July 22, 2013

Conservative mouthpieces tended to blame liberal and progressive ideology for Detroit’s municipal metastasis. The usual suspects”€”welfare, busing, affirmative action, Section 8 housing, entitlements, unions, bloated pensions, and the willful, state-sponsored evisceration of the nuclear family”€”were said to be the reasons behind why the city now resembles a post-nuclear crater. If the city’s politicians and residents started adopting conservative ideas, goes the reasoning, the healing would begin.

But there’s a glaring problem with that theory. Cities such as San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Austin are as ideologically progressive as Andrea Dworkin’s cellulite, yet none of them resembles the dark side of the moon like Detroit does.

Others placed the blame squarely on the auto industry’s decline. But there are no steel mills left in Pittsburgh, yet somehow Steeltown was recently rated the most livable city in the US.

One is therefore left to probe for other possible causes. What’s a huge difference between San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Pittsburgh…and Detroit?


San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Austin contain black populations that hover around only half of the national average. Pittsburgh is the blackest of the bunch, with a percentage roughly twice that of the national average. But according to the 2010 Census, Detroit is nearly 83% black. In 1960, when it had the nation’s highest per-capita income, it was only 29% black.

Yes, all you professional scolds and tattletales and hall monitors and teacher’s pets and zealous censors out there, I realize how unfashionable and heretical and blasphemous and scandalous and unpardonable it is to blame black people for any of their problems these days. But I’ve been asking the same questions for around twenty years and have yet to receive a response that is even vaguely satisfactory: Is there any majority-black municipality or nation on Earth that is prosperous? By “prosperous,” I mean places with high life expectancy and income alongside low crime and disease. Is there evidence of any place on this big blue marble where such conditions improve alongside an increased black population? I’ve been trying my best to find even one example, yet I keep coming up empty-handed. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, only that no one has been able to point me in the right direction.

Scanning the globe in 2013, it would seem hard to deny that conditions for blacks are better in areas where there are significant quotients of nonblacks. Though you may call such an observation “hateful,” I merely call it an observation. And until presented with evidence that undermines this observation, I’m going to gingerly suggest that Detroit’s drastic decline may be in some way related to its dramatic shift in demographics.



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