Jun 3, 2010
commented on Things I Remember About Detroit
I will openly admit that I am white and I guess sort of privileged. I mean, I’m from Lynnwood, if that helps you put me into a box.
I’ve lived in six cities over the past eight years and I’m tired of moving around. I’ve been looking for somewhere to spend the next few years and I’ve been toying with the idea of Detroit because it seems to me like it would be a city full of opportunity. It seems like a place where I could maybe afford to do some shit, and where there might be some space for some shit to be done. I realize that this may make me seem like one of those assholes who moves to third world countries to “educate” people and bring in their culture or something, but know that I don’t so much want to move to Detroit to try and “save it” as I want to move there for selfish reasons.
I think it’d be cool to live in a city where there might be some space for me to get shit done that I’d like to get done for myself: make radio docs, plant an urban garden, maybe start a new dance night at a club, and, long term, maybe open a used clothing store kinda like Buffalo Exchange/Redlight (yes, I am this generic).
To “research” the city, I started reading some of the Weekly Detroit papers, one of which is one that fellow commenter Travis R. Wright writes for. Reading these papers I started to think that Detroit was full of white hipsters, painting murals while riding tall bikes. And to give you some major perspective on myself, I didn’t necessarily find that completely unappealing. At the same time, I wasn’t so naïve to think that this was actually what I’d find in Detroit. Part of the allure of Detroit for me, is that it’s got a grimey, big city culture that probably none of the other cities I’ve lived in could hold a flame too (except maybe Glasgow, which, btw was once the murder city capitol of Western Europe).
I started telling friends and family that I’m thinking of moving to Detroit. When I tell them this, they usually say, “Why?!” And then they say, “Well I guess I’m not that surprised.” I can’t entirely explain to you why they say this. I think it’s because they know that I am one of those people who is attracted to what may seem unappealing to most people. Maybe in part because I idealize flaws, but in part because I usually genuinely do like these types of places. I loved living in Charleston, WV—even though my drunk neighbor (who I had never met) climbed up my balcony and into my apartment while I was home alone. Apparently he was locked out. Also, apparently it is not a good idea to live alone as a young woman in sketchy parts of town. Lesson learned. Except for the risk of stray bullets, I feel like I’m mostly only a target for getting mugged, and I think I can deal with that. Most people just want your cash and then they leave you alone.
Reading Kelly’s story I am equally more attracted to the idea of moving to Detroit, and equally second-guessing myself. As someone not from Detroit, if I moved there then I’m sure some of the stuff that I would witness probably would scare the shit out of me and maybe even prompt me to write some stories that would get some of you to call me a racist as I’d tell the stories from my “raised-in-Lynnwood” perspective.
I’m going to Detroit at the end of the month, for two conferences that are being held there. The Allied Media Conference, which is apparently an annual Detroit Conference, and the US Social Forum. I’m going to these conferences, in part, as an excuse to scope out Detroit, meet people who live there, and see if it’s really where I want to move.
The reason I’m writing this post is because you guys seem to have a lot more perspective on Detroit than I do. So, of course, as just mentioned, I’m gonna see for myself, but I was wondering if any of you opinionated ass mother fuckers had thoughts on whether or not I should move there. I know you don’t know me, but that’s why I spent a lot of time in this comment trying to give you some kind of a vague idea of what I’m about. I welcome your opinions. Thanks for reading this long-ass post. And Kelly, thanks for writing your article. It’s nice to read someone else’s thoughts on a place that I’ve been thinking so much about lately.