Sit Back and Get Uncomfortable

Letter From the Editor


Published:

Normally, we hope you enjoy our magazine. But “enjoy” doesn’t quite express the right sentiment about our 50th anniversary coverage of Detroit’s summer of 1967. It’s an incident that needs to be commemorated, not celebrated. 

Researching this issue made me uncomfortable at times, and might make you feel the same. If you look around the country — from places like Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore — many of the issues and challenges that led to the unrest of the 1960s still exist. 

Oh, they’re not so blatant anymore. But they’re there. 

During an interview with the Detroit Historical Society’s senior curator Joel Stone, we compared Detroit in 1967 with 2017. Some things are actually worse — including food access, transportation, and our public schools. I also chatted with veteran reporter Bill McGraw, who wrote a piece for Bridge magazine last year citing poverty and joblessness statistics that are even worse today. 

In researching this issue, I read several history books on Detroit’s unrest and also went to see I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck’s 2016 documentary based on the works of the late James Baldwin. The movie was filled with uncomfortable truths and powerful moments. One scene that mixed archival footage of police violence against black people in the ’60s with videotape of eerily similar actions today brought to mind a quote from philosopher/musician Frank Zappa.

In “Trouble Every Day,” his 1966 song about the Watts riots, Zappa expressed a heaping helping of “white guilt” — long before that term even got into the lexicon: “Hey, you know something people? I’m not black, but there’s a whole lots of times I wish I could say I’m not white.”

Amen, Frank.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Not To Sound Like A Broken Record, But ...

Letter From the Editor, May 2018

A Work in Progress

Letter from the Editor, Steve Wilke, April 2018

Life Support

Letter from the Heath Guide Editor, Lyndsay Green

Detroit’s Inferiority Complex? Not Any Longer.

Letter From the Editor

Love (and Steam) Is in the Air

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. 7 Michigan Breweries Worth a Trip
    Check out these must-visit locations during your summer travels
  2. To Market, to Market
    Michigan Wine & Cider Festival at Eastern Market May 24
  3. Hour Media’s Real Estate All-Star Party 2017
    Hour Media's Real Estate All-Stars celebrated at the fourth annual Real Estate All-Star Party...
  4. Your Guide to Michigan’s Odd and Unusual Festivals
    We rounded up some of the state’s most niche events, celebrating everything from fishflies to...
  5. Meet the Southwest Detroit Pizzeria Serving Sospeso
    PizzaPlex in southwest Detroit is challenging what it means to be a new business on the block
  6. Dry Times: Looking Back 100 Years After Prohibition
    A century ago, Detroit became the first city in the nation to prohibit alcohol
  7. ‘Grazie Mille’ For the Memories
    Adventures abound in Italy with Michigan winemaker, grape growers
  8. An Hour With... Candice S. Miller
    Macomb County Public Works Commissioner
  9. Motherhood in Metro Detroit
    From pre-pregnancy thoughts to developing unconditional love, several local women give a glimpse...
  10. The Gentleman’s Guide to Style
    From grooming to shopping, a comprehensive directory for stylish men in metro Detroit