DETROIT: “If I had a city….”

Detroit has joined the ranks of the bankrupt.

When I have been driven around in Detroit I had a sense, in some neighborhoods, of what the Russians did to Berlin: looked like a war zone.

What caused the phenomenon “Detroit”, a great city reduced to catastrophe?

I suppose the city never quite recovered from the riots of the 1960’s.  That may have accelerated the downward spiral from prosperity into bankruptcy.

In the meantime, the Obama Administration is doing nothing to help race relations.  In fact, the Administration and the President himself seem intent on making sure there is growing tension.

This mordant image gets at part of the problem, in a darkly humorous way:

Today Pres. Obama held a presser, and few newsies showed up for it.  Make up your own mind.

Are race relations in these USA getting better as Pres. Obama says?  And could “relations” mean?

Is the President helping or harming? He buried the actual substance of the speech in his suggestion (at least) that the Justice Department wasn’t going to prosecute Zimmerman.

I listened to this and got the sense, through all the personal empathy, that this was a political speech to his base that reintroduced race afresh back into public discussion.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Dogs and Fleas, Liberals, Pò sì jiù, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mari Kate says:

    The Emperor and his new clothes are finally being recognized. He struts around trying to be seen as wise but even the Press are realizing the nakedness of his folly.

  2. Detroit has been exclusively led by Democrat mayors all the way back to 1962:

  3. Mari Kate, the Press will continue to ideologically cover for this guy, even as we go sailing off the cliff. Liberals, including the media, care only about political power. It’s like a religion to them and the presidency is their high priest. They will say and do anything to cling tightly to power and snuff out all opposition to perpetuate their lordship over America.

  4. gracie says:

    If President Obama and Eric Holder want to have a dialogue about race relations we can start with the flower of liberalism, Detroit.

  5. Mari Kate says:

    It is true what you say Absit, but some of the former fawners are beginning to come around. There is still a long way to go. The smallish turnout of the newsies as Father Z mentioned is a little sign or hope. Now if only the lazy consumers of the liberal propaganda would awaken.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Demonstrations set for one hundred cities-get ready; could be martial law. and for the heck of it, there are Russian troops in the States. Love the meme

  7. keithp says:

    What happened to Detroit?
    About 50 years of death of the american auto industry and associated jobs.
    Jobs go, the revenue goes. People leave. Urban blight.
    You can’t replace factory jobs with service jobs.
    Followed by continued governmental spending far far in excess of their take in.
    Here is YOU future, America.

    Obama is disgusting on so many levels.
    Don’t let this distract you from serious issues and scandals he and his ilk are facing.

  8. mrshopey says:

    Did he help? Not for me he didn’t. His statement that African Americans will forever be looking through a certain type of lens, what they went through (which many did NOT), tells me if the anything happens and one is black, the other is “non” black, it will always be seen as racist by them. People are not fearful of young black men for no reason either. They have the highest rate of violent crimes. The only way I will not be forever scanning, looking will be when they stop doing it! Not too long ago, we had some women leaving our parish who were robbed at gunpoint by young black men. It is not racist to be cautious. In this case, I don’t remember Zimmerman saying he was following him because he was black but because of the way he was acting, suspiciously. And to top it off Eric Holder attacking the “stand your ground law” has made it even more and more volatile in my opinion. We have a right to protect ourselves.

  9. AA Cunningham says:

    The Castro brothers have been caught shipping WMDs to North Korea, the NSA and IRS are targeting patriotic citizens, the State Department is abandoning its employees in Libya, Holder is running guns into Mexico, people are dropping out of the labor force and applying for disability, a record number of Americans are receiving food stamps, HHS is attacking the Catholic Church and the response of the first gay president to all of this is to act as an arsonist and stoke the fires of racism.

  10. keithp says:

    “…Russians did to Berlin: looked like a war zone….”


    But, the the Russians used their own explosives.
    The urban blight is so bad and fire and other physical hazards are so prevalent the city is forced to pay to demolish buildings.

  11. av8er says:

    What does racism have to do with the Trayvon case? It is widely known that G. Zimmerman is not a racist. Zimmerman was Obama’s son than Trayvon due to his ethnicity. Either the pres is the “Bagdad Bob” of racism in America where he’s claiming it still exists like it used to, and it does not, or this is an attempt to continue this dialogue as a distraction from Benghazi, IRS, Wiretappings, Detroit bankruptcy etc.

  12. av8er says:

    Ah! Zimmerman was more likely to be Obama’s son…

  13. frjim4321 says:

    Exactly what kind of magic wand is The President supposed to wave over the City of Detroit? We have a the most obstructionist congress ever, with members of the opposition party having no productive goals whatsoever. There only goal is to try to destroy Mr. Obama. Or wait him out. Then we will have another 8 years of the same when the opposition party realized they have cut off there collective noses.

    And absit, probably a typo on your part, but the correct term is “Democratic” party. A mistake frequently made by people either out of ignorance (honestly not knowing the correct term) or arrogance (purposely using an incorrect term as if to belittle another, while really only revealing their own impotence).

