Finley: Will Downtown Be A White Enclave? New Detroit Chief: 'It's An Issue'
Nolan Finley of The Detroit News addresses a touchy issue that's a byproduct of the recent resurgence of downtown Detroit -- the racial gap between the central business district and Midtown and the rest of Detroit.
"The divide around here once was between Detroit and the suburbs. Now, in the words of race warrior Shirley Stancato, it’s becoming between 'downtown and those other people.'”
Stancato runs New Detroit, the nonprofit that has worked to improve race relations since after the 1967 riot.
The other people she is talking about live in Detroit’s rapidly disintegrating neighborhoods, Finley writes. They’re largely African-American, and a high percentage are poor. Downtown, meanwhile, is a magnet for creative and upwardly mobile young people of both races, but the tilt is heavily toward whites.
“It’s an issue,” says Stancato.
“It’s a symptom of concerns that are just underneath the surface.”
The gap between downtown and the rest of the city is wide in other areas, too, as Finley notes:
Downtown seems immune to Detroit’s broken finances. It’s booming thanks to private investments and its sudden emergence as a cool city for young people to live and work in.
Private dollars take care of everything from street clean-up to security within the downtown and Midtown zones.