Racial Equity the missing strategy from the Mayor’s self-proclaimed decade of “economic success”

March 10, 2024

Racial Equity

- the missing strategy from the Mayor's self-proclaimed decade of "economic success."

During this year’s annual mayoral budget proposal, Mayor Duggan took time to criticize community dissent and opposition to the tax incentivized economic development that has drastically accelerated over the last 10 years. He pointed to the “balanced budget” and city employees who now do not have to worry about being laid off like they did in the past as evidence that his economic development approach is a success. Following this declaration of progress, Mayor Duggan then scolded city council, telling them that some of them backwardly voted against his development plans due to misinformation and pressure from protestors.

What is missing from the mayor’s positive take on Detroit’s post-bankruptcy revitalization is an analysis of racial equity. While he praises the benefits provided by the economic development boom he’s ushered in, which has brought an increase in income tax revenue, jobs, and new construction, Duggan fails to mention that such prosperity has been unevenly spread throughout the city by race and place. Over the last 10 years, every imaginable racial disparity has gotten worse: the Black-white income gap has increased; the Black-white homeownership gap has increased; the Black-white home value gap has increased; the Black population has decreased by 100,000 while the white population has slightly increased.

The protests against his development deals speak to these racial inequities: that Black Detroiters have been here 40, 50, 60 years and have to watch white suburbanites who just arrived benefit from their city in ways they never have. Community dissent is not misinformation as suggested by the mayor. It is an expression of the frustration with the very real racially unjust outcomes Black Detroiters have had to endure under his governance. The few city council members who’ve listened to this frustration and voted no are not backward, they are listening and serving their constituents as they were elected to do.

The racial inequities that have proliferated under this administration is NOT progress, no matter how many shiny new buildings have been built Downtown. Majority Black Detroit demands development AND racial equity (both can be had), which Mayor Duggan has FAILED to do in 10 years.

Watch the Mayor’s Proposal