25 profound stories from 'Humans of Macomb County'

The "Humans of Macomb County" series was created after Macomb County, a place that has traditionally voted Democrat, almost unanimously voted for Donald Trump in this last election. The people behind the popular Humans of New York site traveled to Macomb County to hear the stories of the people who live here. Some of them are heartbreaking, profound, and some are even a little crazy. Wither you believe or can relate to the things these people are saying, it is interesting to see the perspective from someone else.

All photos and text come from the Humans of New York Facebook page which can be found here. And check out more of their photos and series at their website here.

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“I think a lot of people live on the borderline of racism. I work in a machine shop with about thirty older guys. I don’t think there is one bad guy in the group. You’d like them if you met them. All of them love their families. But I’d say that I’ve heard eighty percent of them make racist comments of some sort. A lot of the older guys drop ‘n bombs.’ But if a black guy walks up, they’ll be friendly. They’ll even go out to lunch with him and share a meal. I honestly don’t think they see themselves as racist. Every one of them will deny it. They’ll point to the black guy that they’re friendly with. They won't point to the things they say when he’s not around.”
“I think a lot of people live on the borderline of racism. I work in a machine shop with about thirty older guys. I don’t think there is one bad guy in the group. You’d like them if you met them. All of them love their families. But I’d say that I’ve heard eighty percent of them make racist comments of some sort. A lot of the older guys drop ‘n bombs.’ But if a black guy walks up, they’ll be friendly. They’ll even go out to lunch with him and share a meal. I honestly don’t think they see themselves as racist. Every one of them will deny it. They’ll point to the black guy that they’re friendly with. They won't point to the things they say when he’s not around.”
“My sister moved in, her five cats moved in, and her ex-husband moved in. It’s driving me nuts. My sister watches those murder programs. And her ex-husband is Irish so he keeps talking about the potato famine. He loves that potato famine. Always the potato famine. And those cats. Little Louie is sweet, but the biggest cat looks like Garfield and won’t stop meowing. His name is Nitro. I’m trying to keep it together. I just picked up one of those positive thinking books.”
“My sister moved in, her five cats moved in, and her ex-husband moved in. It’s driving me nuts. My sister watches those murder programs. And her ex-husband is Irish so he keeps talking about the potato famine. He loves that potato famine. Always the potato famine. And those cats. Little Louie is sweet, but the biggest cat looks like Garfield and won’t stop meowing. His name is Nitro. I’m trying to keep it together. I just picked up one of those positive thinking books.”
“My mom died of lung cancer on my sixteenth birthday. My birthday is actually coming up—this Saturday. Before she passed away, I was a good student and everything. I was probably going to get a scholarship for singing. But I stopped caring after that. My mom was my biggest fan. Even when she was really sick, she came to my singing recital in a wheelchair, with her hair falling out of her head, and she sat on the front row. I quit singing after she died. There was nobody to sing for anymore. My Dad raised us. And he was wonderful. You want to know how awesome my Dad is? He went to court and tried to legally change my birthday. Just so I wouldn’t have to go through it every year. It turns out you’re not allowed to do that. But he tried.”
“My mom died of lung cancer on my sixteenth birthday. My birthday is actually coming up—this Saturday. Before she passed away, I was a good student and everything. I was probably going to get a scholarship for singing. But I stopped caring after that. My mom was my biggest fan. Even when she was really sick, she came to my singing recital in a wheelchair, with her hair falling out of her head, and she sat on the front row. I quit singing after she died. There was nobody to sing for anymore. My Dad raised us. And he was wonderful. You want to know how awesome my Dad is? He went to court and tried to legally change my birthday. Just so I wouldn’t have to go through it every year. It turns out you’re not allowed to do that. But he tried.”
“I’ve known since I was thirteen. It wasn’t a struggle for me. I didn’t question whether it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ I just knew it was me. But I’m still completely closeted. I’m part of a very religious community. Even my choice to go to college was questioned. It’s seen as not trusting in God. If my family knew I was gay, I’d be cut off completely. Listen, they’re not bad. They aren’t bad people. It’s just what they believe. I’m not angry at them. I’m angry at the situation. If I choose to fall in love, then nobody that I’ve ever known will speak to me again.”
