TABLE OF CONTENTS
From heaven to hell and back ..........................................................................9
On the top..................................................................................................... 11
Martial steel from Detroit ................................................................................29
Peaceful steel from Detroit ..............................................................................39
White escape .................................................................................................45
Car scrapping .................................................................................................55
Black and white Detroit ...................................................................................73
Control over the city .......................................................................................87
The fourth brother of the Big Three..................................................................99
Deadly breeze of freedom...............................................................................107
Cheaper, faster, better................................................................................... 117
Marabel Chanin & Friends................................................................................125
The diabolical night ........................................................................................129
Best things come in small packages.................................................................157
„We will lose control over the city”...................................................................163
Who killed Detroit?.........................................................................................167
How you holdin’ up, Detroit? ..........................................................................179
Detroit 2.0 ....................................................................................................199
FROM HEAVEN TO HELL
What has happened to the city once thought to be the symbol of American success? Why does the city of Detroit so dramatically differ from its suburbs, outlaying at a distance of only several kilometers away, with the reign of well-tended houses, neatly trimmed lawns, and surrounding calmness and safety? How is it that Detroit differs so much from the rest of the USA?
There is no place elsewhere one can so brutally confront the myth of a resourceful, rational, hard-working and happy America with a traumatic image of a massive urbanistic, ecological and social catastrophe.
For many, Detroit is the symbol of the failure of American capitalism. Due to its size and momentum, it is not possible to simply hide the problems away. This grand city unmasks its collapsing urban tissue, its wounds, made up of thousands of abandoned homes, factories, banks, hotels, schools and churches. This spectacular fall of the city has become an object of peculiar amazement, interest and fascination throughout the world.
Outside observers are watching the city closely with blatancy and unconcealed fascination on its way to rock bottom. The term “ruin pornography” has become a well-known concept among journalists, photographers and filmmakers.
There is no other thing that reflects so well in the lens of a camera and sells in such a big volume as a story of exceptional
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beauty that is derived of its attributes with time, deteriorates and becomes a ridicule. Mass media is full of images of the dying city. All energy has been concentrated on showing a peculiar collapse, less of it on explaining the actual cause. Providing an explanation for the reason of the city’s fall is usually limited to a few laconic statements. What fascinates and totally consumes is a sea of fantastic houses, buildings, public constructions and factories. Such a mass of material decline and a mountain of human misery is shocking, particularly if one remembers that this is where the American well-being and the middle class were born.
For the citizens, Detroit today still gives a reason to be proud and is proof that, despite years of negligence and crises, this icon of American cities does not only persist, but produces and maintains the position of one of the most important industrial centers. Everyone, who perceives Detroit and its over 4-million metropolitan area to be a closed industrial chapter, will be amazed when they discover that the commonly mocked “American shame” is currently in the top of the biggest industrial centers of the world.
A meeting with Detroit is an unordinary event for anyone, no matter their origin, beliefs or antipathy towards the United States. The explanation for Detroit’s collapse can fit on a few pages of a standard press article. However, this city is worth so much more. It deserves a broader description, one that would – at least partially – depict the image of what has become a flagship city of the American dream of power.
The city has found itself in the middle of a desperate fight to maintain the remnants of its pride and force. Detroit today is who the famous cinematic boxer Rocky Balboa once was; despite hearing the count to “nine” multiple times on his way to hell and back, he has fought until the very end of every round, hoping to survive and return in glory in that final one.
ON THE TOP
There are not too many cities which could have felt better than Detroit in July 1951. The city was attended by the president of the United States himself, Harry Truman, accompanied by a diplomatic corps, senators, governors and other dignitaries to announce what had already been known – Detroit was the symbol of America! The America full of bold and ingenious ideas, innovative technological solutions, hard work and incredible energy that gave USA the position of an unquestionable leader of the world. The reason for the arrival of such dignified guests was the 250th anniversary of the city’s founding by Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, a French officer at the service of Louis XIV the Great. Specially for this occasion, the city center was decorated with grand flags with motives of the French lily, the British lion and the American star as a reminder of the historical roots and nationality of the city.
