While interviewing Detroit Mayor Dave Bing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos managed to connect the racial discord over the death of Trayvon Martin with Detroit‘s financial woes and question if racism is behind the city’s struggles.
Stephanopoulos mentioned President Obama comment’s made on Friday regarding race, before referencing “an African-American reporter” from the Washington Post who wrote that “hostile white suburbs” did little to prevent Detroit’s demise.
“And it comes against the backdrop – we saw the president’s comments on race on Friday. Over the last 50 years, Detroit has gone from more than 80 percent white to more than 80 percent black city,” Stephanopoulos said.
“And Keith Richberg, an African-American reporter from the Washington Post points out Detroit is one of the most racially polarized cities in America.”
Stephanopoulos then quotes from a column Richberg wrote:
“Older Detroiters are correct that the city was surrounded by a ring of often hostile white suburbs in a largely conservative state that had little time for a poor, destitute, Democratic and black city. The governor’s appointment of an emergency financial manager is again seen as a hostile racist takeover by the state over the city’s elected black leadership.”
To his credit, Mayor Bing was having none of it. “Well, I don’t want to make this a black and white issue,” he responded. “It’s a financial issue. And it’s green.”
Bing then added that he didn’t want to “stir the pot and bring up all kinds of historically racial issues,” saying that “we have got to get beyond that.”
“You know, the polarization between our city and our suburbs is something that’s been going on for the last 60 years,” he continued. “We have got to change it.”
The exchange begins at the 6:30 mark in the video below.