Who is Barbie Hillman?
Barbie Hillman currently lives in Battle Creek, though she grew up in Athens, a small farming town near Battle Creek. She has two children and works as a staff accountant at an accounting firm. Her brothers Jeffrey and Nathan, and mother Mary, were all interviewed for the project as well.
Excerpt from interview with Barbie Hillman by Whitney Dow, 2017
Q: [02:31:32] What do you like about this community the most?
Hillman: [02:31:37] What I like about this community has very little—I guess I shouldn’t say it has little to do with the people because through my job I do come into contact with a lot of different people in the business community, and one of our clients is the Southwest Michigan Urban League. And it’s been wonderful working with them and being able to be a part of their organization, I mean, even though we’re hired. But, still, to be able to be a part of that in some way is nice, but I really can’t say I love this community. I really can’t say that. There are some things that are OK about it, but it was never my intention to stay here, [laughs] but I got stuck because of family commitments.
Q: [02:31:58] And what are the things you don’t like about the community?
Hillman: [02:32:00] I don’t like how blue-collar it is. I don’t like how divided by race it is. The neighborhood I live in is predominately black and Hispanic, and no matter where I go, as soon as I say, “Well, I live in the Post Addition,” “Oh, that’s a bad neighborhood. I’m surprised you haven’t gotten shot yet.” I mean, it’s just unreal the attitude towards this, like, five-block area, and I’m like, “My parents have lived here for fifteen years. I’ve been living here for five or six. OK, yes, so there was a dead body a block down the street because somebody got shot, but it’s not a bad neighborhood because of the race.” [laughs] It’s a bad neighborhood because people fight. The guy got shot because he and some other guy were arguing over a girl, and all three of them were white, so I don’t want to hear that it was a race thing. [laughs]