    What I think Mr. Obama omitted from his fine talk was what I find to be at the heart of the matter. If it were not for “stand your ground” a black boy would not be dead. “Stand your ground” has caused far more violence than it was ever designed to prevent.

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    Again, this president proves he was never prepared to be the president of the people. He cannot speak without inserting himself into a situation. He is a total narcissist. He also cares not a whit about stoking racial fires and putting people in danger. He cares about placating his base, the african-american community and white liberals. He spoke about “being watched in a store” as proof he has suffered racism. Oh brother.
    Blacks are 13% of our population, but commit 50% of violent crime and the predominant number of robberies. That is just fact. The insane rejection of any responsibility for this fact, the large numbers of mobs screaming for “justice” in a settled case, a case where race was not a factor and now, our own federal government including our Department of Justice, targeting and practically put a bullseye on George Zimmerman, has all set race relations back for probably, quite a long time.
    The recent truly tragic incident, where a white mother was walking with her 17 month old baby in Georgia, and we know what happened. Two african-american thugs tried to rob her, and when she did not come up with money as they demanded, for no reason they shot that baby and killed him. Where is the outrage?? Where are the demands for justice for that baby?? How can the black community clamor when there are incidents like this that happen. It is partly because white people are petrified to say anything. Race is the hardest topic, because nobody will even discuss it! It’s too scary, and now we see how really bad it is.
    When I see what people are actually saying after the fact, the response, what our government is doing, all I want to do is move from where I live, an area surrounded by urban areas. I no longer feel safe. In our state, a 25 year-old young man was walking home from his pizza job about 11 at night. He was an artist and loved living in an urban community. Five or six local black “youths”, all about 17 years old, accosted him and stabbed him to death. The reason they gave? They were “bored”.
    I realize this is not pleasant commentary, but, this is American reality today.

  15. tgarcia2 says:


    Fr. Jim shows some anger…and well, the term democrat is correct to an extent. It first started to be used in the 1890’s (“Democrat” 4 citing the London Spectator 15 Nov. 1890 p 676.)

    While the President does not have a “magic wand” to solve the bankruptcy issue, he could use executive order as his “wand” as he has before. It all really goes down to basic economics of not spending more than what you have. Chapter 11 bankruptcy does allow for reorganization, sadly, the local judge said no (lifelong democrat-yes, i am using it correctly-) and said the filing did not honor the president (|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE)


    “Stand your ground” has caused far more violence than it was ever designed to prevent.”

    Empirical evidence? Granted, depending on the methodology, you could find data to support your view as I could find evidence to support mine.

  16. Yet Detroit has some of the best liturgy I have seen in my many travels, so much so that I went back for more! Too bad I don’t live closer.

  17. Bosco says:

    I suspect the Georgia Peach is rolling over in his grave.

  18. DisturbedMary says:

    This is America’s Rwanda. Obama is inciting racial war. Blood is going to run in the streets. No one tries to stop it. Cain and Abel. There is paralysis in the face of evil. Pray the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

  19. StJude says:

    What is the point of all this race baiting by Obama?

  20. The Masked Chicken says:

    “If it were not for “stand your ground” a black boy would not be dead. ”


    I am only going to say this, once. The Civil War ended 150 years ago. Race riots ended 40 years, ago. The cry of modern racism is, in many cases, an excuse far too often brought out as a masquerade for a lack of character. I’m sorry, but I have known many fine black men and it is an insult to them and the work they have done to better themselves as individuals to say that this situation has anything to do with the color of skin. Rather, it has everything to do with character. These were two young punks – and I mean that in the proper sense of the word – people who lacked the experience to be doing what they were doing. It could have happened to two White guys or two Latino guys or two Black guys – in fact, I am reasonably certain it does happen many times a month, albeit in different settings. This just happened to involve a Black guy and a White guy who made wrong decisions. To use this as an excuse for riots shows the idiocy of the people involved. Talk about hasty generalizations, the genetic fallacy, and many more fallacies. They waste my time with this garbage? Better they should stop pretending this is the 1940’s and make the best of the opportunities they have to be with their children. Educate them. Read to them. Train them to be God-fearing. The problem, here, is obviously not poverty – this was a gated community in which both parties lived (I have not been following the trial, which I consider to be inconsequential, basically, except in the lives of two young men, to whom it was life or death, but I think I heard this was the case). I am offended at the people who have to drag race into every unfortunate incident that just happens to involve a Black man and a White man. While there might be racism in the world, it has been largely swamped by more fundamental problems, like the breakdown of the nuclear family, the disregard for human life by both sides of the fence, as evidence by abortions, easy sex, negligent living, and a whole host of pressing problems. If they think this calls for race riots, I wish I had a time machine to drop these people into the former Yugoslavia during the ethnic cleansing – THAT was racism – this was just two young punks and a gun.

