Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Is This Racist?

Saginaw Michigan is a moderately large city, but hardly a huge one, in the heart of Michigan. It has a little over 50,000 people last count and its population is declining as it is in an economic toilet. It also has a severe crime problem and has received an "honorable" mention as one of America's most dangerous cities. You watch the news on TV that covers the Saginaw area and you hear "a murder occured", "a body was found" etc with a regularity that is frightening for a city of less than a 100,000.

I on occasion pass through Saginaw on my way home but stick to the state highways and away from the hoods.

I have heard people refer to it as Sagi-nasty because of its run down appearance and its dangerous neighbor hoods.

Recently Delta College's student newspaper carried the following cartoon.

The comments were telling and there were well thought out ones from both sides of the debate, and a couple of real loony ones from both sides as well.

(purely an aside, I wonder what certain close kin of mine who live in Bay City think of the second panel.)

The whole thing turned into a controversy about racism.

Truth is that I think the majority of people who live in Saginaw, regardless of their skin color, are decent people who just want to live and let live. These good-hearted people are trapped in a culture that they want no part of. It is simple reality that in many neighborhoods the thugs rule the streets. I would prefer to see children, of any skin color, playing in their yards, parks and schools rather than hiding from gunfire. Gun control laws will not help one bit because criminals by definition tend to disobey the law.

People complain about the improportionate number of blacks in prison but I see an improportionate number of black Americans who are the victims of these criminals. I don't hear as many complaints about that statistic. I do hear some but not as much.

Rather than complain about the cartoon, which simply expresses what a couple of artists see, they should address the reality that causes that perception. That reality is that Saginaw is a dangerous, crime-ridden city. Change the reality and the image will slowly change with it. You may say the people need jobs and God knows they do, but there will be no jobs until investors feel that it is safe to invest in Saginaw. The crime must be seriously reduced before there will be a serious increase in the number of jobs.

There are many good things in Saginaw including hard-working Bible based pastors working to reach as many young people as possible, and indeed some of the most dedicated preachers I have ever met are in that community. I think these individuals are Saginaw's brightest hope.


Blogger Chuck said...

I didn't see an obvious race depicted when I looked at it. So you have to wonder if there is a little self-identification from the people complaining?

8:06 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Saginaw, like Flint, has been left behind by the implosion of GM and Delphi. I have not been through there for a couple of years, although I used to service the equipment at St. Mry and Saginaw General Hospitals, as well as Covenant. If you get a chance stop by the Japanese Garden there. It's a nice distraction. Truth is, Saginaw is a paradise when compared to Detroit. The massive unemployment and corruption of the local politicians have taken their toll. The jobs, I fear, are not coming back. To Saginaw or Michigan anytime soon. Our son will be done with high school in three years. God willing, I think we will head west to Colorado when that happens. it's not the "liberal policies". It's the fact that too many people in Michigan don't value education because of the high paying manufacturing jobs that used to reside here before being outsourced to other countries. 1 in 4 Mighiganders have a 4 year degree. In Colorado, Minnesota, and many other states it's 1 in 2. We lack the educated workforce and have all of the legacy issues of a post industrial economic collapse. I saw this 5 years ago in Youngstown and Buffalo. Now it's here, in Michigan. The collapse was not swift, but the reconstruction will still be occuring after both of us have thrown off this moral coil I'm affraid.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I have never been to Saginaw, because to get there I would have had to go to Michigan, which I have never done, either.

However, I have read quite a bit about the various ills besetting the various formerly thriving cities and towns of Michigan.

It must really be tough. And it's made even worse when race becomes the center of blame.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Greywolfe said...

Oh Tim, thanks for yet another reason for people to hate unions. High payed non-educated jobs. Sounds like labor union funded social destruction.

When people get it through their brain boxes that you have to EARN a high wage rather than extorting it, the detroit and saginaw landscapes can start looking good again. Until then, watch escape from New York, and escape from L.A. for survival techniques (sarcasm for those idiots that don't recognize it)

1:25 AM  
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9:26 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I guess the truth, literally, hurts.


10:06 PM  
Blogger Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

Since when is it racist to depict a white guy wearing a dark ski mask and dark gloves?

At least that's what I see.

11:06 PM  
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11:41 PM  
Blogger Z-man said...

I've said this over at my own blog but what drives white racism is black crime. People don't wake up one morning and decide to be bigots. Reduce black crime and maybe reduce racism, dunno but if we're gonna have an honest dialogue about race in this country (everyone says this'd be a good thing but it never happens) ya gotta be able to say these things.

I know blacks get offended by certain things like I was walking one day through a McDonald's parking lot and a black guy was walking behind me but I had to stop and do something and he acted all offended-like because he thought I slowed down to let him pass and made a comment. We're all hypersensitive right now.

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6:36 PM  
Blogger Z said...

This is a tough one, Shoprat, this whole conversation about Black crime. Normally, it's Black on Black crime, too. Or maybe it's just because the criminals stay in their own neighborhoods.

Frankly, I'm surprised the cartoon got any support at all........and it should, it should open conversation.
Until parents start clamping down on their kids, teaching them better right from wrong and giving them consciences again, where do we go? I'm glad Bible based pastors are working there but these kids are angry at parentless homes and have every right to have had better and are acting out through crime. How do we fix THAT?

12:18 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

Grey: "When people get it through their brain boxes that you have to EARN a high wage rather than extorting it"

You're right. When people get raises and high wages due to threats of violence, draconian laws, and corruption.... as opposed to working hard and actually earning the wage.... it's not a very sustainable situation.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:51 AM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

Saginaw used to be a great place...sad to know it isn't anymore...
The Alinsky tactic of calling something unreal ---that is not ie:-raaaaacist...is getting old and we are on to the deflective tactic...

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