In today’s society, people who tell it like it is are rare. Usually they don’t want to lose their jobs, have their reputation permanently tarnished, ect. L Brooks Patterson, is apparently one of those rare people and he is taking some heat for it. He made “controversial” comments – let the entertainment begin – about the city of Detroit. In a recent interview with the New Yorker, he said the following:
“Anytime I talk about Detroit, it will not be positive. Therefore, I’m called a Detroit basher,” he said. ”The truth hurts, you know? Tough s***.”
He goes as far in the interview to warn his children to stay out of Detroit to the extent of even avoiding to stop for gas because its a potential car jacking in the making. Regardless of his chosen political party, Republican, he is spot on. Detroit looks like world three happened to it and the residents who live there look like survivors of the war.
I was in the Detroit back in January of 2012, and there is really nothing positive to say about the city. For all those who immediately shudder at the “Republican” buzzword, I’m not a republican and Patterson has aptly and correctly described Detroit. But don’t believe me, go and stay a night around there yourself – if you have the guts that is. Apparently the Reverend Jesse Jackson isn’t pleased by Patterson’s comments and believes they they include elements of racial offense, because he is calling for a public apology. Why? Details, details as to those words of racial offense:
“He’s also quoted as saying a prediction he made has come to pass. He said, “What we’re going to do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.”
National Action Network’s Michigan chapter president Rev. Charles Williams II shockingly shared a similar opinion as Reverend Jackson. He found the remarks to be:
“repulsive -not just because Detroit is mostly a black city, but “because it is also a direct slight to the American Indians who occupied the land before Detroit was Detroit, and Oakland County.”
I do believe both Jackson and Willams III to be mistaken in their judgement on this “incident”, if you can call it that. Why?
1. The truth really does hurt. What the American government did to the Indians when they took their land and herded them onto reservations is essentially what Patterson is describing. Rough, but the truth should never be buried regardless of how much it hurts.
2. It’s irrelevant whether the city is mostly black, mostly white, mostly mixed, or mostly whatever; Detroit it still a place you don’t want to visit and should avoid visiting if you value your health, belongings, and those traveling with you. Patterson has nothing to apologize for.
Let me make one of those dreaded internet admissions for all to see that might haunt me in the future: When I was scouting out a hotel room to stay at, I realized I and those with me couldn’t stay in Detroit. We would need to stay in the “burbs” maybe about 15-20 mins from Detroit if we valued our safety. This video is an example of why you would want to stay in the burbs:
So I specifically looked at the racial population demographics of the towns near Detroit. I found one that was 98% white or something close to that percentage and chose the motel there. Pretty appalling right? Safety ends up trumping convictions sometimes.
What should really appall us is in what crime statistics show, especially in a place like Detroit and its outskirts. It is appalling at just how many laws we have to make sure poor minorities, specifically African Americans, end up as part of those statistics. It’s no accident that alot of people who live in Detroit can’t own guns to defend themselves and their families because they “broke” laws ranging from drug possession to drug use to even robbery. But hey, it’s not like the criminal element wont’ have weapons?
I don’t share Patterson’s opinion that Detroit can’t be saved, but hard choices, sacrifices, and an admission of what does and does not work will need to happen. Until then, if you live in Detroit, you might as well wrap your fences in barbed wire, bring out the pit traps, and post menacing signs about how you own a firearm and will use it on trespassers.