    Stand Your Ground was not even an issue in this case – it was decided on other merits, in reality, and Eric Holder, in my opinion, is incompetent and any reasonable person would fire him for his continued bizarre moral stances (which, I guess are Obama’s, so, perhaps he is incompetent because he doesn’t quit working for a president with such bizarre moral stances). I’m sure they will continue to prosecute Zimmerman until they get the verdict their hubris demands. I see nothing of the justice God asks for men to decide.

    Detroit died, not because of the death of the auto industry – who didn’t see that coming in the 1970’s – but, largely, it occurred because they didn’t act soon enough when they heard the drum beats to re-tool the city. They, also, did exactly nothing to educate the inner city youths so that there would be a ready workforce for the new economy they should have created. Incompetence brought this about, plain and simple – incompetent Union management, incompetent governance, incompetent education (and other moral problems brought about by organized crime, which must be thrown into the mix). The banking mess certainly was the last straw, but Akron did not die with the death of the tire industry and Cleveland did not die when steel began to be phased out. They were able to change (it does not hurt that they have world-class universities in the hearts of the cities, either).

    This has nothing to do with an obstructionist Congress. This was a local matter. Detroit killed itself, not the federal government.

    Now, Obama has, in years past, talked about plowing under old decaying cities, so I don’t think he has a mind-set to rescue once proud cities. In any case, the problems of race and economics could have been solved if those in charge had not held onto false hopes and seen things for what they were.

    The Chicken

  21. Elizabeth M says:

    Any time we mention “race” outside of a historical context we are doing a disservice to those who fought for equality. It is a beast that feeds on itself. We believe all are equal in the eyes of God. Why do we stoop to grouping our brothers and sisters into colors?

  22. Chrisjvsmith says:

    I must admit that being a black person in the south, I am shocked and a little offended by the insensitivity and callous tone of many of the comments left by my fellow Catholic brothers and sisters here. Racism and bias are omnipresent in our society, and just because they aren’t as blatant and ‘in your face’ as they were in segregation days it does not mean that they are not at work, nor does it negate the reality of bias that black people experience daily in this country. I invite those who consider themselves experts on race relations and racism to actually listen to the experiences of people of color, rather than tell all of us how we should feel and trivialize our experiences of bigotry in modern America. Thank you.

  23. catholiccomelately says:

    Thank you, Masked Chicken, for your response.
    May I make a modest proposal? Perhaps we could sell Detroit to the Canadians for $30 billion dollars, and a pipeline to be named later?!?

  24. Lin says:

    The star goes to AA Cunningham, The Masked Chicken, and Kathleen10. Race relations have been set back decades by this racist administration! There is no way they should have inserted themselves into a case that should never have gone to trial, let alone make the national news! Is the goal to impose martial law followed by a dictatorship?!?!

  25. Cantor says:

    Supertradmom –

    Don’t be too surprised at the fact there are Russian troops in the U.S. As of 1988, there was a Soviet Air Force installation in Magna, UT, a suburb of Salt Lake City. It was established with full reciprocity under the Reagan administration. I believe it closed in 2002.

  26. Gratias says:

    Africans had a good time rioting in 1943 during WW2. Hope you liked it. You also rioted in my city of Los Angeles to help elect B. J. Clinton in the 1992 elections. Now your White-African Communist organizer is all out against White-Hispanics who suffer the most from Black African crimes. The Devil divides and conquers.

  27. mrshopey says:

    Chrisjvsmith, I don’t think it is so much as being insensitive as it is being frustrated, for most of us, when something is used that clearly isn’t about race as bait to make people upset. I do my best to get rid of an racism that I may have. Being cautious around young black men isn’t about race though but about reality of who commits the most violent crimes in my area. Also, I would like fair treatment on all race crimes because it isn’t just about being black; it goes all ways. Take for example the white man beaten in our state by black men after this verdict. The question was if President Obama was helping. In my opinion, no. He didn’t help me because of the failure to bring people together to see that not all tragedies are about race. He didn’t call on the black community to stop using racial slurs, “cracker”, as was used by NOT Zimmerman, but Martin. The one thing I asked my children after all of this happened was if they knew they were being followed, if they thought they had a right to attack someone – unprovoked and following someone shouldn’t provoke an attack. We try our best with our children to root out any racism but it doesn’t sit well when they are called slurs and demeaning things too. It has to be a joint effort. Mr. President missed this opportunity.

  28. SKAY says:

    “We have a the most obstructionist congress ever, with members of the opposition party having no productive goals whatsoever. There only goal is to try to destroy Mr. Obama.”

    Well frjum–if you like his socialist(the “train wreck”of Obamacare for example) pro abortion pro ssm, “America is not a Christian country” agenda than I can see why you might think that.
    Believe it or not there are others in this country who do not agree with this ideology-do not want the entire country to become Detroit – and do not think that the House is doing enough. They certainly do have very productive goals –you, Harry Reid and the MSM just do not agree with them.
    I happen to remember when Mr. Obama told the Republicans that they had to sit in the back of the bus when they went to the White House to talk to him after he was first elected. So clever.
    I also remember when Senator Hillary Clinton screamed in a speech that it was perfectly OK to disagree with the President –of course Bush was President at the time.

