CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{March 1, 2007}   White Boys Better Not Do That


When those two white teenagers left the diner, a couple black guys followed them out. I hope those teenagers didn’t get hurt, but I have a feeling they did.

Those kids clearly didn’t belong here and I don’t think they knew what they were letting themselves in for – but you don’t come into this neighborhood and start cutting up and making fun of people.

They said something about me after I took their order but I couldn’t quite make it out. I watched them eyeball the other people in the diner, whispering and laughing. The people they were laughing at noticed it too, including the two guys who followed the teenagers outside.

I don’t consider myself a racist, because my boyfriend is white, but those kids who were in the diner were making fun of our skin color. White boys better not do that in Over-the-Rhine.

Karen @The Hood



Ted says:

I feel bad for those teenagers but sometimes kids have to learn lessons the hard way.

Polly says:

“White boys better not do that in Over-the-Rhine.”

I think it’s what you call asking for it.

Jim Stanton says:

I think the way kids are raised has a lot to do with becoming a racist. Hopefully those teenagers will learn how horribly wrong that is.

Matt says:

I wish you would tell me what diner you work in so I can come in and give you a big old tip. Maybe a hug too.

hard as nails says:

tough love?

Biscuit says:

My first reaction was they were asking for it- on second thought I’m not so sure.

If you turn the situation around -a couple of black teenagers laughing in a all-white establishment- maybe they are laughing at the other people maybe they aren’t. If they were followed out by a couple of rednecks, who were going to “teach” them which places they could go and which they couldn’t- I wonder if any of us would justify the rednecks behavior by saying “black boys better not do that in …” or “those black kids got what they had coming to them.”

Billy says:

Biscuit, I just say home and eat. Safer.

ED says:

As for me, I think those guys had it coming. You don’t know into someone else’s neighborhoog and make fun of them.

Debbie says:

Most teenagers aren’t stupid. They should have known better.

Jan says:

I kind of liked what Biscuit had to say. It’s the old ability to put one’s self in somebody’s else’s shoes.

Anderson says:

I hope they got the shit beat out of them.

Marilyn says:

Karen @, kids are not being taught any better.

My stepson was raised primarily by his mother, who was and is racist. One time I took the stepkids, kids and stepkid’s friends to kings island. I caught a glimpse of my stepson and his friend walking behind some black youth — walking like monkeys.

I ran up between the two boys, grabbed each of their upper arms – very tightly, and stated through clenched teeth, “You will NOT act in this manner, ever. Do you understand?”

I guess I did ok, since the stepson now has many black friends at work.

hard as nails says:

karen, i’ll make my order to go please.

Heather says:

Well, if you couldn’t hear what they said, isn’t it wrong to assume they were laughing at your skin color?

What if the teenagers were black? Their behavior would still have been abnoxious, but not quite so infuriating.

So isn’t it racism when you are mostly upset with someone because of the color of their skin?

I would have a different take on the issue if you actually heard the boys say something racial…

But I still wouldn’t approve of violence.

Teenagers are idiots. Beating them up only perpetuates hatred; gives them a reason to hate.

The way to reprimand teenagers is to shame them in public. “You are being disrespectful, and you’re making asses of yourselves. Please leave, boys !”

Thats the sort of response that would really piss them off, but they’d look back in a few years and think, “Man, I was a real asshole .”

But getting the shit kicked out of them? Decades from now they’ll look back and say to their kids, “Man, I hate those people!”


I got hooked on this blog because of the things Karen writes. Usually i feel a very strong sense of empathy with her. But not today.

I agree with heather and biscuit.

The “asking for it” logic is a very slippery and dangerous slope. And saying that white people “don’t belong” in OTR is just wrong. It’s the same as saying black people “don’t belong” in kenwood, or hyde park, etc. Yeah, they likely were acting like idiots, show me a teenage boy who doesn’t a lot of the time. But to automatically assume that their comments were based on race, and to advocate physical violence as a response to that, is one of the reasons why when people in OTR ask for help, they don’t/won’t get it.

For OTR residents to act in ways that perpetuate a stereotype that OTR is a dangerous place, is harmful to everyone in this city. Somewhere, at some point in time, a conscious decision has to be made to be the point at which the merry-go-round STOPS.

Kevin says:

I agree with what Foxy and some of the rest are saying but in Karen’s defense, you have to understand she is very close to the situation. After all, she lives there and see things first hand.

Heather says:

In fairness to Karen, it didn’t seem from her post that she was advocating violence.

It was some of the other comments that had an “asking for it” attitude.

Karen’s take seemed like her usual “telling it like it is” style.

Heather says:

And you know, since they were teenage boys, they were probably just stoned.

They could have been laughing their asses off at absolutely NOTHING!

In which case, they would have gotten beat up just because they were white in OTR.

Nick says:

From what I can tell from reading other things Karen has written, she has lived in Over-the-Rhine her entire life. This is the world she knows and the world she sees. Like Heather says, she’ just telling it the way it is.

Justin says:

“For OTR residents to act in ways that perpetuate a stereotype that OTR is a dangerous place, is harmful to everyone in this city.”

I agree with this statement on one hand but on the other I don’t.