The citizens and millions of other people in the world did not perceive the Cadillac as a significant historical character, but rather a luxurious car, a symbol of the newest technology and success. The sun that reflected in the chromic bumper of the Cadillacs parked on driveways of luxurious mansions illuminated and enveloped the city’s anniversary in glory.
On this memorable day, July 28th, 1951, the citizens of Detroit who were witness of a parade with 20 thousand people walking along Woodward Avenue, felt like one big, happy
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family. This sense of pride was not only sensed by the rich and privileged, but also by average factory laborers. Regardless of whether they were native citizens or black people who had recently arrived from the American South, white paupers from Kentucky and Tennessee, emigrants from China, Greece, Hungary or Poland, everyone was welled with pride from belonging to this exquisite community.
There was a gigantic army of engineers, workers, sellers and craftsmen working in Detroit, and they were able to invent and produce everything one could ever imagine: from electrical household appliances, to cars, planes or even sea-going vessels. Among this almost 700-thousand army of labor people, there was an over 300-thousand group of those, who could boast with not only manufacturing the most sought-after commodity in the world – a car, but title themselves the best earning workers in the world. Factory laborers were spoilt by their employers, and not only by being granted the highest remuneration in the world. On top of their standard pay, they received other incentives which cost the enterprises a total sum reaching up to 20% of the numbers spent for the already high salaries. In the frame of these additional gratifications, there was: paid annual leave, pension benefits, social funds, free benefits connected with sports, leisure time and recreation. Of course, this was not any type of madness or philanthropy coming from the employers. It was rather a calculated activity aiming at weakening the role of trade unions, as well as increasing the efficiency of labor, and acquiring the most valuable workers.
During the celebration, the citizens were aware, that the following day would bring work, much work. America, which had been starved out by years of war that brought cession to the manufacturing of consumer goods, had an insatiable appetite. Dealers were desperately sending telegrams to manufacturers with an
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appeal for a faster delivery of new cars. The demand was so big, that the number of cars sent to salons was limited. Plymouth and Buick could deliver only three cars at once, whereas Oldsmobile was able to provide three to five. In anticipation of grand series of new models of the Big Three (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler), people were “throwing” themselves at other brands, such as Nash, Studebaker or Hudson. Manufacturers, whose cars had not – up to recently – stirred any passionate feelings, sold their production like hot cakes. According to the forecasts, in 1952 in the USA, allegedly half a million of cars anticipated by clients was missing. The great demand for new cars from Detroit did not mean that the city only specialized in mass and cheap production, as was the case at the beginning of the century when Henry Ford sold simple, but cheap T models for a few hundred dollars. The regional towns of the state of Michigan provided “splendor” to the market; splendor in the form of cars fulfilling every dream of the contemporary drivers. Packard, for instance, was one of the many car producers who was independent of the Big Three, known for his quality, care for details, form and technical virtuosity. He fully deserved the title of the American Rolls-Royce. Care for quality, reputation and status had gone so far, that the new functional factory on the eastern suburbs of Detroit was designed by one of the greatest American architects – Albert Kahn. It had been that very same Kahn, which was the author of projects of great public use buildings in the city center. Packard’s mood was so perfect, that the company did not care for marketing at all. The opinions of previous users were supposed to provide sufficient recommendation themselves. If you were seeking to find something more about cars, you only had to “ask somebody, who already owned that car.”
