Saturday, October 15, 2011

Redistricting map an injustice to Blacks

This was written in response to "Redistricting map an injustice to Latinos," a 10-13-11 editorial in the Dallas Morning News.

The approved Dallas redistricting map is potentially a much greater injustice to blacks in Dallas than it is to Hispanics. While the immediate injustice is more obvious for the Hispanic community, it is a much greater injustice for the black community projecting forward 5 years. The population movements of the past decade, if they continue, could leave the Dallas black community with only one black voting age majority district in just 5 years!  That is an even more blatant injustice than the one to our Hispanic community.

In 2001 the current four black city council districts had an average black population of 56%. By the 2010 census this same average black population in these 4 districts (4, 5, 7, & 8) had fallen to 48%. A total of 16,700 in black population was lost. (See slide #70 in presentation given to Dallas City Council on 9/7/2011 titled "Redistricting 2011: Process Review and Proposed Districting Plan" at
) Districts 4 and 7 lost over 16% of their black population. The adopted redistricting map does not take this history into consideration. With the adopted map, in 5 years we could be back to having exactly what we have now, only one city council district that has a black voting age population over 50%.

Remember, the census numbers used in the redistricting process are already 18 months old. District 7 in the adopted map only had a 50.76% black voting age population majority, and that was 18 months ago. The area of Dallas in the new District 7 lost from 8 to 12 percentage points in black population over the past decade. It is almost certain we have already lost the majority black voting age population number in District 7 during the 18 months since since the 50.76% number was recorded. We may have lost much more, unless the population movements have stopped.

Yes, a lower black voting age population District 7 in the adopted map is still very "winnable" district, but that leaves us with only two districts that are majority black voting age population at the very start of the decade. Why take the risk when three much stronger districts, with an average of 6 percentage points in voting age population more, over 63%, have been proven possible? This can be done with no loss in the potential for a fourth "winnable" district? Even a fifth "winnable" district is possible!

Due to population movement, less gerrymandered maps looked north for these winnable black districts. The large majority of the 16,700 loss in black population in the four current black districts were not people who moved out of Dallas. They simply moved to North Dallas districts, one of which had a black population that grew by more than 100%. In the six white majority districts the black population has grown by over 9,100 people. That is where more potentially winnable black districts are. Such maps can have two minority coalition districts, one of which can be 70% minority. As population movement continues, such districts north of I-30 will become stronger for minority candidates. Let's build for the future.

Maps that are much more compact than the one adopted can provide 10 minority districts on the Dallas City Council. These include 8 minority majority districts and two coalition districts, with a minority as the majority in each coalition district. Why was such a map not chosen?

While the potential for a black leader to be elected in any district city wide is increasing, that potential remains compromised in North Dallas minority communities. They remain fragmented among several North Dallas districts in the adopted map. The Justice Department must change this. It must establish and maintain equal voting rights in Dallas, and do it without gerrymandered city council districts.

Since the above posting was made, on 11-6-11, there was an article in the Dallas Morning News about the 41 schools within DISD that are less than 75% full and being studied for possible closing.  On page 10B of that paper was a map with the locations and names of these 41 schools given. It was not given online, but was photographed and is below. 

Click on the above map & list to enlarge.
Study the above map and listing of schools closely, along with the approved redistricting map for Districts 7 and 4, copied below. 

Click on above map to enlarge.
You will note that the overwhelming majority of the 41 schools are in Districts 7 and 4.  This corresponds to the dropping black population in this area.  We must start the decade with much stronger, more compact, black districts, and with black majority districts that are in areas wherein the black population is either stable, or growing, as we done in wPlan03c by Rawlings.  The fragmented minority coalition district surrounding Hamilton Park could be united to become a true "winnable" black district, but it appears such potential may have to wait for the next redistricting in 2021.  

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