Edward McClelland just might be the world's biggest jerk for coming to Detroit and stumbling on the city's best-kept secret and only giving a few hints as to where the rest of us can find it. Don't you know the city is almost bankrupt?
In a Salon post titled "Who killed Detroit?" (originally titled "White people killed Detroit," but was changed after the Internet called foul, which later led to McClelland letting us know that the headline was effective Salon-induced clickbait — thanks, Salon!), McClelland waxes on about how Detroit spiraled into the abyss partly because of the financial crisis, but also because of white flight to the suburbs.
I have never, ever, EVER seen Detroit's downfall attributed to a combination of the erosion of a tax base and white flight so thank you, Edward McClelland, for this groundbreaking observation. Finally, we know the truth, and indeed I am set free.
(McClelland also notes that all us poor 680,000 black folks in Detroit are short-order cooks, home healthcare aides and daycare providers. Did you know I'm writing this post while monitoring a bunch of three-year-olds watching "Martha Speaks!" at this very moment? Gotta multitask for these checks!)
But fear not, as McClelland also notes that even though white people have left Detroit, reverse white flight is in effect and has identified the sole white woman who is leading the charge.
The most hopeful Detroiter I know is a young Polish-American woman who grew up in the suburbs, graduated from Harvard and, in an act of reverse white flight, bought a Mies van der Rohe condo by the Detroit River. She believes that her generation can bridge the divide across 8 Mile, which is culturally, sociologically and economically even wider than the street’s name suggests.
Fantastic, as I had no idea that only white people with Ivy League degrees (I guess Bryan Barnhill, the Harvard-educated campaign manager for mayoral candidate Mike Duggan, or Adam Hollier, the Cornell-educated City Council candidate, secretly live in the suburbs — they're black, unless I was wrong about that as well.) were the ones that were going to be the ones to rescue this city from its downfall. And kudos to women, since I also thought our future was in the hands of White Entrpreneurial Guys. You've come a long way, baby.
But what this poor black short-order cook/home healthcare aide/daycare provider/Jalopnik contributor would like to know is, who is this mysterious white woman and why hasn't she come forward? What, is it like the lottery or something where she can choose to remain anonymous? Is she the new Jack White?
I guess we can narrow it down to who it might be. (To effervescently quote Cleavon Little in "Blazing Saddles," "where are the white women at?") We know she lives in a glass condo in Lafayette Park and has a Harvard degree. But that's not enough. Where do the White Women of Detroit convene? Perhaps I'll start with one of the 38 restaurants on Eater Detroit's essential restaurants list after my shift at the daycare ends, or maybe I'll tell Nancy Grace "MISSING WHITE WOMAN IN DETROIT" and we'll have this solved by Monday.
But I'd like to find her myself so we can chat. And I hope whoever this white woman is when I find her, we'll have somewhat of a post-racial tender moment a la Charles Ramsey and Amanda Berry. But I need to know who she is soon, because I am in desperate need to be saved from my own downfall.
Are you the mysterious white woman who spoke with Edward McClelland? Are you ready to save Detroit? Feel free to drop us a line in the comments!