— Counter-Currents —

The Decline of Detroit:
An American Mythos


Detroit today

3,936 words

Much ink has been spilled on the decline of Detroit, once nicknamed the “Paris of the West.” Conservatives credit its failures to Democratic leadership while Leftists of all flavors conclude it’s Big Racism: America’s largest industry. It is no secret that Detroit has had Democratic mayors and liberal politicians for several consecutive decades. Moreover, it’s no secret that America has a past of troubled race relations. Since neither liberal politicians nor racial animosity are declining in prevalence, this problem is one that needs to be addressed. Further, if properly tackled it might lead to deeper insights about the totality of metropolitan decline in America. Thus, the question: What happened to Detroit?

A Tale of Two Cities

In the early decades of the twentieth century, due in large part to Henry Ford, Detroit became one of the busiest and most populous cities in the world. In addition to her well-known automotive success, Detroit had a prospering defense industry leading up to and during the Second World War. Between the growth of these two enterprises, there simply were not enough workers. Theoretically, this would cause an increase in bargaining power for the men with an ensuing increase in wages. However, if one has been following capitalism’s exploits, one already knows this was never going to happen. Instead, blacks were handed a memo – perhaps read aloud [2] to them by the white messenger – and tens of thousands began arriving in Detroit every year.

The city of Minneapolis, one-half of what is known as the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the other half being the capital, Saint Paul, was founded in 1856. It grew around Saint Anthony Falls, the highest waterfall on the Mississippi River, from where the early pioneers generated much of the power for their lumber and milling industries. From the Minneapolis Wiki [3]:

Millers have used hydropower elsewhere since the 1st century B.C., but the results in Minneapolis between 1880 and 1930 were so remarkable, the city has been described as “the greatest direct-drive waterpower center the world has ever seen.”

Cadwallader C. Washburn, founder of what is now General Mills, and Charles A. Pillsbury, founder of – believe it or not – The Pillsbury Company, were revolutionizing the flour industry. Minnesota’s flour products were considered to be the best in the world at the time.

Each of these cities, then, were the epicenter for their respective industries.

To give the dear reader an idea of their quality of life (housing costs here [4], inflation calculated here [5]):[1] [6]


Demolition/Demographic Men

In the decades after Abraham Lincoln traitorously abandoned his desire to expatriate all blacks to West Africa [8] and instead emancipated 3.5 million slaves [9], laying the groundwork for the Thirteenth [10] and Fourteenth [11] Amendments to the US Constitution, ninety percent [12] of all American blacks still lived in the South, only 6,000 of which made up a portion of Detroit’s [13] 465,000 residents. Crunching the numbers, Detroit in 1910 was 98.8 percent white, which is illegally homogeneous by twenty-first century standards. Quickly, by 1930, Detroit found itself “home” to 120 thousand blacks, climbing to 7.7 percent of the total population.

Detroit peaked [14]circa [14] 1950 [14] with a population of 1.85 million people, making it the fourth-largest city in America. Of this group, 1.55 million were white, which was approximately 83.6 percent of the total population. The number of blacks in the city had ballooned to 300,000, or 16.2 percent. A young white boy in 1910 would notice that only one in one hundred of his neighbors were black, but, as an adult, almost two out of ten of his neighbors would be black.

This surge came in the midst of the Great Migration [15], wherein approximately six million blacks left the rural South for cities in the Northeast, Midwest, and Western America now that they were no longer allowed to be slaves [16]. The white population of Detroit grew 237 percent between 1910 and 1950, but the black population grew by 4,908 percent – almost fiftyfold.

Minneapolis differed substantially, although it, too, grew rapidly. The entire state of Minnesota contained only 1.75 million people in 1900 but had more than 3.41 million by 1960. However, their immigration influx was almost entirely German, Norwegian, Irish, and Swedish – what Ben Franklin would call a swarthy group [17]. The city of Minneapolis housed [18] 522,000 people in 1950, of which 513,000 were white, equaling an illicit 98.4 percent. Only 6,807 blacks were living in the city at the time – a population too small to fill the Minneapolis Auditorium [19].

Minneapolis and Detroit, while much different, had similar trajectories in the mid-twentieth century. Both economies saw quasi-exponential growth and a good white man of moral character [20] could easily provide for a family on a single income. Quality of life in these two respective areas was as good as it got.