    I agree with your points Chicken –except that Zimmerman considers himself to be Hispanic. The media came up with the term “white Hispanic” because it fits their agenda about race.

    Very sad story about a precious six year old African American little girl–the weapon was a knife and the person arrested is African American. Will this heartbreaking story get wall to wall coverage also?

  29. Lin says:

    Elizabeth M………The so-called leader of the so-called free world continues to stir the pot! WHY? So now he tells us he was profiled?!? He, Holder, Hilary Clinton, and many others want to divide the populous! It gets them votes!

  30. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Chrisjvsmith,

    I acknowledged that racism still exists in the U. S. in my comment, above. I was a young chick in one of the cities most affected by the race riots of the 1960’s and my mother is from the Deep South, so I am quite aware of the problems of racism. I ride a bus to work where I am, frequently, the only white person on the bus among many poor black folks, so I often hear the conversations. Yes, racism is still a problem (although it needn’t be).

    Nevertheless, as I mentioned, above, this particular societal problem is being swamped out by the effects of the disintegration of the nuclear family, sexual immorality (including abortion), and government greed as causes of unrest in society in 2013. What good does it do to talk about the intolerance of Blacks and Whites when they both are intolerant to babies in the womb? How can you convince a young Black man or a Young white man to call God his Father when his own father is often missing from the home? These problems cut across races and so, affect a vastly larger number of people than racism, bad as the problem is and yet, I don’t see organized marches against child deserters or against abortion providers among either Black or White community organizers.

    The two fastest growing populations in the U. S. at the moment are Blacks and Latinos and they also have the largest number of out-of-wedlock children and broken families. Most of the problems in both populations can be traced back to a single cause – impatience. Both populations want what they want and they want it, now. They want sex and they want it, now, but they do not have the patience to marry and live a life of slow child rearing. They want sex, but a baby is an inconvenience. It is this mindset of impatience that is slowly destroying modern U. S. society at a much deeper level than racism.

    Let me be clear, I am generalizing. Not all Blacks and Latinos are impatience. Not surprisingly, however, the ones that exercise the Long View of patience are, generally, the ones who are the most stable and happiest. It is not just Blacks or Latinos who have this problem – they are simply the most visible in current society, but any group of people controlled by their passions will, eventually, destroy stability within a culture. It seems that some people, when they escape a repressive regime will substitute an invisible Master for the visible One – displacing slavery to man with slavery to the senses. The groups that have best integrated into the U. S., started out, just like Blacks and Latinos, as poor refuges, but they proceeded to build their new life in slow, steady, patience, expecting to see the results only in their children and grandchildren. You see none of the level of race problems among the immigrant Germans and Irish of the early to mid-1800s or the Italians in the 1920’s or the Vietnamese and Koreans of the 1970’s. All of these groups were initially oppressed, but they took the Long View and built up a reputation for quiet patience (not so quiet with the Irish :) ) and, in doing so, acquired dignity among the rest of society.

    If only (if only!) most young men and women, today, especially those groups most affected by uncontrolled passions, would take the Long View, racism would disappear in two generations. How could one not fail to be impressed by a young Black or Latino man and woman working side-by-side to raise a family with honor and respect? If there were only enough of those good examples, people would be forced to leave all notions of racism behind. That, I submit, was Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.’s whole point. He, desperately, wanted his followers to take the Long View.

    Alas, that is not how society is tending. There is no culture of virtue. There is no culture of Good Character. It is all instant gratification. It is all greed and power. It is all impatience.

    How can the Black leaders calling for marches against the, “racism,” of the Zimmerman Affair fail so miserably to notice that Zimmerman and Martin are the same? They both belong to the race of impatient men. They both suffer from the same disease and because of that disease, one of them is dead. If they really wanted to march against something, they should march against the passion that so controlled both men’s lives. If they want to be of some benefit to society, let them march in the cause of stability, of slow, measured growth in the hard work of living a life worthy of Christ. I am afraid they want easy answers and a quick fix and so, they are, themselves part of the problem.

    Yes, there is racism in the U. S., but many of the knee-jerk cries of oppression, of racism, are not really about racism, at all. For these people, crying racism is a way to demand from others a sort of easy and false dignity that really should have been for them a real and genuine dignity that came about as the result of their hard work. There is genuine racism in the U. S., even today and it saddens me, but there is also a growing undercurrent of this hysterical racism that is often an excuse for the effects of a lack of patience in the person making the charge. I am afraid that the calls of riots in the Zimmerman Affair is born of a racism more hysterical than real.

    No, let us simply acknowledge that both men were immature, that they were impatient, that they were short-sighted and be done with it. Let us mourn our dead and learn the only lesson worth learning from it: that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, cultivated in gardens of peace and order and we do well as men and women of any race or economy to take the Long View – or else we will not live long enough to enjoy the harvest.

