D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a gigantic – and by that, I do mean gigantic – “BLACK LIVES MATTER” sign to be painted on the street heading up to the White House, presumably in a sign of solidarity with the tens of thousands of protesters who’ve taken to the street this week to demand an end to racial injustice and police brutality.
CNN reports the massive sign, painted in huge yellow block letters, spans a full two city blocks of 16th Street.
Now, the report doesn’t detail how much it cost taxpayers to paint the giant sign on the pavement, which does exactly nothing to better the lives of urban communities or solve issues facing black Americans. But given the government’s track record of overpaying for everything from copy paper to jet planes, one can assume it wasn’t cheap.
But while painting “Black Lives Matter” on a road might be an easy method of scoring social justice points, according to the data, the city - and the people who run it - sure don’t seem to care much about black lives beyond publicity stunts.
A 2007 report found a full one-third of D.C. residents are functionally illiterate. Roughly 1 in 4 black D.C. residents live below the poverty line. In 2018, D.C. ranked among the highest in unemployment among black Americans among U.S. cities, with a rate of about 13 percent. Math proficiency among D.C.’s public school students sits at 28 percent – and that’s actually an improvement over past years. At Luke C. Moore High School, one of the city's mostly black public schools, the drop-out rate sits at about 49 percent. In 2018, D.C.'s crime rate was nearly two times the U.S. average, higher than 95 percent of U.S. cities.
But I’m sure some yellow letters painted on the road will go a long way toward solving all these real life issues.