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December 22, 2012 / JayMan

Detroit & Windsor: Just What is Different?

Michael Moore recently held a Q & A session on Twitter in response to CurrentTV’s showings of his 2002 documentary, Bowling for Columbine, which was about mass shootings and gun violence in America. This movie contained the infamous scene where Moore ambushed then NRA president Charlton Heston about the issue of violent crime in America compared to the other English-speaking and developed nations in the world.

Before I go too much further, I suppose I should stick in a disclaimer, in case any of Moore’s fans find this posting and happen to read it: I am not some raving White Christian conservative. In fact, I am an atheist, liberaleven socialist, Black man (though how Black I am depends on the context; in Jamaica I’m a bit Whiter). And I am actually pretty fond of Michael Moore’s movies, because they do make some good points if you take them for what they’re worth.

In Bowling for Columbine, we learn that our neighbor to the north, Canada, has a comparable number of guns per capita as does the United States, yet has a murder rate that is orders of magnitude lower. Indeed, to demonstrate that, Moore contrasts the city of Detroit, MI with its sister city across the river and across the border, Windsor, Ontario. On Twitter, fans have been asking Moore this question:

@MMFlint proud to live in Windsor, ON Canada. Why such difference in crime rates when I can throw stone & hit Detroit?

To which Moore responded:

Because in Windsor u lack our unique mix of fear, racism, extreme poverty, and an ongoing history of solving our problems w/ violence.

In response to this, I asked:

@MMFlint What is different about the ethnic composition of Windsor, ON vs Detroit, MI?

…in addition to various other questions to Moore on the subject of Canada vs the U.S. on violence. No response, yet.

So on that question, what makes Detroit and Windsor different? Why do we have this in one city:

detroit_06abandoned-theater-detroitDetroitjane-cooperDetroit_wasteland_s640x4263462138943_da56185d99

And this in the other:

2012-12-22_10494236458404web-windsor-riding06nw2CN317A1

I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which…

Might the differences have something to do with this:

Detroit demographics (Wikipedia):

In 2010, the city had 713,777 residents … The census reported that the city had 82.7% African American, 10.6% White (7.8% non-Hispanic white), 1.1% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.0% other races, 2.2% two or more races. In addition, 6.8% of the population self-identified as Hispanic or Latino, of any race, with ancestry mainly from Mexico and Puerto Rico … After World War II many people from Appalachia settled in Detroit. Appalachians formed communities and their children acquired southern accents.

Windsor, ON demographics (adapted from Wikipedia):

Canada 2006 Census Population  % of Total Population
Visible minority group South Asian 8,765 4.1%
Chinese 6,965 3.3%
Black 8,400 3.9%
Filipino 2,630 1.2%
Latin American 2,650 1.2%
Arab 8,990 4.2%
Southeast Asian 2,730 1.3%
West Asian 1,710 0.8%
Korean 350 0.2%
Japanese 100 0%
Other visible minority 930 0.4%
Mixed visible minority 845 0.4%
Total visible minority population 45,060 21%
Aboriginal groupSource:[21] First Nations 2,420 1.1%
Métis 1,350 0.6%
Inuit 0 0%
Total Aboriginal population 3,965 1.9%
White 165,230 77.1%
Total population 214,255 100%

I’m all for trying to find solutions to problems and hence understand the direction Moore is coming from (though there may be no solution to this particular problem – more on that in an upcoming post). But it does no good to avoid focusing on the real causes behind what we see. That only leads us down blind alleys that offer no real solutions to the problem. That doesn’t do anyone any good.

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11 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous / Apr 20 2013 8:46 AM

    I was born in and have lived in Detroit or within 4 miles of the city limits for 56 years. I dreaming of retiring to Ontario. I’ll visit Detroit for concerts, theater, sporting events and restaurants. But I just want to live in peace.

  2. Anonymous / May 2 2013 1:55 AM

    Detroit needs to be gentrified. And Atlanta is doing well for itself and it has a very large (majority maybe) black population.

    • klejdys / Jul 24 2013 8:09 AM

      Read Tom Wolfe’s “A Man in Full” to understand why ATL has prospered (relatively) under black rule while the city of DET has completely fallen into disrepair.

    • Hindu Observer / Jul 26 2013 9:38 PM

      I don’t read novels. Can you just summarize the point for me?

  3. Hindu Observer / Jul 26 2013 9:24 PM

    While other cities are complaining about “gentrification”, Detroit is openly begging for it.

    I recently read an article by a liberal saying its white peoples’ fault that Detroit is in such a bad way because of White Flight. He was saying white people should move back to Detroit so that Detroit can improve again.

    I’m sure the author didn’t intend to come across as a racist, but that is precisely what he did by implying that black Americans need to live mixed in with white Americans in order to have a decent, functional city.

  4. b ostermann / Jan 10 2014 4:47 AM

    Hey very interesting blog!

  5. Anonymous / Jul 24 2014 12:57 PM

    The pictures that are posted of windsor are the nicest parts that’s why they look different

    • JayMan / Jul 24 2014 1:03 PM

      @Anonymous:

      Do the crappier parts of Windsor look all that bad?

  6. Juan / Jan 3 2015 12:28 PM

    What the hell kind of comparing is that!? Those are pictures of Detriot ghettos vs windsor downtown maybe take pictures of windsor west side which looks like detriot then compare

Trackbacks

  1. Even a Half-Century Ago, Journalists Were Predicting Detroit Would Go Bust | elcidharth
  2. An Ironic Segue | JayMan's Blog

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