Community calls out South Bend Mayor on 'racial justice' campaign policy
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Tuesday, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke to black voters in Chicago at the Rainbow Push Coalition.
The mayor focused on his campaign’s policy to increase economic prosperity within black communities called the ‘Douglass Plan.’ He also said in his remarks that he’s asked on the campaign trail more about his plans to get the ‘black vote’ than he is about his policies to help black communities.
In a poll released on Monday, it showed Mayor Buttigieg receiving zero support from black Democratic voters.
“It’s as if I’m being asked more about how to win than how to deserve to win,” Mayor Buttigieg said.
According to the ‘Pete for America’ campaign website, racial justice is listed as an issue that is important to Buttigieg. One of the key policy’s includes creating ‘a commission to propose reparations for Black Americans and close the racial wealth gap.’
However, in South Bend, black residents have criticized the Mayor for the racial wealth gap he has yet to fix. Donald Avance, who’s lived in the city for more than 40 years, said Buttigieg’s campaign promise is not adding up.
“The resources are limited here,” he said. “Everybody’s fighting for the little bit that they have because everybody’s taking all the money out, we’re spending but they’re taking.”
According to a 2017 report, black people in South Bend make half of what white households make. The Mayor over his eight years in office has made several efforts to level the playing field, including funding a study to identify barriers minority owned businesses face when bidding on city contracts.
IUSB Political Science Professor Elizabeth Bennion said, during elections, people focus on the black voters a democratic candidate needs. She said Buttigieg is arguing the focus should be on how he will improve the lives of African Americans in the United States.
“He recognizes that no politician is going to singlehandedly solve these issues,” Bennion said.
On Tuesday, Buttigieg said when a white elected official is confronted with racial concerns that you see articles about a white politician’s ‘black problem.’ Avance said he agrees.
“Yeah we’re going to be extra hard and extra you know critical,” he said.