With a little more rigor, this writer could have delivered more impact and, maybe, more exposure to her ideas.
Here's where I think she dropped the ball.
"Charlotte is one of the wealthiest cities in the country"
To support this she indicates the city's median home value is $170,000. But since she provides no source, this can't conveniently be verified. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack. I found a source that shows Charlotte has a median home sales price of $204,500. So this seems to support her contention that Charlotte is one of our wealthier cities. Except, this ranks Charlotte #84 among all US metro areas, according to Zillow (http://files.zillowstatic.com/research/public/Metro/Metro_MedianSoldPrice_AllHomes.csv)
Maybe she meant Charlotte's wealth stems from an above average income than other cities in the USA. But using this measure, Charlotte is #21 of the 25 largest metro areas. This data is from the U.S. Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/demo/acsbr15-02.pdf).
I'm not suggesting a person couldn't find credible data that puts Charlotte near the top of US cities in terms of wealth. And I know from experience it's a beautiful city with a lot going for it.
But that's not the point. This writer's story is that a wealthy city like Charlotte is no more immune to racially driven violence than any other American city. And this is an important story. Yet she fails to support it.
By failing to prove her first part of the story (that Charlotte is a relatively wealthy city) she casts doubt on other claims she makes. Like this one:
"...but this prosperity hasn't touched overwhelmingly black West and Northeast Charlotte and it is one of the most heavily policed. And the police don't spend much energy policing — throwing people up against cars on a regular basis to search them for drugs — in overwhelmingly white South Charlotte."
How do we know the police are treating different parts of Charlotte differently? How do we believe her implication that race is a factor in how police treat people?
The truth is, we don't.
For all I know she might be 100% correct. And if she is, then the implications of that should be pursued.
But I cannot conclude with any confidence that she is correct, because she failed to support her claims. She gives me no reason to join her in her conclusion other than, perhaps, my own willingness, based on the situation, the emotions surrounding it or a predisposition to believe such a claim.
This writer had an opportunity to build trust with me, the reader, by providing some simple, factual and verifiable information (about the city's wealth and other measures of its' wonderfulness). That would have lent credibility to other statements she made that are harder to validate, like policing tactics and choices.
But by shortcutting the easy claims she weakens the heart of the story, the part about a wealthy city being as vulnerable to violence than others.
This is the real story and it's an important one. But it didn't get the quality exposure it deserved from this piece.
#conflict #race #police #charlotte