Detroit fits the description of an Anthony Bourdain episode perfectly- it is truly a part unknown. Bourdain’s article begins by discussing what we have already learned as students living here over the past few weeks: Detroit is more than what its reputation impresses onto the world. It is more than just a blighted city with vacant buildings and burned down houses. It comes as no surprise that Detroiters hate to watch tourists take pictures in front of abandoned buildings, while failing to grasp the broader identity of the city.
The article goes on to describe the uniqueness of Detroit and its citizens. Detroit is not like any other city and its citizens are not like any other citizens. “Detroit looks like mother****in’ Detroit.” The people who have endured the struggle, and were brave enough to stay in Detroit are the true Detroiters. These are the people who share pride for their city, who helped forged so many precious American values, who helped make Detroit what it is: a beautiful city.
I agree with Bourdain’s article in every sense. When I first came to Detroit, I like many others wanted to take snap chats of all the abandoned buildings. Maybe it’s because I knew I would get reactions from my friends, asking about how I could live in such a scary city for the summer. Maybe it’s because I truly wanted to show Detroit for its good and its bad. Either way, what I showed my friends told them absolutely nothing about Detroit. My friends would have to travel to Detroit to even begin to understand it. Only then would they meet the people and have the conversations to paint an accurate picture in their heads. Detroiters are the type of people to get mad that Baltimore and Buffalo were featured on the same documentary as they were, because “their problems weren’t nearly as massive.” Detroit is the type of place where you can walk down the block in any part of the city and see only people wearing Detroit clothing. It is the type of city that doesn’t want to tear down buildings for new mega malls.
This article has further pointed out the importance of the 139 sq. miles report I am currently working on. I hope this report provides people across the country with a baseline of facts that can shape their impressions of Detroit in a more accurate way. I also hope that after this report is published, fewer people will ignore Detroit as an up and coming city. But in all honesty, Detroiters couldn’t care less what the rest of the world thinks of them. They value Detroit for what it is. Detroit is beautiful not for its shiny downtown buildings but for its unwavering authenticity to show all sides of what makes up its identity.