Today, Detroit is the swampy grundle of the American body on a 105-degree day.[2] [21]


The median income and median cost of a house in Minneapolis has increased by 110 and 197 percent, respectively, since 1950. This is a bit unfortunate for those who’d like to buy a house in Minneapolis, but that happens when white people want to live together in a place, even if some are hipster troglodytes.

For Detroit, the median income and median cost of a house has dropped by 21 and 34 percent, respectively.

Additionally, Minneapolis currently has a poverty rate [23] of 20.7 percent, compared to 37.9 percent for Detroit. Juxtaposing the seventy-year decay of Detroit with the prosperity of Minneapolis, it must be asked: Was it the Democrats or the haunting specter of racism?

Democratic Leadership

The conservative argument, verbatim, is that “if you want to see what happens when you let only Democrats run a city, look at Detroit.” What would a native of the Twin Cities think of this? What would the troglodytic, septum-pierced deviants covered in tattoos, zipping around Uptown or Northeast Minneapolis on their two-thousand-dollar bicycles, think of this?

The vast majority of the citizens in the Minneapolis metro claim to at least be liberal, whatever that means in their time and place, and their apolitical neighbors fill out a Democratic ballot when pressed at the voting booth. Further, Bernie Sanders trounced Hillary Clinton in the Minnesota Democratic Caucuses [24] of 2016, which was centered around the Twin Cities and the universities of St. Cloud and Duluth. Moreover, Democratic Caucus votes were double that of Republican votes in the state of Minnesota.

Regarding the historical voting patterns of each city, starting with the first Democrat elected in the 1940s, nearly identical trends arise. Of the 74 years since 1945, Minneapolis has had a Democratic mayor [25] for 64 years, which is 86.5 percent of the time. It can also be noted that Minneapolis had a Socialist Party mayor named Thomas Van Lear from 1917-19. Detroit, in the 71 years since 1948, has had a Democratic mayor [26] for 59 years, or 83.1 percent of the time. Yet, despite favoring Democratic leaders, Minneapolis is a sanctuary compared to Detroit. Perhaps the argument can consequently be shifted: The leaders of Detroit are more Left-wing than those of Minneapolis. This writer is both dubious and curious: How could one quantify such a claim?

To contrast with Minnesota, Michigan voters favored Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries as well, but only by 1.4 points over Hillary Clinton. In Minnesota, Sanders had an advantage of 23.4 points. Additionally, as a percentage of their respective GDPs:

A conservative might rebut, “But hey, look! Michigan spends more on education, that’s a huge waste of their money!” This would imply that throwing cash at the students of Detroit, 83 percent of whom are black [31], is wasteful. To that one might retort, “What are you, some kind of racist?”

Assuming education spending is detrimental, a discrepancy of less than one percent would not explain the bulk of Detroit’s foibles. Moreover, the importance of “good” teachers has been studied. The quality of a teacher [32] is largely irrelevant once the student is in his or her teens; i.e., a teacher can have a drastic effect with young’uns, but as the student’s genetic predispositions become more crystallized, we find negligible differences as a result of teaching prowess. And, to address the some-students-can’t-even-afford-pencils mantra: Aristotle didn’t have a pencil when he was studying at Plato’s Academy. But seriously, more money is spent [33] on black students than their white peers. The quality of the student is paramount in classroom success.

The writer asks rhetorically, does the extra 0.5 percent in Michigan’s healthcare and pension spending explain why Detroit has the third-highest murder rate and second-highest violent crime rate [34] in America?

Minneapolis history renders the conservative argument vacuous. So, was a racist poltergeist the cause of Detroit’s decline?

Redlining at 1968 RPM

Racism is a word used to describe a near-infinite number of events, behaviors, and ideas. However, redlining should theoretically be one of the more tangible instances of overtly racial action because it is measurable and written with ink. The dear reader, scholar that he is, has undoubtedly heard of redlining, but it is the act of barring access to specific neighborhoods for a certain group; in this case, eliminating blacks’ ability to buy or rent property in white communities through restrictive covenants.

