Politics & Prejudices
What the numbers mean
Breaking down Detroit's long census decline
Published: March 30, 2011
So what does the city do now? What can it do?
Finding an answer to that question depends on the honesty and good will of everyone in Michigan, all of whom, believe it or not, have a huge stake in saving Detroit.
Having a huge, bankrupt, desperate slum as the largest city in your state isn't good for business in Grand Rapids.
Not to mention the suburbs. Yes, white racism has played a major role in the city's decline. So has black corruption and stubborn pig-headedness. We need to face and forget all that.
We also need to acknowledge that integration, that great dream of the 1960s, has failed, at least in terms of where people choose to live.
Huntington Woods is less than 1 percent black. Highland Park, barely 10 minutes away, is less than 3 percent white. We aren't going to change that. We are, however, joined at the hip economically, and we're all sinking.
If you could have told one of those Detroiters lining the parade route on July 28, 1951, that his city would one day be a place of devastated buildings with most of the people gone, he would have undoubtedly thought an atom bomb was coming.
In terms of economic impact, he wouldn't have been far wrong. He or she might have said that our task would then be to rebuild Detroit, fixing everything that was wrong.
Not as glamorous, maybe, as flattening Libya. But far more necessary. So let's start.
> Email Jack Lessenberry