Racee and class were factors in the authorities’ slow and allegedly dishonest response to Flint’s water crisis, the Michigan city’s mayor, Karen Weaver, has claimed.
Had the city not been either predominately African American and poor, the crisis may not have happened, or else the response would have been different.
“I sure do. And I was not the only person who thought this,” Ms Weaver told The Independent. “One of the things we can’t forget is, the facts are the facts. This is a majority minority city. Not only did race play a factor, but class played a role, because of our high unemployment rate.” Weaver said her views were supported by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. It concluded that a mix of “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias” led to decisions, actions and consequences in Flint that would not have been allowed to happen in primarily white communities such as Ann Arbor or East Grand Rapids.
Weaver said the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s report had concluded that “systematic racism” had played a factor.
“Had this community been made up differently, if it had happened, it would have been addressed much quicker. We should not have to wait a year-and-a-half for people to say that brown water is bad, because kids know brown water is bad, and that’s not what you drink,” she said. “And for us to have to be validated by scientists a year-and-a-half year later is just sad. So yes, I believe it, the community believes it. I think it was about race, and I think it was about class.”