CAB Diversity Report: West and East Stapleton to Change Names to “Black” and “White” Stapleton, Respectively

black and white stapletonSome information from the CAB diversity report was recently released in the Front Porch, and much of the information confirmed what Stapleton residents probably already knew. When compared to the city of Denver, Stapleton has a higher percentage of homeowners, a higher home value, and a higher median income. This information was hardly a revelation to Stapleton residents. “I don’t think it takes an actuarial scientist to figure that out,” said resident Scott Youde. “You can drive around Stapleton for five minutes and discern that.”

There was, however, some interesting information included in the report. The report divided Stapleton into “East” and “West” sides, using Central Park Boulevard as the dividing line. The statistics show “West” Stapleton as being much more diverse than “East” Stapleton. What the study is showing is that as Stapleton has continued to develop, it has become much less diverse. In fact, according to the statistics, “West” Stapleton has twice the percentage of black residents (18%) as does the city of Denver (9%). “East” Stapleton lags well behind with only 4% of its residents comprised of black residents. “This is really news to me,” said resident Karl Shelton. “I had no idea there were that many black people in “West” Stapleton. I guess that’s a start. We can build on that.” Shelton feels one thing the community needs to focus on is getting some of the black residents in “West” Stapleton to move to “East” Stapleton. “It seems like a fairly simple fix,” said Shelton. ‘West’ Stapleton is overrepresented with back residents when comparing it to the city of Denver, and ‘East’ Stapleton is underrepresented. How can we begin to make this happen?”

Other residents feel the challenge may be greater than moving some families from West to East. “Without going into the social injustice of uprooting people from their current residences simply to balance out the overall diversity of Stapleton, we are overlooking the main issue,” said resident Pat Hruska. “The study is showing that the community, builders, and developers, and somewhat the City of Denver itself, are ignoring the issue, and it is becoming systemic. Stapleton needs to make a push to create a more diverse population, especially as they continue to build out.”

In lieu of the new information, SUN and the MCA have decided to use Central Park Blvd. as a point of demarcation for the West and East sides. Furthermore, the organizations have decided to call “West” Stapleton “Black” Stapleton and “East” Stapleton “White” Stapleton. “We decided it actually sounds less racist than East and West,” said SUN President Mike Victoria. “So, if you are going to see a friend in Classic Stapleton you can just tell people you are heading to “Black” Stapleton. And if people are headed to Eastbridge, they can say they are headed to “White” Stapleton. It has a good ring to it, don’t you think?”

*Editor’s note: Although I understand the reason we report these numbers, it’s what the numbers don’t show that is troublesome. How many of the black residents included in this study are actually engaged with the community? Attending block captain meetings, holding block parties, taking their kids to Stapleton parks, eating at Stapleton restaurants? The Stapleton community needs to figure out a way to engage our current black residents, while also trying to welcome new ones into our community—whether that be the affordable housing or simply making sure African Americans looking for a place to purchase a home aren’t turned off by Stapleton. Whether the black population in Stapleton comprises 40% or 1% doesn’t matter if they aren’t engaged in the community.

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