We are in Benton Harbor, Michigan, staying overnight in a motel to recoup enough energy to make it back to Milwaukee in the morning. I want to tell you about Cleveland, about Detroit and Ann Arbor. I want to tell you about Lucy and Lawrence, whom we met on the streets of Ann Arbor.
There will be more about all that but for now, when I’m so tired, I just want to mention this:
When Lucy says, “trash,” she is referring to human beings, human beings who look like her but are treated as if they were garbage. Her husband flinches, tries to talk over the moment.
There are some people in America today, right now on the streets of Michigan, who know that in many of their fellow citizens’ eyes, they are no better than trash. To be disposed of, of no consequence, better off disregarded.
At the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, a quarter of the students come from families with incomes of $250,000 or more, a sociologist tells us.
We are in Benton Harbor, Michigan, a city of 10,000 people, 90% of whom are black. A place in the United States of America in which black people had their government taken over by force of law in 2011. Their duly elected school board, their city council, their mayor, by order of the white governor, may meet but may not govern.
It’s 2015. In case you are wondering.