A quarter of Lima’s population isn’t doing as well as its counterparts in the majority are.
That’s at the heart of this week’s series, “Lima in Black and White,” in The Lima News. Blacks in Lima have a lower median income and a higher unemployment rate.
These are statistical facts that, while unpleasant to discuss, must be discussed. They must be understood. They must be solved.
That’s why the newspaper undertook this project, which was instigated by an online statistical analysis that ranked Lima as one of the 10 worst cities for African-Americans.
We understand there are people who don’t think this is news. It isn’t particularly new; we’ve had racial disparity in this city since the beginning. But it is news that the disparity is still this big in 2016.
We also know some don’t necessarily trust the numbers on that online survey. Neither did we.
We spent a lot of time looking over the numbers used by the website. In some cases, its numbers didn’t quite add up to what we found using the same source materials. That didn’t make the numbers meaningless, though. We still found dramatic differences between Lima’s black and white populations. We also saw that Lima has poverty issues among all its populations, including blacks and whites.
This project has been somewhat difficult to lead at The Lima News. Two of the stories you’ll read this week show there aren’t enough black teachers or black police officers. We must acknowledge our own shortcomings here: We don’t have a single full-time black employee in the newsroom.
We’ll offer the same defense these agencies offered us: It’s not for a lack of trying. We’ve tried to actively recruit black journalists in the past when we’ve had openings. We’ll try in the future too. In many cases, we don’t even know the ethnicity of an employee until they walk in the room. Still, we’re committed to finding the best candidates possible, with an eye to diversity.
The number of Caucasians in the room doesn’t limit our ability to tell these stories. As always, we let our interview subjects tell their stories. We tried to ask them succinct, insightful questions and let us tell them what the stories should say.
They delivered great insight into what it’s like to be black and living in Lima. They opened up to our reporters about the difficulties they face daily that they don’t believe whites in Lima face.
This combination of interviews and statistics gives us a good insight. We’ve carefully reviewed all of it, trying to offer a fair explanation of both.
It’s a newspaper’s responsibility to challenge the status quo, especially when it finds disparity between one group of people and another. We hope our readers thoughtfully consider the topics expressed and help determine a solution.