Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The "Best Places" for White Folks to Live: Where there are no Blacks...

Every year Money Magazine publishes a list entitled, "The Best Places to Live". The list always includes several indices the magazine claims are "good indicators" for quality of life. Quoting Money: "Some places have everything any family could want - economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a sense of community..."

Buried in the mounds of data Money collects under the heading "Meet the Neighbors" is something called the "Racial Diversity Index" (RDI) which gives June and Ward Cleaver an indication of how "racially diverse" the city/town is. Again, quoting Money: "100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity". In other words if a city/town scores "100" it is considered very racially diverse as opposed to 5.10 which would indicate racial homogenization.

Others have commented on Money's dubious statistics (see http://internetronin.blogspot.com/2007/07/money-gigo.html). Thus my home city of Baltimore, receives a 760 RDI (!) which means that it is 760% more "racially diverse" than the nation as a whole. In fact, Baltimore is not "racially diverse" since it is (quoting Internet Ronin) "64.34% Black, 31.63% white, 1.53% Asian, .32% Native American, and Hispanics/Latinos of any race make up just 1.70% of the population". Essentially it is a "biracial" city, consisting primarily of Africans in Amerikkka and whites. As Ronin correctly notes, "It seems to me that this so-called "Racial diversity index" is a code word for over-or under-representation of African Americans in a local population and has absolutely nothing to do with 'racial diversity.'"

So what we basically have is a dubious index that is really measuring how many Blackfolk are present (or absent) in a town/city. I looked at the top 10 cities listed in this year's index, Money's "RDI' (in italics) and then the percentage of Blacks in the population (bolded). Here are the data:

CITY "RDI" % Black Population
1. Middleton, WI, 32.8, 1.97%
2. Hanover, NH, 72.4, .47%
3. Louisville, CO, 31.5, .54%
4. Lake Mary, FL, 54.9, .24%
5. Claremont, CA 113.1, 4.98%
6. Papillion, NE, 27.9, .38%
7. Milton, MA, 60.1, .1%
8. Chaska, MN, 26.1, 1.02%
9. Nether Providence, PA, 45.8, 6.12%
10. Suwanee, GA, 96.3, .13%

Doing a little math, we find that the average RDI of these 10 municipalities is 62.1. Money says that "59.2" is the "national average for their selected listed, so hip hip hooray, for 2007 the top ten towns did slightly better than the "national average".

But wait. Let's take a closer look at the presence of Africans in Amerikkka in these towns/cities...

The average population of Africans in Amerikkka in these cities is 1.59%(!). That's right, under 2% and get this, that includes the city with the largest Black population, Nether Providence, PA (African American population = 6.12%). The lowest Black population in the "Top Ten" is Milton, MA (.1%). What Money gives its readers are extraordinarily white towns scattered over the nation which truly are the "Best Places for White People to Live" if they don't want to be around Black folk, who are of course criminal regardless of income and who (gasp!) will lower their property values.

Money, of course will not admit to any implied racism in choosing the towns, but would rather list it under the syrupy sweet category of "Meet the Neighbors" --- something that all good white people fleeing people of color are interested in. It would be interesting as demographics change in Amerikkka to see if increasing Black populations in these hamlets would automatically get them kicked off Money's list. Blacks and Latinos being associated with increasing crime rates is nothing new and Money lets it readers know in a very "civilized" way where these "undesirables" are nearly absent so their white readers will know where to move.

Me? I'm thinking about moving to Chaska, Minnesota (#8 on Money's list) and help increase their RDI. Watch out Chaska, Black man comin' down the street, locks and all to marry yo daughta...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

“To my [white] boyfriend, Jesus.”

A few weeks ago, I gave a seminar on Black male/female relationships at a Black church. At the close of the workshop, I was signing my books and overheard a conversation between two Black women in their mid 30s or so. I admittedly caught the tale end of their conversation, but heard one of them state emphatically, that, “her boyfriend was Jesus.” I was at first amused by what she said but then started thinking about her expression of love for the Son of God. Why this conflation of the divine with the romantic? How did she depict her “boyfriend” racially? Was he the misleading image of Jesus who has been drawn for centuries as a thin, white, blue-eyed, effeminate male, or did he possess the Black features of the man described in Revelation 1:14,15?

Given the bits and pieces of the conversation, I’d say it was the white boy image of Jesus.

I thought about how so much Black churchianity has become feminized. A few months ago, I participated in a men-only workshop at a Baltimore church entitled “Why Black Men Don’t Go to Church”. It was refreshing to hear Black men tell it like it is regarding their church attendance. I noticed that whenever race or racism was mentioned, howerver as a reason for non-attendance, it was frequently counterbalanced by “true believers” who claimed that Black men were “just sinful” and that the “devil had got a hold to Black men.”

To say the least, these are conversation stoppers and I’ve noticed that church-going Afrikans such as these drive in a race-neutral gear when it comes to talking about Jesus, the church, or anything dealing with their faith. This is especially true when it comes to discussing the social justice ministry of the Black church that historically lead the way for challenging white supremacy in the U. S. and the world. These believers' religion is deracinated and their uniqueness as Black “Christians” obliterated by a culturally gray and colorless profession of faith.

“I don’t care what color Jesus is; I just love him!” is usually followed by shouts of “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!”, and once again, Afrikan culture which is deeply rooted in Christianity and particularly in the Black church is neutralized. I’ve asked Black Christians that if it is true that it “makes no difference what color Jesus is, why not make him Black? Why not remove the white “Lamb of God” from sanctuary walls and replace Him with an image that looks like you and your children who invoke His name.?” These, of course are troubling questions for Black people who swallow hook, line and sinker, the Europeanized version of churchianity that has dominated the world and the minds of people of color for the past 1500 years.

And so I wonder about the Sister I heard at church the other day who asserted that her “boyfriend was Jesus.” Was he white, with pale milky features and stringy blonde hair the way white masters gave him to us on the plantation, and if so, was this her “ideal image” of who a lover should look like? Or, to paraphrase my Sister Gladys Knight, I wondered if she does get a real Black man as a boyfriend, will he be “second” to her idealized image of a blue-eyed skinny guy who has been branded in her brain as the “best thing that ever happened to her”?

I don’t know, but it my wondering is only half correct, it just shows the pernicious damage that a white supremacist view of Jesus has on the minds of my people…