Greg Thrasher

By Greg Thrasher

(ed.note: Greg Thrasher has just come on board with the Voice of Detroit as a contributing editor. Please go to the About VOD page to see his bio and credentials.)

Over the years much has been written and spoken about Detroit and its suburbs often the exchange has been negative, emotional, destructive and of course racist depending on what side of 8 mile the comments originated from.

During the evolution of Detroit’s suburbs the early dialogue was often just predictable banter between city versus suburban lifestyles; however after the riots of 1967 the exchange between the two venues became more racial and more adversarial. The emergence of Coleman Young on the scene and the bitter aftermath of the 1967 riot increased the temperature between the city and the suburbs.

This bitter fallout in conjunction with the usual differences of opinions between a city and its outsiders has been a thorn in this region’s side for decades. The depth of interaction between Detroit and its suburbs remains stained with race. Now this interaction is being impacted by the emerging issues of class, non-white ethnic groups and new immigration trends.

As with all things in life change never stops and new realities emerge out of the texture of change. Detroit remains a predominately Black city but now it’s ring suburbs are no longer lily white enclaves. Today Detroit’s suburbs have large Black populations and the usual battles between Black Detroiters and white suburbanites are now complicated by interactions between Black folks on both sides of the border.

Today many black Detroit residents now reside in the suburbs yet they still seek to retain ties with the city. Many of us have family, friends, memories and a special love for the city and we want to be part of its past glory and its future destiny. However, like our white neighbors we face anger, resentment and even contempt we when dare to offer up opinions and ideas on the city’s ills and decay.

It can be stated that some of the attacks from those in the city who resent and reject our overtures are as intense and ugly as the early confrontations between Black detroiters and white suburbanites back in the day.

Detroit residents of course have a right to their own sovereignty and should reject unwanted and unwarranted intervention from outsiders when such intervention insults and causes hardship for Detroit residents. However black suburban residents who have love for the city should also reject and attack those in the city who harm the city.

Backward notions like zip code envy and hometown loyalty based upon denial should never be allowed to block solutions and ideas which enhance the growth of the city. Petty grievances based upon one’s zip code and area code should not be tolerated while the city to falls into an abyss.

Black folks who reside in Detroit’s suburbs have a wealth of intellectual and social capital. Detroit deserves access to these assets. The future of the city no longer resides exclusively with those in the city. We must partner and collaborate because at the end of the day we share the same objectives!

The old paradigm of city versus suburbs and of White suburbanites against Black Detroiters no longer has any currency. I have a lot of interests in the city and I intend to protect, cultivate, and harvest these concerns. I will not allow those who harbor contempt for my zip code and my class status prevent me from being a partner with the city I love…..Let’s share life together over the fence……

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One Response to OVER THE FENCE

  1. Devin Ambrose says:

    Mr.Thrasher is a great addition to this site…He nails it here

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