Paul Kersey, Escape from Detroit: The Collapse of America’s Black Metropolis, SBPDL Books, 2012, 370 pp., $11.51 (soft cover)
In 21st century America, laugher is sometimes the only way to keep from crying. This is especially true in the case of what was once the “Paris of the West,” the city of Detroit, and there is no more thorough, devastating, and hilarious critique of the city and its myths than Escape from Detroit, from Paul Kersey of StuffBlackPeopleDontLike.com.
Escape from Detroit is a compilation of Mr. Kersey’s articles on what was once one of the most cultured, productive, and prosperous cities in the country. To begin with the worst, the book is uneven—there are occasional typos and formatting errors, and a jerky pace that comes from the stand-alone nature of internet postings. Mr. Kersey clearly writes in bursts of passion, and he would have benefitted from a professional editor.
However, Escape from Detroit, almost despite itself, combines these disparate commentaries into a cohesive whole that blows apart every assumption underlying how our society works. Mr. Kersey combines his investigative reporting with the illumination of theoretical concepts. Chief among them is his concept of Black Run America (BRA), a term which takes on new meaning in the Age of Obama. Mr. Kersey does not mean that blacks literally rule America—though they are running such things as the Department of Justice and the Washington DC Metro, with predictable results. What he means is that in America “every institution is entirely devoted to protecting and promoting the interests of Black people above all others.”
Nowhere is this more relevant than in Detroit, a center of black political power since the 1974 election of Coleman Young, to whom Mr. Kersey lovingly dedicates this book. Mr. Young perfectly exemplified the “we win, they lose” mentality of many black politicians by noting, “I’m a Negro first and a Democrat second.” His election set the tone for the kind of mismanagement Detroit would enjoy for years to come.
A city on the verge of bankruptcy that was considering closing 18 out of 23 branches of the public library recently spent $1,092 each for 20 new chairs for one library branch. The public school system spends more than $15,000 per pupil each year but the population is almost 50 percent illiterate. This is not surprising, since the former president of Detroit Public Schools, Otis Mathis, was barely literate. He resigned after allegedly fondling himself in meetings with other school officials.
Mr. Kersey also makes it clear that blacks have no one to blame but themselves. He frames the story of Detroit with two images. The first is a statue of the Spirit of Detroit, which was dedicated in 1958 and symbolized God and family—appropriate themes for a prosperous white American city. The second image is the Joe Louis memorial, a giant bronze fist that commemorates the “Brown Bomber” who knocked out Max Schmeling in 1938 in what was widely interpreted as a victory for the black race. As Mr. Kersey notes, Detroit is the closest thing America has to a city where white people simply do not matter. The fist of black power rules, figuratively and literally.
Of course, conservatives don’t understand what that means. Rush Limbaugh famously blamed Detroit’s failures on “liberalism.” Thomas Sowell would blame unions and “statist” economic policies; the late Jack Kemp was convinced that Enterprise Zones that would save Detroit. Mr. Kersey delights in puncturing these absurd theories, pointing out that the similarly union- and Democrat-dominated city of Pittsburgh—with its large white majority—is widely considered one of the best places to live in America.
Liberals blame Detroit’s decline on the collapse of the American auto industry, but Mr. Kersey notes that Pittsburgh seems to have recovered rather well from the decline of the steel industry. Detroit’s failure or salvation is not a matter of the Invisible Hand, but what Mr. Kersey calls the Visible Black Hand of Economics.
The system has tried to postpone collapse as long as possible. The Obama Administration’s bailout of the auto industry, federal welfare programs, and giant wealth transfers from the productive white areas of Michigan are all attempts to delay the inevitable. We are also treated to hilarious advertisements with celebrities such as Eminem and Clint Eastwood that try to boost Detroit’s image as a comeback city. Rachel Maddow runs pieces on the budding scientists and astronauts who would surely emerge from Detroit’s schools, if only we could get them a bit more money, just one more time. The propaganda never ends.
Despite it all, the crisis in what was once the Motor City is coming to a head. Detroit has barely avoided an outright takeover by the state as it flirts with bankruptcy. As expected, the debate in the mainstream media has not been about the city government’s incompetence, but the racial ramifications of a white Republican state government administering a black, Democratic city. “Michigan is the new Mississippi,” warns one writer.
As Mr. Kersey points out, this is essentially correct. Like Mississippi, a substantial black population needs white leadership. Detroit headlines continue to scream about the inability of police to perform basic duties and even the city’s inability to keep the streetlights on.
Mr. Kersey is not dealing with metapolitics, political philosophy, or abstract theorizing, but with the practical results of ignoring reality. Ideas have consequences, as establishment conservatives are fond of saying, and there is no more important concept than the one Sam Francis destroyed his career by expressing: “The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people.” Or, as Mr. Kersey puts it, the death of Detroit was sealed “because Black people lacked the ability to innovate on their own. They lacked the ability even to sustain the city.”
As the mainstream media broadcasts the news that the majority of births in the United States are now to non-whites, “colorblind” conservatives and what Mr. Kersey calls Disingenuous White Liberals are betting that the civilization that was created in North America can somehow be transferred to peoples that had nothing to do with creating it and do not identify with it. Escape from Detroit is about the practical consequences of this illusion: the ruin of what was once one of the great cities of the world. Detroit is never coming back; it is a monument to decades of willful ignorance about the facts of racial reality.
Dreary as this all is, I believe it is cause for optimism. As Mr. Kersey says, “History is about to begin again.” In some of the largest cities in the country, the system is beyond salvation. This offers new opportunities for changing the debate and starting a new movement that might just save the white race—and keep the streetlights on. Detroit is hopeless—and that should give us hope.