    The Chicken

  31. JonPatrick says:

    A couple of thoughts …

    The auto industry didn’t really die, although it did contract somewhat starting in the 1970’s due to increased foreign competition that caught them by surprise. They did rebound but this did not hep the Midwest because new plants were built in more business friendly locations such as the South and Mexico, and increased use of automation reduced the amount of labor needed.

    On the issue of racism -= if the government really cared about minorities as it claims to, there would be more emphasis on strengthening families and discouraging one parent households which is the surest way to poverty and crime. Also they would break the stranglehold of the teacher’s unions and allow vouchers so that families that care about education could shop around for schools to send their kids to. Sadly the trend for now seems to be in the opposite direction, the reactionary policies of the present administration that act as though it was still the 1960’s.

  32. Mary Jane says:

    I think there is another travesty here, and that is the defamation of Zimmerman’s reputation. Zimmerman was found not guilty by a jury of his peers, and this despite the fact that the racist media distorted the facts for the nation before the facts were known. Zimmerman should have been innocent until proven guilty. Instead, his reputation was dragged through the mud in an unadulterated display of prejudice months before his trial.

    As if this prejudice were not enough, the President of the United States makes a statement before the nation sympathizing with the plaintiff before the trial. That alone should have been enough to declare a permanent mistrial, in my opinion.

    As if that were not enough, the President of the United States again makes a similar statement after the man is found not guilty.

    A good name is one of the most valuable things a man has. A not guilty verdict ought to prompt people to restore that good name, especially people who have opined on the matter from positions of power on national television.

  33. A Sinner 2 says:

    Rapidly declining population. Abandoned buildings. Destroyed from within. Destruction exacerbated by leftist leaders who preached the gospel of Marx rather than personal responsibility. Eery similarity to the Catholic Church over the past 50 years, no?

  34. wmeyer says:

    We have a the most obstructionist congress ever, with members of the opposition party having no productive goals whatsoever. There only goal is to try to destroy Mr. Obama.

    Sigh. That’s the frjim we all know and love.
    In point of fact, members of both parties are bereft of productive goals; both largely comprise power seekers. Noble purposes are absent.

    There is more than a little folly–and tremendous danger–in the notion that we need full-time legislators. Our crimes remain largely what they have always been. And the (dis)ability of politicians to solve complex problems remains largely unchanged, as well. Further, they are living proof of the danger and nature of idle hands.

    We now witness the decline and fall of the American Republic, a goal to which the progressives have applied themselves for approximately 150 years. That is the interval in which the Constitution has been overridden, a practice in which the three branches of government have all taken a hand. Checks and balances have no meaning when all three branches collude.

  35. StJude says:

    “We have a the most obstructionist congress ever, with members of the opposition party having no productive goals whatsoever. There only goal is to try to destroy Mr. Obama.”

    Good. I voted for my reps to go to DC and stop Obama.

  36. kimberley jean says:

    I am a black Catholic living in the South (although to be fair, I’ve found that there’s more meanness in Boston and New York than I’ve ever seen in Virginia). I wish that Obama had never been elected because I’m seeing and reading things that I’ve never heard in my life. The Civil War ended 150 years ago but black people were not fully free until 1968. My parents could not go to the library, the park or museums and if a white person was coming along on the sidewalk they had to step into the gutter to give that person a wide berth. They could only sit in the balcony at the movies and could not go to the theater except for one day a week. My grandfather could not be seen at the local hospital. The 50s and 60s were not wonderful and the good ole days were actually a day in and day out exercise in humiliation. I used to believe that the country my parents had to live in was gone for good. After the Zimmerman verdict and after reading the comments here, particularly what Gratias had to say, I don’t know anymore. It’s like the evil that was always hidden in hearts has erupted into the public view. I must go to Confession tonight because I feel so hopeless.

  37. netokor says:

    his lowness is morally bankrupt. So are his administration, his party, and the useful dummies who worship him.

    his support for contraception, abortion, unnatural “marriage,” gun control, welfare expansion, disdain for border protection, lack of transparency, persecution of conservatives, etc. are the basis for a bright future–as in burning in flames brightness.

    I do not listen to this man, and I shield my eyes from any images of him.

    “I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. I hate the work of those who fall away;
    it shall not cleave to me.
    Perverseness of heart shall be far from me;
    I will know nothing of evil.”

  38. Some thoughts on race relations:

    I think a bigger problem is that of reverse racism. There are still some in the black community (of which I’m apart of) that have this view that retribution must be done for the things of the past…you see this in the likes of Sharpton, Jackson, Wright, and it is also seen in “Black Liberation Theology” which which some people subscribe to….This attitude continues to be passed down in an unfortunate cycle by some, and it seems that by some, there’s this tendency to continue to play the racial narrative of the “evil white dude” that one always needs to be on the lookout for.

