Detroit: The first to fall

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ULISH CARTER

 

 

The big news over the weekend and the past week has been the Trayvon Martin protests and rallies, and Detroit filing for bankruptcy. Some strange things have come from some of the discussions of these two issues; such as it’s not about race but income.

First in the Trayvon protests throughout the country and the city, that age-old saying that it’s not about race but about incomes is coming from many White commentators.

Some experts are saying that race had nothing to do with the Martin shooting or jury decision, it was income. It’s odd, but in everything I’ve read or heard, Trayvon’s father was nowhere near being poor, nor was his mother. And Zimmerman was not following Trayvon because of his income but his color.

But one good thing has come from the protests. Even though I doubt anything legally will be done, at least many of these rallies have been either led by or highly supported by young people.  Wow, I guess there’s an issue that has finally gotten them away from their video games, and Facebook and into the streets.  

In the Detroit bankruptcy case many people are saying this has a lot to do with the rich suburbs and the poor inner city at odds with each other, not realizing they need each other. One of the biggest reasons the auto bailouts—in which the government pumped millions of dollars into the auto companies to save them—didn’t help the city was that most of the workers for the companies lived in the suburbs, not the city, thus taking their money out of the city.

The condition of Detroit is just the first of many such areas falling into hard times if something is not done about the big gap, which is growing even larger between the rich and the poor. The Middle Class is getting smaller and smaller while the rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer. In the Urban areas such as Detroit and Pittsburgh, the Black populations are growing larger, yet poorer, as the suburbs grow Whiter and richer. And even though most of the good paying jobs are in the city the suburbanites are getting these jobs. We see them daily commuting to and from, while beautiful homes are decaying in the city, and are being demolished under urban removal leaving even fewer homes in the inner city for those who would love to live in the city.

With more and more middle class jobs going to foreign countries it’s making it harder and harder for Americans, especially for urban areas to bounce back. Many countries throughout the world are recognizing the problem and working to create middle class jobs in their cities while America still hasn’t a clue.

The governor of Michigan has made some of the same stupid statements that many made in this city. He’s talking about eliminating the blight, by tearing down old abandoned homes. That’s great, but what are you planning on putting in their place? All a vacant lot does is sit there. What about the many young people who are just starting out, where do they live? Why not renovate these old houses and give these young people jobs and a place to stay? How can you rebuild, or build a city if there’s no decent housing for hard working people to move into? People are forced to move out to the more expensive suburbs. Renovating houses also creates middle-income jobs.

People are trying to blame the bankruptcy on corruption. Yes there was plenty of it and it needs to be wiped out. But the biggest reason is the lack of employment of urban residents, the lack of education of urban residents and the lack of foresight by urban government. The Detroit problem is not unique. It’s just the beginning; if nothing is done about the overall problems look for many other cities to fall. In order for a city to grow, people living in it must have decent paying jobs so they can afford quality housing and the money to up keep them as well as making sure the educational system is high quality.

Detroit like most inner cities went from 80 percent White to 80 percent Black in the past 50 years. But if the urban cities go under, I hate to tell you people who think you are out of harm’s way out in your suburban homes, you go down with them because the jobs are still in the cities. It’s sad to say that the Blacker the cities become the poorer they become. But it’s not a racial issue.

As Mayor Dave Bing said, they took care of the Downtown areas, the business districts outside Downtown, but the problem is the residential areas of the city where the people live. Much like Pittsburgh, Downtown is moving along just great, and the outlining shopping areas, but the neighborhoods are decaying at an alarming rate.

A side note. Dave Bing was one of the greatest guards in NBA history. I rank him in the top five of all time off guards. He made his money, and could have just retired and taken life easy, but he went into business and made another fortune, so when he decided to run for mayor of Detroit I thought he was crazy. And I’m still not sure if he is or not, but he has to really be a devoted man to live in Detroit and put his reputation on the line while spending his senior years trying to put this city back together again. My hat’s off to you, Dave Bing.

Back to Pennsylvania, it was interesting to find out that Pennsylvania actually has a law similar to the Stand Your Ground law in Florida. It’s called the Castle Doctrine, passed in 2011. I will give more details once I research it more closely. But it is said to be stronger than the Florida law.

(Ulish Carter, the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier can be reached at ucarter@newpittsburghcourier.com)

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