A non-racist law with wildly racial impact
Back in December of 2011, I wrote a series of pieces that showed how Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law was having a skewed negative impact on African American cities. With Detroit on the verge of being assigned an Emergency Manager and with updated census data, it’s time to revisit the chart that put this law on the national radar.
If Detroit gets an Emergency Manager, 49% of the African Americans in Michigan will live in cities where their elected officials have been replaced by a single, state-appointed ruler.
Here is the data (with the African American population in Michigan updated to the correct 14.3% figure):
|City||Population||% African American||# of African Americans|
[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]
If you include cities that are under consent agreements, Inkster with its 18,381 African Americans and River Rouge with 3,950, the percentage rises to 50.2% — over half.
The school districts with Emergency Managers are also in majority black cities:
- Detroit — 82.7%
- Highland Park — 93.5%
- Muskegon Heights — 78.3%
As I have said in the past, this law isn’t overtly racist. However, no matter how you slice it, its impact is blatantly skewed toward African American communities. In fact, except for Allen Park and Ecorse, over half of the residents in cities with Emergency Managers and consent agreements are African Americans.
This is, plainly put, the result of decades of racial inequality in everything from education and employment to housing and economic investment. So, while the law itself isn’t racist, the causes of the situations in which the law is applied most certainly have been.