Seven things you should be concerned about besides the stupid Ford Field lights

Why do people who live in downtown Detroit always complain about stupid shit? I can’t recycle the way I want! I can’t ride my bike on Belle Isle the way I want! When you sign a lease to live in the Merchants Loft at Gilbert Row or whatever the fuck it’s called, is there a complaint minimum?

There’s a petition to bring down the lights atop Ford Field because it’s too purple for many downtown residents’ liking. (Signing petitions on the internet always works.) I say keep the lights, because they’ve done a really good job of illuminating the privilege a lot of people have in this town.

Privilege! The “p” word. Notice I didn’t say “white privilege,” because downtown is quite diverse. But there is a concept of “downtown privilege” – this idea that all of the powers that be should bend and bow to the precious downtown residents. The air of superiority is thick; you can hear the “my taxes pay for this” commentary miles further than you can see the damn lights.

Does downtown privilege blind downtown residents to literally everything else going on in Detroit? It sure seems like it sometimes. I’ve yet to see petitions address these other lingering concerns, such as:

Schools. A rich, dumb blonde from Grand Rapids is about to destroy what’s left of public education in this city and y’all motherfuckers are worried about some lights.


Crime. You can’t drive a Dodge Challenger in Detroit and y’all motherfuckers are worried about some lights.

Immigration. You could be signing a petition to make Detroit a sanctuary city since a ton of immigrants (and a ton of Muslim immigrants) live here, but instead y’all motherfuckers are worried about some lights.

The health and livelihoods of neighborhoods outside downtown. Oh wait, I keep forgetting – people that live downtown only care about downtown, and y’all motherfuckers are worried about some lights.

A billionaire asking Wayne County for an unspecified “credit” for a jail proposal. Never mind the fact that a wealthy white man wanting to build a jail in a poor, black city is 1,000 levels of problematic, but the fact that taxpayers may once again be on the hook for a development at the hands of someone who is more than capable of paying for it himself should also be troubling…but y’all motherfuckers are worried about some lights.

Actual pollution. Did y’all see all that shit in the Detroit River just now? How about the incinerator fumes? The fact that an entire ZIP code still lives in the shadow of the Marathon plant? But y’all motherfuckers are worried about some lights.

Your choice to live in a big city, and the ramifications that come with it. People that live in Times Square probably hate New Year’s Eve, but they know that shit comes like clockwork. OK, wait – you probably want a daily example, right? People that live in L.A. hate traffic. People that live in Chicago hate finding a place to park. People that live in Atlanta hate other drivers when an inch of snow falls on the ground. You’re not in Shelby Township anymore, Sharon! Y’all wanted Detroit to be this big, progressive, booming metropolis, and that’s exactly what you’re going to get. 

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