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wolverine

Is anybody really getting fed up with this state?

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http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A...=73236533536371

With the disastrous zoo situation occuring, we've sure seen the racism brought out in a lot of people. This whole situation is about f-cking finances, not skin color. This is one of the reasons why I may turn my back on this state. I'm tired of how people can't get along. There's no excuse for this. My friends here in college, black, white, hispanic, asian, middle eastern..you name it, even notice how more divided our state is with race. If it's not the malfunctions of our city government and economy that gets me down, it's the whole social atmosphere in this state that sucks.

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I'm not naming any state in particular that is doing better. But the remarks I'm reading in news articles and reactions from people reguarding Detroit everyday are absolutely absurd. It's understandable that no state has perfect race relations, but until one witnesses how polarized this region is will it be understood that Michigan has a serious problem.

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Michigan does have race relation problems, but I actually think they are greatly exaggerated due to the fact of how large and segregated Detroit is. No state boasts a city as large as Detroit with as high a percentage of Black Americans in the central city. And on the other half, few suburban areas in American can boasts cities as large and "White" as Livonia, Warren, Macomb...

With those two factors, race relations are much more visible. I just wouldn't go so far as too say that Michigan ranks among the most "racist" states. Michigan just happens to have a very active, large, and vocal Black community, and a just as vocal and ridiculously honest White community.

Let me tell you, I've spent time in Arkansas and Mississippi, and the unwritten rules are still there just as strong as ever in some locations. The reason there is no conflict is because everyone still obides by the unwritten rules. What I mean by that is that Whites and Blacks live an even more parallel lifestyle than they do up here. As bad as Michigan is, you won't find what you've found in parts of Georgia where students are STILL opting for segregated proms, and seeing nothing wrong in that.

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^That's Mississippi and Arkansas. No offense, but I doubt anyone with similar feelings such as wolverine and I are looking at the open arms of Mississippi and Arkansas. This is Michigan! Which, in my ideological mind should be on with the likes of the Massachusetts', New Yorks, Californias, Pensylvanias, Floridas, Georgias (ok you can question that one), Arizonas, etc...

There is a major race problem here and I'm not about to deny that. I've heard it time and time again. It even comes from my extended family faaaaaaar up north where there is absolutely 0 reason for it to happen because there is no diversity up there.

I know wolverine knows what I mean when I mention the word "Saginaw". All I need to say is "the river is "8 Mile"". Whites and prosperity on the west, blacks and blight on the east.

Another "8 Mile" is the St. Joseph River. The south exists the prosperous whites and on the north exist the poverty-stricken blacks.

Don't even get me started about suburban townships vs cities...even if they are arguably more tolerant.

What really angered me today was this quote from the Detroit News:

The zoo issue has sparked harsh words between Detroit council members and L. Brooks Patterson, the executive of Oakland County, where the zoo is located, with each side accusing the other of outdated racial attitudes. Patterson is white, and all but one council member are black.

Conyers has proposed one idea to help restore the racial harmony around the zoo: renaming it in honor of Rosa Parks, the civil rights legend who died last year in Detroit.

Just NO already!!!! Get a grip, people!!!

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.... Massachusetts', New Yorks, Californias, Pensylvanias, Floridas, Georgias (ok you can question that one), Arizonas, etc...

Just to set the record straight here, the above places have had significant problems with race. There is a rather famous photo of white men beating a black man with an American flag in Boston because they did not want Blacks in their schools. Boston even today suffers from people leaving the city because they want their children to attend "whiter" schools. The last wide scale race riot outside of California in the USA took place in Miami in the Liberty City area. Dade county like most of S. Florida is still fairly segregated. Metro Atlanta's huge sprawl is due in part to race. While its metro continues to boom as one of the fastest growing places in the USA, the city of Atlanta has changed little in population over the last 20 years. Its still only about 400K people and Fulton county has even lost population in the last census estimates. Arizona is only 3% Black so they are not dealing with the issue.

