Thursday, September 03, 2009

Racism Is A Disease That All Of Us Need To Fight by Akindele Akinyemi

I was at the Oakland County Commissioners meeting last night listening to Mayor Dave Bing speak. He discussed how both Detroit and Oakland County need regional cooperation to move Southeast Michigan forward. I agree with the Mayor because it is time that we put aside our differences and move ahead into the 21st century.

However, we still have both sides of the border fighting against each other on many levels. On one side, we have Detroiters who accuse Mayor Bing of union-busting and trying to sell off the jewels of Detroit while we have the suburbs fearing that crime will rise if we allow more diversity into their paradise.

We talk about racism all the time but allow me to discuss it from an urban conservative perspective.

Racism only exists because of the lack of education from both sides. It has been passed down generation after generation. It creates hysteria and paranoia. The children are then indoctrinated with this level of knowledge that create stereotypes.

Regional cooperation, not racism, is necessary because our region must depend on one another for survival. For example, the DDOT bus crisis that is going on in Detroit. It's time that we push forward a new regional transportation plan that makes sense. There are a growing number of people want a choice and better options for how they can get around this sprawling area. The current system of private car ownership only works for one-half the population. The other half is too young, too old, and too poor or has handicaps that prevent them from operating an automobile.

The two bus systems have failed to streamline their services to make the commute from the city to the suburbs an easy one. For instance, as of 2004, a transfer from a DDOT bus will get you on a SMART bus, but the two services’ bus stops are inconveniently far from one another. Also, SMART buses have a very limited number of stops in the city.

Detroit is one of the most segregated cities in the country, therefore DDOT serves a largely black demographic, and SMART serves predominantly white communities in the suburbs. Because of racial tensions that have not died away since the Detroit riots in 1967, the people running these services fail to cooperate fully.

There is also a great disparity in the quality of service between the two. According to, SMART has 89 more busses in service than DDOT, and DDOT serves almost three times as many passengers.

Cities such as San Diego, Dallas and Portland, Ore., which have thriving public transit systems with funding similar to Detroit are places that most people think would not support public transit, but have been able to successfully create a reliable transport system. Detroit faces a more difficult problem on the race front, as the other cities that have overcome the barriers of sprawling metro areas and lower funding don’t have racial disparity like Detroit’s.

What people need to understand is the fact that transit projects help to revitalize urban areas and create jobs all along the routes. However, if we are always giving excuses on why we should not have this then we will remain in the stone age.

Again, racism is a serious disease that needs to be treated.

Another problem that I hear from black people in Detroit is the number of young white people moving into Detroit in lofts and condominiums. Of course, some of the old black population are saying how "the white people are moving back." What they do not know is that we have a white population that already exists in Detroit. These white people are not moving back to take over the city. They are moving back to be closer to their jobs, their schools and in many cases their families.

The fear factor from old black folks is how whites want the city's water, resources, etc. I heard it all over the years. It sounded like more fear than fact.

The fear of electing the Detroit City Council by districts is ridiculous. For anyone to think that white people are pushing this so that they can get a seat on council is insane. That is not the case at all. It's called accountability.

But the ignorance does not stop there.

In Livonia, where we have a critical mass of black people shop and work, they decided to cut the SMART buses out of Livonia due to "costs of the residents". Then residents got up and fought like hell against Wal-Mart staying open for 24 hours to "reduce crime". If Livonia has a low crime rate then what the hell are they talking about reducing? Reducing what?

This region have a history of racial insensitivity. Not just the communities but the old guard of leadership. We STILL have people in Detroit that are elected from the Coleman Young era who are now state representatives and state senators. Some sit on City Council. Some work in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building. Many of the old guard are in the 13th/14th Congressional Democrats from the Coleman Young era of politics.

If you go into Oakland County you will find the same thing. At some point we have to change.

The other issue are the panel discussions on race relations. How in the world can you solve any true race problems with the same people on the panel from the same organizations year in and year out? You cannot solve ANY race problems with the same people talking about the same issues. A REAL race dialogue is finding the most conservative or liberal person you can find, a person who does not want his daughter dating outside of her race or a black man who recently was fired from his job from a white woman and thinks it was racially motivated. Another example is black children in a multicultural school learning about everyone else's history but their own from a white man or woman but can learn about everyone's else culture and history.

These are the type of people we need to have on the panel not the president or CEO of a non-profit come on give some remarks. If we are going to embrace regional cooperation nationally then let's embrace the idea and notion of being honest.

The PRIME TIME to have a race dialogue is right now where the media is accusing tea party protesters and health care reform protesters of racism. For some young people who I have talked to recently they feel that this is racism from conservatives. On the flip side, we have liberals who want to push a homosexual agenda down traditional families throats in the name of tolerance. If traditional families do not go along with that they are called prejudice.

We believe that America is a Christian nation. Meanwhile, there is a church and liquor store on every corner in the urban community. At the same time, 80% of families are ran by single parents (mostly women), lack of marriages have destroyed our family base, drugs run rampant, schools are failing and poverty is high. In the suburbs, we do not see this as much. Most suburbs are more conservative than the inner city. So, even though we are all brothers and sisters in Christ how come 11:00AM on any given Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week?

How come social conservatives criticize the War on Poverty plan by President Johnson to destroy black families but have not joined us black social conservatives in mass to help people get out of poverty? Where is the counterculture? Is there a drawling line here even though we worship the same God?

While President Obama is being attacked, from his birth certificate to socialism to the fact that he is black, Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele has been the target of what people may perceived to be racist from the GOP. Here is a man who has been the target of social conservatives (mostly white men), Rush Limbaugh and others who felt that Katon Dawson should have been the Chair of the RNC instead of Steele. Dawson used to belong to a country club for all white males.

So we have two black men who are the head of two political parties. Both are being attacked by conservative white people and conservative black people. Is one group being accused of racism while the other group is being accused of self-hate? If it fear? Some blacks who I have interviewed for this article feel that President Obama has taken the white man's birthright away from this country and the black conservatives who are bashing him are house negroes who beg for the crumbs that fall from the white man's table. Is that racist or is that how some truly feel?

We need to ask questions such as how come liberals think conservatives are being racist when they protest? How come conservatives bash the hell out of President Obama more so than any other President in recent time? How come black people think white people are trying to take over Detroit? How come How come when black middle class families move into affluent areas they are met with racist acts? How do Asian and Indian families feel about Hispanic families moving into their neighborhood?

You see, until we break the grip of shame in our communities and break the fear factor we will never move our urban communities, region, state or country forward. Racism is a disease that education can only cure. Urban conservatives believe in solutions not whining.

If Obama policies do not fit the puzzle then find a better way. If Steele is not doing what you expect him to do then run a better candidate. Critiquing the plan, not the character, is what going to help you gain ground as an individual.

No one wins the race in racism. We cannot call ourselves Americans, Christians or spiritual people and practice this type of negative behavior. At some point we really need to sit down as adults and talk about our problems instead of using fear. Fear is the is the prosperity killer. Racism is deeply rooted in fear. We cannot allow fear take over our lives.

Our children are depending on a better region to raise their families. Let's stop fooling ourselves and be honest and truthful with each other. Let's educate each other's history, culture and religion so we can cure the disease called racism.


maidintheus said...

You've nailed it again!

It disgusts me when the loud voices claiming they're for education do everything they can to keep education from happening.

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