The NAACP will have its annual Freedom Weekend workshops by the end of April, 2009. I will be in attendance, and intend in particular to attend the 'Town Hall' meeting(s). I want to ask the panelists what their general views are on encouraging accountability and cultural cooperation internal to the city of Detroit and external.

Even in acknowledgement of the continued presence of racial prejudice, systemic or otherwise, and the fact that there are various individuals who consider themselves adversarial to the city of Detroit and its residents, I feel like Detroit leadership can’t get out of its own way when it comes to rising above the bitter blame games of the past.

Often times it seems that city leaders, activists and others want to stress their pro-black credentials when it comes to election time or if a regional or local community issue comes to a head- The Cobo controversy is just one of many recurring standoffs-- ‘they’ want to take over the water department, , they’ want to take over the school boards; ‘they’ want to take over Belle Isle.. people say ‘they’ so much you would think it’s a corporation based out of Lansing, Rochester or somewhere.

And as much as that kind of rhetoric gets black Detroiters to circle the wagons and support a particular candidate or position, it does little to address substantive reforms in policies that need to take place to improve the quality of life here. It also perpetuates the assumption that there are no people of good will from other cultural groups outside or even inside the city, or the racial landscape of the metro area is the same as it once was in 1965, and it’s just not.
Because Detroit’s population is predominantly African-American, it seems like city leaders adopted the premise that these public city-based institutions are “black owned” by default and therefore free to use as political trump cards just to more or less benefit themselves. I have a problem with that.

African-American leadership has either been at the helm or have held key positions in these institutions for well over the past 30 years, and as of 2009, the state they are in is self-evident., but it seems like such a chore for Detroit residents to get some basic competency and transparency that other communities seem to take for granted. So when it comes to things like city government, city utilities or Detroit Public Schools, it’s like I’m being told “hey brother, we run this, and even if we want to run it into the ground, as long as ‘we’ run it and not ‘them’, then that’s all that matters". What are your thoughts?


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