And of course there is California. Every race riot that has occured in the USA in the last 20 years has occured in California. Rodney King was beaten in S. California, not S. Carolina.

I could go on but the point of it is there is no place to run from racial issues. Its going to take people working together to find some common ground to put an end to it. Unfortunatly I think the USA is more divisive on this issue than it was 20 years ago and signs are that it is getting worse.

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I would jave to agree with metro. California is very likely the most racist state in the country, the worst part is that in California it's not just backwoods hicks that casue the problems. It's neo-nazis that are far more extreme and violent than the KKK ever was. And there are plenty of problems all along the east coast also, just ask a black person in NYC how hard it is to get a cab.

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I take metro's point this way...

That is, that it has nothing to do with individual states so much, but society as a whole. America has a race problem, and the only difference in states and regions is who blatantly or how subtly they are displayed. But, be it blatant or subtle, it can, and often is, equally as dangerous to our union.

I think what is unique in Michigan is how incredibly vocal and active our Black community is, and how equally vocal and active the majority community is. It can be frustrating to see the fighting, but it is easily one of the most honest areas in the country in this regard. In so many other areas, the racial disunity is not made a big deal of, it is not talked about, and festors until something huge erupts. This is exactly why we saw a race riot in this milennia in Cincinnati, OH. This would never happen in Michigan, now. There is too much dialogue going on, if even a lot of it is quarrelsome.

Unlike some areas of the country where White America (and sometimes Minority Ameria) denies any racial disharmony, both Minority and White Michigan realize and recognize that their are problems, and we are all brutally honest about it. Here's the kicker: We Don't Agree on the Solutions! I think we are FAR ahead of many other states in race relations. Many states aren't even having this dialogue yet. And I think many have the misconception that this discussion is always going to be civil, always going to nice and dainty and tiptoe around the edges. It will not be, and shouldn't be, and it's running its proper course.

I'm not getting fed up with this state, at all. In fact, I'm very excited about the breakthrough we are about to have in terms of race and cultural and just simply human relations. I'm optimistic as hell, if you couldn't tell.

I could definitely see the average individual seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, but not only do I see that light, but I think we are fastly approaching it with all of this dialogue so often quieted in other parts of the country.

So I ask, what do you say to a Barbara Rose Collins that speaks of "plantation-style politics" trying to be played out? You know what you do? You meet her head on and engage her and her believers in a dialogue that brings about understanding of eachother's sides. What do you do about a L. Brooks Patterson who subtly implies that region-wide, effective mass transit would bring "dangerous" minorities to come rob his constituents of their wealth? You engage him head and his believers in a dialogue...

You can either run from the problem to a place that you believe has better race relations, or a place where you could seclude yourself in a region devoid of a large minority population. Or you could wade through the turbulent waters, now, and spare yourself this same fight later in those places you believe are better. This is yet another example of "the grass is greener on the other side" syndrome.

Difficult? Sure, but would you rather fight the fight now, or maybe later when it will not be any better and more likely worse? All can run, but none can hide.

So, run to Georgia, or Arizona, or California, where the perception is that things are better. Everything is more than meets the eye, and Michigan is no exception.

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Just to set the record straight here, the above places have had significant problems with race. There is a rather famous photo of white men beating a black man with an American flag in Boston because they did not want Blacks in their schools. Boston even today suffers from people leaving the city because they want their children to attend "whiter" schools. The last wide scale race riot outside of California in the USA took place in Miami in the Liberty City area. Dade county like most of S. Florida is still fairly segregated. Metro Atlanta's huge sprawl is due in part to race. While its metro continues to boom as one of the fastest growing places in the USA, the city of Atlanta has changed little in population over the last 20 years. Its still only about 400K people and Fulton county has even lost population in the last census estimates. Arizona is only 3% Black so they are not dealing with the issue.

And of course there is California. Every race riot that has occured in the USA in the last 20 years has occured in California. Rodney King was beaten in S. California, not S. Carolina.

