Ever since Detroit filed for bankruptcy, perceptions and misconceptions have widely varied. Be it CNN, ABC News, NBC News or any other media that reaches the masses, Detroit has taken many hits in the public eye. So what is a major city to do to turn around a black and blue image?
The first thing being done by business leaders is to put out over $600K in advertising that aims to let movers and shakers around the country know that Detroit might be down but it is by no means standing by for the last knockout punch. The full page ads will run in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Politico to name just a few places. Many of the major corporations that are part of the fabric of Detroit have signed on for this media blitz.
Another fork in the road to the come back story of Detroit is throwing down the ‘Welcome Mat’ at the doorstep for immigrants with the launch of a new website.
Welcome Mat Detroit allows the end user the ability to search for immigrant services and resources, connect with an immigrant community, or find ethnic events happening in Southeast Michigan. Is this a great idea or is it a hope that a fire can be ignited to change how potential immigrants see Detroit? Both concepts are noteworthy but a bigger problem is not addressed. The ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality that is pervasive throughout the neighborhoods. The knowing that if a business moves into Detroit that it must hire Detroiters first and then consider the rest. The knowledge that the residents of Detroit are 80% African American and for decades have not wanted, welcomed immigrants to move in. The best example is that of the Arab American community.
The Arab American community has become engrained in Dearborn. This is where another imaginary line like that of Eight Mile Road continues to be drawn for the two ethnic groups. When traveling between the borders of Detroit and Dearborn, the visual images are striking. Take a drive on Michigan Avenue and you will see a thriving city of Dearborn that the Arab American Community is proud to call home. The streets are clean. Then cross the city line into Detroit and you immediately feel dirty, unwanted and vulnerable to the elements that lurk even in the shadows of the day light. These are the problems that need to be addressed and cleaned up.