Disgusting isn’t it? Before you write this off as being a terrible product of racism in the South, I want to point out that this was right here in Southeast Michigan in 1950. This is a sign* from a time when neighborhood associations in Detroit and in the suburbs took active steps to prevent African Americans from moving into their neighborhoods. In fact, this structural racism was so rampant, that mortgage companies identified areas by color codes to determine eligibility for loans. If you lived in an area that had African Americans living there or even the danger of such a thing, you were not getting a loan. These actions contributed to the limited mobility of African Americans in Southeast Michigan and an historic decline in the property of these areas because people were refused the necessary resources to maintain them.
What’s the point?
People within neighborhood associations in the 1950′s came together to discuss the problem of an “invasion of colored” in their neighborhood. They believed taking this action was not only right but justified and advertised their position on flyers like this to generate support from their neighbors. This is a very sad part of our history and I believe many would say that it couldn’t or wouldn’t happen today.
In the Snow Woods Neighborhood Association in Dearborn, Michigan, I believe we are in danger of this very thing happening again. And I am speaking out against it.
Earlier this year, pursuant to a grant from Wayne County, the City of Dearborn opened new tennis courts and basketball courts in Ten Eyck park, which is in Snow Woods Neighborhood Association. Since these basketball hoops have been installed, there have been many long and emotional discussions about the impact of the hoops. Specifically, the main concern appears to be that these basketball hoops attract African American teenage boys (presumably from outside of the neighborhood), which increases the danger to the other people at the park and is a threat. There have also been contentions that having African American boys playing basketball in the park somehow decreases the value and saleability of the homes surrounding the park. From everything I have seen, these arguments are completely unsubstantiated.
Rumor has it that a group of concerned Snow Woods Neighborhood Association Residents will attend the upcoming meeting on Wednesday September 19th, 2012 and make a motion for the association to request that the City of Dearborn remove the hoops. I present this proposal as a modern day attempt by a group of people to take action through their neighborhood association against the recent “colored invasion” like in the flyer above. Simply put, it’s wrong.
I am asking those who live in the Snow Woods Neighborhood Association to attend the meeting this week and speak out against this blatant attempt to whitewash our neighborhood. Anyone who lives in the association is a member and it takes a payment of $10 for dues to become a voting member. The voting rights are good for a year. Find out more about membership into SWNA here. The meeting will be held on September 19th at 7 PM at the Ten Eyck Admin Bldg. in Board Room (#4).
It is very possible that the Snow Woods Neighborhood Association will make a statement on Wednesday about how it feels about a diverse and welcoming community. I hope that statement is one of inclusion and shows that the messages of the flyer above are ones we soundly reject.