Saturday, March 26, 2011

Detroit's Racial Divide

Think the Detroit area isn't racially segregated? Check out this map.


  1. The problem with this map and others like it is that it is designed and intended to show segregation. It is deceptive. If you had various percentages shown for each census tract, it would not be nearly that "black and white".

    Flint is segregated, but is far more "postracial" than Detroit is. The evidence: Detroit has not elected a White mayor since the 1960s. But a significant percentage of Black voters in Flint have conscientiously voted for and elected who they saw as the best candidate to try to solve Flint's problems, and often they happened to be White.

    The reason why Detroit's "White Flight" and population loss have actually been worse than Flint's since 1960 is simple. It was Coleman Young. He was elected and reelected by stoking racial hatred and not racial understanding. Coleman Young had a few alliances with influential Whites, but only if they furthered his agenda. The rest were told to "hit Eight Mile".

  2. The way that the graphics programming code on this map is done makes it APPEAR that there is much more segregation than there really is. You have to look at census tracts to get a more accurate view.

    The Cooper Institute is decidedly Left Wing.

    1. You sound a bit like Mitt Romney claiming the polls were wrong because Democrats took them. Of course, he lost. While the general nature of these maps don't capture the micro census track demographics, the point is clear — Detroit is profoundly segregated. And the larger point is that even cities that are diverse overall are rarely integrated.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at