Category Archives: moving

moving right along, part 7

wordpress please let me embed videos in the future (if it did embed and you the people can see, please uniform me)

Tagline from enquirer site: “How long does it take one heavy-machine operator to demolish an entire house? With the help of time-lapse it only takes 60…”

we are weird weird fuckers. i think, after viewing this, the entire foreclosure thing should be re-interpreted as a ritual similar to the potlatch


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moving right along, part 6

a little late on this and this, but a couple weeks ago i was mentioned how i thought a migration narrative could be more important than the migration itself, specifically in reference to the “coming” (apocalyptical) latino migration.  this whole “what’s the matter with english” strategy can be seen as a perfect example of this being the case.

let’s look over the (way outdated) census data.  there is no reason that the threat of “Spanish” (to be read: mexicans) could be perceived as even the primary threat to white english hegemony in cinci.  Spanish/mexican population growth, and thus their cultural package, is simply perceived by politicos to be a more legible entity (accurately? dunno) for white cincinnatians to fear.  beyond the fact that this merges latin american spanish speakers with vastly different backgrounds into one group (the mexican population in cinci MSA is not even half of the total) it ignores the fact that the majority of non-english speakers at home are not hispanic (in 2000)(spanish speakers in home are 1.59%, while the “rest” are 2.98%).  AND AND AND what is really interesting is that these (what the census terms: “Other Indo-European” [meaning non-spanish or english], “Asian Language”, and “Other Language”) grew at almost the exact same rate from 1990 to 2000 (spanish in the home increased 0.55 percentage points while all the rest increased 0.39 percentage points).  now obviously you can’t put a ton of weight on these numbers, but the issues raised by the flier point out the strength of migration narratives to oppose (or even obfuscate) actual migration patterns.  and it becomes a self-feeding thing, because then the Cincinnati Hispanic Chamber becomes actualized in the public awareness, while something like NETIP is nowhere seen.

i know, i’m missing a lot a lot of other variables in the way migrations are “received” by focusing in on a generalizable idea of migration narrative (there is a migration narrative for indians right? better educated, etc etc; and the latino migration narrative is distinctive/powerful in that it taps into many other fears), but one can still try to look at the overall strength/coherency of a migration narrative (the latino migrant is more “recognizable” than the filipino migrant?)

[methodological note – i’m using language here because i think it’s a fairly decent indice of “immigrant” {per fear-mongering definition} status.  oh and census scope is pretty fluid and easy to use]

——- side note # 1 ———-

when someone migrates to cinci, and no one expects them, i.e. there is no migration narrative or just an approximation (for example the 2,500 filipino, and about the same number for puerto ricans, vietnamese, koreans, and japanese in the MSA) what happens.  if they have money, are they humored as one-of oddities? or if poor, do people’s eyes just skip over them?

also what i’m trying to get at here is whether the way an Individual is “slotted” upon migration and community interaction, does definitely get cross-referenced through other characteristics like color, age, sex, wealth, etc.  how important is the relative strength of their migration narrative framework?

—– side note # 2 —–

how did Republican State Leadership Committee (in VA?) identify the 28th district state congressional race as the one where migration was the critical issue?!?  google google google?

or was it because they realized cincinnati does not have an actual large latino migrant group, so that the “idea” of a migrant group would have more effect (as opposed to places where there is a large enough migrant latino group such that daily interface is inevitable, and personal relationships mute the efficaciousness of this kind of strategy).

———- side note # 3  ————

i grew up with the son of bob mecklenborg, cited in the second article for sponsoring House Bill 477 (with breakdown here), which is the whole fulcrum of this controvery and the flier campaign.  going over there when i was younger, he always either seemed to be not home, or mowing the lawn on his riding lawnmower when i showed up. that’s a talent to file under uncanny. i don’t know that he does that anymore since he got appointed to columbus, or at least leans more heavily on the former strategy.

anyway he got an appointment to the state house, and EGH

(sub-side note # 1): is that HB 477 really what wickedness looks like?  just the briefness of its presentation makes it seem so weedy, and thin.  but that’s probably the point of firming up this kind of cultural consent; make it seem innocuous.

(sub-side note #2): HB 477 is the only bill the mecklenborg felt strongly enough about to sponsor by himself…

—— side note # 4 ——-

oh i can’t wait for the new census.

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moving right along, part 5

any reason for migrating that is absurd is probably absurd as a "result" of migrations too (even if a neat idea). smaller thoughts.

any absurd rationale for migrating is probably an aburd "result" of that migration (even if it is a neat idea)? somewhat right? smaller thoughts

ah shit

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moving right along, part 4

well i read my conclusion, from last time, and i think once upon a time i had more to add, but i did an ok job there. a couple newish items or summaries of the problem:

these two ideas of the city are distortions in a few senses.

