Miami-Dade Needs More Than a Panel to Fix Race Relations

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke explains what's wrong with race relations in Miami-Dade.

African-Americans in Miami don't get a fair shot at anything. It's sad when young black children can aspire to become president but they can forget about ever being elected mayor in their own hometown.

No one wants to address the disenfranchisement of black people here. African-American contractors still receive fewer local government contracts. And when minority firms are awarded jobs to build roads or schools, they are often just fronts used by larger companies to meet quotas. Most black politicians maintain the status quo because they can't survive without political contributions from lobbyists, developers, and organizations like the Latin Builders Association that control the process.

Meanwhile, historic black neighborhoods continue to fade away. Today, real estate interests are stretching Wynwood into Overtown, driving rents up and black people out. Soon a major developer will break ground on the Miami Worldcenter project in Park West. Yet none of the African-Americans in the neighborhood have been promised jobs or a chance to open stores in the massive project. And the Florida Department of Transportation is doing just what it has done for decades: forcing longtime residents from their homes to make way for more expressway lanes through Overtown.

People who aren't black don't want to admit the problem. They refuse to acknowledge that by ignoring it, they are perpetuating the bleak cycle.

For instance, when a teenage black girl who can't afford to go to college leaves high school, she has to enter the workforce. And if she can't land a job, she has only two options. First, she can become a dope dealer's girlfriend and get caught up in the drug game. Or she can go work at a strip club.

She'll start off as a bartender, but when she sees men raining tips on the girls performing onstage, it won't be long before she is doing pole tricks too. Next thing you know, she's getting paid for sex in the champagne room, and she's got a pimp. Her family finds out and disowns her because Mom and Dad didn't raise her to be a hooker. She has a baby, a boy. When he is a teenager, he starts selling drugs on the corner. He ends up dead after being shot over some bullshit beef with a rival dealer.

Before we can solve Miami's social ills, we all have to admit we contribute to the problems plaguing our community.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1 and @unclelukesempir.

Tune into Luke on the Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal, 940 AM.

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