    Obama has done nothing to help in race relations with any of his comments, if anything, he’s worsened them. I’m embarrassed from all of the rioting of the Trayvon case, and the various other race based riots that have happened. These riots do nothing to help their cause (which they have a right to disagree with the things that have happened, but civilly), or do anything to help those that are trying to move on from that mentality.

    This is of course not to say that racism doesn’t exist, it most certainly does, although I am from California and did not experience really any race problems growing up, here in North Idaho, there are still pockets of the Arian Nation and their type here which I occasion deal with. They are dealt with as those of those type should be dealt with…Certainly a discussion should be had, but not on the premise of the fact that all people hold that particular view point.

    As a kid, I never really paid attention to what race my friends were, I was just happy to have friends, whoever they were.

    As for Detroit, this is what happens when you elect the same liberal politicians and expect different results, it’s the ultimate end of insanity.

  39. There was a feature on Channel4News in the UK about this.
    I cannot comment in the racial aspect but what I’d like to ask is this: why does the Government (or the mayor, or whoever has the authority) not sell the empty houses for a token of $1? There must be people in the US who in the current economic climate would happily sell their $200K-with-mortgage-for-life house to get out the 30K equity already paid in, buy a house in Detroit for $1, spend $10K to do it up and $20K to start some business: a corner shop, a cleaning service, whatever. This has been done several times in the UK, the latest town where they did it was, I think, a very run-down area of Stockton-on-Tees. Obviously, the would-be buyers need to be vetted, they sign contracts that prevent them from reselling or moving within a certain period and they are obliged to spend x amount of money on the house – but it works. Why doesn’t the USA do the same?

  40. cathgrl says:


    That sort of thing does happen, but not for $1. Even if it were for $1, most of these places have an unpaid property tax balance in the thousands. The property assessment base is also 5 to 10 times more inflated, than it’s actually worth. Let’s say out on the market it’s worth $10,000. The city has it assessed for $50,000 and the tax rate is high on top of that. The city won’t lower them when you petition them, so you have to petition the state to overrule that. They probably will, eventually, if you don’t move in the mean time, dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s (including filing again the next year when the state hasn’t gotten around to hearing your case, and if you don’t refile, the state won’t hear the case).

    If you have said house on the property and there is still wiring and plumbing (copper), you can kiss that goodbye or stand guard in the property until you can afford to fix everything on the city’s list.

    And that’s if you don’t find out in the meantime (perhaps too late) that your house is on some demo list (not the real one, but the only one that matters) and they tear your house down.

    No, I’m not making this up. They paid $1,000 for their two lots.

  41. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    As someone with a family history in Detroit extending back to the early 1800s… have an observation. Worse dictator ever = Coleman Young.
    The city center MIGHT have rebuilt, and rebuilt better, but it was several things that together “killed” the “golden goose”
    1. The short-sighted imposition of a mess of highways that broke apart communities through the 1960s and 1970s,
    2. The increase in absentee land-lords/slum lords,
    3. the burdensome taxation, and bloated spending that failed to adjust for the “rust-belt” of the 1970s with the set backs of the “Big Three Automotive” manufacturers and the oil prices spiking.

    Much of this happened on Coleman Young’s watch, because of priorities he set, the company he kept and the low regard for the rule of law that he held.

  42. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    The current (presidential) administration is just building on the rumble of previous failed attempts of benevolent dictatorships (long terms of office for powerful major city mayors).

    Had it been Mrs. Clinton, I do believe similar results, and the same Eric Holder as AG.

    More than racial identity, education and family “situation” feeds the “beast” that is just barely held in check, but if allowed to be unleashed will make “the summer of 1969 rioting” mild in comparison.

    More than anything else, one’s prospects in life depend on the loving and attentive support of FATHERS and MOTHERS, of ADULTS willing to take on the burden of being PROVIDERS.

    We have large populations with “retarded adolescences” that procreate and exist in drug induced stupors. Barely able to fend for themselves, let alone others, they must be told what to do and how to do it and even then, would prefer someone else do it for them. It is the continued generational dependence upon the enforced government redistribution that has bloated budgets to breaking points.

    And I have seen it happen in places like Detroit in my lifetime.

    “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
    Frederick Douglass

  43. Minnesotan from Florida says:

    I do not know about special usages among Black people in Florida, but, being “from Florida,” I can say that, at least in white mouths, a “cracker” is, in a more kind way, a countryman or yokel from rural Florida or Georgia. In a more meanspirited way, it might be a “quasi-racist” term for “poor white trash” used by “respectable” white middle to lower-middle class people. Despite Scout’s misgivings, I think Jem’s classifications of Southern white society in Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” are well-considered. They are to be seen also in the movie “In the Heat of the Night.” In brief: whatever special usages may exist among Black people, “cracker” is not, among white people of Florida, a racist term.

  44. mrshopey says:

    It is surely gracious to understand the term and give someone the benefit of the doubt (cracker). What ensued after, leaves a lot to be desired and if that is how it was meant also. It reminds me of the use of “n…..”. If it is used amongst black people, it is ok. When a white person uses, an insult. Our children have been called a “white cracker” by black kids. Not as a compliment either. They, not knowing what it meant, said they must be a “burnt black cracker”. When I found this out, the lecturing began with my children and use of words and slurs.

