Tag Archives: detroit

If Wishes Were Horses, Or Healthcare

I like to think I am too cynical to have these moments where I ask absurd and idealistic questions, but I’m not, and this is what I’d like to know:

If we can understand that we are all connected financially and translate this understanding of mutual interdependence into a financial bailout for corporations, why can’t we extend this logic and apply it to other problems, like inequality, discrimination, and crime? Am I missing something here?

Because I’d really rather bail out Detroit– the city, that is– than the auto industry. I’d rather see new roads, public transportation, and green building, and see the workers who lost manufacturing jobs at work supporting this production. I’d like community gardens and murals and the dislocation of financial power from a few firms. I know how that makes me sound, like the incense burning do-nothing do-gooders I usually despise, and I don’t know what’s come over me, but I mean that last bit especially.

I’d much give my tax dollars to federally administrated programs because the federal government is accountable to citizens, and Citibank is not.

And while I am pleased that the government is working, albeit a day late and a gazillion dollars short, to unfreeze the financial markets, I wish they would work to unfreeze the untapped potential of millions of Americans by giving them the skills and training they need to galvanize a new economy in the United States, one that doesn’t need to be propped up by the government at every turn.

And, while I’m wishing, would that we could stop hearing these endless arguments about unions ruining the auto industry. Yeah, the men and women who want to keep a pension and health insurance– this is their fault. I especially love hearing that argument from TV pundits who have never come home with stained hands from a day of repetitive work on a factory floor.

I wish that we could as a country come to an understanding that the fate of the working classes, the poor, the uninsured, the sick– add to the list what you wish– is intertwined with our fate as a whole. And in this U.S., what makes you so sure, if you are middle class today, that you won’t be poor tomorrow, needing a helping hand yourself?




Filed under Social Justice

Carlita’s Way: Kwame Kilpatrick as good investment?

Soon-to-be-former-mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, dragged the City and its citizens through a protracted, summer-long deal-brokering session in an effort to evade prosecution for perjury. In the process, a series of sexy-texts between  Kilpatrick and his aide, Christine Beatty, emerged as part of the court transcripts.

On cue, Kwame apologized on telly and called on a higher power. His wife, Carlita, issued her own public statement in support of her husband. She’ll have a lot of time to think of ways to support him as Kilpatrick spends 4 months in jail pondering what percentage of the millions he’s cost the city in legal fees he must pay as restitution.

It’s one of those very public events that makes one cringe to be black in America…and yet run to the beauty shop to hear what The People have to say about it. As it turns out, the downgrading of Kwame Kilpatrick from Detroit mayor to Mayor of the Wayne County Hoosegow is the same tired stand-by-your-man, cross-racial, transnational tale. The Kilpatrick saga barely made a ripple on the trans-Atlantic pond, but women from Cheated-Upon-Thames do it, too.

Sitting in a Michigan beauty salon having my ‘do tended to, I overheard this assessment of the mayor’s predicament: his wife was right to stick by him. Just as Hilary had, Carlita clung close to her fella because she’s made an investment in him. (Sh-huh?!) And why should a woman let a man like him go? Just so some other woman could snap him up? Nuh-uh.

In the interest of having my dreadlocks not twisted any tighter, I didn’t enter into this totally irritating, self-hating conversation. But for reals? Should wives remain attached to wayward husbands? Are these love-rats investments that have just had a little dip in stock price? I’m gonna vote no.

And when will we black women get over this scarcity model about black men? As one black feminist I know notes, “that’s a trifling ass attitude to take toward relationships, sounds like somebody trying to figure out whether to keep an old raggedy car or not, just cause they done put some money in it.”

Amen. No more hoopdies, my sistahs! I’d rather ride a walk on my own two legs…

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Filed under African Americans, marriage, race