Destruction of a Citizenry: How Failing Schools, Violence and Joblessness have Entrenched Detroit in Poverty
Tamm, John Bradford
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Detroit continues to be a dark mark on the map of the United States. With a vast portion of the population suffering from poverty and others suffering merely from living in a blighted area, Detroit begs to be given more attention. Frequently, it is greeted with complete ambivalence. Instead of people looking at how the city could be improved, many outside the community laugh at how the city should be done away with or that it is a lost cause and should be fully abandoned. Another segment of the population believes that the problem of Detroit is solely a problem for those who live there. They see the deplorable neighborhoods and assume that it the result of those who reside in them. While there are problems pertaining to the residents, these problems can generally be connected to the actions of the powerful, which have limited the options of those in such poor communities. It is not simply the problem or fault of any single group. But that does not mean the burden of the problem can be shifted away from anyone. Instead, the issues of Detroit must be addressed together. That is, single problems should not be given too much importance in isolation. By considering all of the issues together, soon the improvement from one sector will benefit the other. Inversely, by not taking the integral problems together, Detroit is likely to continue to struggle as minimal improvements are marked by setbacks from other areas of disparities. The problems that I have highlighted in this paper are extremely large and are in no way simple to resolve. Some of these issues have crippled other cities for even longer than Detroit has suffered, but none of these problems are impossible to defeat. School systems have improved, crime has been reduced, and jobs have been gained in countless other regions of the United States. The combination of problems obviously makes for more difficulty, but there is still no reason that improving Detroit should be viewed as a futile mission. Although the United States has always characterized itself as being individualistic, regularly opposing social programs, government must play a large part in resolving all of the problems listed in this paper. Without large, organized, and well-funded support, Detroit will continue to stall in each attempt to regain control over poverty. Grassroots programs, though beneficial, are just too small to make a sizable difference in any reasonable amount of time. Instead, more energy should be directed by these groups to pressure the government and organize public support for such programs. The issue of poverty in Detroit does not affect everyone directly, but the pain of its residents should be enough for those living even great distances from the city's borders to care and regard Detroit as a genuine problem that should merit support. Too often, issues that are not seen daily are not addressed. Even those who visit Detroit on a regular basis have dismal hopes that anything could possibly be done to save the city's citizens. This is not true, as many examples of improvement have been detailed in this paper and are generally well known. Schools must be reformed and emphasis family involvement. Without the family, there are far less motivation for students to perform at their best. We have to make sure children are safe in their communities and not the victims of crime at such young ages. Instead, they must be allowed to focus on their work, graduate, and even pursue further studies so that they can compete for jobs that require higher skill. Crime has to be dealt with by improving communities. While prison reform and improved policed enforcement is essential, we must first create a better environment that is less conducive to illegal activity. If a person can dump a burnt out car in a residential lot with no action, a murderer could just as easily dump a body in the trunk. Crimes must be solved and the general feeling of lawlessness must be removed. By giving people more hope, fewer crimes will be committed and safer communities will lead to more opportunities. The lack of jobs has had a significant impact on the downfall of Detroit. When jobs are not available, people move away; those who remain lose hope. In the current system, it is difficult to quickly create new jobs. The government must foster these business opportunities and help aid citizens in training so they are more employable. Leaving citizens to fend for themselves is not productive and is the major cause of crime and hopelessness that currently grips the city. The benefits of turning Detroit from a gigantic, dangerous slum of little hope and opportunity would benefit the entire region. By improving the landscape of the city, Detroit would once again be an economic hub that could even signal another global change in industry as it did when Henry Ford introduced the Model T.