On an interview with Georgea Kovanis of Detroit Free Press, Foley explores his experience as a Detroiter, and the journey that made him Detroit’s Chief Storyteller. He talks about his book, “The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook”, an anthology of poems, essays, and a short story written by past and present Detroiters. The book covers “everything from the impact of court-ordered busing in the Warrendale neighborhood to a young woman's adventures driving around southwest Detroit in her first car.” I chose this piece on Foley'S interview because apart from being a credible observer and reporter of the city of Detroit, Foley has lived a life that has been punctuated by the unique realities of Detroiters.
As a credible journalist, Foley has taken a close look at the trend of issues like gentrification, and the narratives that are told about Detroit. For instance, this article cites an ad by Bedrock that was posted on window of a building in downtown Detroit. The issue was that the marketing strategy neglected the fact that the city’s population was (at least at the time) about 82% black; this triggered a backlash, decrying the gentrification that seemed to ignore Detroit’s reality. This was a poor marketing decision especially since Bedrock, and its founder Dan Gilbert, have not had the greatest reputation. The latest cause for concern was lobbying efforts that earned wealthy areas of Detroit special tax status, perpetuating the narrative of taking from the poor of Detroit in the name of helping them.
The issue is certainly complex, but I believe any effort to assist the city should be popular among its residents, not one that makes them feel robbed of their heritage, or the benefits of their city. People who seek to help Detroit’s rejuvenation need to understand this, and act according to the interests of the Detroiters theY seek to empower.