Come live in Over-the-Rhine. I did for almost four years and loved it, liked the diversity – all that. Then I got robbed. Then I got hit on the head. Now I live in Oakley.

Give Karen some credit. She lives it, she knows it. The fact of the matter is Over-the-Rhine IS unsafe. I remember the LOL Column Larry Gross wrote called “Lost in Over-the-Rhine” and he didn’t feel safe either. There’s a reason for that. CRIME AND VIOLENCE. It’s very, very real folks.


I work in OTR. I have worked in OTR since 2000. I was mugged in OTR. I’m not a big girl–I got the crap kicked out of me by yes, black males, not just once, but twice–I am well-acquainted with OTR being a dangerous place.

I should have clarified the “advocating violence” statement–It wasn’t clear that I didn’t mean Karen was advocating it. It was others here who were.

I understand that she tells it like it is, which is why I always appreciate what she writes. But I think that if things are ever going to improve around here, we have to stop acting like the status quo is all that can ever be.

Heather says:

I agree with Roxy.

When are we going to take control of our own destiny?

Not just just in Over the Rhine, but in this country? On this planet??

Tim says:

The status quo is not all that can ever be. How do we make Over-the-Rhine safe? By having the Cincinnati Police take that area seriously. Yes, more cops. Citizens of that community also need to take charge more and demand help from the deadbeat city council people. Is there a boys club in OTR? I don’t know – I’m asking. If there isn’t, how come? Let’s give the young angry people there an outlet for that anger. There are things we can do, but Cincinnati likes the status quo. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed since I’ve moved here.

Heather says:

More cops ??

I thought we wanted less violence.


I don’t know that more cops is the answer. I think cops who actually effectively do their jobs is the answer. Cops here profile, and they make no bones about it. it angers black people, and rightfully so. the majority of the ones i’ve dealt with also have a problem with women–whenever a woman is victimized, she’s somehow asking for it. i’ve seen this attitude even from *female* officers.

But I also think people who live in the neighborhood taking responsibility for the neighborhood is crucial.

but you know, there is just something different about race relations in cincinnati. different and bad. i have traveled to other cities, and whenever i return here, i notice immediately the bad vibes. the tension here is palpable. what is the difference? why is it like this?

Larry Gross says:

I have said for a long time that Cincinnati is almost like living down south and is a racist city. In my view, it starts with the police department. Profiling is a way of life here and unless you’re white, you’re guilty until proven innocent.

Police do need to effectively handle their jobs but not with with the current and “popular ” police chief we currently have. We need to wake up, thrown him out and get new blood in that office.

Biscuit says:

It must be a mistrust of the police, but in the post there was no mention of the cops being called even though everyone knew violence was going to occur- in fact, karen has written about some horrendous crimes but no one ever calls the police.

Wanda says:

Biscuit, the thing is we don’t trust the police. Even the innocent get profiled.


And when you do call the police, half the time they don’t even bother to show up!!! If i had a nickel for every person i’ve heard say they’ve called, and have waited 4, 6, 8, + hours, or that the cops have NEVER showed up, I’d have a whole heck of a lot of nickels.

LG is right, too. Streicher has GOT to go. Why he still has his job is an absolute mystery to me.

Back on the topic of OTR restaurants tho, i often go to Tuckers, and people of all races, all economic backgrounds seem to go there, and there never seems to be any tension. Why does it work there but not everywhere in OTR?

Heather says:

I have lived all over the country, including the South, and Cincinnati is a world apart.

I dealt with a lot of racism down South, but Cincinnati is worse.

People who have lived in other cities–any other cities–say the same thing. The only people who don’t see it are ones who have only lived in Cincinnati, or who have lived in Cincinnati so long they can’t seem to remember anything else.

But it is so hard to define, let alone fix .

Matt says:

Tuckers is a haven and has been around forever – best burgers in town – and yeah, everybody gets along fine – but get far into the hood and you’ll see a difference. Try to be a white guy and have a beer at the bar called “Martin’s” and you’ll see what I mean. There is a lot of mistrust there.

John says:

Larry and Foxy are right. Having a guy like Streicher as police chief does nothing to help the race tension in this city. He makes it worse.

Rita says:

I truly believe “neighborhoods taking back their neighborhoods” are essential to produce change; having a stonger and increased police force could very likely provide a short term solution but intensify the problem in the long run by increasing the animosity of the community.

I can easily say take back the neighborhood, but most likely – although danger is everywhere now and you must have awareness – I am fairly safe when I come home late at night. I have no concept of the fear caused when hearing gun shots and them being common place. I have never experienced that – but damn – I think that may be one of the good solutions.

In my county, we deal with scum like the Carrolls and Baker who murders a child , abuses his corpse and attends a family reunion while taking their dog with them.

Gus_J says:

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

~Martin Luther King Jr.

David Gallaher says:

“Those kids clearly didn’t belong here”

Karen@The Hood was speaking out of both sides of her mouth in this post.

By the way, did anyone see the comments beneath the Inkwar story about the crackdown on rowdiness at Government Square?
I could hardly believe it… that Skaggie Maggie didn’t delete most comments.
Here we are in the muck Heather describes.

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