By Matt Johnson
If president-elect Donald J. Trump were to follow through on his words to address urban discrepancies between black folks and all other groups, would city councils across the United States fight against him or would they accept his help?
Would they accept federal funds? Would they accept a plan of action along with federal funds? Would they accept a jobs plan along with a plan of action and federal funds?
In other words, if president-elect Trump made the deal sweet enough, would they accept a Marshall Plan to address the previous 350 years of socio-economic neglect? Or would they tell him to go pound sand out of hate and spite? Would they be “Never Trump?”
As I’ve illustrated in previous articles through data analysis, economic discrepancies between black folks and all other groups are still observable in the data and across multiple socio-economic factors. And an economic policy of $15 an hour, for example, is bread crumbs when it comes to addressing the reality of the current American economies. That is, there are two economies.
One is white and highly successful and one is black and can’t compete with the first one. And providing support and resources for black businesses to emerge and prosper is what will provide the horsepower for a successful economy.
Let’s address the data first.
The Economic Data
According to an analysis of data by Black Demographics, black and white businesses exist in two different worlds, For example, it is estimated that black businesses produce 1 million jobs per year, which would account for about “4 percent of the working-age population.” In contrast, it is estimated that white businesses create 55.9 million jobs per year. This would account for about 44 percent of the employed, white working population. And this is just the creation of jobs. This doesn’t include revenues produced by either economy.
The vast differences in revenues between black and white businesses are astonishing. For black businesses, it is estimated they generate revenues just short of $188 billion annually. In stark contrast, white businesses are believed to generate almost $13 trillion annually.
To put this into perspective, $188 billion would provide “every working-age” black American with $7,000 annually; whereas, $12.9 trillion would provide “every working-age” white American with $102,000 annually.
Of course these are national numbers and don’t take into account the variable discrepancies at the city level. However, it isn’t difficult to see that there is indeed two realities in many American cities. One only needs to look at cities such as Detroit, Dallas, Milwaukee and Minneapolis to see differences in unemployment, median household and family incomes, and wages and earnings, and geographical segregation.
And so the obvious question ought to be is, have these city councils, for example, proposed any economic policies besides the $15 minimum wage that would perpetuate the upward mobility of black businesses and thus the utility of this mostly isolated American group?
Would city councils say “No! Absolutely not!” if Trump followed up his rhetoric with federal support and resources?
President-elect Trump has mentioned on multiple occasions that he is interested in addressing discrepancies in American cities. Recently in a Facebook post on his page, President-elect Trump stated
We seek a future where every American child is fully included in the American dream.
The problems that plague our inner cities, or that afflict our poor rural communities are not permanent features of American life: they can be fixed, and together we can fix them.
Although some detractors would argue his words are just words, the opportunity to address historical discrepancies has presented itself; and to just brush it off as words and not an opportunity to address these historical discrepancies is irresponsible.
It is important for citizens to give the president-elect the opportunity to follow through on his words. Or is spite more important? Or is hatred more important? Aren’t citizens at least a little curious to see if he will follow through on his statements? Or is there too much confirmation bias to drudge through that additional information that may not fit “the narrative” may not be accessible for citizens to consider?
For instance, in a press release back in October, he stated
Today I want to talk about how to grow the African-American middle class, and to provide a new deal for Black America. That deal is grounded in three promises: safe communities, great education, and high-paying jobs.
My vision rests on a principle that has defined this campaign: America First.
Every African-American citizen in this country is entitled to a government that puts their jobs, wages and security first.
So now the question is, how would city councils respond to the President-elect? If these words are indicative of his willingness to sit down at the table with city councils, he did recently sit down with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would they be willing to reciprocate? Or would their party’s policy and cultural narratives come first; that is, before the people who are most economically depressed?
The first thing to understand is city councils in most major American cities have been dominated by the Democratic party for many decades. In the case of Minneapolis, there hasn’t been a republican on the city council since the early 1980’s.
What also must be understood is that the democrats have had a monopoly on economic, public, and science policies. There hasn’t been much diversity in political philosophy or policy application. Thus confirming one’s biases is easy when everyone agrees with you. This is human nature. All groups do it, including political groups. In other words, there is nobody there to keep the city councils honest, at least not until now.
So would the Austin, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, or Seattle city councils, for example, sit at the table with the President-elect? Would they accept a Marshall plan if Trump were to offer one? Or would they respond with a democratic narrative? Again, if words are indicative of how a person will proceed, then we must take his words at face value.
For instance, the words of Council Member Greg Cesar’s of the Austin City Council may be a sign of things to come. As he stated right after Trump won the election,
Lots of people, including Donald Trump, are calling for healing and unity today. I won’t call for healing. I’m calling for resistance.
In addition, it’s probably safe to assume that Council Member Kshama Sawant of the Seattle City Council won’t be accepting a cordial invite from Donald J. Trump any time soon. The Council Member is calling for a national boycott during the President-elect’s inaguration day.
It’s not unreasonable to assume there are and would be plenty of other city council members who would turn down an opportunity to sit down with Trump and address lingering urban issues. And if they respond in this manner, then citizens from both urban and rural American ought to be very concerned.
Let me be clear, there is no reason for the President-elect to post such statements on Facebook like the one he posted. What possible incentive does a racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobe have to state such things after he has already won the election?
It is easy to imagine some readers right now are performing some serious confirmation bias and mental gymnastics to figure out this discrepancy in logic. Even racists have a soft spot, right? If history is a guide, then they don’t.
When whites folks were partitioning black folks into undesirable neighborhoods in cities across the northern part of the country during and after the Great Migration of the 20th century, they weren’t considering the welfare of their American brothers and sisters.
They were considering how they could keep black folks away and how they could take and retain the vast majority of the economic, social, and municipal resources such as law enforcement, fire departments, libraries, and parks, for example. Providing resources for their new neighbors wasn’t even a thought to be considered. And clearly this has had a profound on the current “black experience” here in the United States.
The bottom line is democrats have had more than four decades to address these historical discrepancies. They’ve had four decades to create a Marshall plan and apply it to their most economically isolated citizenry. But yet, there are still two economies and black folks as a group lag behind in almost every socio-economic factor.
Malcolm X once said at the founding rally of the organization of Afro-American unity,
We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary.
So if Donald J. Trump is the means by which these issues can finally be addressed through the federal government, would city councils heed the words of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz? Or would they tell the President-elect to go pound sand?
Matt Johnson is a writer for The Systems Scientist and the Urban Dynamics blog; and is a mathematical scientist. He has also contributed to the Iowa State Daily and Our Black News.
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