Helping hands in Detroit’s Cass Corridor

Summer in Detroit:A Documentary Film on The Cass Corridor

This is interesting. Not sure who these folks are (listed in the opening credits) behind this mini-documentary, but it’s a nice enough little flick about what appears to be a sincere enough group of white church folk who I’m guessing don’t live anywhere near the ‘D’ themselves but who decided to venture down into the Cass Corridor back in 2006 to try and connect in some way.

Yeah. All right.

Admittedly my first gut reaction as a black Detroiter (that’s almost an oxymoron these days, isn’t it?) was to grimace, roll my eyes, and mutter, “Shit. Here we go again. Another onslaught of well-meaning white kids with stars in their eyes dying to assist the poor, downtrodden negroes.”

After which they go home, fire up the laptops, and congratulate each other via email, Facebook, and whatever else about how they spent a portion of their summer roughing and toughing it with ‘real people’ from the ‘hood where they got so in touch with their inner humanity and the oneness of us all and all that other recycled ’60s hippy love-the-world-change-the-world stuff (which was actually cool and headed in the right direction until a lot of those hippies became ex-hippies, put on suits and ties and went to work for Daddy Inc. making Daddy Inc. bucks).

Not all of them, of course. But I’d gamble it was close to a majority who abandoned the revolution once the jackboots began showing up in force and the price of free love and joints just wasn’t worth it anymore. Especially not for those who had options. Even hippies gotta eat, man.

But then maybe it’s unfair to judge these kids with that measuring stick. After all, that damned stick is more than 40 years old. And who knows, right? Maybe they really did do some good on that summer day back in 2006. Maybe some of them really were changed deep down enough to commit themselves to a life of making a difference and giving birth to community.

So for now, I choose to resist my harsher impulses, put my cynicism on a choke chain, and simply say that working to improve the ‘D’ is always a good thing.



~ by Keith A. Owens on July 12, 2008.

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