I could go on but the point of it is there is no place to run from racial issues. Its going to take people working together to find some common ground to put an end to it. Unfortunatly I think the USA is more divisive on this issue than it was 20 years ago and signs are that it is getting worse.

Yah, I realize all that. My point was that most people who get fed up and leave Michigan end up in those states. To me, the highest depression comes out of Detroit and Michigan. Obviously, there are other factors that play into the equation. Probably the most influential is jobs and the increasing lack there of.

So, I think the thought of leaving MI because one of fed up with the social make-up here is not inaccurately perceiving other places as being better. I think they ARE better.

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Yah, I realize all that. My point was that most people who get fed up and leave Michigan end up in those states. To me, the highest depression comes out of Detroit and Michigan. Obviously, there are other factors that play into the equation. Probably the most influential is jobs and the increasing lack there of.

So, I think the thought of leaving MI because one of fed up with the social make-up here is not inaccurately perceiving other places as being better. I think they ARE better.

I can definitely agree with that. There are some very compelling reasons for one to leave Michigan. I just hope people aren't leaving soley because of the social squabbling, because you'll be in for a rude awakening. Have you ever considered any other places in Michigan, though? I think that Metro Detroit has the abililty to leave a bad taste and discourage in even the most enthusiastic urban enthusiast. It's extreme in more ways than one, and seemingly for almost everyone.

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I'm taking parts of my argument from what I know, and from what others know. The fact is, many of my friends (many of them black) come from East Coast cities are surprised how divided the Detroit area is racially. The same goes for Saginaw. Although my old neighborhood had rich diversity. In general, it could be said that most blacks lived in the East side and nearly all white people lived on the West side.

Maybe I'll see the differences this summer when I'm living in Baltimore. I've been told there is more racial harmony on the East coast than the midwest by many people who have experienced both locations.

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Conyers has proposed one idea to help restore the racial harmony around the zoo: renaming it in honor of Rosa Parks, the civil rights legend who died last year in Detroit.

Worst idea ever.......if you are going to name a zoo after someone.....at least name it after someone that influenced that area of study....

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That really is one horrible idea. It is definitely fair to say that concerning Ms. Parks (God, rest her soul) that some our the areas leaders judgements are being negatively clouded by nostalgia. I really don't think the zoo's name needs to change, at all, regardless of whether or not it changes hands. There just isn't any need to change something that's not broken.

Wolverine, I think there is another point being missed, here: the size of the black population (and to a lesser extent other minority populations in other parts of the country) in the various cities we are discussing. It seems to be common belief among many that study urban areas that once a minority grows to 30% of a cities population, that whites begin to move out, or cordone themselves off in certain sides of a city. Taking this into account, it should be no surprise that Saginaw (43% black), Flint (53.3% black), and Detroit (81%+ black) are some of the most racially segregated cities in Michigan and the country plus quite a few other factors. But the 30% number many agree upon is very telling. At 30%, you start to see blacks in elected leadership roles in city governments, school boards, police, fire...and to be quite honest, that makes a lot of other people uncomfortable, it seems. At least that seems to be the case here in the rustbelt where good-paying, lower-skilled jobs and other resources have been drying up for years. I think you'll see in Baltimore (a place I was able to visit shortly and 64% black) that like most cities once you leave the touristy areas, it is just like any other inner-city America. Same goes for New Orleans (67% black), and we've seen their race relations layed bare before us on national television. People need to stop fooling themselves that Detroit and Michigan are all that different in terms of race relations besides the fact that it have this horrible economy stacked on top of all of this, which seems to be the other huge factor, here.

