Senator Rand Paul Believes the Earth is Flat: A Lesson For Those Unwillingly to Grasp the Racial History of Detroit link to original
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“Around the country, we’re going to be opening offices in all the major cities in the United States,” Paul said. “And when you look at the red-blue map of party divisions around the country, the Republican Party tends to win the countryside and the rural cities and small towns but we’re not doing so well in the big cities. So I think we need to spend more time in the big cities. And I think spending time will help to introduce our message to those people in those cities.”
During his trip to Detroit, Paul will also give a speech to the Detroit Economic Club, where he will unveil a new economic empowerment policy called “Economic Freedom Zones.”
“I think also we need to think about what policies will attract new voters and what are the problems of a city,” Paul said.
|No amount of economic enterprise zones or other form of nurturing can save the black population from their own nature, Sen. Paul|
The divide around here once was between Detroit and the suburbs. Now, in the words of race warrior Shirley Stancato, it’s becoming between “downtown and those other people.”
The other people the New Detroit head is talking about live in Detroit’s rapidly disintegrating neighborhoods. They’re largely African-American, and a high percentage are poor. Downtown, meanwhile, is a magnet for creative and upwardly mobile young people of both races, but the tilt is heavily toward whites.
“It’s an issue,” says Stancato, whose organization is dedicated to closing the racial divide.
It’s a different story in the neighborhoods, where the city’s inability to fund basic services is evident on nearly every block.
Something else is bubbling, too. A lot of nights you can stand in downtown Detroit and think you were in Minneapolis instead of at the core of the blackest city in America.
With a few exceptions, the new hip hotspots have an overwhelmingly white clientele. Often, the downtown crowd is an almost exact reversal of the city’s 80 percent black, 20 percent white and others racial makeup.
Out in the streets, the gulf between black and white was growing steadily wider. Crime and perception of crime rose dramatically: there would be nearly twice as many murders the year after the riot  as the year before. Downtown offices hired guards and installed bulletproof windows. Students in the riot area were at first said to be “dazed” – what one administrator called a sea of “stone faces.” But it soon became clear that… the disturbances were radicalizing a generation of black teens. The winter after the riot brought daily skirmishes in school corridors, boycotts, vandalism, classroom fires and a much-publicized stabbing of a teacher. At one junior high school, students went on a violent rampage, demanding that their white principal be replaced by a black one. Screaming teenagers disrupted board of education meetings, shouting that they would not listen to “honkie” officials. By the middle of the term, school officials were locking classroom doors, and white families were evacuating as if from a plague. Twice as many whites fled the city in 1967 as had left the year before. In 1968, the figure would double again, to more than 80,000. (p. 242)
|What to expect?
How about the instruments of Detroit’s ultimate demise?
Crime had been rising rapidly through the 1960s. Both homicide and robbery rates were already twice as high as elsewhere in the nation – violence fueled by demographic patterns, the business cycle and inner-city joblessness, among other trends. Yet for whatever reason, or combination of reasons, things grew significantly worse in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
By 1970, there were half a million guns in Detroit, 4/5s of them unregistered. Fender-benders on the expressway regularly turned into shootings, and in the course of that year, several municipal employees were raped during the day in the halls of the City-Council Building. Over the next five years, homicide and robbery rates rose between 25 and 30 percent. An aide to Jerome Cavanagh’s successor, Roman Gribbs, recalled that the mayor himself was afraid to walk the streets and that he put off a visit by Richard Nixon because he felt he could not guarantee the president’s security. “Cops began to see enforcement as a losing battle,” the aide remembered. “Imagine a cop who sees a robbery in progress. He says to himself, ‘I’m going to get out of here as fast as I can. Either he’ll shoot me or I’ll shoot him- and then there’ll be a complaint and an investigation and I’ll lose work for months and maybe even lose my job and my pension.’ ”
By the early seventies… the breakdown of legal authority was making life in black Detroit more and more difficult. Blacks bore the lion’s share of the city’s rising crime: half of the robberies and 80 percent of the rapes and murders. Yet, by their own accounts, blacks were considerably less concerned about lawlessness than whites – only one in four thought it was Detroit’s most pressing problem – and many were as wary of the police as of the criminals they were battling. By 1971, a full half of the city’s blacks told pollsters they mistrusted the police and had complaints about them – double the number who had felt that way just four years before. Two 1971 jury trials demonstrated how far the mood had swung. Many people predicted the first acquittal – of 15 Black Panthers involved in a fatal shoot-out with police. But even jaded Detroiters were startled when a largely black jury decided that a black veteran who had gone on a rampage in a Chrysler plant and killed three white coworkers with his M-1 carbine should be excused because of the racist treatment he had received as a young man. (p. 251)
The effect on race relations was stark and irreversible, as more and more whites came to see crime as a racial issue. By the early 70s, a majority felt that violence was the city’s leading problem, and Time magazine reported that “almost every white [in Detroit]claimed to know someone who had been mugged or robbed by black thugs.” Karate and gun clubs flourished in the suburbs. Outlying whites dubbed the city “Indian country,” and the few commuters who had to venture in made sure to be back across Eight Mile Road by nightfall. At holiday shopping time, cops with megaphones patrolled downtown. “Walk in twos after dark,” they advised suburban shoppers. “Keep your hands on your purses. Stay away from alleys and have a merry Christmas.” Whites leaving the city for the suburbs no longer needed to explain what was driving them. As violence rose, the exodus swelled – it was even great in the early 70s than in the late 60s – and with it went the businesses that might have given poor blacks an alternative to criminal activity. (p. 252)
If anything, the more besieged the city grew, the better the mayor seemed to like it. Young’s list of enemies had not changed much since 1974 – the press, the feds, the suburbs and the police – and, together with other outsiders, they were responsible for all that was wrong in the city. Unemployment was big business’ fault… Low school achievement scores could be blamed on the state’s inequitable funding. The deterioration of Detroit’s housing stock was the work of discriminatory mortgage policies. Crime was a byproduct of white racism: prejudice caused unemployment caused black rage caused murder and mayhem. At the same time, Young insisted, crime was not really that bad in Detroit, just much exaggerated by a sensationalist media. Anyone who criticized the city was by definition bigoted. So were those who tried to hold black people accountable or suggest they were in any way responsible for the troubles that beset them. “We’re not in control of our own destiny,” the nation’s most powerful black mayor told a reporter. “Anybody who tell you [that we are] is somebody you ought to take a second look at – because that’s a racist.” (p. 351)
To attack Coleman Young,” he charged, “is to attack Detroit – and to attack Detroit is attack black.” (p. 352)