April 10, 2007

Unlocking the barn door after the horse is gone:

One of the little remarked national trends is the economic cleansing of African-Americans from the liberal cities of Blue State America, with many blacks heading toward more Republican areas with cheaper housing and better job growth. San Francisco provides a classic example. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

S.F. moves to stem African American exodus
Critics say effort to reverse longtime trend may be too late
Leslie Fulbright, Chronicle Staff Writer

Joseph Blue has lived in San Francisco for 20 years and toughed out the drastic decline in its black population, a phenomenon that persists despite being recognized for decades as a problem. Neighborhoods that once thrived with African American culture and black-owned businesses have all but disappeared.

Well, I doubt that there were any thriving African-American business districts in San Francisco in 1987 when Mr. Blue arrived. They pretty much disappeared across the country in the 1960s when the coming of integration allowing ambitious blacks to get out (although they have made a slight comeback since the end of the crack era). For an indelible portrait of black neighborhoods in San Francisco in the late 1960s, see Tom Wolfe's Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.

"San Francisco no longer has a viable black community," said Blue, an African American who lives in the Western Addition. "The middle class is gone, and what we have left is underprivileged, uneducated, poor black folks."

San Francisco officials are now calling the thousands of black people who have moved away "the African American diaspora," and the mayor's office is putting together a task force to figure out what can be done to preserve the remaining black population and cultivate new residents.

San Francisco's black population has dropped from 96,000 -- or 13.4 percent of the city -- in 1970 to an estimated 47,000 in 2005, about 6.5 percent of city residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. African Americans make up about 12.1 percent of the nation's population overall.

"The decline is phenomenal," said Hans Johnson, a demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California. San Francisco is not alone. From 1995 to 2000, Oakland and neighborhoods of Los Angeles lost tens of thousands of black residents. Not one West Coast city made a list of the nation's top cities for African Americans compiled last year by Black Enterprise magazine based on income potential, the cost of living, proximity to employers and housing costs. Most are in the South and most -- coincidentally or not -- have black mayors.

In other words, they tend to be black strongholds in Republican states, most notably Atlanta in Georgia, where the city can live off the surrounding prosperity.

"We don't even have any black leaders," said Blue, who unsuccessfully ran for supervisor in 2004. "When I moved here, there was a vibrant and enthusiastic black culture that brought its own ethnic mix and vitality. Now, the culture and the political influence have evaporated. The population is so low that it is beyond saving."

How did I know the word "vibrant" was going to appear in this article?

But Seattle and San Diego, which have reputations for being predominately white, had higher percentages of African Americans than San Francisco in 2005, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. In recent years, San Francisco's black population has dropped faster than that of any other large city in the United States.

Though San Francisco is still often seen as diverse, it was 53 percent white and 33.5 percent Asian in 2005, with Chinese Americans accounting for about two-thirds of Asian residents.

San Francisco's strict environmental and historical preservation laws have put a tight lid on the housing supply, making San Francisco hideously expensive, driving out blacks and forcing the Hispanic immigrant service workers who replaced them to live elsewhere in the Bay Area and make long commutes. This leaves San Francisco itself as a predominantly white-Asian theme park of Disneyfied Diversity, which is just the way San Francisco liberals, such as the Speaker of the House, like it.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

One of the fallacies people use is to assume that all states should have an average number of each group.

The actual percentage of blacks in california is around 5% not 12%.

Why should SF be measured by national percentages rather than CA percentages?

Anonymous said...

note the assumptions made in the article, which have become standard in any respectable dialog about race in america: a lack of black americans is a problem, a decline in the presence or participation of black americans in a town or enterprise is a problem, the government should actually spend time and money to fix this problem.

also notice how "African" and "Asian" and "Hispanic" are capitalized, but "white" is lower case. europeans are merely a dull, boring, unimportant group, nothing more than afterthought. they have no identity and no interests. they don't even deserve a capital letter.

i like the guy above me who correctly pointed out that everything is referenced by national numbers, as if that reflected the stituation in each state. why do mexicans get affirmative action in states where they are the majority? this will continue for almost 100 years until they are the national majority.

certainly in 50 years, when mexicans are 70% of texas and california, it won't make sense for them to still get affirmative action in border states. not like it makes sense for mexicans to get affirmative action now, but in the future, it will make even less sense.

Anonymous said...

Good points but the situation is more complex than that.

Most of the middle and upper class blacks have decided to become integrationist. You can see this by walking around Crystal City and other Northern Virginia Malls that cater to government workers and the military. Black/White couples of both types (Black Male-White Female and White Male-Black Female) are common and generate not the slightest comment or looks (which would certainly be evident on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade or Beverly Center in West LA).

Moreover Atlanta DOES have a high-crime poor black population, but also a substantial Black Middle Class (Tyler Perry, a man of limited comic appeal for me at least, has made a lot of money working the Black Middle Class circuit). Even in New Orleans, New Orleans East, not being very historic, was a fairly black Middle Class Irvine CA set off Lake Ponchartrain. Gone now of course.

And LA has had violent and IMHO deliberate ethnic cleansing of Blacks out of historic ghettos by Latino gangs. It's just like the killings in Iraq (or Bosnia) and aimed for the same purpose: a group with more manpower muscling a declining group out.

African-Americans stupidly voted for Mayor Tony and got a neutered LAPD unwilling to control gang violence. Which by it's manpower imbalance (essentially unlimited manpower from Mexico) favors Latinos.