The incredible career of Detroit had begun 50 years earlier. The city, which, at the beginning of the twentieth century, was already a significant industrial center, was not aware, that it
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would soon become the center of a real civilizational revolution. Shipyard products, factories of railway wagons, stoves and coaches, as well as sawmills and breweries were not the destination of the 285-thousand city. Already at the beginning of the twentieth century, the town became a Mecca of cars, a true Motor City. It was located in just the right place, it had also “found” its time. It had what other cities, like Chicago, Cleveland or Pittsburgh could boast with as well: talented technicians, numerous factories, access to important resources – wood and steel. However, Detroit had something special on top of that – it had that little “something,” something extra, namely – powerful minds. You could meet a whole battalion of geniuses on the streets, among all: Will Durant, Walter Chrysler, the Dodge brothers, Alfred Sloan, Henry Ford. It was here, in year 1881, where William Boeing was born, the son of German emigrants, the future father of national civil aviation. It was these two ambitious, young men who created the foundations of the new era with their unconventional actions. One of them was an ingenious inventor, the second – a brilliant manufacturer. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford constructed something, that changed the life of not only Detroit, but every corner of the world – a mass-produced car. Ransom E. Olds was a exceptional investor and engineer, who, after gathering the necessary capital, manufactured the first real, functional and most importantly, profitable car – the Oldsmobile, in his company Old Motor Works in East Lansing. Since 1901, the car ceased to be a handicraft produced for the aristocracy only. It became a product meant for average citizens, as well. Within a few years, there were many small factories and workshops created in Detroit and the neighborhood; they attempted to manufacture combustion, steam and electric engines. Among hundreds of engineers, mostly self-taught, there were giants such as David Buick and Henry Leland (Cadillac). Henry Ford needed only eight years to build the largest factory
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of cars there had been at that time in the nearby Highland Park. The constantly perfected montage technique on the mobile assembly line, as well as standardization and great concentration on production allowed him to obtain an almost 20-year advantage over his competition.
In the 1920s, Detroit had become an unquestionable national industrial center. In 1908 in the USA, only 6,400 cars were manufactured, but four years later, this number amounted to 78 thousand. An even more impressive number was that of the manufactured trucks, which became the transport spine of USA next to railways. In 1914, 25 thousand trucks left the assembly lines in Detroit, whereas four years later, it was nearly ten times more – 227 thousand. None of the foreign governmental delegations visiting the USA at that time dared to omit Detroit, which was amicably considered the best-managed city of the country. Statistical data impressed even representatives of former powers such as France and Great Britain. In the 1920s, there were 3,100 factories, 31 car manufacturers and 218 factories providing car equipment – tires, bodies, etc. operating in the city. Detroit had 14 state banks, 5 national banks and 125 departments of other banks, including the Federal Reserve Bank. The citizens had 38 parks, 25 theaters and 136 cinemas at their disposal. 160 public and 75 private schools were built for children. The city had consulates of 12 countries. However, what impressed the guests the most were the salaries. Qualified laborers earned record high numbers – 6.26 dollars a day. This resulted in Detroit citizens being the least indebted in the USA, only 24.21 dollars on average. Detroit had the most stable labor market; strikes or conflicts in local factories were a rarity.
This incredible concentration of energetic and innovative businessmen in one city was like seeds falling on fertile soil, bringing heavy yield. The good soil turned out to be Michigan
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and the whole Northeast region, located along the coasts of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes were the perfect shipping lanes enabling communication of the Middle West cities with the east coast of the Atlantic, with the reign of classic metropolises such as – New York, Boston, Philadelphia.
Detroit is not far from Pennsylvania – at that time, a power in the production of steel and a great producer of construction materials, with additional rich resources of coal and oil. The cities of the American Middle West and the neighboring regions located between St. Louis and Minneapolis were a great workshop of modern America. Already in the 1940s, this area concentrated over 65% of all manufacturing plants in the USA. Detroit, despite the fact that it had never been a dominant place of trade, education or political power, took the central spot in the process of creating the American strength. The most important decisive factor was a simple, yet revolutionary idea. What the city and its factories did was simply provide a wellpaid job to the people. There was nothing more that had to be done. People from all over the world came to the American Promised Land. Nobody really paid attention to the fact that the power of the city and the region had been built on their unique role during the armament in World War I and II, and that the uniformity of production created the threat of extremal industrial fluctuations. What people saw were thousands of cars leaving the gates of factories, which were desperately looking for employees, and thousands of new, simple and neat wooden houses, waiting for the new workers and their families.
