I am from Detroit. Born and raised. A proud native if you will. I support all the hometeams (win or lose) and I often miss being there. However, my city is often in the news for not the best reasons (crime rates, disappearing city, depressed city, text message scandals, etc.) and I have encountered people not from Detroit who have said the most darnedest things based off of what they read in the paper or saw on TV. I usually use these questions as opportunities for education and correction (not by popping off at the mouth and busting a cap in you as some may want to think). So, here we go…
1. Have you ever been on Eight Mile? Uhh, yes. It’s a major road which is technically a highway (M-102). It stretches for over 20 miles from Harper Woods on the east side to Livonia on the west side. Eight Mile is the dividing road between Detroit and the suburbs. It is not, however, a tourist stop.
1a. Ever hang out on Eight Mile? Again, this is a major thoroughfare bordering the city…who hangs out on major streets like that? You may as well ask me if I play on the highway, which as I mentioned before, Eight Mile is.
2. OMG, aren’t you afraid of the violence and/or crime? Yes, and I would be weary of violence in any location, not just Detroit! That’s why you take precautions and use common sense…lock your doors, take your purse, watch your back. Matter of fact, folks didn’t start helping themselves to things off my patio until I moved to Florida, so Detroit can’t be all THAT bad.
3. It’s not pop, it’s soda. Stop right there. Yes, it is pop and I will not assimilate/conform/bow down to calling it soda just because I don’t live there anymore.
4. Person Not From Detroit (PNFD):I have a/some (friends/relatives) in Detroit.
Me: Really? Where do they live?
PNFD: Umm, *they then go on to name a location outside of the city limits*
Yeah. That’s not Detroit. Sorry. That’s called a suburb that’s a few counties away from the city. Or better yet, you’re talking about a completely different city, like Saginaw. I’m going to need for you to get a map of the state of Michigan. Thanks.
5. Are you really from Detroit? All my vital records from childhood (school, birth certificate, first driver’s license) list indicate an address with a zip code of 48219. The area code for my parent’s house is 313. I grew up on the side of Eight Mile that has the green and white “Welcome to Detroit” sign. If I were not from Detroit really, I would tell you.
6. Seriously, YOU’RE from Detroit? (side note: eyes are usually wide as saucers) Yes I am…there are tons of people who live there who don’t fit some kind of stereotype. There’s a group of upwardly mobile progressive young professionals that reside there who are very active in the community. Detroiters are creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, and above all else, resilient. We’re made of some pretty tough stuff…we have to be in order to deal with all the negativity.
7. I heard that Detroit is one of the fattest cities in the country…Alright I may have to ride with you on that one. Where else can you get grits, bacon, eggs, pancakes for five bucks (Coney Island – not the amusement park) or Sesame Chicken with a SHRIMP egg roll and SHRIMP fried rice for roughly the same price spilling out an oversized styrofoam tray? (any given Chinese Food Restuarant, cash only) Where can you find a footlong steak and cheese sub with all the fixings with a Vernors and some fries (Tubby’s, hey even the name is fat!)
Best Cheesy Bread (Hungry Howies – a Michigan original)
Best salads (Papa Romanos – but don’t sleep on the pizza, either)
Want a great deep dish seafood pizza that you have to wait 45 minutes for, but is always worth the wait? – Pizza Papalis
Want a greasy pizza with cheese stuck to the box and the pepperoni that curls up at the edges? – Bob’s Pizza Palace
Tired of Cola? Or a lemon-lime pop (yeah, I said it) Then try some Faygo. Only in Detroit can you find ALL the flavors of Faygo, like Peach, Rock N Rye, and the classic REDPOP (I told you it’s not soda!)
I can tell you this much, come visit Detroit. You will never be hungry.
8. Wow, that city’s really going down, huh? And just what do you mean? Because I’d love to hear the reasoning. I’m not oblivious to the many challenges the city faces but who are you to condemn the place? Ebony did a really informative spread last year about Detroit that discussed both the challenges AND the opportunities (Urban farming? How cool…and an innovative use of land.)
9. Why are you so excited about turning 19? *note that the nose is usually turned up when asking* In other parts of the country, your 19th birthday is nothing major. But for the Detroit teen, 19 is a big deal. Why? Just grab your birth certificate or passport (though this wasn’t necessary when I was 19), cross that Ambassador Bridge or Detroit-Windsor tunnel and head on over to Canada, baby. For what? The legal drinking age in Canada is you guessed it, 19! Like I said, to be 19 in Detroit is the next best thing to 21.(But you might want to get a hotel room and stay in Windsor until you sober up…not a good look to get locked up for DUI and underage drinking back in the States)
10. I would never go to Detroit…and why not? Because you saw an episode of Detroit 187? It’s called dramatic license for a reason, get it together. All I’m saying is don’t judge based on the little information you have. I have great memories of growing up there and I always have a good time when I visit now. Truth be told, I barely scratched the surface of all the things to do.
Festivals? Check. From the jazzfest to the hoedown, there’s something for everybody.
Concerts? You bet. Somebody is always performing at any given venue on any given date.
Culture? Of course! Museums, the Orchestra, and plays of every kind.
Sports teams? Yes, all major sports teams are represented in the D and sometimes they even win.
Education? Yup. And you don’t necessarily have to go to a private school to get it.
By the way, that show got canned.