Over the last couple days there’s been a lot of talk about the recent articles between Toby Barlow and the Rabbi as they argue about who is an “actual” Detroiter on the Huffington Post. I’ve had this same conversation with people many times. People from the suburbs love to rep the city all the while never engaging in the city except for going to sports games, Fox Theatre or whatever the fuck can get you in and out of the city in a few hours. Politics, crime, or our adult illiteracy problems aren’t a concern as much as the carnival of Suh stomping on motherfuckers takes their attention. What Toby Barlow was trying to explain was that the people who use the bad news to just reinforce their existing views need to come down here and see the city in a different light. The problem is those people nine times out of ten don’t read Huffington Post. I know the internet age is allowing groups of people to interact and share ideas but the people that live in my old neighborhood don’t go onto HuffPost to explain their feelings about Detroit.
And to be honest I don’t want them to.
I don’t want Toby to be the spokesman for the city. Some guy who collects six figures at a business that’s called Team Detroit based in Dearborn doesn’t really do much to solidify his argument. Talking about having the ability to get your dry cleaning done in the city doesn’t really touch a cord with my family of GM retirees. Or even with me for that matter. I can’t imagine people reading this article and being like, “wait, you can get your dry cleaning done in the city! Fuck it pack your bags kids we’re moving to the D!”
The people that are complaining about not having a Target in the city aren’t going to understand what’s trying to be built within the city anyways. We’re trying to build a new community. Many of my friends have created businesses, bought homes, opened spaces, booked shows, not for the sole purpose of, cross your fingers, having a Trader Joe’s built in Detroit they’re doing it because they believe in the city. Warts and all. The politics in this city affect them but it’s not like the City of Chicago’s politics isn’t full of corruption as well.
At the end of the Craig Fahle show Rabbi Jason Miller told a story about how he went to a Lions game and as he was leaving, outside the stadium, there was an abandoned building that was probably used as a “crack den.” Craig Fahle just about burst a blood vessel in his head when he heard that he was so pissed. The truth came out. Among this honest intellectual dialogue came the shattering conclusion that the Rabbi had the same ignorant view of the city as anyone from the suburbs and he ACTUALLY visits the city often. We’ve got a lot of work to do….
P.S. Fuck that dude.