Before this is investigated, the writer asks: What is abhorrent about redlining? Why is it such an immoral act for a community of whites to say, “No, you can live anywhere else, but this area is ours.” It is utterly normal for blacks to desire being around only their own [35]. Why, then, is it absurd for whites to want such an environment?

Those questions aside, how bigoted was Detroit? If it were chock-full of racist whites, foaming at the mouth like rabid pitbulls trying to keep blacks out, we should see a particularly low rate of black homeownership[3] [36] in Michigan compared to the rest of the country. Of course, we do not. [37]Blacks were clearly better equipped to buy houses in Detroit (67 percent of Michigan blacks [38] lived in Detroit in 1950; today it’s about 38 percent [39]) when compared with the whole of the country. So why is redlining perceived as such a devastating practice? The worst offender on the list is New York, with 11 percent black householders compared with 37.9 percent across the state. By 1990, it had climbed to 24.7 percent for blacks, while the state’s rate rose to 52.2 percent. Relatively speaking, that is not a large improvement.

On the nationwide Redlining Question, one would have to show that areas with many instances of restrictive covenants correlated strongly with low black homeownership throughout the broader area, not just the individual neighborhood being restricted. Additionally, it also needs to be shown that this restriction not only correlated with, but caused a general lack of black success. Detroit’s case for the perils of redlining is particularly weak. For every decade above, black homeownership in Michigan is higher than the national mean for blacks by an average of 7.3 percent.

Minnesota is an altogether different case. Almost fifty percent of all Minnesota blacks owned houses in 1950, yet only 24.8 percent did in 2018 [40] – despite passing a state law in 1953 [41] and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 [42] prohibiting restrictive covenants. Why did Minnesota have such a high rate of black homeownership during her redlining peak?

This writer’s hypothesis is that the blacks capable of moving out of the South into Minnesota – which clearly wanted nothing to do with them – were much smarter and more competent than the average black involved in the Great Migration. Almost half of these blacks owned a house in a state which, only a couple of decades prior, had sterilized thousands in Faribault State Hospital after passing a eugenics law [43] (not against blacks specifically, but it says much about their collective mindset), had a stint with the KKK in the 1920s, and began restrictive covenants in 1910 [43] – a few of which weren’t discovered until 2017 [41].

The blacks who made their way to Minnesota and managed to buy a house with all of that going against them must have represented the talented tenth of all blacks, just as the black scholar and Pan-Africanist W. E. B. Du Bois hypothesized in 1903 [44]. Du Bois believed this talent was mostly derived from continuing education and political action. This writer believes it to originate more fundamentally in genetic predispositions.

One can quantify this simply [45]: With a mean IQ of 85 and a standard deviation of ~13 (see 100 years of IQ research [46] and a recent article [47] from Steve Sailer), this would place the talented tenth of blacks (TTBs) at a skew-right mean of ~101: just about the standard for whites. Therefore, the talented, conscientious blacks mostly fit in with normal whites during this time, or at least they weren’t causing such a ruckus that whites abandoned their homelands to avoid any proximity to The Enrichers.

The reason black homeownership rates dropped so precipitously in Minnesota is because of how quickly housing values increased in Minneapolis, a sign that the economy continued its explosion, and the increasingly normal body of black immigration was never able to keep pace.

Detroit was artificially inflated with a black population so rapidly that the white Detroit natives preferred to flee rather than worry about their flourishing economy. Minnesota saw drastically slower black migration in the twentieth century, giving whites time to maintain their economic foothold. Moreover, the more normal blacks arriving in post-redlining Minnesota were largely incapable of thriving in her white economy, at least in comparison to their TTB counterparts from the mid-century. Minnesota blacks went from predominantly TTBs to starkly mediocre, bringing their living standards back in line with the rest of the country.

If one were to be an abominable person and assume, for argument’s sake, that redlining did not significantly harm the black population, one would expect that the current rate of black homeownership countrywide resembles the past. Indeed, the current rate of black homeownership [48] was 41.4 percent in 2017 and 34.5 percent in 1950. The African-American population has had more than fifty years to grow after redlining was outlawed, yet the rate has hardly budged.

