“It’s weird to be in a city where almost every piece of social infrastructure like the post office, the church, the concert hall, is all gone.”
These are the words of BBC correspondent Paul Mason, describing his “tour” through the utterly destroyed city of Gary, Indiana—which only a few decades ago was one of that American state’s thriving—and white—centers.
Now, as the BBC documentary showed, the city is “at least” 84 per cent black (that at least means much more, as there are almost no whites left in the urban area at all).
And it is utterly smashed, just like its bigger cousin Detroit in Michigan.
The cause is, once again, a sea change in racial demographics. When Gary was white, it was a bustling, thriving metropolis—as some rare vintage footage from the 1960s, included in the BBC documentary, clearly shows.
Now however, it is a black Third World city, and smashed into ruins.
“It is a bit like walking through the ruins of a civilization,” the BBC reporter remarks at one stage in the 16 minute documentary—possibly not realising the full importance of what he is saying. Because, of course, it is not “like walking through the ruins of a civilization,” it is walking through the ruins of a civilization.
Gary as it used to be.
“Gary is one third poor, 84% African American, and has seen its population halve over the past three decades. If crime, as the official figures suggest, has recently dropped off then – say the critics – that is because population flight from the city is bigger than the census figures show,” the accompanying article on the BBC website said.
“Gary in the end got $266m of stimulus money and has, according to the federal “recipient reported data” created a grand total of 327 jobs. That’s $800,000 per job.”
“Gary’s public finances are a mess. It owes tens of millions of dollars to other entities. Its great get-out-of-jail card – tax revenue from casinos – turned out to be a busted flush. Its convention centre is dark most of the time. The one-time Sheraton Hotel, right next to the City Hall, is derelict.”