Mother Jones takes a deep look at Detroit

Jul 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm
In a deep-dive look at Detroit post-bankruptcy, Mother Jones magazine examines the city — in a piece written by reporter Alex Halperin titled "How Motor City Came Back From the Brink…And Left Most Detroiters Behind" — with a pointed question in mind: "Now that Detroit is no longer bankrupt, who are the winners and who are the losers?"

Here's a snip, tee'd up by a stirring anecdote on how a federal task force was convened during a meeting at the White House to examine Detroit's vast amount of blighted properties:

There are no minutes of the White House meeting, so it's impossible to know what discussion there was about the blight-removal approach. It also appears that not a single representative of the neighborhoods soon to be bulldozed—no minister, no community organizer, no teacher or city council member—attended the meeting. The closest person to a community representative was Dennis Archer, who had served as Detroit's mayor from 1994 to 2001.

This is the fundamental dynamic that has played out throughout Detroit's crisis and recovery: The city's future is being determined by politicians, business leaders, and philanthropists while native Detroiters—more than 80 percent of whom are black—often can only watch from afar. Peter Hammer, Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University's Law School, describes the plans for Detroit as "the suburban view of what a city should look like. It's not a view of the city that's responsive to the needs of the citizens of Detroit."

Take a look at the full piece here