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Omar, Tlaib Kick Black Constituent Issues to the Curb

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

When President Donald Trump called out Congressman Elijah Cummings for the ghetto conditions in his congressional district that include West Baltimore, we heard so much hysteria. The media went into a frenzy. The word racist was overused again to the point it lost meaning. How pathetic. 


I previously wrote about how you could take Baltimore out of the narrative of cities in decline and replace it with any other city in America with a large black underclass, and you will see the same shameful quality of life conditions. I often ask myself, who is in charge of these cities? Yet, not surprisingly, very few people want to discuss the truth that high crime, low employment, failing schools, high infant mortality rates, and inadequate housing have been pathologies that have existed in these cities since electing Democratic officials and putting liberal people in other positions of political power in those areas based on identity and not qualifications. Black voters comprise much of the voting populace in those areas, so they are ultimately responsible for continuing to elect people who couldn’t manage a lemonade stand—never mind an entire city or congressional district. 

Rather than being honest, in these failing cities black community leaders and activists keep trying to convince us that the problem is systemic racism and that not enough people of color—as they call us— are in powerful positions. This is a big lie. I know it, and so do they.   I have debunked this lie in previous writings and often remind black voters that in addition to questionable lifestyle choices, their political leaders have failed them. Even the election of the first black president did not move the needle much for blacks living life at the bottom economically and socially. 


Now let’s discuss Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul and what this means for black people living there.   

A recent 24/7 Wallstreet report listed Ilhan Omar’s Minnesota congressional district as the “worst" district for black Americans to live in. The worst! In 2018 Minneapolis was the fourth worst city to live in. The report points out that “congressional representatives are in a unique position of power to address issues of social and economic inequality within their district.”  My first reaction was, oh, really? You mean members of Congress like Bobby Rush from Chicago, Gwen Moore from Milwaukee and John Lewis from Atlanta can make a difference?  Most of those cities have horrible economic indicators. Here is what Omar’s district looks like. The black population rate is about 17%. The black poverty rate is 37.2%, four times higher than for whites living there. The story calls it staggering. I call it unconscionable. Black unemployment is 12.3%, three times higher than whites living there. Homeownership is 19.8% compared to 63.1% for whites. 

Rashid Tlaib’s congressional district of Detroit is another disaster with similar abysmal economic indicators for black residents. Blacks make up for over 82% of Detroit’s population. My first question is how Rashid Tlaib got elected to Congress in an overwhelmingly black city, succeeding John Conyers whose futility kept him in office for over 50 years? The answer is that a fractured black vote led to her election. Tlaib’s district has a black poverty rate of 39%, the unemployment rate is 9% compared to 4% for whites, the homeownership rate is below 50% for blacks, and the black K-12 public schools have some of the lowest math and reading scores to go along with horrendous graduation rates. 


Therefore, I ask the blacks living in Minneapolis and Detroit, what has the election of Omar and Tlaib meant for your lives? Omar and Tlaib’s leadership has left them voiceless for issues vital to them—issues like better schools, better paying jobs, better housing, lower crime and a better overall quality of life as anti-Semites Tlaib and Omar pursue issues like open borders and the Palestinian, Israel conflict.  Tlaib and Omar’s agendas are not dinner table topics in black households.  Yet, Omar and Tlaib represent a significant black population in their districts. 

It will not surprise me if many blacks living in Omar or Tlaib’s district also feel abandoned and disconnected. Neither Omar or Tlaib share the black historical experience in America from slavery forward according to public relations consultant and former Detroit Free Press reporter Greg Bowens who pointed out that on Tlaib, “The snag is that some blacks in her district wonder if she went off to Washington to focus more on the fight for Palestinian rights and immigration rather than turning the lion's share of her attention to pressing concerns in Detroit.” He further wrote that “when we talk about race we need to examine where Arab/Palestinian, sister-girl Rashida Tlaib stands in relation to her mostly black district, black history, and the black diaspora.”  He is politely saying that the Palestinian experiences have absolutely nothing in common with black America’s plight since slavery nor can black folks entirely correlate centuries of Middle East conflict with their experience. We hear more from Tlaib and Omar about their disdain for the state of Israel and Israeli-American relations than we do about the disastrous living conditions in their congressional districts.


I am not suggesting replacing them with black liberal Democrats would make any difference. Just look at Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Baltimore to realize that. However, if black voters believe that a seat at the table of political power can make a difference, then they should get their act together and find better officeholders than Omar and Tlaib. 

It’s time for black voters to send failed politicians like Omar, Tlaib, Cummings, Lewis, and Moore into retirement and begin electing leaders who will improve their fixable conditions. They will also have to be honest and realize that voting for Democrats for 50 years has not changed their quality of life in these decrepit communities. In fact, conditions continue to get worse. 

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