Racism, bigotry and intolerance are not traits normally associated with the city of Boulder. Within the last two years though, incidents involving black members of the school's football team as well as acts of racial violence against blacks are raising questions as to the underlying attitudes of this predominately white community.
While some view the incidents as indicative of an underlying problem, others believe they are simply random acts, which hold no bearing on the population at large.
The Rocky Mountain Collegian decided to hit the streets of Boulder and pose a question to citizens of diverse backgrounds, ethnicity and occupations: "The city of Boulder has both a national and international reputation of being accepting and tolerant to people of varying beliefs and ideals. Recently however, the city has been marred by controversy regarding racism toward African-Americans. Why do you think this is occurring?"
*Joe Williams, black, 8-year Boulder resident, member of business community:
I just think a few people are showing their true colors is all. In the Old South as a black person you truly know where you stand. But then you come to a community like this where everyone is so worried about being politically correct. Some of those underlying feelings just get covered up. They don't want to hurt and they don't want to offend anybody, but they could truly care less about the person they are living next to. It's a touchy situation.
*Brandon Fritz, white, 5-year Boulder resident, CU student:
I would say they are just random acts. They are not indicative of the town. I have not personally been around people who have acted like that.
*Marshall Bauernfeind, white,10-year Boulder resident, bartender and barista:
I have been here ten years and I don't think there has ever been a high level of tolerance here, perhaps on campus, which is not the same as the city of Boulder. It did not just start within the last couple of years. I think Boulder is extremely uptight. The upper class runs this place. They are very accepting, but accepting of who? Everyone here is white.
Greg Mudd, white, 30-year Boulder resident, CD salesman:
I don't know if it just some of the rap that Boulder has gotten in the past or what. Boulder has a pretty large Reggae community. Around here it doesn't matter what someone looks like or talks like. It is not good to discriminate against anybody, it is not right. I think that Boulder just has the same problems as the rest of the country.
*Paul Hester, black, 28-year Boulder resident, horticulturist for the city, father of two CU students
A lot of the citizens of Boulder are very liberal, but there are people who pass through the university, or the transients who pass through here. You are going to find that some of them are racist. Both of my children attend CU and have experienced racism. I find that most of the people who live in Boulder are not racist, it is mostly the ones who have moved here from other places.
During the crisis when the alleged rapes where going on, all of the black students where hearing people walk by them and say; 'There is a rapist.' But those people I think would have been racist anyway, it was just an opportunity for them to show themselves.
We have never dealt with racism here in America, we have just acted like some of our white ancestors were slave-owners and some of the black ancestors were slaves. It is time somebody says we are going to stop it and come together as a country.
*Donald Brandi, white, 2-year Boulder resident, Vietnam War veteran, "jack of all trades, master of none" :
I think it is a great town because the people treat me nice and people let you be what you want to be. I have been in a lot of towns but none like this; this is one of a kind.
*Mike Kabjian, white 7-year Boulder resident, Television producer:
I believe there is a facade of tolerance in Boulder. While I believe the acts of racism are isolated. Boulder has been transformed into a mecca of wealth and status, and has lost a lot of its weirdness. A lot of the people who are what the outside world considers 'Boulder,' have been marginalized and pushed out of town. They can no longer afford to live in this utopian world we have created. If you have money Boulder is tolerant. Is Boulder racist, no I don't think so. Those unfortunate things are not what Boulder is about, I don't believe.
*Thomas Neil, white, 5-year Boulder resident, Dominoes Pizza employee, legally blind
The people who have the hatred and discrimination, they know not what they do. They grew up with a stigma. Maybe they had a few bad knocks or whatever. I think it is just random.