Economics is another huge factor that has torn the rustbelt apart bringing to the surface all other simmering social issues that may be in most other cities but remain below the surface because of relatively good (or at least decent) job opportunities. It's always been my belief that a major reason for the fall of Flint and Detroit wasn't so much bad race relations (because those were everywhere, Chicago, Philly...), but because wealthy and middle-class whites saw economic destruction coming before the rest of the population, and ran while they still had the chance to escape the economic hurricane that hit Detroit, leaving poor/working-class whites, and all of the other minorities (poor, middle class, and wealthy alike) in the city to fight for the dwindling vestiges of economic empowerment.

The whole thing has always been so incredibly complicated, but it is clear what has been brought to the surface. You can't hide it here in Michigan like you can in another state with a booming part of their economy.

I can tell you from spending summers in Vegas growing up that it (like most of the sunbelt sprawlers) are excellent with their PR in placing attention on the economic development, and hiding the very ugly under-belly of the inner city. Inner-city Vegas' crime has been bad for years, and the overall crime in the city is getting much worse. But you rarely here about it. As long as the Strip is booming, the city can provide the media with this one-sided picture, and that is all the fodder it needs. Detroit, on the other hand, doesn't have a Strip, and unlike other cities, Detroit's downtown got really bad like the rest of the city at a time. Most declined cities during the 70's and 80's for instance (NYC, Chicago, Cleveland...) where able to keep their downtowns running, if even in a limited capacity. Downtown Detroit went out of business for quite some time.

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I can definitely agree with that. There are some very compelling reasons for one to leave Michigan. I just hope people aren't leaving soley because of the social squabbling, because you'll be in for a rude awakening. Have you ever considered any other places in Michigan, though? I think that Metro Detroit has the abililty to leave a bad taste and discourage in even the most enthusiastic urban enthusiast. It's extreme in more ways than one, and seemingly for almost everyone.

Quite honestly, I can live among troubling social issues. That should be pretty apparant by my choice to live in Detroit. I want to be that urban enthusiast. However, when my life starts to be inconvenienced and targeted, it's not difficult to have second thoughts.

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Detroit may also be a special case as compared to its peer cities because its dominate industry, automobiles, was one of the supporters of suburbanization for much of the post War 20th century. Chicago, Boston, New York, Philiadelphia and Washington DC all experienced a significant urban decline from the 60s - early 90s that that mirrored much of what happend in Detroit. New York City went bankrupt in the late 70s and the Mayor of Philadelphia dropped a bomb from a helicopter on a compound of activists that ended up burning down over 40 blocks. It was a dark time for America's cities. However as bad as this was they all recovered except for Detroit.

So why did these places recover and Detroit didn't? My theory on this was the influence of the automobile industry that actively pushed for political policies in Michigan that encouraged the middle class (whites and blacks) to move to the suburbs and stay there. For example Detroit is the largest city in the modern world without a transit system and an autopsy of the reasons behind this will probably lead back to GM, Ford and Chysler. All of the cities I have listed above have high capacity heavy rail systems. Since this left only the poor in Detroit, and Blacks make up a disproportionate amount of the poor we have the situation that exists today. What appears to be a racial divide is really a unique case of economic separation caused by decades of automobile inspired development that was much worse in Detroit than anywhere else in the USA.

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I guess the automobile industry was definitely a unique factor, but there are many more sprawled, auto-oriented cities. Detroit may be the most sprawled of the older cities of this country, but there are plenty more sprawled cities with commuter and light rail. Race, I would argue, is a larger factor than the automobile, for why Detroit doesn't have commuter or light rail. L. Brooks Patterson has effectively shut down the talks about region-wide mass transit since he's been the leader of Oakland County, and that is quite a long time. And, Wayne County can not obviously go in alone, and Macomb County really follows Oakland instead of leading. Until there is change in leadership in the suburbs, and and overall change in how the entire metro views the importance of rail transit, there will be no effective, region-wide transit system. There are some very interesting proposals out there for test lines between downtown and the airport, and downtown and Ann Arbor, though.