On July 28th, 1951, during the last day of the 250th anniversary of Detroit’s founding, the citizens could proudly and with optimism gaze at both the history of their city, as well as its future. After the official celebrations in the town square, there was an anniversary party and it couldn’t have been compared to
DETROIT – AN AMERICAN UNDERDOG STORY 17
anything else. A big parade walking through the main street of the town – Woodward Avenue – was observed by thousands of people. Around 20 thousand volunteers took part in a mise-enscène which presented the biggest moments of the town’s history. The march began at around 2:30 p.m. and the last persons went parading before the grand lodge at 7:30 p.m. This gigantic party was, of course, sponsored by the local entrepreneurs such as: Cadillac, General Motors, Buick, Pontiac, Ford Motor, Lincoln-Mercury, Kaiser-Frazer, Oldsmobile, Hudson, Chevrolet, Chrysler.
So, the people of Detroit were used to great events. All of it had to be the biggest, the newest, the best; take for instance, the first ever underwater road tunnel, which connected two countries. Even today, it leads from the city center under the river Detroit to Windsor on the Canadian side. A few kilometers from the road tunnel, a railway tunnel was built, and next to it, the monumental Ambassador Bridge, being the busiest border point between Canada and USA. Trains departed from – in fact, not the biggest – but the highest (18 stories) railway station in the world – Michigan Central Depot. Detroit had the first urban highway in the country (Davison Freeway), and the main city artery, Woodward Avenue, was the first public road in America to have a concrete surface. A reason for envy had also turned out to be the fantastic railway network. The most beautiful park in the city was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – the very same, who was the creator of Central Park in New York. Belle Isle Park was, of course, a bit bigger than the New York rival. The city was proud of its luxurious hotels, banks and department stores. Fancy buildings and skyscrapers, often built in art déco, became the most favorite theme of illustrations and postcards, meant to reflect the picture of a dynamically developing America. The postcards had an obligatory slogan: “Greetings from the Motor Capital of the World.”
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In the mid-1930s, Detroit was named the City of Champions, after the local teams – Tigers, Lions and Red Wings took 7 months to win champion titles at the turn of 1935 and 1936. Detroit became the hallmark of American professional sport; it was in the lead in disciplines such as baseball, American football and hockey. Joe Louis, a black citizen of the city, maintained his world champion’s heavy weight title in the years 1937–1949. At this time, he protected his champion’s belt 25 times. Even today, he is recognized as one of the finest professional boxers in history. It seemed only a matter of time when Detroit would become the host of the Olympics. Despite lost battles for the Olympics in the years 1944 and 1952, the city did not lose its hope and kept applying for the honor.
The city of rich companies and citizens could afford a patronage of culture and arts. Since 1919, the authorities, generous sponsors and the cultural elite of the city had been creating a unique collection of works of art, which became the foundation of the Detroit Institute of Art. An impressive art gallery was built by the main street, and its collections could easily compete with the most respected American art centers. Founded in 1914, Detroit Symphony Orchestra became one of the best orchestras on the globe and the first one in the world, which – since 1922 – transmitted classical music concerts via radio. Lovers of theater and film could not complain. Detroit Theatre District was the biggest, next to Broadway in New York, complex of concert halls, cinemas and theaters. The Fox Theatre, erected in 1928, was an incredibly luxurious, modernly equipped building with 5,045 seats. The only place that was bigger was the New York Radio City Hall.
In the jubilee year of 1951, plans for the future were also not so modest. New districts of the city began to be built, and the projects already included specific suggestions of congress centers and new road networks, which were supposed to cross and surround the metropolis. The black district of Black Bottom
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was to be replaced by a new one – meant to be an architectural pearl, designed by the contemporary architectural celebrities. Detroit, similarly to the entire USA, was enjoying its prosperity, which was to fruit with the happiest period in the history of the nation. The American style of life was beginning to be born and it soon became the dream of many people in the tired and impoverished Europe. America – full of optimism, kept producing new symbols of success, the biggest embodiment of them being divine film stars, skyscrapers of big cities and chromized giants on wheels – cars straight from Detroit.
