Late yesterday I posted the Detroit Free Press’ editorial view of the consent agreement being proposed for the City of Detroit by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.  Here is a helpful overview from Steven Yaccino of the New York Times of this very sensitive issue for Michigan and its largest city.  Yes, it is money, but it’s also autonomy.

Detroit is legend as a metropolitan area painfully hit since at least the 1970s by turns in industry and the economy.  NY Times reports that the city will run out of money this spring if something isn’t done, and by something is meant something substantial unlike the lacksadaisacal approach Detroit’s leaders seem to have taken over past years.

But Detroiters also know their history of race and politics.  Riots of 1967.  Coleman Young as the city’s first African-American mayor who would lead for twenty controversial years.  Eight Mile Road.  Attitudes and perceptions both in the city and surrounding suburbs of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.  yeah.

The PBS Eyes On the Prize Detroit riots page displays a quote from those days.  Reverend Albert Cleage‘s observation about what happened five hot days in late July 1967 also informs us 45 years later.

This is a racial incident… it represents one simple thing: black people want control of black communities.

 

 

If Governor Snyder and Michigan, if Detroit’s suburbs, and anyone else for that matter in America who wonders what it’s all about, are going to ‘get it’, this must be understood and accepted.  How it is worked out will be the job of people in Lansing as well as metro Detroit, God bless and help you all.

 

 

But without seeing and hearing how the people of Detroit, as in its plus 80% African-American population, sees and hears?  well, good luck.

It would be like trying to fix a problem from a distance, in the dark.  Pretty dumb.

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