  1. east-west and north-south don’t gel with actual migration. they are approximations of the routes people took that obscure the racial associations assigned to each migration.  for example discussing the Great Migration as north-south in regards to cinci is pure wrong. the majority of cinci migrants came from VA, KY, and other Upland South places thanks to those mechanical harvesters.  This is NOT a north-south migration; it’s more east-west.  there’s even about a 1 sq mile chunk of northern VA where you could migrate to cinci from and be headed southerly (cf. google earthly)
  2. coming in with this, these encompassing migration narratives obscure underlapping events.  the appalachian migration to cinci is probably the most popular example (appalachian is a way of saying white Upland southerners right? which would mean they were [in some very limited cases] neighbors of black people who moved here at the same time —— which is an interesting way to think of the trajectories people get sucked into when they migrate somewehre). i think some article i have around calls it “the hidden migration”. another maybe more relevant example: the post civil war migrations of eastern and southern europeans, whose “heritage” gets completely eaten up and subsumed as part of this effort to repackage cinci’s german population for tourist purposes.  i’m being a little pissy but cincinnati wasn’t german for a long time (from 1915-1975ish [Oktoberfest Zinzinnati as we know it started in 1976 { ..hell }]), then the mid-america urban economy went to absolute shit, and downtown/history had to be repackaged for tourist purposes.  we are about as GERMAN as Leavenworth (i exaggerate, but cinci makes grander claims). Or another concurrent example: the german reform jewish migration eats the eastern european orthodox migrations and elides those historical tensions and prejudices. in sum, these narratives hide a lot of migrations (and associated issues) – and the selective community-wide acknowledgements we make of certain migrations can contribute to obfuscating cinci’s heritage instead of celebrating it. yawn yawn yawn. let me get off my high horse.
  3. FINAL point (egh) – subsuming the experiences of people into into specific (spatial) migration narratives just isn’t very accurate (this is a poor poor reason; i don’t think scientific accuracy is that uplifting; but i am too rushed to make up some socio-political outrage).  here is a quote lifted from bunch-lyons (2002)::::: “In a way Cincinnati was kind of like down south.  Most of the people I met were from the South.  If they weren’t from the South, they had kinfolk who were.  To me the worst part about living in the West End was that there weren’t no trees” (125). ::::::  i used this quote in a paper to contradict bunch-lyons reliance on north-south essentialism.  because look at it (i don’t even remember why she included it, some kind of tip of the hat to something)! the north is the south for starters – but what really freaks this lady out is moving from rural/suburban/exurban to urban! and is this so experientially different from the HUGE rural migration within the south to places like Birmingham?  (although would a white appalachian say the same thing? maybe yes maybe no?) there are cascading nodes of transitions/breaks occuring in an one person’s migration.  these two migration narratives cinci has, east-west and north-south, tend to reduce that down to a simple version (which i’m not saying reduction isn’t useful; but this reduction muscles out other reductions).

and the conclusion to my conclusion: migration narratives are prepared in advance, and then filled in (while other migrations might be missed or passed over as we wait/fulfill these migration narratives).  cinci was prepping for the Great Migration since the Civil War began.  truelogism.  now cinci is preparing for a hispanic migration i’d think, just in the way people anticipate or particularize experiences in the city.  other stuff is going on and it is missing.  i spent twenty minutes arguing with my mother that the movement of south asian to cincinnati can be considered a cohesive migration, with low density neighborhood concentrations, etc AND IS NOT some monadistic scattershot accident.

all of this is kind of heads-up i guess.  don’t get trapped into thinking cincinnati is the result of some recipe; “start with ex-revolutionary soldiers; mix with germans and irish; let sit; then fold in african-americans from the south”. the process of a city “becoming”, is a whole lot more than migration, no matter what the census people say.

no pictures; well maybe some pictures of points 1-3 later.

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moving right along, part 3

two different city views can cause confusion

two different city views can cause confusion

oh wow, i will finish the text on this this weekend, promise to death.

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moving right along, part 2

so at the end of the last post i discussed the white person travel east:west migration narrative of cincinnati.  the next major story is the Great Migration from 1900-1950:

cincinnati migration 1900-1950

cincinnati migration 1900-1950

when telling this segment of cincinnati, the city changes greatly (from the white person east:west story). from henry louis taylor, jr:

“the city had a dual personality, a schizophrenic northern and southern personality occupying the same urban body. across time cincinnati would feel this duality–a northern city, a southern city: two cultures, two unreconciled strivings: two warring ideals in a single city. and throughout cincinnati’s history these warring souls produced constant tension while simultaneously providing Cincinnati with a unique culture and way of life. this duality, this dialectic, this contradiction, is central to understanding the history of cinci and its african american population.”

