Why worried suburban moms hate Detroit
Call it 'sprawltitlement.'
Published: April 22, 2014
Think this woman is a crank? I agree with you. But I also think a lot of allegedly sane people in metro Detroit share Worried Mom’s fear and loathing, and her desire to completely disassociate herself from Detroit. And that sort of widespread suburban fear and loathing has real-life consequences.
Far from this being a fringe rant, I think it speaks a great deal of truth about why our region functions the way it does. And, unlike a lot of the highfalutin analyses of Detroit over the years, at least it states its case succinctly.
I mean, for years now, we’ve had every kind of free-enterprise quack, new urbanist snob, “social” entrepreneur and bottom-feeding journo airdrop into Detroit in great waves looking for the answer behind Detroit’s failure. They’ve crowded through its trap houses and left no stone unturned in its ruins. They’ve pored over ancient street grids and quizzed the city’s preening politicians. They’ve all been searching for the answer to what the hell happened to this once-great city, and they haven’t made an inch of progress in their prodigious travels.
They needn’t have made such a fuss. Anybody wondering what happened to Detroit need only read Worried Mom’s letter. Why did Detroit fall? Because the region cultivated a sense of entitlement that dwarfs anything Rush Limbaugh has hallucinated exists in the ghetto.
In fact, we should be thanking Worried Mom for her candor. We clearly have a lot of work cut out for us. It would seem that instead of entitlements like pensions for public workers, it might be the wider entitlements of this region that do Detroit in. And if we don’t take Worried Mom’s letter seriously as a challenge, it may well be the epitaph of Toilet Bowl City.
> Email Michael Jackman