Friday, September 9, 2016

Steven Henderson: Let's start a dialogue.

Neelam Khan

Steven started his interview by describing one of the greatest moments of his life: winning the Pulitzer Prize. He was in great distress. He hadn't slept in five days and had no idea what was to come. He went in to work, aware it was the day the list would be released, prepared to congratulate a coworker. But to his surprise (really though, he thought he was hallucinating) he was on he list as well. He describes that as a memory that will be with him till the day he dies.

Detroit: Misunderstood?

When the city of Detroit went bankrupt, the citizens felt morally disappointed about the city's low point. It was once known for its auto and stove factories, and became abandoned when other countries started to advance. Henderson said to repair Detroit, there was surburbanization, but that created racial tensions when black people were not allowed to live in suburbs. It became white against black, suburb versus city.

He expressed this as an American problem, not just a Detroit problem. In our country right now, the election has caused a similar racial dynamic. No one wants to talk about race, and when it happens (like the Colin Kaepernick controversy) people freak out. It's a phenomenal "failure of culture" when you have to tell your kid how not to get stopped by cops. But that's where we are right now.

Henderson feels optimism with the national outcry of the racism among our justice system, but an even deeper pessimism for the national support of Trump. It has brought out the worst of our people. It's similar to pre-civil war era, when Pierce and Buchanon had the chance to make a difference in our country but couldn't grapple with the "original sin".

 If anyone had an interesting policy, it would have been Nixon. But one largely misunderstood idea about Detroit is the relationship the black community has with cops. They of course used to be horrible, but during a recent protest cops walked within the crowd instead of against it. It showed a certain kind of respect that made the community stronger.

Let's talk about race.

Henderson suggests we talk about race. We need to be safe with each other, not have safe spaces. This cycle cannot be repeated for longer, we need change in order to move forward and progress. Our problem is that we want to hear narratives, not the big picture.

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