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We must kill the old Detroit mentality to heal this city

Written By: Terry Foster | July 26, 2011

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Maybe one of my solutions to fix Detroit is a little extreme. I said we should kill everybody 50 years of age and over during  my radio show “The Valenti and Foster Show”.

I am not actually in favor of killing those folks because I would be one of the casualties. However, it is time to kill the 1960s mentality that has cripped the Detroit area for decades. We must kill the great divide between blacks and whites, city people and suburbanites.

We must kill the thinking of the old white woman who proudly proclaims “I haven’t crossed 8 Mile Road in 25 years and I don’t plan to any time soon.”

Do you want to live here?

We must kill the mentality of the old black guy who lives in poverty but does not want white money to build the city ”because they are trying to take over our city.”

We must kill the mentality of the white person that when a bum shakes a cup begging for money goes home and talks about how they almost got robbed downtown.

We need to eliminate the thinking of the black person who views white people as the blue eyed devil.

We must kill the fears some people have of walking downtown inside the comfort of thousands of Tigers fans before or after a game.

Detroit is one of the most polorizing cities in the nation. We still live behind walls of mistrust and anger. That is why I do not believe the light rail will work. That is why I do not believe the neighborhoods will be revitalized and it is why I do not see Detroit bouncing back.

We’ve fought over the zoo, Cobo Center, Belle Isle, 8 Mile, Tiger Stadium and water.

It is time to stop the fighting and actually get along and rebuild this city.

There are forward thinking people with great game plans that seem like they would work to heal this city. They might actually work in places like Seattle, Houston or San Antonio. They won’t work here because some of us still live in fear and ignorance.

But there is a ray of light. It is young people. You can make Detroit work because you do not carry around the scars of the past. You did not witness the riots. You did not go through the civil rights movement. You did not run from Detroit to the suburbs. You did not see your neighbors killed like dogs by the police. You are our hope.

You might actually have a friend who does not look like you. You might not live in fear having a neighbor that does not look like you. And you might actually move into a neighborhood where everybody does not look and think like you.

Please take the baton from us older folks because we did not do it right. We cut hatred and fear into our hearts and scars remain. You are more clean and pure.

Learn from our mistakes and take Detroit to the next level. You are our only hope.


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10 Responses to “We must kill the old Detroit mentality to heal this city”

  1. JetSet208 Says:

    Well said Terry! I am 25, black and from the suburbs. You really hit the nail on the head with this one..


  2. tommyz Says:

    You are right Terry..Seeing all the young people moving into the city is great..But unfortunately, the city is still run by buffoons..Even though Bing has and wants to do good things, not much has been done under his leadership..And lets not forget the main culprit,imo..The ever so horrible city council..The mayor and council spend too much time arguing with eachother and not enough time fixing anything..I could go on and on, but…I love Detroit..I grew up there..I spend a bunch of time there..But our only hope IS the young people..Whatever race, religion they are..


  3. Panicstreak Says:

    What Detroit needs is a EPIC natural disaster. Something along the lines of the Great Fire, or 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Study the results of what San Francisco and Chicago were prior to their disasters, and what came out of them, its quite amazing.

    The Light Rail won’t work for more reasons than mistrust and racism, but thats for another post.


  4. Emma Says:

    Thank you, Terry. As a young person working in Detroit (and hoping to move here soon), I’m full of passion and ideas for this city, but I constantly have to fight against old ideas and prejudice to get my point across. I can’t even count the number of arguments I’ve had with my dad regarding the way Detroit is now. Those who are living and working in the city can feel the change coming. It started as a whisper and it’s slowly getting louder. Maybe if the old folks aren’t going to shut up and/or die anytime soon, we’ll just have to make our voices louder. Get over your prejudice. It’s 2011. We’re never going to make progress if people hold onto old hatred.


  5. Chris Says:

    The idea that people who live inside the city limits are the only real detroiters needs to die. This idea that you’re not from Detroit if you didn’t live in poverty, run from bullets or slang dope as a youth needs to be killed. I’m proud to tell people I’m from Detroit, even if it’s a suburb of the great and proud city. My birth certificate says I’m made in Detroit!


  6. Marc Says:

    Your totally right Terry. The mistrust is what keeps killing this city over and over. Time and time again I have tried to get my friends to go to some of the places I love in Detroit and none of them want to go. I can understand why though because several times in my life I have been told to “keep my honkey ass north of 8mile”. I always ignore it and keep coming back. I also have to put up with the older people in my family thinking the minute you head south of 8mile you get robbed. The biggest problem is that the City Council holds the mentality of “well your not a detroiter” (which really means if your not black you don’t get it)near and dear to their hearts and they make it such a hassel for anybody who isn’t from the city to open anything up down there its just not worth it. I’ve tried three times to bring something down there and everytime I’ve had to get more permits, pay more fees than ANY other city in the area. We need to get rid of the racsist mentality on both sides of 8 mile before this city AND state can get better.


  7. Joe Says:

    Terry, I love all the points you made. We need the youth to get it right where the past generations got it wrong. Unless we can bridge the divide between the city and burbs the whole region will never rise up again. I hope the 20 somethings continue to have the long term vision and passion to bring the city back by moving back. I know a lot of people (including your counterpart on the radio) take shots at the incentives companies are laying out for people to move in the city limits, but ever new resident really does make a difference. So tell Valenti to tone it down on his stereotypical “you will get robbed” if you move downtown bull. We need people to believe in our city again. We need excitement not negativity! Passion not pessimism! We need to continue to support anyone who is making the move to Detroit whether through financial incentives or just a word of encouragement and appreciation instead of a sarcastic “good luck”.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      Lets hope that day you talk about happens. It can be an exciting city. It sure used to be. It wont be of the same size. but who cares. Lets do with what we have and keep building. It is up to the young generation to save us.


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