“I’ve known since I was thirteen. It wasn’t a struggle for me. I didn’t question whether it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ I just knew it was me. But I’m still completely closeted. I’m part of a very religious community. Even my choice to go to college was questioned. It’s seen as not trusting in God. If my family knew I was gay, I’d be cut off completely. Listen, they’re not bad. They aren’t bad people. It’s just what they believe. I’m not angry at them. I’m angry at the situation. If I choose to fall in love, then nobody that I’ve ever known will speak to me again.”
“I just think that people are looking to blame someone else for their problems. They’re worried about the wrong stuff. They’re too fixated on what other people are getting. I wasn’t able to go to college. My mom raised five kids on her own. I’ve had to work since I was sixteen. So I haven’t gotten to do all the things I wanted to do. But I’ve never complained. I’ve never been ‘too good’ for a job. I worked at Burger King. I worked at Walmart. Now I work at Chrysler. And I got promoted at all three places. I've never had a problem getting noticed. Managers notice things. If you don’t complain, and work hard, and pick up shifts, you’ll move up. So I don't complain. I’m twenty-eight now. I have no debt. Chrysler even has a program where they’ll pay for my college. I've got enough to help out my mom. I’m actually picking her up a new dryer right now.”
“I just think that people are looking to blame someone else for their problems. They’re worried about the wrong stuff. They’re too fixated on what other people are getting. I wasn’t able to go to college. My mom raised five kids on her own. I’ve had to work since I was sixteen. So I haven’t gotten to do all the things I wanted to do. But I’ve never complained. I’ve never been ‘too good’ for a job. I worked at Burger King. I worked at Walmart. Now I work at Chrysler. And I got promoted at all three places. I've never had a problem getting noticed. Managers notice things. If you don’t complain, and work hard, and pick up shifts, you’ll move up. So I don't complain. I’m twenty-eight now. I have no debt. Chrysler even has a program where they’ll pay for my college. I've got enough to help out my mom. I’m actually picking her up a new dryer right now.”
“This racial stuff to me is BS and I’m tired of hearing it. I have it made because I’m a white male? I’m prejudiced? That shit is long ago. Way long ago. Enough of it. It’s all the media. It’s all for ratings. It’s this false racial shit that they keep pumping into everybody’s head. They’re keeping everyone on edge. If there’s a police shooting—it’s white versus black. Always white versus black. Who cares about the facts? Race is more important. Watching the news, you’d think there was a race war out there. But then I walk outside and I just don’t see it. I hold the door for the black guy. He holds the door for me. I wouldn’t even know there was a problem if it wasn’t for the television. They need to quit making shit out of nothing.”
“This racial stuff to me is BS and I’m tired of hearing it. I have it made because I’m a white male? I’m prejudiced? That shit is long ago. Way long ago. Enough of it. It’s all the media. It’s all for ratings. It’s this false racial shit that they keep pumping into everybody’s head. They’re keeping everyone on edge. If there’s a police shooting—it’s white versus black. Always white versus black. Who cares about the facts? Race is more important. Watching the news, you’d think there was a race war out there. But then I walk outside and I just don’t see it. I hold the door for the black guy. He holds the door for me. I wouldn’t even know there was a problem if it wasn’t for the television. They need to quit making shit out of nothing.”
“My father was on strike one Christmas. I think I was six years old. And whenever the union was on strike, we’d go without. So there weren’t many presents under the tree that year. Dad explained to us that he was standing up for everybody, and that he needed our help. He promised us that he’d get us more presents once he got back to work. Then the night before Christmas, somebody broke into our house. They slit the screen on one of the windows and stole everything. I woke up to my mom screaming. All our presents were gone. But that ended up being the best Christmas we ever had. Because a few hours later, six guys from the union showed up, and they were carrying bags and bags of presents.”
