The Plan Is Real and It's Called Population Growth

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 13 2012 8:55 AM

The Plan Is Real and It's Called Population Growth

108847563
Washington, DC Mayor Vince Gray addresses an audience at the Cadillac display at the 2011 Washington Auto Show January 27, 2011 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

A recent column by Courtland Milloy* about a specific controversy over where to locate a bus depot has revived talk of The Plan, the alleged agenda to move Washington, DC's African American population out of the city and replace it with a whiter group of people. Mayor Vince Gray, the latest in a line of three black mayors who've been accused of complicity with said plan naturally denies that any such thing is happening. But Gray's denials aside, there very clearly is such a plan and the evidence for it is all over his administration's planning documents which clearly foresee that the past fifteen years or so of population growth in the District will continue.

You see, if you take a city where most people are black and locate it in a country where most people are white then a plan for a growing population is a plan for whitening your city.

Advertisement

After all, only about 12.6 of the American population is black. So if there's a random influx of people into the District that influx is going to be much less black than the city as a whole. Even if the people moving to DC aren't a random sample, even if they're three times as likely to be black as the average American then their movement into the city will have a blanching effect on the District's demographics. By the same token, even in the context of net population growth there's always churn and always going to be some people leaving the district. And since most people living in the district are African-American, it's natural that most of the people churning out of DC (like Courtland Milloy!) will be will be black.

So that's the Plan. You start with a mostly black city in a mostly not-black country. In any given year a random sample of the city's population leaves, and a larger random sample of the country's population moves in. Each and every year the city gets less black and more white. Just because you're paranoid don't mean they're not after you.

* Correction: An early version of this post misspelled Courtland Milloy's first name.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nicolas Sarkozy, Thrice Married, Says Gay Marriage Humiliates the Family

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 5:33 PM The Politics of Stigma Why are lighter-skinned Latinos and Asians more likely to vote Republican?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 5:45 PM The University of California Corrects “Injustice” by Making Its Rich Chancellors Even Richer
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.