Caught in the middle looking up.
Hope passed us over.
Stuck between two worlds.
Will you remember me when it’s over?
If there is one thing I have learned since moving back to Detroit, nothing is truly black and white, not even gentrification. Gentrification… do you feel that? The way it rolls off your tongue, say it louder! Do you feel that? If you don’t feel much, then you probably haven’t yet experienced walking in ‘
Having been born and raised on the city’s northwest-side, I recall in my youngest years living across the street from a Detroit Police officer, an older white man. I was maybe four or five years old, but I remember the unequivocal feeling, albeit too nebulous for my premature articulation, that ‘the white man across the street’ was leaving. Hyper-awareness set in… this was a ‘black neighborhood’. Though, my inclination to perceive race and ethnicity hadn’t yet matured through America’s long-standing and antiquated ‘color problem’. I was aware of, if anything, that ‘the white man across the street was gone…’ he left Detroit.
I’m standing on Griswold St. in downtown Detroit, twenty-something odd years later when I meet the acquaintance of Jane. Before I walked into her presence I had been admiring the architecture of the buildings, the type of things one tends to take for granted having grown up and lived in a place they’ve been their whole life. And amidst my observations, to think back for a second to that four year old kid on the northwest side of Detroit, my surroundings no longer felt black. In fact, I felt like the outsider this time. The prism of my mind, now as a mature adult, seeing through my mind’s lens… ‘black OR white?’
Then I met Jane… a white woman, born in Detroit. And suddenly my perception changed.
This is Jane’s story.
-This blog was contributed by: Demond Childers, a native Detroiter rediscovering his hometown. Be sure to follow my journey of re-discovery by following me on Instagram or Twitter @coldwideworld