Pardon me, but I am a bit sensitive to and offended by Detroit posers. Those who claim Detroit when convenient but fail to sincerely embrace it. This applies to people, and also to businesses that include “Detroit” in their name and advertising, yet they are based in a suburb of Detroit. 

If your address is in Troy or Ferndale, then Detroit shouldn’t be included in your name or presentation. It’s disingenuous and misleading. Those who don’t see anything wrong with this cite that Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, and therefore,  ripe for the cherry-picking.  I disagree. Especially, when so many non-Detroiters have been loud, longtime critics of a city they cautiously watch from afar, relying on the stories, opinions, and perspectives of those who were equally unfamiliar with a place that others justifiably call home. 

As a lifelong Detroiter who has been here for the good, bad and indifferent, I’ve endured the criticism of Detroit and Detroiters being labeled everything from the “Murder Capital” to “Trash” by those who don’t live (and possibly have never visited) here.  After years of holding up a city we love and live in, native Detroiters aren’t obligated to share what we can rightfully claim. 

A change in perception and presentation of the city (for reasons worthy of its own story) brought a wave of renewed interest when Detroit was repackaged as the hotbed of opportunity and hot happenings. Those who may have only once ventured down for a game or concert, slowly dipped their toes into select and predetermined areas of the city, and then somehow felt entitled to stake claim, even while driving back to their suburban homes.

Businesses saw an opportunity to jump on a bandwagon that they didn’t own or invest in by plastering Detroit in their names, or conveniently slipping it into their advertising as though it somehow enhanced their appeal to those who were trying to be hip. To me, it’s offensive and insulting. Rep where you occupy.


If you love (or even like) this city enough to claim it, then love (or like) it enough to legitimately be here. Detroit is not, nor should be treated, as a city of convenience. We don’t need the support or assistance of those who falsely support something they know little about firsthand. 

I notice people who say they are from Detroit, then quickly clarify it by citing their suburban location. “It’s the same thing,” they say. No, it is not. Visiting here, admiring, or being intrigued with Detroit does not make you a Detroiter, honorary or otherwise. Neither does working, paying taxes, or spending money here.  I’ve done those things in other cities, but can’t rightfully claim that city as a result. Detroit is no different.

Wearing Detroit merch (probably produced by a suburban company) does not a Detroiter make. Detroit for all its wear and tear is an authentic city often misunderstood by those who dare venture here. Those who respond any other way than “Eastside” or “Westside” (Northend or Southwest) when asked which part of Detroit they are from, are not Detroiters.

If you were born here, you are a native Detroiter. If you live within the city limits, you are a Detroiter. Everyone else is just a fan. My definition of a “Detroiter” applies to companies, as well. Represent yourself and your business accordingly.

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