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How many knocks does it take to get an accurate census

Listen: Me Voy by CIMAFUNK

Watching him on video, it’s not surprising to hear that CIMAFUNK gives “hypnotic” live performances. The singer/composer/producer/ex-med-student seems like he breathes the Afro-Cuban dance music that he colors with funk and soul. Before he drops new tunes this year, why don’t we brush up on “Me Voy,”  the song that put him on the map in 2018. We love a prophetic title— look at him go.

The count is in

While we wait for more Cimafunk, you know what dropped already? The census count. And now we have this tool from the Washington Post that shows you how the racial makeup of your neighborhood has changed over the last 30 years. Harlem, for example, lost 10,000 Black residents and gained 18,000 white folks. Typing in most city zip codes feel like an exercise in measuring gentrification, actually — the same is true of Brooklyn at large, which, we learned, is now tied with Chicago as America’s third-biggest city, after the City and LA.

But also, as dear-friend-of-the-newsletter and voting rights reporter Spenser Mestel wrote in *his* newsletter this week, it’s not clear quite how accurate any of this information is. Less than two-thirds of the country completed the Census (which, as you recall, was Trump-rushed), and statisticians had to fill in part of the gap.

“But the issue for me goes much deeper,” Spenser wrote. “Because I know what happened the day you got your Census flier in the mail. You sat down with your live-in partner, pulled out one of your many Apple devices, and diligently filled out all the questions, noting with concern the lack of options for gender non-binary respondents. You probably even enjoyed the process, you sick son of a bitch, because I know I did.

And that’s the thing: our systems are built by people like us… and we can’t help but project our manic civic engagement onto everyone else.” If you want a democracy, you’ve got to build your systems democratically, babe. (Learn more about all that when you follow Spenser’s Super Tuesday.)

A beautiful day for a neighbor

Those numbers tell us what we already knew. And so does this story, but I’m still so glad it’s here. In the NYT, Jacquelynn Kerubo just published a feature on the tension rising in long-time Black homeowners who want to sell their houses. The story’s main character, Thomas Holley, has lived in his Crown Heights brownstone for almost 60 years and he’s ready to move, but his kids don’t want the house. He feels gross just selling the building at market rate, which would likely mean white owners. (Recently, when he tried to strike up a conversation with some of his new white neighbors, they cut him off to let him know they didn’t have any money to give him.) But also, is he just going to not pass along the home’s value to his kids? Ugh.

I was about to be like, “how has the Census Bureau not employed The Count?” Little did I know.


PS Long-time Lorem reader Lee Sachs is a bit of a kindred spirit in the way of roasting brands’ nonsense, and he’s been cataloguing his call-outs in a website called the Museum of Marketing Madness. He told me, “I struggle with advertising and promoting a site that makes fun of advertising and promotion,” so I thought I’d just tell you about it for him. Go look at it! Guffaw a little! Hit up Lee’s Patreon!

PPS I will be off next week, and one other week in September, just so you have a sense of the schedule. Every time you miss a newsletter, just think how much energy I’m soaking up from nature and storing for future idea germination. (Can you tell I’m reading Braiding Sweetgrass.)