Mothering Forum banner
1 - 20 of 77 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw a thread here once with the same topic. Now I want to know if your town would be a good place for my family.

About us:
DH and I are an interracial (white/black) couple with 2 DC. Our DD is 2 YO and DS is 7 MO. We are PhDs with degrees in the social sciences. We both work for the federal govt as researchers/data analysts. We are politically liberal and socially accepting of all people, but less tolerant of ignorance and prejudice. We are looking for a community where our DC will get a good education, where we can make friends and feel comfortable putting our family picks on our desks at work. Ideally, we want a place where our children won't be stared at everytime we go out to eat or where people won't come up to us and ask where our kids got their eyes, hair... We want a place where our DS can grow up without gangs and violence and our DD can be a girl without the pressures of early (middle school) sexual involvement.

Do you live in a place like this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,455 Posts
I love Pittsburgh and think it might be a good fit for you! There are lots of interracial families here, as well as many hospitals and universities doing research. (I'm a research data analyst, too!) Crime and cost of living are fairly low. There are lots of ethnic subcultures which can be very close-knit, but the overall spirit here is friendly and tolerant. (Well, tolerant of everyone except fans of rival sports teams!)

The public school system is very good for a city of this size and has made some recent improvements. Allderdice High School is widely regarded as one of the best in Pennsylvania academically and has essentially no gang activity. At the elementary and middle school level, the schools vary quite a bit, with assorted special programs and some magnet schools. There are also some excellent private schools.

My oldest Girl Scouts will be in 6th grade this fall, so I haven't learned a whole lot about middle school culture here, but from occasional conversations with girls at church and such I get the impression that they see a wide range of options for their lives both now and in the future; there is not just one acceptable way to be, and it's just fine to value academics, music, sports, etc. more than dating.

Pittsburgh has many pleasant walkable neighborhoods full of beautiful solidly built older homes. We have lots of museums, some huge parks, and other fun things to do. I'm happy to rave more about it if you're interested!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
I'm happy to rave more about it if you're interested!
YES! Please, more. I never considered Pittsburgh. I used to live in Philly while in grad school.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,766 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by mowilli3 View Post
Are Portland and Santa Barbara as expensive as Berkeley?
Portland is not. In fact, it is cheaper than Seattle and it has Powells.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by mowilli3 View Post
Are Portland and Santa Barbara as expensive as Berkeley?
Santa Barbara is super expensive -- as expensive as the San Francisco Bay Area. Berkeley is more affordable than San Francisco, but not by much. I'd check out Portland, cause it's probably the most affordable big, liberal city on the West Coast right now. Just to give a perspective, Santa Barbara and San Francisco housing prices have not dropped along with the rest of the nation -- but continue to rise. Great if you purchased a house years ago, not so great if you're currently trying buy. If you have a spare $800,000 for a 2br teeny, tiny house, go for it. And I won't even get into rents
: !

I'd look at Portland myself if my dh was willing to make that kind of move. Much more affordable, liberal and crunchy -- lots of kids. We live in San Francisco and, while it is wonderfully liberal, there are proportionately fewer children here than in any other city in the US.

Good luck with your search! Can't wait to read about other cities in the US!

Michelle
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,376 Posts
We're an interracial couple and feel very comfortable here.

People still say dumb things about the kid's hair etc BUT there are tons of interracial families here.

Schools are good, cost of living is low. It can get a little dull but overall the quality of life is excellent.

It's not at all a "crunchy" area but you are pretty much free to be crunchy if you like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mary Beth,
You are my neighbor. We are in DC, in SW. Where are you? How are the schools? We could add some crunch to your neighborhood.


All: I forgot to ask about public transportation. We have one car, a 10 YO Honda Civic. We prefer not to drive if we don't have to. I know EnviroBecca takes the bus. I do too. Could we take public transportation in your town?

Thanks,
Mo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,219 Posts
Well, ironically I was going to suggest that you consider DC. I live in the city, in NW, and we're also a interracial family. I feel like DS gets an excellent education at the school he attends, which is definitely very "crunchy-friendly". If there's one thing that makes me think about leaving it's housing costs -- I'd love to have a house with a yard so he can play outside more often, and so I'm interested in this list as well, but other than that I have to say I'm very happy.