(i like taylor a lot, and i think his use here of dubois’ ideas of double consciousness and striving is bee-you-tiful)

but look at this city! does it bear any relation to that found in holt’s quote [did i not cite her name? how am i supposed to reference her? the art historian was holt] in the last post?  i used taylor here because he talks pretty, but bunch-lyons writing on the african american migration to cincinnati in the first half of the 20th c, adopts this description from gates exactly to talk about her topic (although look, i can can be excused a little bit for thinking major african-american migration began in/around 1870, because major concern for major african american migration began then [post-civil war lotsa people were bigtime concerned about the flood gates opening — though some cincinnati republicans thought, hey great, labor!) some ideas from the above quote:

  1. cincinnati’s culture is contingent on borderlands setting.
  2. this south:north “dialectic” comes especially into relief when talking about african americans
  3. (this is actually a point from bunch-lyons, not above) dates are 1900-1950
  4. as opposed to prior vision of holt’s image of cinci where east:west is a clean flow of persons and ideas, this is a “warring” “tension” city-thing.

CONCLUSION (things i conclude)

both of these quotes are more or less contemporaneously recent, 80s-ish.

for beginners, the fascinating thing is to have two such distinct ideas of the city floating around.  but this becomes big time-o relevant (for me) when you talk about migration.  migration as we all know is superimportante for urban america, at least in terms of civic boosters (talking ’bout Molotch 1976 and the “Urban Growth Machine Monster” [see that’s why i write a blog like this, because i can use the word monster. i’m not loosy-goosy enough here yet, being a bit too academic-y, but as my fingers start to loosen so shall i? {oh i intuite i will}]). [where was i?] oh migration is head-honcho important for cities.  now when you have two dominant city migration narratives, both associated with one of two large portions of your population, well they should be examined.  this is especially true since the migration narratives are broadly made to parallel two distinct periods of cincinnati’s history: A) cincinnati doing real good 1788-1870 = white people (um most of the white people); and B) cincinnati being Cincinnati 1870-1950 = (more or less the Great Migration).

i’m tired again, when i come back i’ll write baout how these are exaggerations.

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moving right along

this post goes into some generalizations about migration to (and-oh-so through) cincinnati. this post actually came out of a paper i wanted to write, but couldn’t because its was wrong. to summarize: i wanted to write a paper about ideas of migration to the queen city focusing on the perception of a shift from [A] Early Good White Person Migration from EAST:WEST, followed directly (right around the time of cincinnati displacement as the biggest Western city but chicago and STL) by [B] Later Bad Black Person Migration from SOUTH:NORTH (as an causal explanation for the city’s decline).  this was completely wrong because wedged in between [A] and [B] is about 25-30 years of EAST:WEST scummy euroamericans (italians, hungarians, austrians, etc–scummy in a different way than the germans had been, more or less like the irish). anyway this post grew out of the fact that 25-30 years of history is absent from the 2 migration histories [A & B] you get in reading about cinci, and to explore what/how this mushing is produced.  so about these 2 migration histories:

(i’m drawing from a fairly limited set of samples but i think you can extend outwards more to some other sort-of ephemera histories of cincinnati).

the general all-inclusive picture, if you do a little bad math, is that cincinnati’s migration history looks like this:

the extremely simplistic version of cincinnati's migration history

the simplistic version of cincinnati migration

so first, is the east:west migration. i am drawing here almost exclusively from art history synopses. here is an example of their formula (this is from that hundred years of cincinnati art book/magazine that you find all over [Holt 1982 – whoops]):

  • “Established in 1788, the queen city underwent a prodigious growth in size, population, trade, and manufacturing as a result of its favorable location on the ohio river. far more important was the impact cincinnati had on the american imagination. poised on the brink of the frontier, the queen city was seen almost from the beginning as a noble experiment that would give rise to a new civilization vindicating popular democracy. the ohio river was the principal route not simply for carrying new settlers and trade goods but also for transmitting the ethos and culture of democracy, with cincinnati as the main diffusing point, throughout the ohio valley and beyond to the midwest as a whole…cincinnati was very conscious of its cultural leadership, and harbored ambitions of becoming the “athens of the west,” as it was fond of calling itself. more than overweening pride, this sense of obligation was the direct outgrowth of the american vision and the nation’s sense of its place in history”

now, it doesn’t hit you over the head with it, but there are a couple assumptions here shared by a lot of the quick hit cincinnati art histories.

  1. our time frame begins in 1788, there is no defined ending
  2. the definitive and glorifying aspect of cincinnati is the ohio river and its dominance in the move of US from east:west.
  3. this is assumed to be mostly whites moving from east:west
  4. cincinnati’s cultural claims are deeply (and possibly solely) connected with this place/movement in american history (we are nothing without it).
cincinnati migration - 1788-?

cincinnati migration - 1788-?

but then that wasn’t the case anymore.  i’ll do the next migration and the Conclusion in another post

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