Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Black Self-segregation in Politics and Academia -- Part 1 (politics)

Last update: Friday 11/27/15
Legal segregation denied Black Americans equal access to a wide array of the nation's resources thereby making it impossible for Black Americans to achieve equality on most significant measures of success with White Americans. 

Although legal segregation was abolished by the Supreme Court's decision (1954) and was articulated by the landmark Civil Rights legislation (1965, 1966) that followed, it's easy to see that Black Americans will continue to derive substantial benefits from a substantial measure of continuing self-segregation in politics and in academia during the long transition period that followed, a period in which we are still living. I define this transition as a time frame in which most, but not all Black Americans are substantially disadvantaged by unequal distributions of political and educational resources, the lingering legacies of slavery and segregation.

I. Black political power requires Black voting districts
The only officials who are elected by all Americans regardless of where they live are the President and Vice President. All other elected officials are chosen by voters who are residents of specified locales. 

This rule of election by location implies a continuing need for "Black districts" -- locales wherein a substantial portion of the residents are Black. All other things being equal, as economists like to say, during the transition White voters will be more likely to vote for White candidates, and Black voters will be more likely to vote for Black candidates. In cities where Black voters are evenly distributed across all neighborhoods and are therefore a minority in all neighborhoods, those cities will be unlikely to elect any Black councilmen and even less likely to elect Black mayors. 

But let's suppose that the lingering forces of de facto segregation suddenly disappeared. In cities wherein banks lent mortgages to Blacks to buy homes in any neighborhood and owners of apartment buildings rented to Blacks in any neighborhood, Black districts would survive if and only if substantial numbers of the city's Black legal residents choose to continue living in such districts, i.e, if they practiced self-segregation. 
So consider the observed political advantages of self-segregation. 

  • Cities with Black wards elect more Black councilmen and are more likely to elect Black Mayors, e.g., Atlanta, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Detroit
  • Segregated neighborhoods also enhance the elections of Black county executives, county legislators, state legislators, and U.S. Congressmen. But they are unlikely to enhance the elections of Black governors and Black U.S. Senators. 
  • It's not surprising that in the last fifty years Black neighborhoods have facilitated the elections of thousands of Blacks to state and local offices, over a hundred Black Congressmen, but only four U.S. Senators -- Edward Brooke (MA 1966), Carol Moseley Braun (IL 1992), Barack Obama (IL 2004), Corey Booker (NJ 2012); two governors -- Deval Patrick (MA 2006, 2010), Douglas Wilder (VA 1990); and one president -- Barack Obama (2008, 2012). (Note that David Patterson was not elected governor of New York; he succeeded Eliot Spitzer when Spitzer resigned in 2008.)
Of course, all Black Americans don't have to reside in Black districts in order to maximize Black America's political power -- just enough to ensure the election of Black candidates from those districts. However, during elections Blacks who do not choose to reside in Black districts should contribute funds and volunteer their time to support the campaigns of their preferred Black candidates in those districts. Their contributions of money and time will not only ensure the election of their preferred candidates, but will also entitle them to expect that the victorious Black candidates will champion policies that are of special concern to them, e.g., initiatives to enhance the quality of Black higher education.

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