Thursday, July 26, 2007

Detroit Riots of 2007 by Akindele Akinyemi

I strongly feel that Detroit is on the verge of another riot just like the one in 1967 when Black people though the city was going through a rebellion stage for revolution.

For example, if we can compare notes here for a minute you can see what I am talking about. I took the italicized notes from a source entitled "Detroit riots of 1967" by Rutgers University.

Causes of the Detroit Riot

The origins of urban unrest in Detroit were rooted in a multitude of political, economic, and social factors including police abuse, lack of affordable housing, urban renewal projects, economic inequality, black militancy, and rapid demographic change.

In 2007, we see the same thing. Blacks are still rooted in a multitude of political, economic and social factors.

Police Brutality

In Detroit, during the 1960s the “Big Four” or “Tac Squad”roamed the streets, searching for bars to raid and prostitutes to arrest. These elite 4 man units frequently stopped youths who were driving or walking through the 12th street neighborhood. They verbally degraded these youths, calling them “boy” and “nigger”, asking them who they were and where they were going.

In 2007, we still see the same type of brutality on our streets. For example, a police officer in Chandler Park forced two Black women to perform oral sex with two Black men in the vehicle they were in while the officer masturbated on himself with his flashlight.

What about Eugene Brown, who was known for his random acts of violence while on the police force and the Malice Green killings?

Urban Renewal

In Detroit, the shortage of housing available to black residents was further exacerbated by “urban renewal” projects. In Detroit, entire neighborhoods were bulldozed to make way for freeways that linked city and suburbs. Neighborhoods that met their fate in such manner were predominantly black in their composition. To build Interstate 75, Paradise Valley or “Black Bottom”, the neighborhood that black migrants and white ethnics had struggled over during the 1940s, was buried beneath several layers of concrete.

Today, in 2007, we see a cycle of urban renewal in our city with Core City Neighborhoods, Jefferson Village and even redeveloping areas in the city like the North End and Brightmoor.

Economic Inequality/Relative Deprivation

As an internationally recognized as a center of the automobile production, Detroit seemed to fare a little better economically than other American industrial cities in the immediate post-war era. But beginning in the 1950s, the big car manufacturers, Ford, Chrysler and GM began to automate their assembly lines and outsource parts production to subcontractors located in other municipalities and foreign countries. Detroit, like other cities, was deindustrializing and black workers, who had less seniority and lower job grades than white workers “felt the brunt” of this change. Young black men were particularly hard hit by the combination of deindustrialization with historical job discrimination in the automobile industry.

Today, in 2007, young Black men are still hit hard as the automotive industry becomes a dinosaur, unions are on the decline and education is not as valued as it once was in the inner city. We are still waiting for government to breastfeed us her welfare benefits.

Black Militancy

Despite the election of a liberal Democratic mayor who appointed African Americans to prominent positions in his administration, and despite Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh’s good working relationship with mainstream civil rights groups, a significant segment of the black community in Detroit felt disenfranchised, frustrated by what they perceived to be the relatively slow pace of racial change and persistent racial inequality. Local militant leaders like the Reverend Albert Cleage spoke of self-determination and separatism for black people, arguing that whites were incapable and or unwilling to share power. The civil rights movement was deemed a failure by these young leaders in the black community. At a black power rally in Detroit in early July 1967, H. Rap Brown foreshadowed the course of future events, stating that if “Motown” didn’t come around, “we are going to burn you down”.

In 2007, we STILL see these Black Militancy groups talk the same talk. They will sit around and tell us old war stories about the "revolution" that took place in Detroit back in '67. The same people you see protesting and fighting for "our rights" come from this time era. It's no wonder that Detroit cannot move forward because these people are an obstruction to our path of prosperity.

Demographic Change

Like Newark, Detroit was swept by a wave of white flight. During the 1950s the white population of Detroit declined by 23%. Correspondingly, the percentage of non-whites rose from 16.1% to 29.1%. In sheer numbers the black population of Detroit increased from 303,000 to 487,000 during that decade. By 1967, the black population of Detroit stood at an estimated 40% of the total population.

Today in 2007, we see the increase of Black people moving out of the city. Dubbed "Black flight" we are moving at the speed of light. No one wants to live in Detroit for the long haul. Those who wish to stay behind to try to "fix" the city will eventually move also due to the conditions of Detroit.

I have said this before and will continue to say this. Nothing has changed in Detroit in the past 40 years. The city deteriorated when White people moved out. That is a fact. They got smart and moved out to the suburbs and built their own communities from the ground up.

Meanwhile, we allowed our communities here in Detroit to deteriorate and become gang infested. From Errol Flynn to YBI to the Chambers Brothers we have seen our community go to hell in a handbasket.

The other problem is the fact that after Black militancy took on another life form during the '67 riots another phenomenon began to occur. While Whites were moving out of the city Blacks began to move in areas where Whites once occupied. Blacks began to move into political power with Coleman A. Young as the first Black elected mayor of the City of Detroit in 1973.

34 years later, Black Power has done nothing but harm the City of Detroit. The young, fresh leadership that were in power back in the 70s are now old people who are stuck in time. They reminisce about the good 'ol days of Coleman Young and others who helped Detroit become a Chocolate City. However, as the old leadership dies off who will step in to fill in the void left by the old guard?

I believe Dennis Archer had the right idea when he was Mayor. Archer supported the idea of Whites and Blacks working together here in the City of Detroit. He understood how White people could bring back Detroit to it's former glory. He was always working with the Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit Renaissance and other organizations to help bring Detroit back on its feet.

