Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Interesting comments exchange - allow me to highlight

In response to earlier today discussing racism in Michigan, I found one comment on Weasel Zippers quote interesting and I'd like to highlight it here in a full post. (Of course, highlight is a relative term - he probably has received more readers as a comment on Zip than as a post here)

M M writes in response to "Detroit is racist and doomed: Whites urged out of Detroit city council meeting"

From a former resident of the formerly great state of Michigan.

Yes, a lot happened after the riots in '67. This in itself was ironic because Ann Arbor, where I grew up, is a liberal university town and a number of people from Ann Arbor and the Detroit area actively participated in the civil rights movement in the south -- to the point of being beaten and in at least one case murdered for their commitment.

White flight drained the city of its financial and intellectual capital from the 70s to present. This was presided over by a string of ethically impaired (Democratic) mayors and city council members, notably Coleman Young and the recently imprisoned Kwame Kilpatrick. It resulted in the core city -- with cultural gems like the Detroit Museum of Art -- surrounded by more prosperous and predominantly white suburbs. Neighborhoods and families were decimated by the resulting drops in property values and dramatic rises in drug use and crime. Detroit schools are known for poor performance -- heck they're known for not even having textbooks or supplies. With a labor pool plagued by the entitlement mentality of the UAW, the auto and supplier industry that sustained the city and smaller communities north of Detroit like Pontiac, Flint, and Saginaw, began to migrate south. This was the beginning of the end.

There is no doubt in my mind that SE Michigan is one of the most blatantly racist areas left in the country as well as one of the most corrupt. I'm going to offer a personal tidbit that will cause me to not sign my full name to this post as I usually do, I hope you understand. Shortly before my wife (who is African-American) and I were married, we were at Detroit Metro airport. A white woman drove past us in a pick-up truck, stopped, leaned out her window, and shouted "N--lover" at me. Later, we lived for several years in the deep South -- Alabama -- and we never experienced any level of harassment.

It's so sad. I still have very fond memories of the church in Saginaw where my wife and I were married. It is a predominantly "black" church, but the pastor made heroic efforts to attract visitors from other ethnicities while remaining true to his members. My wife and I were both welcomed into the choir and many ministry activities at the church. I wish Mrs. Conyers (and her husband, for that matter) and the other members of the city council in Detroit could see how totally unnecessary her closed, racist attitudes are, and how they are hurting the community she thinks she is serving.

M M - I think many here in Michigan have a few relevant stories to tell. Even though I'm in Michigan only since 2005 (before that I lived in Colorado), it's like racists of all variety here are in competition to outdo each other.

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