As African-Americans living in the USA, agencies and institutions have always counted on us to handle the brunt of the workload when it comes to building or rebuilding our communities. We have endured the under counting or underestimating us when it comes time to dole out equitable resources and money! We as a people are somehow “over represented” in the prison/crime, sports, entertainment, and health crisis population, though we allegedly only makeup 13.5% of the total population and are outnumbered 6 times to 1 by majority whites. Many majority African-American cities like Detroit sees its residents not able to enjoy the political and economic advantages due to gerrymandering and/or gentrification of its neighborhoods. All of the tax base dollars flow into northern white suburbia or to other “projects” even though everyone is paying the same taxes and allegedly counted the same. The census numbers for Detroit matter because there is over 1 million dollars of federal funding at stake for a city trying to rebrand itself as the place to live and work for burgeoning millennials and Gen Y’ers. It’s not just government funding at stake but also private non-profits funding for grants that may not come to fruition if the numbers are proven faulty.
But this is all changing slowly as Detroit is challenging the 2020 Census records update which showed that over 30,000 black residents somehow vanished from the city’s offical US census count. The US Census agency claims the discrepancy was the result of attempting to count hard to reach places like nursing homes and prisons but that excuse does not fly with the city. Detroit is still about 70% percent black despite the rumors that everyone is fleeing the city. The census numbers are important because they affect who gets better access and where access is placed for things like social services, city/county parks, libraries, small businesses, etc…Imagine a city where we have a black business and school district filled with black professionals serving our own with pride! The black brain drain to the suburbs and other states may be real, but the black
They are not alone, more than 15 small cities in the south are also challenging their census results too. One small town mayor remarked that because the census numbers were off, the town could be deemed ineligible to get a emergency management grant. It is imperative that African-Americans continue to get involved in the local level politics. We can have the most control and impact there versus the federal level. Most of the council meetings and even school board meetings are at inconvenient times( i.e. 10am on a Tuesday) when most people are at work, however, every black family has that one grandma or cousin who is home that can attend. Your voice and vote matters and more importantly your tax dollars matter! There are smart and politically savvy African-American men and woman in Detroit! Stand up and be counted! A majority black city should have a majority black leadership that cares about making sure its citizens are safe, employed, and active in their respective neighborhoods.