“Lies, dam* lies, and statistics,” is a phrase popularized by Mark Twain. I’m concerned with the latter and its implications for the former (I’ll forgo damning anyone’s falsehoods).

In Ms. Lempert’s article, “The reckoning: San Mateo then and now,” the data and its implications raise questions.

About San Mateo County she stated, “The Black population dropped from 6% in 1960 to 1.96% today as part of a Black exodus from the Bay Area between 2000-2010.” I went to the U.S. Census and compared data from 1960 versus 2019.

In 2019, the Black population in the county was 2.8%; in 1960, the Negro population (the term used in the census) totaled 2.4%. During this time, the Black population actually increased from 1,691 to 21,464.

Next, the Black population percentage decline slightly in the Bay Area over six decades from 8.6% to 7%. But that was not due to a mass exodus; in fact, the number of Blacks increased by about 100,000. While the overall Bay Area population exploded in six decades by 2 million, the Black population was fairly stable.

The mass exodus was among whites; almost a half million left (a decline from 88% to 39%). That is huge.

Asians and Hispanics, while totaling less that 100,000 in 1960, are now over 2 million. This influx is the demographic supernova changing the face of the Bay Area. These groups now comprise half of the population.

These are the facts from the U.S. Census. Are they lies, dam* lies, or statistics?

Michael Reiner

Boynton Beach, Florida

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(2) comments

Christopher Conway

Great information Mr. Reiner. That is why anyone who makes race an issue in our community should be instantly dismissed as a race huckster Look to those politicians who are running and if they lead with race, it is only for political reasons and they should not be elected. We have one by the name of Amourence Lee in San Mateo who has brought race issues into our city and needs to be ejected from her appointed position on the city council. San Mateo doesn't have a race problem, don't initiate one with divisive rhetoric especially if you are new to town.


Dear Mr. Conway, I am a social scientist and educational researcher. I am not making a political statement nor am I dismissing those who make race an issue, as it often should be addressed (PS, I did not writ the headline). Nazi Germany did much to commit genocide on my people, as well as homosexuals, communists, the infirmed, and the Roma. I do believe that governments can have racist policies.

My point here was simply one of accurate data. Too often people just believe the statistics they are given. Frankly, if the Black population in San Mateo County is 2%, but 18% get stopped by the cops while driving, either Blacks run red lights more frequently or cops have a tendency to pull them over for reasons unknown to me.

Of course, this point was just a "what if," as I don't have the data on traffic violations disaggregated by race.


Michael B. Reiner, PhD, is a higher education consultant and educational researcher. Previously, he was a professor of psychology and college administrator at City University of New York (CUNY), Miami Dade College, the Riverside Community College District, and the San Mateo County Community College District. mreiner32205@gmail.com  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-b-reiner-phd-14057551/

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