Year of Gratitude - Day 10 - Detroit Area Diversity

The Detroit area is incredibly diverse. I never appreciated that until I started traveling. Here are some of the reasons why I feel lucky to have been in an area with so many different people in close proximity.
  • The community I grew up in was a very Polish area of Detroit originally. Now it is a mix of white, black and Middle Eastern folks. 
  • I went to Tennessee once and hear a young, gay man use a racial slur. I went from party girl to "Wait, what did you just say?" My friend, a Detroit ex-pat who was hosting me for the night, and I sat him down and set him straight (not literally). We highlighted the fact that his community was facing heavy discrimination, just as African Americans had, and that he needed to be more mindful.
  • In Detroit, we talk about race all the time in honest ways. I guess, really, Detroit talks about everything in an honest way. It's probably why I'd rather be nowhere else than Southeast Michigan.
  • When September 11, 2001 happened, I was at the University of Michigan-Dearborn working for the student newspaper on campus. I believe it was either deadline day or the day before and I was in the office early and saw a couple students from campus gathered around a television with what appeared to be a very disturbing disaster going on. I asked what they were watching and in a totally surreal reply, they told me New York was being attacked. As we stood there together, the second airplane hit the other tower. We all flinched. Shit was going down. After that, the campus changed, EVERYTHING changed. Perhaps one of the many amazing parts of my UM-Dearborn experience was the fact we did not alienate our Middle Eastern community. I learned so much about religion, racism, jihad, politics and history because of what happened that day. I attribute that to having a very mixed and vibrant campus community at Dearborn.
  • Did you know that top quality pizza and Middle Eastern cuisine are both very difficult to match outside of Southeastern Michigan? Now you do. Plus, there's great sushi, Ethiopian, Cuban, Polish, Mexican and French offerings as well.

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