The city was actually moving under Archer.

Of course, hate mongers have always tried to take away the good from Archer. They called him a sellout and Uncle Tom because he wanted to work with his suburban counterparts like Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. He opened the doors of suburbia by supporting the elimination of residency laws here in the City of Detroit (which I supported and still support).

If Detroit wants to come back to its former glory then we need to do several things:

Black leaders in Detroit must step away from the failed policies of the past — higher taxes, cumbersome regulation and large, high-profile projects to spur economic growth — and adopt free-market policies that will make the city more inviting to entrepreneurs and, in the process, everyone else.

The word "renaissance" has been used and misused with reference to alleged comebacks too many times to remember. Indeed, the $350 million (in 1970s dollars) "Renaissance" Center (now owned by General Motors Corp.) was supposed to anchor Detroit’s revival three decades ago.

First, we need to understand that Detroit is segregated. Blacks hate Whites, Whites hate Hispanics and Hispanics hate Chaldeans and Chaldeans hate Blacks. It is a cycle of ignorance, fear and intimidation that has hurt our city.

We need everyone contributing to Detroit's growth. Instead of promoting the Chocolate City crap or Keep Detroit Black garbage White people should be allowed and continue to move back to Detroit so our city can grow. If you look at White people and their neighborhoods it is always kept up, grass is always cut and sidewalks are always paved. There are many, many problems in the White school districts, however, their children STILL manage to go to the best schools. You will not see a liquor store or church on every single corner in the White neighborhoods.

The reason? They understand the concept of family and community. Jews and Asians understand this also. Even their politics is balanced out between Democrats and Republican thought.

In Detroit, we have no sense of community. It is the exact opposite here in the city. If you leave it to Black Nationalists and the Black Press they will tell you a "variety" of factors, racism being the highest on the list.

Detroit should adopt a radical privatization and deregulation program that may lower the cost of doing business — and living — in the city, while simultaneously improving services.

One way to save our city is to accelerate reductions in the city income tax. Add no new or higher taxes to the already sky-high tax burden.

Another way is to contract city services to competitive private firms with proven track records. I have been a strong proponent of either turning Belle Isle and Rouge Park over to Metro Parks or Wayne County Parks. I am also a strong proponent of Waste Management taking over the DPW as well as merging city police with county sheriffs.

Detroit should also reduce the regulatory burden on city businesses to a level similar to comparable cities. After all, movie theaters in Detroit must submit to an annual city building inspection. This is in addition to a fire inspection, and this regulation is only one of many that add both time and cost to a Detroit theater’s business operation.

The city of Indianapolis, by contrast, requires no annual building inspections for theaters and has a generally milder regulatory regime. Not coincidentally, Indianapolis, with a population of only 784,000, is served by 17 theaters with more than 160 screens. Detroit is a city of 800,000 (and dropping) and is served by only two theaters with 16 screens.

Unless, we began to look at ourselves for the demise of Detroit, and stop blaming others for OUR actions, we will be on the verge of another riot here in Detroit.

Black people control Detroit. If we cannot get the job done then perhaps it's time that we elect Hispanics and Chaldeans to the Detroit City Council or elect a White or Jewish mayor who can get the job done.

It's time for Blacks to give up political and social control and allow someone else to make things happen if we are continue to chase our own tails each election cycle. We cannot afford another riot just because we enjoy living in poverty and beg for the crumbs that fall from the table.

3 comments: said...

Interesting comparrisons and point of view.


Thomas said...

Do you ever consider what the city would be like if it still had the industrial base? Most of the nations problems are rooted in the wholesale and insane trade policies, which not only give corporations a green light to leave, they are also rewarded with tax incentives to leave. It's not just the automotive and steel industry. It is everything textiles,clothing and shoe manufacturing. Let's not forget the high tech workers that worked hard to attain skills then dumped because workers all over Asia can be networked into the system. Now they want to bring in health care professionals as guest workers. Now cities and states are struggling for a lack of revenue because there are fewer industries every year and wages are depressed. The car companies put blinders on and let the oil companies lead them by the nose. Perhaps this insanity has peaked and the nation will get serious about alternative energy which will provide us with jobs and independence not too mention making the place healthier to live. Only then will Detroit and other cities prosper again

Anonymous said...

"First, we need to understand that Detroit is segregated. Blacks hate Whites, Whites hate Hispanics and Hispanics hate Chaldeans and Chaldeans hate Blacks. It is a cycle of ignorance, fear and intimidation that has hurt our city."

This is an extremely hyprocritical opinion, because you've stated without any doubt that Hispanics dislike Chaldeans and Chaldeans dislike African-Americans. You're wrong and ignorant for making such a statement. I've never heard of hispanic people having any dislikes for the Chaldean people, and I've never met a Chaldean who hated any African-American. You can call me a liar but Chaldeans have small business in Detroit and will continue to have small business in Detroit for several reasons but the most important factor is that Chaldeans and African-Americans can relate to eachother so much as both groups have been denied freedom based on race (for African-Americans) and based on religon (for Chaldeans.) And the majority of these problems have been established by those of peace skin color, not those who are tanned, or who are brown. It's too late to bring in the race-hate card to distinguish Detroit's problems, don't you think? You are making too bold of a statement yet you think you have the formula to help Detroit prosper. Please reiterate your opinions and ideas to include factual information.

For the record; I'm a 21 year old Chaldean who has been working in Detroit my whole life and was born in Detroit as well.