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Old 11-17-2013, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Michigan
2,968 posts, read 2,444,971 times
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Lightbulb Too many white people downtown? (rant sort of)

Finley: Will downtown Detroit be a white enclave? | The Detroit News

The Detroit News, asking the obvious. Is Downtown Detroit losing its diversity? In a city that is 80% African American, is a neighborhood of a growing white majority a bad sign? I find it humorous, honestly. In the quest for equality, having an increasing a percentage of whites is now seen as a racial imbalance or something that needs to be controlled.

From 2000 to 2010, Detroit's overall white percentage went from 12% to 10% registering a total loss 41,000 white residents across the city. Meanwhile, the downtown area saw an increase from 18% to 21% white residents during that same time. Literally, that's 128 additional white people. 128. Making this more absurd is the fact that the number of whites living downtown is roughly equivalent to the number of whites living in other areas of the city with the exception of Southwest Detroit, which has a higher number of whites (by 15,000). In fact, the Hispanic population there is higher than the AA. So there's more non-black enclaves than anywhere else in the city!

Of course, I'm probably looking at it too rationally. Obviously the Dan Gilberts, the CEO's, the developers, the entrepreneurs, and the hipsters are predominantly white. The minority white population has greater visible activity in the area while the majority black population is seemingly less visible. A majority of the worker and college population is white. However, I feel that isn't an inherent Detroit problem. In many cities across the country, whites still have a greater socioeconomic status than blacks and even other minorites.

So then maybe that's the fear? The fear that Detroit will resemble too much like other major downtowns? Most likely fears typical with gentrifying neighborhoods. So then maybe the conversation shouldn't be on "too many whites moving into Downtown Detroit", and perhaps the conversation should be why aren't blacks, and even possibly other minorities, filling up America's downtowns? What's the problems preventing non-whites from creating diverse, albeit still gentrifying neighborhoods?

Personally, I would love to see a neighborhood downtown or near downtown become an ethnic enclave. The Chinatowns, the Harlems, the Poletowns, the Mexicantowns, etc... Immigrant and minority focused neighborhoods seem to be a thing of the past. I think the issue of why these types of neighborhoods are not as prominent as yesteryear needs to be looked at rather than blaming whites for gentrifying them.

Is it a developer problem?

Are special interests pushing immigrants/minorities out?

Are they not generating enough wealth to maintain the status of their neighborhoods?

Or has suburban sprawl made ethnic urban neighborhoods essentially obsolete?
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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I'm trying to imagine the reaction to an alternate-universe Finley column asking: "Are Detroit's Neighborhood's Too Black?"
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:20 PM
 
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A lot of neighborhoods are being replaced by other ethnics. Example, the Poles move out, but the "X" group moves in.

I tend to think that Detroit is a unique situation because other cities still have strong ethnic ties.

Look at Chicago. Look at New York. Even with suburban sprawl, there are centers that are known as the Jewish area or the Polish area and the like.

I don't know the answer, nor would I claim to know the answer, but I find it kind of ironic because after all the effort people have put into getting whites to move downtown, they are now complaining that the whites want to live in the same areas as other whites and aren't clamoring to live next to a crack house? Seriously?

Articles like this frustrate me because it just makes sense that of course people are going to move to the cleaned up areas of town; they aren't going to move into more poor/challenging areas. That's just common sense. People who are used to being secure aren't going to clamor to live in areas that have crime and severe challenges w/poverty. That's just a dumb expectation to have.

This is the kind of thing that reminds me why I have no desire to live in the city of Detroit. There's just no common sense.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Michigan
2,968 posts, read 2,444,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopygirlmi View Post
A lot of neighborhoods are being replaced by other ethnics. Example, the Poles move out, but the "X" group moves in.

I tend to think that Detroit is a unique situation because other cities still have strong ethnic ties.

Look at Chicago. Look at New York. Even with suburban sprawl, there are centers that are known as the Jewish area or the Polish area and the like.

