EXPERT REPORT OF THOMAS J. SUGRUE
Gratz, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 97-75321 (E.D. Mich.)
Grutter, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 97-75928 (E.D. Mich.)
VII. RACIAL PATTERNS IN MICHIGAN
The racial divisions that characterize life in Michigan are deeply rooted in the history of the nation and of the state itself. Native Americans have long lived on the margins of white society, literally and figuratively. Virtually the entire American Indian population of the state was extirpated or forced to migrate to the west in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The small remaining American Indian population was largely concentrated on reservations, primarily in northern Michigan where short growing seasons, poor soil, and the lack of marketable natural resources have kept them isolated and impoverished. Reservation schools remained among the most troubled and under-funded in the state, but were the only choice available to many American Indians until 1934, when they were first officially permitted to enroll in Michigan's public schools. (4) American Indian migrants to cities also found themselves largely living in conditions of poverty, mainly in the poorest, most decrepit sections of cities, such
as Detroit's Cass Corridor, where they attended primarily segregated schools with blacks. (5)
Michigan has a small Hispanic population whose history is distinct from that of other Michigan residents. Beginning in the 1920s, Mexican migrant farm workers were recruited to the state by sugar beet and fruit growers. The World War II-era bracero program brought even larger numbers of seasonal farm workers to the state. Most lived in temporary encampments and many worked in conditions of near-servitude. Because of their families' transiency and because of hostility on the part of local educational officials, Mexican farm workers' children rarely attended schools for any sustained period of time. (6) Other Mexicans came to Michigan to work in the automobile industry, particularly at Ford, where they were generally relegated to the least desirable jobs such as spray painting, helper positions, and foundry work. To supplement their income, many worked in low-paying pick and shovel jobs and as common laborers. (7) By the onset of the Great Depression, Detroit was home to nearly 15,000 Mexicans, most of whom lived in substandard housing, many in tent and boxcar camps along the city's rail lines. Although Mexicans and other Hispanics did not face the same degree of residential discrimination and segregation as did African Americans, they suffered discrimination particularly in workplaces. (8) Children of Mexican descent attended schools where few teachers had the language skills to teach them adequately. In addition, Mexican Americans were subject to repatriation and deportation campaigns. During the Great Depression, Mexican immigrants in Michigan, even those who had been naturalized as United States citizens, were routinely deported with the encouragement of Detroit Public Welfare Department officials who hoped to cut the poor relief rolls. A second wave of deportation, this based on citizenship rather than economic status, occurred in the early 1950s. Michigan's Hispanic population grew again with the immigration reforms of the 1960s. (9)
Blacks in Michigan, as I describe at greater length below, have long lived separately from other groups. Their economic, social, and educational circumstances differed significantly from other groups. Beginning with the World War I era migration of blacks to the north, they suffered great hostility from whites. Persistent racial discrimination entrapped blacks in the most insecure, poorly paying jobs. They bore the brunt of the effects of economic restructuring that began unheralded in the early 1950s as Michigan's urban job base began to erode when firms moved to white suburban and rural areas. They encountered intense resistance in their search for decent housing; their lack of free choices in the housing market created a high degree of residential segregation that has not changed significantly in the last half-century. Segregation had educational consequences as well: blacks were and are unlikely to attend schools with whites. (10)
Over the course of the twentieth century, Michigan has remained a majority white state, with a sizeable African American minority, and small Hispanic and American Indian populations (Table 2). Approximately 82 percent of Michigan's population is white; about 14 percent is African American; slightly more than 2 percent is Hispanic, mainly of Mexican descent; and under one percent is of American Indian/Eskimo/Aleut background.
As a whole, the state's minority population is younger than its white population; as a consequence, Michigan's minorities are represented in higher numbers and whites in smaller numbers in the state's population attending primary and secondary schools.
Whole large sections of Michigan are virtually all white. The state's African American population has long been concentrated in the state's largest city, Detroit. Almost three quarters of Michigan's blacks live in Detroit area. Altogether, 96.3 percent of Michigan's blacks live in the state's eleven census-defined metropolitan areas (Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing/East Lansing, Muskegon, and Saginaw/Bay City/Midland). Nearly half of Michigan's Hispanics live in the Detroit area; 85.3 percent of Hispanics live in Michigan's eleven metropolitan areas. Slightly less than two-thirds of Michigan's Native American population live in the city's 11 metropolitan areas. (11)
The concentration of Michigan's minority populations can be seen in county-level census data. The vast majority of Michigan's eighty-three counties have tiny minority populations (Table 3). Forty-two (or more than half) of Michigan's counties have populations of 0.5 percent black or less; forty-eight counties have populations less than 1 percent black; fifty-nine counties have populations less than 2 percent black; seventy-two counties have populations less than 10 percent black. There are a few small enclaves of blacks outside metropolitan areas, most notably in Lake County, the site of a traditional black summer resort, and in Cass County, home to a small cluster of black farmers dating back to the nineteenth century. (12) Likewise, many places in Michigan are nearly devoid of Hispanics and American Indians. Forty-one counties have populations that are 1 percent or less Hispanic. Sixty-eight of Michigan's eighty-three counties have Hispanic populations less than the statewide percentage. Small pockets of Mexican Americans live in scattered small towns and rural areas, usually in the vicinity of fruit orchards and sugar beet farms that have long recruited migrant Mexican farm workers. Over two-fifths of Michigan's American Indians live scattered throughout the state, with concentrations on Indian reservations in a handful of central and northern Michigan counties.