People of color being gentrified out of U.S. urban centers

A recently released census report indicates that white populations are starting to increase in U.S. urban areas.

A slight growth in white people living in cities, from which many had fled decades ago, does not necessarily translate into the improvement of social conditions for the African-American and Latino/a communities now inhabiting municipalities. In fact, the numbers reflect a further lessening of commitment to the maintenance and well-being of people-of-color communities, which are being forced to relocate.

This phenomenon was played up on Sept. 16 in the Detroit News, a daily publication which has been a major proponent of restructuring the city based upon the interests of the banks and multinational corporations. Detroit and other large urban areas fell victim to decades of job losses, predatory lending and hostile, racist public policies that have closed schools and forced greater numbers of people into poverty and political marginalization.

Since Detroit was railroaded into the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history during 2013-14, the “rebuilding” of the city championed by the ruling-class media has been based on the notion, in part, of a reverse migration of whites, coupled with measures that force out African Americans, Latinos/as and poor people in general.

Even the Washington Post on Sept. 24 took notice of corporate media articles related to the growth in the number of whites living in cities. In collaboration with William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, census data were analyzed in light of migration patterns over the last 60-plus years affecting major urban areas.

The International Business Times of Sept. 25 said of this shift, “The media has covered white populations moving to cities individually in the past, often writing about the trends on an individual basis as certain neighborhoods change due to gentrification. Especially with the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August, many outlets wrote about the changing demographics in New Orleans.”

The report goes on to say, “But now that this looks like a broader trend, Frey told the Washington Post he doesn’t believe that means it will be a long-term pattern in the same way white flight was in the 1950s. ‘It’s not something to say we’re going to move 180 degrees in the other direction,’ Frey said. ‘And the white population isn’t growing as rapidly as it used to anyway. But it is an indicator that whatever kind of city revival — whether it’s short-term or long-term that we’re seeing — is involving whites.’”

Poorest city being ‘revitalized’

Frey cited the city of Detroit as an example, saying that 8,000 whites have recently moved into the municipality. However, just a week earlier, another report noted that the city, which is over 80 percent African American, is also the most economically underdeveloped and deprived through impoverishment of the people.

The same Detroit News that on a daily basis cheers and advocates the disempowerment and exploitation of the majority population in the city was forced to report on Sept. 16 that, despite all the ruling-class propaganda of a revival, Detroit remains the poorest large city in the country. This follows the declarations of bankruptcy by two of the automakers in 2009 and the city itself over the last two years.

The article noted, “Michigan is among 12 states that saw a decline in the percentage of people living in poverty in 2014, though the state’s poverty rate remained higher than the national average, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Wednesday.”

However, the article continued, “Detroit was the most impoverished major city in America with 39.3 percent living below a poverty line of $24,008 for a family of four. But Flint topped the list of Michigan’s poorest cities, with 40.1 percent of residents living in poverty.”

Both Detroit and Flint were hubs of the automotive industry during the 20th century, when the United Auto Workers and various labor unions fought battles to win recognition for bargaining rights