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I think that as a general rule, slower growing areas have more entrenched racial divisions than do faster growing areas. I think when you have new people moving to an area they are not as territorial as those who have lived in a region a long time. New people bring new thinking and they do not carry the baggage of a region

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I'm not sure about the first part. I think a growing city seems to have better race relations because everyone is too busy chasing after a common goal (steady employment). In a city that is economically depressed you see race coming to the surface because their are few opportunities; a limited amount of economic resources. When you get an entire population trying to scrap the bottom of the barrel, there are sure to be fights. When you take an areas economy away, you are going to see tensions boil to the top, and nowhere is that more apparent than Detroit. I just don't buy the excuse that growing cities are precieved as having better race relations because of new people. On top of that, natural birth can account for a lot of cities population gain, and they certainly don't bring an outside view.

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I think that as a general rule, slower growing areas have more entrenched racial divisions than do faster growing areas. I think when you have new people moving to an area they are not as territorial as those who have lived in a region a long time. New people bring new thinking and they do not carry the baggage of a region

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I agree.....but I think it is more how the city is layed out.

If you take Pontiac...out of the equation....Detroit has "rings"

Central City....poorest

1st ring (Inkster, Dearborn, Redford Township, Southfield, Oak Park, Hazel Park, Warren, St Clair Shores) Blue Collar

2nd Ring (Wayne, Westland, Livonia, Northen Southfield, Royal Oak, Madison Heights, Northern Warren, Roseville, Frasier) Blue Collar + young and upwardly moblie

3rd ring (Plymouth, Canton, Western Livonia, Northville, Novi, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield/Birmingham, Troy, Sterling Heights......)

4th ring (and so on)

As the city developed outward, those with money kept moving further away from the central city area......and this takes time to happen....those without money "stay put"

Living in one of the top 2 fastest growing cities in the US over the last 20 years, this process has no time to develop.....and since development occurs as land becomes available.....we have million dollar homes within walking distance to the poorest areas of the city. I live in a very nice development, but a stones throw from one that "went south"....Which is one reason why almost every section of my development is gated....which is more the rule than the exception for nicer neighborhoods here.

Good synopsis, though I still don't think growth has as much to do with entrenched racism as a few are giving it. Many "growing" cities are simply growing on their fringes, and maybe their downtowns. For instance, a place like Columbus, OH may be seen as growing, but the inner/old city has decreased by almost half (or something near there) its former population with people simply moving to the outskirts. I think growth has less bearing on how socially tolerant city is than quite a few other factors.

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Detroit's inner-ring suburbs aren't as "poor" as you'd think. The only reason they generally have lower median incomes than the newer suburbs is that they have a larger elderly population who usually live on fixed incomes. And even still the wealth-density is concentrated within the inner-ring suburbs and northwest Detroit. It may have left the central core, but there aren't many cities where the wealth is still concentrated within the core. (New York is probably the only example.)

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BTW, I just wanted to post a map. It shows all of the census tracts in the Tri-County area that have a density of at least 750 families that earn over $50,000 a year per sq. mi. It doesn't matter if they account for 96% of the families (Farmington Hills) or only 19% of the families (Royal Oak TWP). It shows that despite the outer-ring having higher median incomes, the inner-ring still has the larger concentration of wealth. Bloomfield Hills may have a median income of $200,000, but there are still more people that earn over $200,000 a year in Detroit than there are in Bloomfield Hills.

wealthdensity.jpg

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Good synopsis, though I still don't think growth has as much to do with entrenched racism as a few are giving it. Many "growing" cities are simply growing on their fringes, and maybe their downtowns. For instance, a place like Columbus, OH may be seen as growing, but the inner/old city has decreased by almost half (or something near there) its former population with people simply moving to the outskirts. I think growth has less bearing on how socially tolerant city is than quite a few other factors.

You seem to be defining growth as a land area phenomenon and not a human increase phenomenon, of which some of us are asserting or alluding. Columbus Ohio is not a fast growing area. It is simply average. There has to be an above average rate of growth to trigger the phenomenon that I am talking of.

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