When is it a liability to be Black in Detroit?

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By Keith D. Williams

HP4396-001Wake up, Detroit. How did we get to the point in this city when it is a huge liability to be an African American candidate for mayor of Detroit? I thought about this question because of what some Detroit voters are saying — far too often — about who should be the next mayor of Detroit, and more importantly, why.

To be honest, I was astonished at the words I heard coming out of some Detroiters’ mouths:

“It’s time for a white mayor.”

“Bennie Napoleon isn’t qualified.” “If the white candidate gets elected, white folks will make sure resources flow into the city and some of it just might trickle down to us.”

This conversation was fueled, in part, by Detroit News editor and columnist Nolan Finley, who posed a provocative question:

“Is it time for a white mayor in Detroit?”

For anyone reading Finley’s column, such a question suggests our current crop of leaders, who, because the city is 80 percent African American, are incapable of leadership.

What Finley’s column failed to mention is that before the election of Coleman A. Young, in 1973, Black people always voted for white elected officials including white mayors. When the late Richard Austin ran for mayor against Roman Gribbs back in 1969, based on his qualifications, he should have been Detroit’s first Black mayor.

I want everyone to understand I’m writing this, not to further divide Detroit, but to start a critical discussion already taking place in this city on-line and in churches, homes and barbershops. How do we make this city better by telling the truth about a highly charged subject — Black racism in reverse?

 

Read more about what this  former elected official who served as vice-chairman of the Wayne County Commission has to say in the Michigan Chronicle 

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