Tea and cookies: A daily tradition in England, and now a symbol of racial tension in the neverending political battle here in Detroit.
Minister Malik Shabazz, the local chairman of the New Black Panther Party who was once unwittingly interviewed on "The Daily Show" and publicly threatened he'd burn Detroit down, is one of the few leading the charge against Detroit's emergency manager. It's easy to say "few" because Shabazz and the same 30 or so others (including the traffic-stoppers) in his camp have been protesting everything remotely related to progress in getting the city back on its feet.
Shabazz attempted to deliver baggies of Oreos and teabags to members of the Detroit City Council and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing for their role in allowing emergency manager Kevyn Orr, the guy who steered Chrysler's bankruptcy, to take the city's reins. The teabags, because taxation without representation. The Oreos, according to Motor City Muckraker:
“There’s nothing wrong with being born white,” Shabazz told me. “But if you’re black, why are you acting white on the inside?”
Mind you the Oreos are Double Stuf so I guess certain black politicians are twice as white on the inside? I don't know.
I do know that this is probably the silliest thing that the anti-emergency manager crowd has done yet and does nothing to make Detroit a better place to live. We've talked before about the boiling over between old and new Detroit and it's this kind of attitude that keep people silent and divided, rather than generate conversations that we need to be having.
Shabazz and his crew know their days are numbered so they have to reach back to increasingly obsolete insults to drum up a little media attention. But at least on paper, Detroit's prospects are brightening since Orr's appointment: Moody's improved the city's credit rating just days after he stepped into office, and despite the earlier claims of some city council members, the city's populace hasn't been enslaved yet. (Yes, slavery has come up in public discussion here).
If this isn't enough to make your head spin, another self-appointed activist — who is facing federal charges of his own — has filed an injunction to keep the Detroit City Council from having meetings under emergency manager control. Except that the first thing the new emergency manager did was retain the City Council and their salaries so they could work together on running the city.
[Photo via @MattHelms]