Encouraged with positive experiences of the previous emigration waves, the citizens of the American South, the coal mining Kentucky and Virginia, were preparing to travel North. Similar hopes were shared by residents of the damaged Europe, dreaming of travelling to mythical America. The almost 2-million Detroit was already the fourth biggest city in the USA, and its further development was only a matter of time. Millions of people in the whole world were longing for what Detroit was offering. People were ready to abandon their homelands, try their luck in a place, where all one had to do was work hard in order to achieve success, which meant to buy a house, a car, start a family, educate children and go on vacation. All this was possible thanks to a steady job, even the simplest and hardest one, but one, that also provided protection from hunger. The American dream, with not only financial stability, but freedom from exploitation and various forms of tyranny, intolerance or racism laying at its foundation, could, at least partially, be fulfilled in Detroit and in the state of Michigan.
The jubilee in 1951 was the last grand manifestation of pride and optimism. Never again did the city celebrate its subsequent anniversaries so loudly. No other place in the world had made such a fast transformation from a gray industrial center to a wealthy national metropolis. However, this instant advance from the lowlands was nothing compared to the velocity, in which this town descended into the position of an urban and social catastrophe on a never-before seen scale.
After 50 years, in the beginning of the twenty-first century, Detroit still drew the attention of the world, always in the spotlight. Similarly, as before – what happened in this city is truly grand, shocking and hard to imagine. Detroit is the first American city to lose over a million citizens and decrease from 1.83 million in 1953 to 711 thousand in 2011. An even more dramatic decrease is that of the white citizens of the town. In 1950, there were 1.55 million of them; in 1990 – 222 thousand and in 2010, only a shocking 90 thousand.
Today’s center of Detroit is neat, clean and organized, just as most centers of American towns. However, what stands out is its unhealthy silence. Even during working days, the road traffic is minimal, there are barely any people on the pavements, and the parks, playgrounds and shop-windows are almost empty. The classical skyscrapers downtown are still there, but mostly deprived of any tenants. A part of them has been standing
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empty, abandoned for several dozens of years. Some roofs and ledges of buildings, particularly of those located at a distance of the central streets, have begun to grow impressive trees and bushes. At first glance, the center resembles that from the past, but at a closer look, it is visible that it has lost a part of its architecture, which had created its tissue.
VDetroit was not familiar with the American habit of destroying quite new buildings only to erect something bigger, higher and more beautiful. Here, demolished constructions were not replaced by newer ones. They were only replaced by squares of provisional parking lots. There were also a few new “monuments” in the city. The most famous one is considered to be the Packard factory, abandoned in the 1950s, whose carcass reigns over the eastern side of the town. Packard’s factory was not the only abandoned industrial complex. In the 1960s, Hudson Motor Car, United States Rubber, Studebaker, Briggs Body and Clark Avenue Plant, which had assembled Cadillac cars for 70 years, was also closed down.
Michigan Central Depot, once the highest railway station in the world, has now no departing train whatsoever. Belle Isle Park, which had formerly competed with Central Park, is today a jewel left alone. One of the oldest zoos in USA has left Belle Isle. The great aquarium, envied by the whole of America, has been abandoned. Its guardians still live in hope, that the city’s finances will allow to open it once more. The city center is nothing more but a trade desert. The town resembles antique Rome in its period of decline, with hundreds of once fantastic buildings falling apart, decreasing morale of the citizens, spreading poverty and humongous crime. During the last decades, the city has lost and is on its way to lose thousands of precious buildings, including many beautiful offices, theaters and hotels. The center alone is a place of over 200 abandoned historic buildings, covered by the protection of the National Register of Historic Places. Amongst them, there are the most precious objects of American art déco and neoclassicism. The
DETROIT – AN AMERICAN UNDERDOG STORY 23
borders of the city are an even more dramatic picture. They are created by miles of abandoned streets with plenty of empty houses. These empty buildings had, until recently, been the homes of people who had left town in search of a normal place to live. Entire quarters resemble a prairie, overgrown with high grass. Nature has slowly began to reclaim what it has been deprived of to build the industrial capital of USA.
