Friday, December 2, 2011

Meet Me Where I Am!

I was scanning through Postive Detroit Twitter handles and came across this article about bringing people back to Detroit and appreciating the stuff that's happening there. The article is a great promotion for Detroit. It is hopeful for it's comback. It is encouraging for business owners downtown. It makes Detroit sound like "the place to be."

What the article isn't,  is compassionate to it's suburban readers and the people they want to come back to Detroit. As I became encouraged by the good things coming out of Detroit in the article, I was then shot down for living in a suburb of Detroit and criticized for frankly being fearful most of my life to spend much time down there. The article became more dangerous than actually going Downtown.

Example of my fear: Last year, while we were at a Tiger's Game, a man crawled under our car, unhooked something that we have never figured out, he waited down the street for us to come back to our car and find that it didn't start (did I tell you it was dark and we were pretty much the only car left in the lot and yes I put my ring in my shoe and was freaking out) while the man with a backpack approached our car telling us he could fix it. He crawled under, did something, went under the hood, talking us up all the while he changed his name twice, closed the hood, guilted us out of $50 (that's all we had) and went on his merry way. As he left, I said, "he just duped us." My husband said, "brilliant!" I punched him. I was scared.

Now that doesn't happen often. It was our fault because we stayed out longer than expected leaving our car vulnerable and ourselves for that matter. You have to be safe in any city. We learned our lesson.

I was born in Detroit and grew up off of 8 Mile (no I don't know Eminem) down the street from the Booby Trap (no I'm not a stripper) and on the dead end of the Pepsi plant ( I personally like the brand that comes with a smile ) until first grade. My parents moved us to a suburb after our house was ransacked and we were robbed, packs of dogs were roaming our streets and they felt it was unsafe for their family.

My dad owned a business on 7 mile for many years (which he moved to a suburb because it became unsafe) and my mom worked for the Detroit News downtown for half of her career  (and took the bus down there). Throughout my life, I've gone to festivals downtown, skated downtown (not the new rink either), I've gone to dinners and theater downtown, I've gone to bars and clubs downtown and I've gone to sporting events. I love Detroit (where and when I feel safe).

My point is that we have been taught it isn't safe, we've experienced unsafe situations and we've heard stories. It is unfair to make people feel bad for choosing a safer place to hang out for now. The article insults the very people it wants to bring down to Detroit.

The author of this article needed to take the "meet them where they and take them where you want them to be." (-S. Duperon) approach. Let me know you appreciate and have empathy for my choices and decisions to live in the suburbs and not venture downtown for now and then give me the goodies and dangle the carrot of Detroit to bring me back there. I don't want to be guilted into coming back.

I am thrilled to see Detroit make its comeback. There are some great areas to hang out, have dinner, see a show and have drinks. It is even safe to walk from one place to another.

I understand his passion in the article and I appreciate it but it lost me in the criticism, which is a shame. I am not writing this in anger at all. I like 2/3 of the article. I am just shedding light on another point of view or perspective that isn't being appreciated. Whether the article's view is true or not, it is in the presentation of the argument that cuts off the cycle of reciprocity.

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