Too many white folks or not enough blacks? Does not playing hip-hop music at dance clubs equate to racism? Should opinion-based writing appear on the local newspaper of record’s front page disguised as a news story?
Just as it was easy peasy for the Kansas City Star to lay down an exaggerated characterization of Kansas City as a “murder capital” a few months back, it was equally effortless for one of the newspaper’s cub reporters to serve up an exaggerated, racist spin on KC’s social scene for “young, black professionals.”
All it took was a handful of out of context quotes from 20-something black millennials and a couple of of unhappy deejays and voila!
What’s missing in KC, the story says, is “a hotbed of millennial upswing and Midwestern hospitality” for the upwardly mobil urban crowd.
Especially compared to the scenes in Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta.
The headline: Is KC social scene for whites only?
Of course it is…at least according to the half dozen or so people quoted.
The real question:
Is the dearth of KC nightclubs catering to upscale, young African Americans a case of rampant racism or simply too few people in the demo to support a scene?
Clearly the latter is the case.
Because missing in action in the lengthy piece was the fact that we live in a supply-demand world – where if the demand was there along with the customers to support it – any number of business people black or white would rise to the occasion.
Just like if KC had a large enough population and NBA or NHL fan base, we’d probably have one or both of those teams.
Unfortunately we don’t.
The fact of the matter is that Kansas City is a small midwestern metro and there are any number of other amenities – from radio stations to restaurants – that can be found in far larger cities like Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas that you won’t find here.
That’s just common sense.
On top of which, the urban populations of Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago dwarf that of Greater KC.
The Dallas area has like 7 million people, Atlanta more than 5 million and Chicago more than 9 million.
Compared to KC’s paltry 2 million.
Plus those city’s non white demographics blow KC’s away.
Dallas for example skews 50 percent white, 25 percent black.
Atlanta’s black population is nearly double that of its white population.
Chicago is 32 percent black and 31.7 percent white.
Kansas City racial makeup: 74 percent white to 12 percent black.
Get the picture?
All of which makes it far from surprising that a 26 year-old African American systems engineer from Atlanta quoted in the Star story says, “All you see in KC are Caucasians.”
Geez do the math, dude.
All of that said, do those statistics alone render KC a hotbed of racism?
Of course cities like Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta are likely to have a more vibrant upscale urban nightlife scene than KC.
Yet given how the writer stitched it all together in an endlessly long piece, it made it appear that two or three bars not wanting to play hip-hop music rendered the Cowtown racist.
The bottom line:
Remember that line, follow the money?
When and if the area’s young urban professional population grows large enough, there’ll be folks falling over themselves to cater to that crowd.
Until then, you know what they say; size matters!