A new bridge is being built across the Mississippi River in St. Louis. And some groups have a problem because, they say, there is not enough ‘minority participation’ in the construction.
Protesters gathered Monday at the ground breaking ceremony for the New Mississippi River Bridge project.
The group is concerned with the minority participation in building the bridge, said Troy Buchanan, task force chair for the United Congregations of the Metro-East.
“Shame on President Obama, and shame on Ray LaHood to build these projects in America without proper minority representation,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan said the Interstate 64 project had 27 percent minority participation, which he considers an ideal model. UCM is asking for 30 percent minority involvement in the New Mississippi River Bridge project.
Wait a minute, if 27 percent is ‘ideal’, then wouldn’t 30 percent be more than ideal, and therefore, you know, too much? Black people — the article keeps saying ‘minority’, but let’s be honest, this isn’t about Bosnians or Navajos or Mexicans — make up about 12% of the population of the United States, and about 18% of the population of the St. Louis metro area.
It seems to me that a project with 27% ‘minority participation’ means that African-Americans are already not just being included fairly, but in fact favored. The United Congregations guy apparently agrees with me, because he said this was ‘ideal’. But now it should be 30%?
“Investments in infrastructure should be shared by all Americans,” said Ron Trimmer, of UCM, in a press release.
With a slightly larger share, that is, going to Mr. Trimmer’s kind of Americans.
A couple paragraphs further down, there’s a clue:
East St. Louis is 95 percent to 100 percent minority, with an 18.4 percent unemployment rate, Buchanan said. He said UCM’s concern is creating opportunities for those that are unemployed in the communities surrounding the project.
Leaving aside the insanity of a place being ’100 percent minority’, there’s a problem of logic here. The Interstate 64 project, that of the ‘ideal’ 27% participation, was mostly in areas inhabited almost entirely by white people. If one end of a bridge being in a ’100% minority’ area means that there should be more ‘minority’ participation in the project, presumably the highway that was rebuilt through the richest part of town should have had a lot of Jewish and Ivy-League participation, no?
Apparently: no. Of course not.
I’m really of two minds about this kind of thing. On the one hand, it’s all ridiculous. If a black-owned or -staffed firm can do the work, and do it at competitive rates, they should not have any trouble attracting business. It’s in the government’s interest to spread this work around (if only because they are likely to net more in taxes from a lot of small companies than from one big company), and not to effectively annex a few big contractors (likely owned by white people) as arms of the government.
But in these articles, I only see people calling for ever-higher levels of ‘participation’ of people of a certain skin color, and never anything even on how much of a given area’s e.g. construction industry is represented by people with that skin color.