass media in Tampa has been and continues to play a big role in how other races perceive us; the Asian- Americans. It is however unfortunate that the media continues to focus on the negative aspects of my community. More so, they tend to magnify every small wrong deed an Asian- American does.
Just like in other parts of the country, the media here tend to focus on crime, gang violence as well as other forms of anti- social behavior. This has in most cases been targeted towards the young Asian- Americans in Tampa. Presently, our prospectus has been tarnished ruining any chances of employment in the corporate world (Howard & Howard, 1994 , p.20).
Just like in other parts of the world, I have realized that the media have no set rules or laws that journalists should strictly abide by in the event of news selection or production.
It is sad to note that, the media in Tampa is allocating way too much airtime as well as space to “enumerating the wounded” while they could be digging into issues to find out the root causes of the problems that we face today.
It has come to my notice as a young Asian-American that the media does not broadcast what it cannot televise. They therefore, swiftly respond to any hints on stories that contain racial controversies and ensure that they ignore the underlying issues until they erupt to make it to “live news” story.
Resolutions in my community
If I was up to me to make the necessary changes in Tampa, I would vote in the eligible leader regardless of the racial background as long as they are qualified.
Moreover, given that it is the youth who get affected by these discrimination most of the time, I would establish an awareness program. This would integrate the youth from other groups including the Hispanics, the Asians as well as the Whites. Important to note is that the youth from all races in Tampa do not have an deep cited hatred for each other like the older generation.
Therefore, before the hatred grows to that level, I would use avenues such as seminars, social cites like face book to communicate with my fellow youth. In addition to this, I would open up a forum for discussion where people can put forward their concerns. Finally, my fellow youths would be the best vessels to use in spreading the word to not only the older generation but to other races in Tampa too.
Census Bureau. (2002). State and county quick facts. Web.
City of Tampa. (2011). About the City of Tampa. Web.
Howard, V. & Howard, W. (1994). Family, Religion and Education: A profile of African-American life in Tampa, Florida. Journal of Negro History. 49: 1.
Warton, W.D. & Chima, F. (2002). African Americans and the work place: Overview of Persistent discrimination. Web.