This in addition to the economic cleansing. Even New Orleans is doomed as a Black Cultural Center. Middle Class Blacks would reliably trek there from places like Buckhead in Atlanta or University Park in Dallas to experience Black Culture (of course New Orleans was too violent and poor to live in). That is gone as Latinos from Mexico living in appalling conditions have supplanted the native Black populations in cleanup and services.

Anonymous said...

San Francisco deserves more blacks.

Steve Sailer said...

"The actual percentage of blacks in california is around 5% not 12%. Why should SF be measured by national percentages rather than CA percentages?"

Because San Francisco epitomizes California (especially coastal Blue State California), which has been seeing an outflow of blacks at the state level for a number of years now. Within California, blacks have been moving from Democratic coastal regions to Republican inland regions.

Anonymous said...

I'll just bet there are several young Chinese/white professinal San Fransiscans wondering how to apply pressure to the City to make sure more low-income blacks can afford to move in down the street.

and more undocumented latinos too, lets not forget them.

Anonymous said...

I wonder which scenario is more likely
1. As blacks leave the blue enclaves and the poor blacks remaining are out of sight of the whites (and Asians) remaining, the blue enclave will get bluer and bluer and those affluent whites and Asians have less and less contact with blacks and can continue in their fantasies. And the whites in the red enclaves will get redder with the blacks leaving the blue enclaves.

2. Or perhaps it works that since the only blacks left in SF are poor ghetto blacks, most contact the blue whites will have with blacks will be negative, whereas before it could be at least decent when there were middle class blacks. And the red enclaves might have better racial harmony as they have middle class blacks to help balance the ghetto.

I suspect it will be the first scenario, at least with respect to blue enclaves. I'm guessing the ghetto blacks are sufficiently shunted away from the liberals for the liberals to have to face reality.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem. If white liberals are so concerned they can follow diversity wherever it moves and I'm sure they will. All those high-minded left-wing white multiculturalists in San Francisco will be flocking to Oakland for the vibrant and oh-so-colorful black and Hispanic cultural experience any day now.

Yes, any day now...

...still waiting...

...it's gonna happen soon...

...I can feel it...

Stopped Clock said...

I've lived in various parts of rural New England for most of the past 20 years. I've noticed that the very small number of blacks that we have here are almost always found in the poorest towns, towns which normally attract very little white immigration and often have declining populations overall. Curiously these poor towns are often more politically conservative than the happier, trendier towns with higher average incomes.

I have begun to wonder if the Democrats and the Republicans are moving towards adopting identical economic strategies, and if so whether there will be a general shift in American politics away from arguments over economics and towards social issues ... If this happens I would not be surprised to see more whites vote Democrat than Republican since it seems that whites overall are more socially liberal than all the other races, and moreover the more socially liberal whites seem to always be the middle and upper class ones. I expect that Affirmative Action will soon become so entrenched in America's mindset that no one will even question its existence, and racial identity politics might begin to die down as minorities in general realize that whites are not a threat any longer.

Ross said...

Thomas Sowell has written about the decline in the black population of San Francisco fairly regularly over the last few years. He also puts it down to enviromental regulations which restrict land use and price out lower income groups in general.

Steve Sailer said...

That San Francisco's environmental policies drive out crime-prone minorities is not a bug, it's a feature.

Anonymous said...


"That San Francisco's environmental policies drive out crime-prone minorities is not a bug, it's a feature."

What about San Francisco's policy to subsidize homelessness? I never understood that one. Though SF does tend to have whiter homeless people than you might see in New York. When I used to travel to SF for work frequently, about 7 or 8 years ago, most of the homeless seemed to be Vietnam Vet types. Exotic for someone from the New York area, where the homeless are nearly all black.

Even more exotic was seeing young white junkies in Seattle and Denver -- not a whole lot of those types in New York these days either.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, actually, there's been a rather large exodus of white and Asian left-leaning hipsters from San Francisco into Oakland, for the simple reason that the bohemians have been priced out by the dot-commers and investment bankers.

While Jerry Brown did his best to woo these people, segments of the old Oakland black leadership complained about blacks being gentrified out of Oakland by the influx of white economic refugees from SF.

Anonymous said...

While Jerry Brown did his best to woo these people, segments of the old Oakland black leadership complained about blacks being gentrified out of Oakland by the influx of white economic refugees from SF.

Oh, I realize there are likely some parts of Oakland that are subject to urban renewal. The same thing is happening in Tacoma, Washington in the formerly nasty and mostly black Hilltop area. (Which is forcing all the gangstas out to new turf, like the increasingly rough Federal Way.) But my point is that white liberals won't be moving to the hood for the sake of diversity and the renewed neighborhoods of Oakland they move to are not likely to have large black populations. Multiculturalism is more a slogan than a practical plan for "champagne multiculturalists."

Anonymous said...

As an experiment, lets try an imaginary headline:

SF moves to stem European American exodus

Grumpy Old Man said...

Willie Brown, former Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of SF, retired from electoral politics at just the right time.

My married daughter hates SF, because she say's it's so child-unfriendly, not just in terms of rents and houseprices, but attitudes.

If I said it has become a poofter theme park, I'd be notably un-PC

Anonymous said...

"If I said it has become a poofter theme park, I'd be notably un-PC".

No, you'd be expressing the general opinion of most everyone. A stereotype, if you will. And in so doing, exposing stereotypes for wha they are.

Usually correct.