  45. cathgrl, thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. In the areas where the “£1 for a house” solution was used, property tax was cancelled on these properties on the basis that if they stand empty, become derelict and a magnet for crime and eventually have to be demolished, property tax will not only not be paid but the whole thing will cost more. You say “the city won’t lower them when you petition them” – why not? Judging from the pictures Channel4 showed of these areas in Detroit, the tax on those properties won’t be paid anyway, ever…

  46. mike cliffson says:

    “I’ve seen the future”?

  47. JuliB says:

    Fr. Jim,

    Many blacks have used SYG as a method of defense in FL. It’s not just a ‘white hispanic’ thing. SYG only exists when there’s a way to retreat. When you are on the ground being beat MMA style, there’s no way to retreat.
    Zimmerman is a Catholic, and while that has nothing to do with guilt or innocence, I hope he and his family is in everyone’s prayers. His life and the life of those closest to him are changed forever in a very bad way. I believe that the verdict was just (it actually never should have gone to trial) but I can’t imagine how awful he must feel because he did end up taking a life. Per the police, he was shocked when he found out that TM was dead. I’ve found the media portrayal of him to be so offensive, it makes me sick.

    Racism – yes, it’s alive. But this admin has opened my eyes to the hate in the black community. I still think the whole Rev. Wright issue has me in shock. It made me question what was being said in black churches. I had hoped that they (black non-Cath. Christians) were allies at least spiritually, but that caused me to question my assumptions.
    On a related note, I worked with several black women while in college who were very tuned in to racism. I asked a question once – if a clerk was rude to you, would you consider that likely to be racism? The answer was yes. I then said ‘well, what if I was behind you and I was treated the same way?’. They said in their case it would still be racism, and refused to consider that perhaps the clerk was just an utter jerk.

    I’ve never been able to figure that one out. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. A couple of summers ago, I saw a black guy jogging in my neighborhood (wearing workout clothes). As I past him, I ended up staring. I have to think that he went home and told his wife that some white woman was staring at him and probably thought he was a robber. But that’s not really what was flashing in my mind !

  48. AnnikaMira says:

    I have lived here in southeast Michigan all my life….and it has NOTHING to do with race and race riots that happened OVER 40 years ago. GET PAST IT. WE DID.
    It’s the ECONOMY (and I won’t add the word ‘stupid’ and risk getting my comment deleted ) and it would have happened even if the city was lily white or wasn’t next to the biggest Islamic community in the US. We have heard the line many times already about God being kinda mad we have all these Muslims here in our backyard and is raining down punishment on us.

    My husband and family have all worked in the manufacturing industries and as the auto companies shipped jobs and sought out oversea suppliers things have gone from bad to worse. Yes there was gross mismanagement but what large city doesn’t.
    We live in Dearborn, as in 1960’s Mayor Hubbard “Keep Dearborn Clean” (his euphemism for keep Dearborn white) He pretty much threatened to shoot any black person who dared to wander into Dearborn back in day….
    Dearborn is Home of Ford Motor and used to be one of the more posh suburbs (and yes, it is still almost exclusively white..but we have lost more jobs than any other city (except maybe Flint which pretty much closed down and turned out their lights).

    People of all color who worked at the same company for 10, 20 30 years lost their jobs….not early retirement, not laid off…lost their jobs and many lost pensions and healthcare with it.
    So any affordable health care plan looks pretty good us right now.
    I recently lost a brother to skin cancer….no health care and yeah that mole looked ugly but he couldn’t pay his mortgage and barely had enough to buy groceries so he let it go until it got so nasty he had to get it check out….too late for a cancer he probably would have survived if it was caught earlier.

    I know things like abortion, birth control and keeping the gays in their place has kept the church and congress busy…but sure would be nice if EITHER the church or congress mentioned JOBS even once.
    And don’t even mention healthcare and religious freedom to me. God forgive me but I am having a hard time with some bitterness and feel everyone who has stood in the way of healthcare reform over 10/month birth control…I feel they have my my brother’s blood on their hands. I know there is no guarantee he would be alive today but he sure would have had better odds if he had healthcare.

    I was a lifelong protestant and converted to Catholicism and now I can’t bear to go to Mass.
    I am so sad and so angry. I lost my lifelong spiritual family and have lost 3 close family members in the last 5 years and I don’t even know the name of whatever priest they get to show up. I feel orphaned body and soul.
    And I know you like to delete my comments but I have really tried to control the anger that boils up when I read mountains of things of someone doing something not quite right at Mass when I feel like I am losing everything that helped make my world make sense.
    I just had to say something to defend the very ground I have lived on since I was born from people who just throw out careless remarks. Some things might be accurate but you are missing all the suffering that this city, and cities around it are going through and that there are REAL People here, catholics, who are suffering terribly because of the economy and we can’t get anyone’s attention to keep their promises about trying to address the job situations.