“My father was on strike one Christmas. I think I was six years old. And whenever the union was on strike, we’d go without. So there weren’t many presents under the tree that year. Dad explained to us that he was standing up for everybody, and that he needed our help. He promised us that he’d get us more presents once he got back to work. Then the night before Christmas, somebody broke into our house. They slit the screen on one of the windows and stole everything. I woke up to my mom screaming. All our presents were gone. But that ended up being the best Christmas we ever had. Because a few hours later, six guys from the union showed up, and they were carrying bags and bags of presents.”
“I broke up with my girlfriend this morning. We’d been together for three years. But I’m Catholic, and she doesn’t know if she believes in God or not. I wanted to propose to her one day. I think she’d be a great mom and a great wife. But I feel like this might be something we can’t overcome. I want to get married in a Catholic church. I want to raise my children to be Catholic. It’s important to me and it's something that we’d have to deal with eventually. So I didn’t think it would be a good idea to keep putting it off. But it really hurts to lose her. Both of us were bawling our eyes out. She was such a big part of my life. Every time something good happens, she is the first person I want to tell. And I do respect that she refuses to believe in something just because I do. But I don’t know what to do. I’m hoping God will give me an answer.”
“I broke up with my girlfriend this morning. We’d been together for three years. But I’m Catholic, and she doesn’t know if she believes in God or not. I wanted to propose to her one day. I think she’d be a great mom and a great wife. But I feel like this might be something we can’t overcome. I want to get married in a Catholic church. I want to raise my children to be Catholic. It’s important to me and it's something that we’d have to deal with eventually. So I didn’t think it would be a good idea to keep putting it off. But it really hurts to lose her. Both of us were bawling our eyes out. She was such a big part of my life. Every time something good happens, she is the first person I want to tell. And I do respect that she refuses to believe in something just because I do. But I don’t know what to do. I’m hoping God will give me an answer.”
“I thought we were happy. We had two kids. She was a great mom. But three or four years into our marriage, she started playing that Sims game online. You can be anyone in that game. She could be the perfect wife or whatever. She was always on that computer. Then she started playing this other game where you can marry, date, and screw people. All of it is fake, but people actually develop feelings for each other. In real life these guys are probably 450 lbs. but online they look like Superman. There was actually one guy that she called ‘her Superman.’ He even started mailing Superman trinkets to the house. She wouldn’t quit. I even tried to break her cellphone with my hand. I just wanted her to live her life with us. But we weren’t enough for her.”
“I thought we were happy. We had two kids. She was a great mom. But three or four years into our marriage, she started playing that Sims game online. You can be anyone in that game. She could be the perfect wife or whatever. She was always on that computer. Then she started playing this other game where you can marry, date, and screw people. All of it is fake, but people actually develop feelings for each other. In real life these guys are probably 450 lbs. but online they look like Superman. There was actually one guy that she called ‘her Superman.’ He even started mailing Superman trinkets to the house. She wouldn’t quit. I even tried to break her cellphone with my hand. I just wanted her to live her life with us. But we weren’t enough for her.”
(1/3) “I was nineteen. She was sixteen. Our dates were normally on Sunday. We didn’t do much of anything. We were conservative. I was a farmer. We weren’t those swinging type people. But every date was a little more cuddly. Then she took me to her senior prom. It was just ten miles from here—in Richmond. I was the only one there without a tuxedo. All those city folks didn’t know what to make of me. I can’t tell you when we fell in love. I can’t even tell you when I asked her to marry me. It was just natural. I think we were just sitting in the car and I gave her the ring. I don't have many big moments to share. We were simple people. They were all happy days.”
(1/3) “I was nineteen. She was sixteen. Our dates were normally on Sunday. We didn’t do much of anything. We were conservative. I was a farmer. We weren’t those swinging type people. But every date was a little more cuddly. Then she took me to her senior prom. It was just ten miles from here—in Richmond. I was the only one there without a tuxedo. All those city folks didn’t know what to make of me. I can’t tell you when we fell in love. I can’t even tell you when I asked her to marry me. It was just natural. I think we were just sitting in the car and I gave her the ring. I don't have many big moments to share. We were simple people. They were all happy days.”