I don't know the answer, nor would I claim to know the answer, but I find it kind of ironic because after all the effort people have put into getting whites to move downtown, they are now complaining that the whites want to live in the same areas as other whites and aren't clamoring to live next to a crack house? Seriously?

Articles like this frustrate me because it just makes sense that of course people are going to move to the cleaned up areas of town; they aren't going to move into more poor/challenging areas. That's just common sense. People who are used to being secure aren't going to clamor to live in areas that have crime and severe challenges w/poverty. That's just a dumb expectation to have.

This is the kind of thing that reminds me why I have no desire to live in the city of Detroit. There's just no common sense.
It is frustrating. But now that I realize it, I've kind of inadvertently fed into it by responding and bringing attention to it. It just causes unnecessary headaches.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:21 PM
 
924 posts, read 875,216 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopygirlmi View Post
There's just no common sense.
The most frustrating thing about common sense is that it is not all that common.

Last edited by maclock; 11-17-2013 at 01:37 PM..
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:23 PM
 
6,765 posts, read 4,529,816 times
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The point is valid, albeit presented in a nonsensical fashion.

What makes Detroit different from other major cities is that unlike New York and Chicago, the rest of the city outside of Midtown/Downtown continues to suffer from massive disvestment and rapid population decline, almost like a tale of two cities.

And the ONLY reason Midtown/Downtown are just now beginning to see an influx of capital and people is because of private investors, which is something the rest of the city has failed receive.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:38 PM
 
3,955 posts, read 2,483,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
Finley: Will downtown Detroit be a white enclave? | The Detroit News

The Detroit News, asking the obvious. Is Downtown Detroit losing its diversity? In a city that is 80% African American, is a neighborhood of a growing white majority a bad sign? I find it humorous, honestly. In the quest for equality, having an increasing a percentage of whites is now seen as a racial imbalance or something that needs to be controlled.

From 2000 to 2010, Detroit's overall white percentage went from 12% to 10% registering a total loss 41,000 white residents across the city. Meanwhile, the downtown area saw an increase from 18% to 21% white residents during that same time. Literally, that's 128 additional white people. 128. Making this more absurd is the fact that the number of whites living downtown is roughly equivalent to the number of whites living in other areas of the city with the exception of Southwest Detroit, which has a higher number of whites (by 15,000). In fact, the Hispanic population there is higher than the AA. So there's more non-black enclaves than anywhere else in the city!

Of course, I'm probably looking at it too rationally. Obviously the Dan Gilberts, the CEO's, the developers, the entrepreneurs, and the hipsters are predominantly white. The minority white population has greater visible activity in the area while the majority black population is seemingly less visible. A majority of the worker and college population is white. However, I feel that isn't an inherent Detroit problem. In many cities across the country, whites still have a greater socioeconomic status than blacks and even other minorites.

So then maybe that's the fear? The fear that Detroit will resemble too much like other major downtowns? Most likely fears typical with gentrifying neighborhoods. So then maybe the conversation shouldn't be on "too many whites moving into Downtown Detroit", and perhaps the conversation should be why aren't blacks, and even possibly other minorities, filling up America's downtowns? What's the problems preventing non-whites from creating diverse, albeit still gentrifying neighborhoods?

Personally, I would love to see a neighborhood downtown or near downtown become an ethnic enclave. The Chinatowns, the Harlems, the Poletowns, the Mexicantowns, etc... Immigrant and minority focused neighborhoods seem to be a thing of the past. I think the issue of why these types of neighborhoods are not as prominent as yesteryear needs to be looked at rather than blaming whites for gentrifying them.

Is it a developer problem?

Are special interests pushing immigrants/minorities out?

Are they not generating enough wealth to maintain the status of their neighborhoods?

Or has suburban sprawl made ethnic urban neighborhoods essentially obsolete?
I did not interpret the article to be focusing on residential population. I think the author was talking about the racial makeup of the people you see downtown, which is increasingly white....and rather disturbing.