Detroit is the last place in USA, that can be called normal. As many as 200 thousand citizens can be recognized as functional analphabets, i.e., people deprived of abilities to read and write on a level which enables functioning on an open job market. In 2010, 76% of high school students failed to pass their exams. The statistics are horrendous. The city has five times more homicides than an average American town. For every ten murders, the perpetrators remain unknown in as much as seven cases. Writers, journalists, bloggers outrun themselves in inventing epithets which could characterize today’s Detroit: “American disaster,” “first American city in the third world,” “failure city,” “Detroit – a symbol of everything, that is wrong with America,” “proof of an uncontrolled descend,” “city of unpunished crime,” “phantom city,” “city of tears”. Detroit has become a true capital of, consequently: drugs, unemployment, corruption, homicide. In 2010, CNN mentioned it among cities like Kabul, Baghdad, Bogotá, Mogadishu and Karachi, as one of the most dangerous cities of the world. On the list of the most unsafe towns in the USA, the forth place has been taken by another representative of the metropolitan area of the city (called Metro Detroit) – Flint, located about 100 km northwest of Detroit. Both cities can “boast” with terrifying statistics of crime (murder, robbery, rape and severe beatings).
The infamy of Detroit stirs up some noise around it, with new forms of interest arising in the city. Tourist offices note bigger and bigger demand for trips organized under the slogan
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“ruin pornography.” During the annual, international motor fairs, which take place in January, the landscape of fallen Detroit is an obligatory part of foreign relations. Before the television viewers begin to admire the newest car models, they are forced to watch the urban landscape, which unleashes deep sadness. The city has been embraced by a true journalistic “gold rush.” Reporters are on the hunt for dramatic pictures of ruins, they quote catastrophic statistics and chilling tales of the citizens. Detroit is a city of adults which cannot remember a different picture of it, and this has transferred to the media as a total disaster. Most Americans are ashamed of this place, and the former citizens are amazed with what can be seen on the streets through television. The press and social media are also releasing drastic descriptions, such as the one from 2007, posted on a blog: “When I drive by the city, I am shocked. A landscape of damage, flashing behind the glass of the car, resembles black and white frames of former chronicles depicting a long-lasting war. In its own way, what is happening in Detroit right now, is closest to that image of warfare which we had dealt with in the times of the civil war.”
The newcomers and citizens are terrified with new “traditions” of the city, such as setting houses on fire right before Halloween. Another quote from a blog from 2007 reads: “Residents of Detroit are doing what a part of us might someday want to do – namely, they are burning what is old, to start new. It is easier to burn down, than to build. When citizens look at their town after Halloween, they see the charred remnants of what once was a part of Detroit and they are aware, that its reconstruction might never occur. We, as the nation, seem affected with this ecological, economic and cultural self-destruction. Yet, we do the same. Only Detroit does it faster and more consciously.”
Detroit is not a popular nor liked place. The mischief towards the town and its citizens is accelerated by a regular, negative
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propaganda of groups and organizations of all sorts, from farright to revolutionary syndicalists. Web browsers, when typing the word “Detroit,” allow to obtain the following responses:
„Who in Hell was your travel agent? AAA doesn’t even stock Detroit maps anymore. Stay away from here.”
„Don’t give in to temptation and buy a dozen or so of those $1 homes. They are not worth it. Take your family to McDonalds for lunch instead.”
„Always remember that bullets solve crimes way faster than courts ever will.”
„Every bullet is your baby, so make each shot count.”
There are many mocking comments. They may be ignored and deemed as unreliable, depicting the true image of the city. However, after having a read of these everyday press reports, one may wonder if they are in fact false. The previous city mayor, David Bing, promised the citizens that the biggest task awaiting his administration would be to finalize projects concerning about 3,000 homes. However, do not be fooled that these would be construction or renovation. The mayor ambitiously promises the demolition of 3,000 houses annually. At the same time, the company BenjiGates manages to buy 460 houses at auctions for a total of 386 thousand dollars, which makes up 839 dollars per building. It’s much more than a dollar per home, but where in the world could you buy a beautiful house for the price of a Volkswagen “Beetle” from 1972?
