Why Is Detroit, Michgian 80% Black?


I read a question on line today and decided to write about it tonight.  The person writing the question asked “Why Is Detroit, Michigan 80% Black?  Then went on to say, that she thought it was because of Racism.  I did not agree so I chose to answer her question.

Yes, Detroit is black, but it’s not because of racism, it’s because when the industry moved out, the whites moved north, following the corporations that located in the northern areas of Detroit, like Southfield, then Troy and Sterling Heights.  The blacks chose to stay, many because they didn’t have the money to move, or already had a job and stayed to keep it, maybe to only to lose it later.  New industry came to town, like the Casinos, but not enough jobs with it. But racism, I don’t agree.  Just because Detroit is mostly black doesn’t mean it’s because of racism. It’s because they chose to stay when most others left. 

People who think alike, many times, come together and live in a certain location, city, neighborhood, it’s their comfort zone.  America has a long history of immigrants that came to this country and often they moved into the ethnic sections of a particular state, or city, or neighborhood, representing their culture, language, and religious beliefs and based many times on weather, or geography, like what they were used to in the old country, and sometimes it was because of the type of businesses in the area, similar to their interests.  The problem, (now, this is my own opinion) is with cultures and ethnic backgrounds and how they interact with others of different ethnic, or cultural backgrounds. The problem is a lack of education and interaction.

 As an example, Arabs are and always were considered merchants (groceries, tailors, today many are gas station owners) the Jews were more intellectual and were teachers, accountants, lawyers, doctors, and the Irish were farmers, when they came to America, these are the fields they prospered in back in the old country, so they continued in these fields here.  Many of these groups started communities on the Eastern coast and they became small cities with schools and churches revolving around their particular culture. 

In Dearborn, Michigan and the surrounding area there is the largest concentration of Arabs outside of the Middle East and certainly not because of racism.  It initially started because of the Rouge Plant and Henry Ford looking for more workers.  Today, the Arabs have a thriving community, they have businesses, and their children go to school.  One thing I can say for them is that they do make an effort to get an education.

 Everywhere Arabs go in this country they know that Dearborn is the Mecca here in the USA for them.  For the Arabs, Dearborn would be a place where they could go and live (comfort zone) in a strange new country and feel like they belong.

But it is still not because of racism.

They came to Dearborn because it was America the land of the Free, and because they could get jobs there, they came in droves.  They have stayed and made a new life for themselves.  They made the effort.  The Arabs came to America because it was their idea to come here for a new beginning, a job and Freedom.

Now, we have the blacks, whom were brought here as slaves, mostly in the south and lived on plantations, and though many men were involved with planting and harvesting, and learned farming techniques, and many women and girls did cooking and housekeeping there was one thing that was lacking, in there day to day routine and that was an education.  Many plantation owners forbid them to be taught how to read.  It took a very long time in this country even after they were freed for blacks to get a proper education and even today they are still fighting to get a top-notch education.

The difference between the Arabs and the Blacks who came to America, is that the Arabs chose to come here.  The Blacks were at a disadvantage from day one, because they were forced to come here.  So, where the Arabs had their lives in their new country all planned out, the Blacks were slaves, at someone else’s beck and call.  They had no plans, nothing to look forward to because they were forced to come here.  

It seems that they were always kept down.   And when the blacks saw no hope for themselves, many turned to selling drugs, or other illegal activities and actually made good money.  Others feeling that the government owed them because they didn’t do enough to help them, decided hand outs were the answer and they could get along with, Hud housing, food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, so why would they need to work?  This has been I feel the worst example of how to live in America that any parent could possibly hand down to their children, because it has continued on and on and on with no light at the end of the tunnel for the parents or their children.

These handouts from the Government have made many blacks think that there was no reason to get a good education because the Government would take care of them. Some would continue to try, work hard and get an education, then be held back in the workforce.  It all comes down to what Society thinks and what they expect from you, no matter what your race, ethnic background, or age is. 

It is hard to rise and shine on a personal level when you have society working against you.  Many years ago Society worked against the blacks, purposely.  In the last 40 years or so, society has tried to make up for their lack of effort in promoting education for the blacks, and have passed laws to enforce equal educational opportunities for all Americans, black, white, Chinese, Hispanics, but it appears that many of the blacks have given up. 

It takes an individual with a lot of drive, energy, motivation and guts to break out of a box devised by a system that expects you to be so-so, or one way when you aspire to be great, or another way.   It also takes a few generations of blacks who are educated to promote a positive self-worth belief, an energetic, goal oriented attitude in their young, in order for them to be able to break out of the downward spiral their lives are heading in, to enable them to look upward and climb to new heights, in their lives.

Sadly, the conditions now in this country are near the bottom or beginning for many blacks and they need to start again from square one.  Only now it will be even harder, because of the economic conditions in America there is no money to invest in structuring an educational program whereby the blacks can catch up.  Every time we turn around Congress, or State Legislatures are taking money from the Education fund to pay for their pork barrel projects.  

For the time being the Government is offering college and training for some of those who are unemployed but it’ only in certain fields and it might not last much longer. 

The Government is going forward with more handouts to a group of people who actually believe that now, they will be able to afford the things they always wanted, but couldn’t afford before and that somehow the Government will pay for it.  Well, this will not happen.  Again, the establishment is fooling them, because now, we have the Hispanics coming into the country, and when they are given amnesty they will not be the lowest on the totem pole.  The blacks will remain there.  There will be more Hispanics in America than blacks.  They also have and will have the jobs, minimum wage, maybe, but it will be the jobs that the unemployed blacks and whites would have had initially just because they were Americans. 

So, it is up to the black people to change their way of thinking and as hard as that might be, I can only tell you from experience, that you should never allow anyone else to keep you down.  You should never give up on being whatever it is you want to be.  You need to take some responsibility, much of the responsibility of educating yourself, by reading as much as you can, about everything that interests you.  Read books about the field or job you want to go into.

Read books about famous inventors like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, or Einstein.  Read books on American History, The Founders who wrote the Constitution, and about the Civil War, and stories like Huckleberry Finn and Sam Houston.  

Study math, science, and probably one of the most important things you can do to give yourself a boost is to learn another language and 3 of the most important languages to learn are Arabic, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese along with learning English. Any one of these three languages as a second language, could open many doors for you when you graduate from high school and/or hopefully college.  

There is nothing more important than a good education to get you where you want to go.  Nothing more self-satisfying than having a head full of knowledge that is there at the drop of a hat when you need to use it.

 The world is changing; don’t believe false promises from anyone.  Do it yourself.  You can learn a lot from books, movies on the History channel, even movies at the show.  Learning can be fun, especially if you make it into a game where you can be the winner.

 I’m sorry this was so long, but I truly feel that a child can take his education into his own hands as long as he is given some encouragement from his parents and/or caregivers, and/or teachers.  You are never too young or too old to learn, but it will always be up to you to start the process and keep it going, until you get to where it is,  that you want to be.

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One Comment on “Why Is Detroit, Michgian 80% Black?”


  1. Great post Snappy. Very well written and certainly factual if anyone would care to educate themselves. BB


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