Progressive white people confronting racial divide

Progressive white people confronting racial divide
June 12, 2016 Michigan Radio
Claire Nelson, Consul General of the Urban Consulate in Detroit, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. LESTER GRAHAM / MICHIGAN RADIO

By Lester Graham | Michigan Radio

Racial tensions are growing as the perceptions and evidence of racial inequality are growing.

Many of Detroit’s residents see billionaires buying up downtown buildings where new retailers open shop, selling items most of Detroit’s impoverished citizens cannot afford. There’s a marked divide between that prosperity in downtown and the poverty in the neighborhoods.

That divide is stark in the Cass Corridor. New residents, often white, are moving in. Rents are rising. New restaurants and boutique shops are popping up. The old residents, often black, are being pushed out.

The Urban Consulate is right in the middle of that divide. According to its website, it is a network of parlors for city dwellers & travelers seeking urban exchange. That exchange is one of ideas and projects that encourage artists, small businesses, and others who want to do well and do good in the city.

Lately the parlors have tackled race. Many of the more progressive white participants are becoming aware of their own unconscious bias.

Claire Nelson is Consul General of the Urban Consulate.

Stateside’s Lester Graham in partnership with the Detroit Journalism Cooperative talked to her about the Consulate and those conversations.


Claire Nelson is Consul General of the Urban Consulate.

Support for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative on Michigan Radio comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative, the Ford Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 


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