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State of the Black Community in San Antonio

Over this year, there has been an increase in shootings and other crimes associated with the Black community. However, when looking at the city overall, many parts of the deep North Side (beyond Loop 410 and Loop 1604) have seen significant increases in vehicle thefts, car break-ins, home burglaries, porch thieves, a large number of random gunshots, and DWI charges. This is going on in the more affluent areas and not the Black community. 
Still, the media tends to constantly use the phrase “the East Side” when referring to any type of crime instead of just providing a street name when it comes to reporting about the East Side. In this way, by identifying an entire geographic area where a crime occurred, an entire section of town can look like a community of criminals. This perception then gives fuel to biased police officers who are looking to do illegal car searches. 
Statistics show that Black residents make up only 7% of the city’s population, but they make up over 10% of the traffic stops and approximately 24% of the arrests. This shows that SAPD is most likely engaged in racial profiling. Things fall apart even more with the bail system. According to the most recent data (2021) from the San Antonio Area Foundation and the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund (SAAAACF), the “Average bail varies dramatically by defendant race/ethnicity, with the average for Black or African Americans being 1.4 times the average for all groups.”  Thus, we see a disproportionate number of Black residents incarcerated in the Bexar County jail.
One should not just look at crimes committed by residents but also crimes committed by law enforcement. KSAT 12 News reported in 2023, nine SAPD officers and nine BCSO deputies were arrested. The charges range from driving under the influence to murder. Though this was a decline from the previous year, the news station said the severity of charges went up. Disciplinary actions and criminal charges of county and city officers continued to cloud law enforcement in San Antonio this year. As if the other problems are not enough, law enforcement continues to violate the community and the laws that they swore to protect.
Property crimes in San Antonio have risen overall from last year, but crimes against individuals are lower than last year. Homicides are lower this year than last year, and an overall drop or a stable number could be seen this year in most categories. If it seems like crime is up, remember the old adage, “If it bleeds, it leads.” This is a news term that violence attracts viewers and readers and is better for TV ratings. 
In the area of housing, the percentage of Black occupants who own their homes stands at 41.2%, the lowest among different ethnic groups. The number of white homeowners is 66.1%, according to the SAAAACF data.
It is more difficult for Black residents to get a home loan. Thirty-seven percent of Black applicants have had their applications for mortgage loans rejected. White candidates saw their applications dismissed just 21.4% of the time, according to the SAAAACF data. This is a significant discrepancy and shows that gentrification and racist loan practices are working in tandem. 
  Nationwide the data is not any better. According to the most recent data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Navy Federal Credit Union, which lends to military service members and veterans, approved more than 75% of the white borrowers who applied for a new conventional home purchase mortgage in 2022. However, CNN found that less than 50% of Black borrowers who applied for the same type of loan were approved. While many banks also approved white applicants at higher rates than Black borrowers, CNN said the nearly 29-percentage-point gap in Navy Federal’s approval rates was the widest of any of the 50 lenders that originated the most mortgage loans last year.
Other key points from SAAAACF’s data said an estimated 36% of employed Black residents are working in higher-wage occupations, defined as those where the mean average wage exceeds the mean average wage for occupations. African American-headed households have a median household income of about $48,509, much lower than the median household income in the county overall ($57,157) and in Asian-headed ($75,407) and white-headed ($73,108) households. However, an estimated 19% of Black-headed households have a household income of $100,000 or greater, as compared to 25% of county households overall and 35% of white households.
When it comes to business ownership, Black-owned businesses provide a tiny percentage (1.4%) of employer companies. In comparison, white-owned businesses make up 61% of the companies in the overall metro area. Improving access to loans for Black-owned businesses is necessary, which not only helps the economy but advances wealth for the entrepreneur. 
In schools, Black students are overrepresented in disciplinary alternative programs and campuses and out-of-school suspensions while underrepresented in gifted and talented programs. Black students are still being referred to Justice of the Peace Courts at excessive levels, thereby criminalizing youth unnecessarily. 
Locally, the challenges remain for the Black community to get to the decision-making table when it comes to business and policy change. Is it because they remain under 10 percent of the local population and it’s easy to ignore them? 
Will the Black population in and around San Antonio ever get past that 6 percent to 7 percent level? It may take our younger generation to help make that change and be the advocates from the new racial category of “Two or More Races” (mixed). 
For instance, the SAAAACF data from 2021 says an estimated 6% of African Americans moved to Bexar County from another Texas county or another state in the past year, twice the percentage among Hispanic or Latinos. Between 1990 and 2019, Bexar County’s population grew from 1,185,3941to 1,997,4172, a 68% increase. Although the Black population grew at a faster rate of 80% during that roughly 30-year period, African Americans’ share of county population has remained stable, growing from 6.9% in 1990 to 7.3% in 2019. However, 1.9 percent of the population say they identify as two or more races – which it’s not hard to extrapolate that a good majority of people in that category are mixed with Black. 

Gabriel Wheatley is an experienced writer and educational researcher who has written several books and penned articles in several newspapers. Gabriel seeks to write about objective reality as it is played out in justice issues globally. He often tackles the unknown aspects of history or current events through writings that reveal the hidden history and the untold stories of many events both in the present and in the past, and how issues and their relationships to myth, lies, and falsehoods are anchored in the minds of many. Gabriel presents academic knowledge in simple language to better understand the facts about the headlines that are generally ignored. Gabriel maintains his historical achievements at various universities and museums, including UTSA, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza in Dallas, the University Of North Texas (UNT), and other educational locations. He also has published books with Sentia Publishing.

Gabriel Wheatley takes his name from the area he grew up in near Gabriel Street, which is the street on which Wheatley High School is located and where he attended.