  49. AnnikaMira says:

    And people, fellow catholics, please stop googling Detroit and feel that gives you enough knowledge to judge us and then toss us on the garbage heap satisfied that we caused all this ourselves.

  50. Sam Schmitt says:

    I urge everyone to read the commentary of Shelby Steele in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, “The Decline of the Civil-Rights Establishment.” It’s best single essay on the Zimmerman case, IMHO, but will probably be ignored by those who really need to hear it.

  51. not going to say a word about the Zimmerman case.i’ve commented on it until i’m blue in the face.You would not believe how many people don’t even know the facts of the case.The problem with some liberals and/or Obama supporters is that you can’t discuss facts. They don’t have time for them.
    That said,his presidency can be summed up in 2 words.Saul Alinsky.
    He’s (Obama,that is)managed to divide the country along class,race,gender…you name it.
    Or as Rahm Emmanuel used to put it(believe it was Rhambo)”never let a crisis go to waste.”
    Shameful that people voted for the man.

  52. Kimberly Jean said,

    I wish that Obama had never been elected

    My dear sister in Christ i have the same wish but for a number of reasons.I wish people would take a very close look at the Zimmerman case,get ALL the facts and think over what really happened(as much as possible). The media tampered with the information from the beginning. They were bound & determined to paint Zimmerman as an angry racist out to get a black person. They didn’t bother to put out the photos of the attack on Zimmerman. They also made a calculated decision to go with a photo of Trayvon as youngster so people were left with the impression he was a youngster instead of a 17 yr old that COULD take a few rounds out of an adult. They were 2 people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Trayvon made some terrible decisions and it ended in tragedy. Unfortunately i think Zimmerman has been made the so called poster child for everything that is wrong in this country. A lot of people are angry and probably justifiably angry but they’re focusing it on the wrong direction.It’s not Zimmerman but he’s a place for it to be focused. I’m very sorry for the Martin family. Nobody was a hero in this situation and Zimmerman will never be the same. For the rest of his life he will have a target on his back as well as his family-and they weren’t even involved.Ironically Mr Zimmerman also voted for Obama.PLS,look into ALL the facts of the case,the evidence the jury was presented and think it over.The prosecution had little or no evidence and MOST of their own witnesses actually confirmed what Zimmerman reported. For the lack of evidence they made up by appealing to emotion but jury’s can’t make a ruling based on emotion. Before this case even came to trial it was SUPPOSED to go before a Grand Jury.In their determination to get Zimmerman(politics)they skipped the Grand Jury and went for broke. IF we’re ever going to heal race relations in our country we are going to have to make a conscious decision not to let people like Obama(shameful),Sharpton and Jesse Jackson drive wedges. Then we begin the REAL discussion. There are a lot of issues that we need to talk about re race-honestly and openly with no malice or rancor.We CAN mend fences.

  53. Sissy says:

    Dear AnnikaMira,

    Your pain leaps off the page. I know there is nothing any human can say or do to help you EXCEPT just this: please go to confession and then to Mass to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our precious Lord Jesus. A priest can and will help you to find the peace you need. I am praying right now that you will not let another day go by without seeking the Lord. Please do this; the Church needs each of us. And may you find great relief and joy when you have availed yourself of the sacraments.

  54. bookworm says:

    AnnikaMira: I can’t say “I know how you feel” because I haven’t been through what you have. But, I have to agree that there are times when the Church — or more precisely, certain elements of the Church — can come off like the Pharisees of old, who, as Christ said, laid heavy burdens on people but never lifted a finger to help carry them. That said, if you didn’t have at least some interest in or love left for the Church, and for traditional liturgy and orthodox belief, you would not be visiting this site; so I hope you will take Sissy’s advice and return to the sacraments as soon as you can.
    I believe Annika’s comments should serve as a reminder to us all that there is plenty of blame to go around for the collapse of Detroit and it CANNOT be all laid on one political party, political faction, ethnic or racial group, or economic trend. Personally, I suspect that lack of economic diversity and being entirely or almost entirely reliant on the auto industry had more to do with it than anything else; but, I’ve never been there so I’m no expert.

  55. liberalism is destructive on many levels. President Obama is a radical.Sorry but he wasn’t supported by the Communist Party of the US for nothing. All you had to do was catch the Democratic platform this past election. They booed the mention of God. They support abortion,gay marriage and handing out contraception to kids like candy. It destroyed a city and if it keeps going it will destroy the other cities its infected. You have to have a moral compass to be of service to the people you’re supposed to represent. You have a moral compass andyou don’t become corrupted. You make good decisions in office.
    It has NOTHING to do with race. If we don’t come together and stand up for our values our country is on the fast track of ancient Rome.

  56. To AnnikaMira,
    my parents both had health care and both passed away. I miss them terribly.Dad’s death was imminent. Mom’s was a shock.God called them home.

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