I'm curious what it is that is making you feel like you want to leave DC.

PM me if you have more questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,620 Posts
I'd agree with the west coast suggestion. If you already own a house in DC, then you'd do fine in Seattle or Portland for housing, I think. The Bay Area is more expensive.

Portland is fabulous, and Seattle is great too. Portland has more of a neighborhood-y feel that I really like, but employment can be a bit harder there. Seattle is pretty white, especially compared to a lot of cities in the East or South, but I've heard many, many people comment that they find it to be a much more tolerant, accepting city than any place else they've been. The interracial couples I know say that it's really never been an issue here, whereas they often feel much more on display or noticed when they're on the East coast, FWIW.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,376 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by mowilli3 View Post
Mary Beth,
You are my neighbor. We are in DC, in SW. Where are you? How are the schools? We could add some crunch to your neighborhood.


All: I forgot to ask about public transportation. We have one car, a 10 YO Honda Civic. We prefer not to drive if we don't have to. I know EnviroBecca takes the bus. I do too. Could we take public transportation in your town?
Hi Mo,

We're about 2 hours from you way in the sticks
in Western MD. The only city (a very tiny city) is Cumberland. Some of the schools here are better but none are bad. We've lost a lot of population in the area (they've started counting prison inmates as residents) that schools have been consolidating.

It really depends on where you want to live and if you want small town, country, or city. You can do all three within a small area.

It's hard not to drive ever but depending on where you live you can cut down on it a lot. FE I live in a small town and we can walk lots of places parks, school, library.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,455 Posts
Public transit in Pittsburgh is in a funding crisis and has had to cut some routes, but it's still very good in the most populous parts of the city. Mostly busses, with light rail across Downtown and into the southern neighborhoods and about to be extended north to the stadiums. From my neighborhood, busses run frequently into Oakland (hospital, university, and museum area, where I work) and Downtown, as well as across the river to a gigantic shopping center built just outside the city on what was the site of the world's largest steel mill--it's only a 10-minute ride to Target and other stores too big to be in the neighborhood. The only place we go regularly that isn't convenient by transit is the co-op, and there ARE busses that go there from Downtown. Bus drivers usually say "thank you" when you get off, and riders tend to be fairly polite.

I've spent a lot of time in Philly, and it is pretty different. Pittsburgh is smaller and feels that way, esp. in the downtown area--ours is very small, with green hillsides and/or rivers visible in between skyscrapers, and it's quiet at night (except when plays, concerts, etc. are letting out) because very few people live downtown. The worst neighborhoods of Pittsburgh are nowhere near as horrifying as parts of Philly I've blundered into accidentally. I have never seen a rat here. Pittsburgh is newer than Philly (most of the city was built 1880-1930 or so) and thus is not quite as dense; most houses have yards, even if small, and most streets are wide enough for modern traffic. Pittsburgh has some of the "northeastern" feeling but is also kind of "midwestern" in style and culture.

What else would you like to know?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,445 Posts
Portland is cheaper than the Bay Area or Seattle, but it's not cheap.

Pros for Portland:
Interracial couples wouldn't turn a head, though most of the interracial couples I know are Asian-Caucasian.
Very crunchy
Excellent public transportation - just ask my son, who can tell you where ALL the buses and MAX (light rail) and streetcars go!
Mild weather (winters above freezing, summer evenings are always cool, no tornadoes or hurricanes, for example)
Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, marionberries, blackberries...)
Great recreation opportunities

Cons for Portland:
Housing costs are skyrocketing
I have become resigned to the fact that the people of the state will never, ever support public education. There is a perpetual funding crisis for public ed - at all levels - from K through college. I wouldn't send my kids to a public university here.
A generally dodgy state financial system that relies on property/income taxes with no sales tax, so it's very boom or bust. The economy in general is boom or bust.
There isn't a huge African American community.
Earthquakes
You can't grow decent tomatoes (unless you do special varieties), and forget about sweet corn.
Small towns around Portland can be very provincial - interracial couples WILL turn heads at the coast.
It's expensive to get OUT of Portland. It's a popular destination for travel, and it's hard for us to get cheap flights to go back and visit family in the Midwest
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,043 Posts
You could always move to Canada.


