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.