The tragic economic and social situation of Detroit has become the source of many stereotypes. The Urban Dictionary publishes dozens of language terms, their main hero being, of course, Detroit. So, even language points towards Detroit as a place with a “history,” with problems and questionable perspectives. Here are a few examples:
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„Detroit Affect –
The concept that an hourly worker will move at only one pace regardless of circumstance as they will receive the same amount of pay regardless of effort. Commonly found in retail stores or fast food restaurants. Highly visible in cashiers, but not limited to;
Detroit Bankroll –
A large number of small denomination bills sandwiched between two large denomination bills, typically $1 bills disguised by a single $100 bill. Typically, a Detroit bankroll is used to convey a false image of wealth;
Detroit bone –
Another name for your index finger. It got its name because you use your Detroit bone to shoot a gun and guns are used a lot in Detroit;
Detroit city tax –
The spare change that people in the city ask for. One is likely to pay the tax near places visited by suburbanites (e.g., Greektown, Comerica Park, Wayne State University campus) or while stopped at traffic lights on expressway service drives;
Detroit Customs –
Specialized work done to a car such as rust, falling off bumper, no paint left, at least 15 years old, stinks like crap, bald tires, backfiring engine, broken tail/head lights, missing hub caps, and broken/cracked windows covered up by plastic bags;
Detroit diamonds –
Broken glass from an automobile on the ground; usually from a theft;
Detroit Style –
One who is from Detroit, and a badass.”
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Jokes about Detroit fade in the face of the citizens’ confessions, particularly the young ones. At moralauthority.wordpress.com, Dubub Dizzle shares his thoughts on his home town:
„My Block has 3 houses on it 9 abandoned and the rest is open fields where homes used to be. The whole city is like this east or west side. You can travel 40 blocks and not see a street with half the houses still standing. There is a weed or dope spot at least every 2 to 3 blocks. Crackheads run wild staying in the vacants. Just in my hood since last summer, in my 10 to 15 block radius there has been 17 murders 5 of them were some of my closest niggas, R.I.P Tyrie, Wayne gone get it nigga I promise. There is no city on this Earth that goes through the shit Detroit does. The Riot started it and The Chambers Brothers turned the East Side to the infamous area that it is. The majority of the abandoned houses in my area were houses that The Chambers used for trafficking. With all the negatives though I still love my city, it helps a nigga develop a certain toughness that can be used in other forms of life. Soft niggas don’t make it here Detroit niggas can survive anywhere, guaranteed.”
In turn, an author going by the name Trent is less sentimental and frankly states that: “There is NO reason to live in Detroit. I am from the city and I used to think it was cool to represent D-town. I moved out about 15 years ago and I’ve never looked back. It is a horrible place. I have been all around the world now, seen the worst ghettoes in the worst 3rd world countries and I have not seen anything as depressing and hopeless as Detroit. At least in Thai slums or Indian slums people are poor but they still don’t kill each other over drugs and money. If you live in Detroit – stop talking about it. There is nothing to talk about, just leave. Leave Detroit – like over a million people have – and never look back. You will be so happy you did.”
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Asked about who has contributed to the town’s fall, the current and former citizens all know who to point their fingers at. And the list of defendants is long. The most common answer is that the fall of Detroit is the fault of: white egoism, black racism, trade unions, incompetent city officials, ineffective car corporations, wrong decisions of federal authorities, planners and architects, Ronald Reagan, cunning Asian manufacturers. Before we attempt to answer the question of who killed Detroit, we must mention the earlier merits of this city, both against the United States, and the West. For decades, Detroit has been a source of inspiration to the whole world. It deserves credit for a number of reasons. The statement that cars made in Detroit have changed the life of modern man, is a truism. The fact that Detroit saved the western world would sound like an exaggerated slogan, if not for the fact that it is indeed true. The city has proven this with its position in the difficult years of World War I and II. Steel from Detroit was successful during war, as well. During that time, the city militarized the Allied armies to their teeth. In the time of peace, it gave the feeling of freedom and prosperity to thousands of owners of shining cruisers.