“We Are Opposed to Any Government Action That Distributes Public Money Based On Race”
So says Marisa Ming, executive director of the local Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, regarding an economic development plan that would exclusively benefit black business owners in Detroit. The plan had been endorsed by the city council earlier this week, prompting protests by various nonblack ethnic groups. It blamed Mexicans, Asians, and Arabs for taking jobs from blacks, refers to Dearborn as “Arabtown,” advocates the creation of a black business district to be known as “African Town,” and would set up a loan fund available only for blacks. “It’s the fact that racial and ethnic categories would be used, and that’s illegal,” said one of the councilmembers who voted against the report. Perhaps this plan was particularly blatant in its favoritism, but Detroit is hardly alone in playing this sort of racial politics, which will inevitably become uglier and more divisive as America becomes increasingly multiracial and multiethnic.