Downtown is the economic engine of Detroit proper, an overwhelmingly black city, yet the CBD is overwhelmingly white? This clearly demonstrates the economic plight of blacks in the area. It means that the segregation of the area is residential and economic.

I was equally disturbed by the commentary of the readers on the article. It seems that people believe that taking note of racial polarization of the area is the problem.....and not the polarization itself and the attitudes that has caused it.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:51 PM
 
6,765 posts, read 4,529,816 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
I did not interpret the article to be focusing on residential population. I think the author was talking about the racial makeup of the people you see downtown, which is increasingly white....and rather disturbing.

Downtown is the economic engine of Detroit proper, an overwhelmingly black city, yet the CBD is overwhelmingly white? This clearly demonstrates the economic plight of blacks in the area. It means that the segregation of the area is residential and economic.

I was equally disturbed by the commentary of the readers on the article. It seems that people believe that taking note of racial polarization of the area is the problem.....and not the polarization itself and the attitudes that has caused it.
Good points.

What's interesting is that back in the 1970s and 1980s, private investors (who are overwhelmingly white) in the region wanted nothing to do with downtown/midtown due to its "problems", and took all of their money to the outer ring areas of the city and the suburbs (areas that had an overwhelmingly white population).

Now that the "problems" in downtown/midtown (areas that had an overwhelmingly black population) are spreading away from the downtown/midtown area into the outer ring areas of the city and now the suburbs, private investors (who are still overwhelmingly white) in the region are expressing renewed interest in downtown/midtown and have begun to abandoned the outer ring areas of the city and the suburbs.

This is all just an observation of course.
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Michigan
2,968 posts, read 2,444,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
Downtown is the economic engine of Detroit proper, an overwhelmingly black city, yet the CBD is overwhelmingly white? This clearly demonstrates the economic plight of blacks in the area. It means that the segregation of the area is residential and economic.
The majority black residents more or less were/are employed by manufacturing and lower-end jobs. So even if manufacturing jobs in the city still were plentiful, I don't think too many would be living downtown if only because housing would still be cheap.

Though it is true that the now current CBD corporations in Detroit still predominately have white employees, but again, I still don't think that's an inherent Detroit problem. It's still pretty much the case the in most cities anywhere in the US and that's why gentrification often happens directly adjacent to downtowns. It doesn't make it right or wrong, but that's the reality.

You also have to factor in the many middle class blacks who choose to live in the suburbs since their reasons for not living in the city are pretty much the same as whites.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:08 PM
 
3,955 posts, read 2,483,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
The majority black residents more or less were/are employed by manufacturing and lower-end jobs. So even if manufacturing jobs in the city still were plentiful, I don't think too many would be living downtown if only because housing would still be cheap.

Though it is true that the now current CBD corporations in Detroit still predominately have white employees, but again, I still don't think that's an inherent Detroit problem. It's still pretty much the case the in most cities anywhere in the US and that's why gentrification often happens directly adjacent to downtowns. It doesn't make it right or wrong, but that's the reality.

You also have to factor in the many middle class blacks who choose to live in the suburbs since their reasons for not living in the city are pretty much the same as whites.
The problem with the African American population is that we are consumers and followers, as opposed to producers and leaders. We wait for white folks to build it....and then we want to come, as opposed to building up what we have and becoming creators of jobs instead of people looking to be hired by job creators. Blacks cannot continue this "follow the leader" mentality.....or should I crudely say....."follow the master" mentality.

Black folks need some victories. We need examples of black folks governing successfully and producing successfully otherwise others will continue to lose confidence when we take control of things through majority rule. We need another "Black Wall Street". African Americans need to realize that the future is URBAN and not suburban in America and hence build up where we are. Sadly, If the suburbs are opening up to blacks like never before....that is a sure sign suburbs are no longer trending and that the future trends exist elsewhere (urban).
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