Black Residents Of South Bend Say ‘Ain’t S**t Changed’ Since Pete Buttigieg Has Been Mayor
High poverty rates and a lack of care leave Blacks in South Bend wanting more.
April 24, 2019 at 5:51 pm
Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is running for the Democratic nomination for president, but his record in the Indiana city could come back to haunt him in his chase.
CNBC recently went to the area led by Buttigieg where Black residents were not pleased with his performance.
“Ain’t s*** changed,” said Shawn White, a Black 24-year-old from South Bend’s west side to CNBC about a program Buttigieg started to provide grants for home repairs. “How is he gonna run the whole country if you can’t even get your city right first?”
White's complaints are backed up by a 2017 report on the city's racial wealth divide that showed 40% of South Bend's Black residents live below the poverty line with an average income level $14,000 lower than Blacks nationally.
In an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, Buttigieg said he feels the city is improving for all the city's residents and hopes to continue that work into the future.
“We made sure that our neighborhoods were improved because the issue of blight and vacant and abandoned properties was harming neighbors especially in minority neighborhoods,” Buttigieg said. “People didn’t think it could be done, but we dealt with 1,000 houses in 1,000 days by marshaling resources, concentrating them and working to fix the problem.”
Even with that reassurance, residents feel that Buttigieg could be doing more in what is considered a small city, population 100,000, to get to know all of the areas and there needs.
“I ain’t ever seen the dude,” White said. “Tell him to chill with us for three or four days.”
Buttigieg's possible blindspots on race include a 2015 “state of the city” speech in which the mayor talked about the need of his police department to overcome biases and said “all lives matter.” The phrasing has been used as a counter to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Buttigieg also demoted the city's first Black police chief, Darryl Boykins, and paid $75,000 in a settlement to Boykins who said he was demoted due to the mayor's “racial animus.”
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