I asked my black friend (I feel so racist and Colbert-ey writing that, but he has the distinction of being one of about 8 black people in town) if he met with much racism/resistance to his multiracial relationship. He told me that it hasn't been much of an issue really. He does get a lot of double takes just because he does look different, but no more than me with blue hair. His theory is that in a city where races have been divided for a long time, he would meet with a lot more issues.

Occasionally, he does get weird comments and a lot of little kids that yell "wow, mommy! That guy has a really good tan!"
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,084 Posts
: Curious to read the suggestions. I am Black and dh is white and at the moment we are in Southern Maine. Its not bad but the lack of a black community is problematic for me though overall I find that most people here are of the live and let live mindset.

We have been in our house 3 years now and the neighbors are finally talking to us on a regular basis, though I attribute that more to the standoff-ish behaviors of New Englanders.

Here on MDC I hear people tout places like Seattle and Portland, OR (I live 20 mins south of the other Portland
) yet among my RL or online Black friends most people don't recommend those places.. even my dh who is from the West Coast (Bay area CA) is not too fond of heading back west.

Though Throkmorton recommended Canada, my brother went to grad school at the University of Toronto and absolutely loves Toronto, says that's where he wants to settle down.

My dh & I have been married 10 years, together 12 and not to be negative but I am not sure if outside of a NYC or major large city (like Chicago) if you are going to get enough diversity so that you don't get the annoying comments. Even in Chicago we'd sometimes get crap, surprisingly enough I get less crap in Maine but like I said living around not too many folks who look like me grates on my nerves at times.

Shay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,307 Posts
ShayinMe wrote:

Quote:
living around not too many folks who look like me grates on my nerves at times
I guess I have to resign myself to that fact. I'm not African-American, not Hispanic, not Caucasian, not Asian. I'm from Aruba and many people mistake me for a number of different cultures: from South America, from India, Muslim, etc. I have so many mixes I guess I've become "international."

I live in a town where most people are white, blond or light brunettes. Some Hispanics dot the place. Very few African-Americans. Even fewer Asians. Even fewer people from other international locations. My son, who has gorgeous tanned skin and beautiful dark eyes with long dark hair is always admired and singled out at playgroups. I guess that's not such a bad thing
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Momily View Post
Well, ironically I was going to suggest that you consider DC. I live in the city, in NW, and we're also a interracial family. I feel like DS gets an excellent education at the school he attends, which is definitely very "crunchy-friendly". If there's one thing that makes me think about leaving it's housing costs -- I'd love to have a house with a yard so he can play outside more often, and so I'm interested in this list as well, but other than that I have to say I'm very happy.

I'm curious what it is that is making you feel like you want to leave DC.

PM me if you have more questions.
That's funny that you posted. DH and I were talking about it this weekend and we were wondering if we'd feel like Jack off the Island if we left. It's the cost of living. We make good money, but we can't afford a house. It's the schools. Did you see the article in the Post a couple of weeks ago with the interactive database on schools? I read it and got terrified. The elem school near us had 61 violence crime reports since 2005, and there was alot of corporal punishment. My neighborhood is highly segregated by income and race. The poor people are almost all black. The rich people are almost all white. It's gentrifying and people are strarting to bristle at each other. It's depressing and hard to build community with so many people suspicious or just prejudice against others.

I feel like the only way to have time for my family is to pay high rents to have a short commute, but in order to afford the rent, I have to work fulltime. And then we'll need money for private school or commute a long way to get the kids to a good enough school. It makes my head spin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Throkmorton View Post
You could always move to Canada.


I asked my black friend (I feel so racist and Colbert-ey writing that, but he has the distinction of being one of about 8 black people in town) if he met with much racism/resistance to his multiracial relationship. He told me that it hasn't been much of an issue really. He does get a lot of double takes just because he does look different, but no more than me with blue hair. His theory is that in a city where races have been divided for a long time, he would meet with a lot more issues.

Occasionally, he does get weird comments and a lot of little kids that yell "wow, mommy! That guy has a really good tan!"
:LOL

We love Vancouver. Ok, Canada is on the list.
 
1 - 20 of 77 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top