So, if pressed to call one state more “racist” than the other, one might lean toward Minnesota. Additionally, it could be argued (easily with the data for Michigan[4] [49] and Minnesota) that redlining positively correlated with the success, not failure, of the broader population. Redlining was outlawed more than fifty years ago and blacks still cannot match their white counterparts, so restrictive covenants do not help us understand Detroit’s demise. The question stands.

What happened to Detroit?

White Flight

White flight is a phenomenon wherein whites will evacuate or create new towns to avoid living in close proximity to non-whites, particularly blacks. It is so ubiquitous that even Wikipedia has documented [50] its occurrences in Africa, Europe, Oceania, and North America – almost every place in which it could possibly happen.

The mid-twentieth century was the expiration of legal segregation, and most of the politicians in wholly white areas – Europe and the northern United States – became increasingly queasy and outspoken against Jim Crow, apartheid, and whites-only water fountains, as if it is utterly preposterous that a square foot of the planet’s surface be set aside for whites. However, those who were not in favor of ending these segregationist policies were the ones living near blacks. This must be repeated. The whites who rubbed elbows with blacks were the ones who instituted legal segregation and fought for its continuation across the globe. The whites who had no regular interaction with non-TTBs (or any blacks at all) were the only whites opining for desegregation.

Now the reader begins to see the bigger picture: Detroit’s chief problem since 1950 is that whites want nothing to do with her. Detroit’s capitalists filled their factories with blacks, and the native whites, watching their neighborhoods get carpet-bombed with seemingly foreign bodies, began creating suburbs outside of the city. The capitalists got their labor, but at what cost?

A Brief History of Violence

In 1942 [51], a mostly peaceful protest of at least 1,000 whites occurred in Detroit, kickstarted by the prospect of black families moving into the new Sojourner Truth Projects. Recall that Detroit contained only 6,000 blacks in 1910, but 300,000 by 1950. Whites did not want competition for their jobs and most certainly did not want blacks in their neighborhoods.

The following year [52], Detroit’s white population again protested the rapid demographic changes in their neighborhoods. This time, however, it became riotous and lasted three days, and was not quelled until the Michigan National Guard was called. The result was 1,800 arrests, 433 injuries, and 34 deaths.

Remarkable, too, is that whites in Beaumont, Texas rioted for the same reason [53] just a week earlier, resulting in more than two hundred arrests, fifty injuries, and three deaths. The spark was the rumor of a black-on-white rape – although that was an absurd notion. Black guys never commit interracial crimes – except when blacks [54] choose white victims in 64 percent of robberies, 52 percent of assaults, and 59 percent of rapes. Whites choose 92, 97, and 95 percent white victims for these crimes, respectively.[5] [55]

Harlem blacks [56] followed suit and began rioting on August 1 of the same year, resulting from a rumor that a white policeman had killed a black soldier. There were six hundred arrests and six deaths. It’s clear to anyone with a room-temperature IQ that the riotous sentiments across the country were lying dormant and needed only weak catalysts. Blacks have not lost their desire to riot, but the deracinated white man no longer protests for overtly ethnic reasons.

In 1966 [57], seven blacks were gathered at an intersection, and the police, knowing what they do, asked them to disperse. Hundreds of rioters began arriving over the next two days until they were rained out. It doesn’t appear that there were any serious injuries or deaths.

Then in 1967 [58], police raided an unlicensed drinking club, finding a large party of 82 people and began arresting these layabouts. Several onlookers, in particular William Walter Scott III, a doorman whose father ran the club, incited violence against the police. In case it isn’t clear who started this riot, the crowd began looting the adjacent clothing store. Unfortunately, this kerfuffle began in the wee hours of July 23, a Sunday morning, and it took hours before the relevant authorities were alerted. This continued through July 28, ceasing only after the 82nd Airborne Division, 101st Airborne Division, the Michigan Army National Guard, the Michigan State Police, and the Detroit Police Department had become involved. The authorities sustained 16 casualties and 493 injuries, while the civilians suffered 696 injuries and 23 deaths.

Let us not forget that Martin Luther King, Jr., the patron saint of uppity blacks [59] (and whites, for that matter), was killed on April 4, 1968. Naturally, blacks across the country took to the street. More specifically, 111 cities began spontaneously rioting. Detroit’s was rather tame, resulting in only a single death out of the dozens across the country, but whites saw the writing on the wall. It had been over twenty years since whites first protested and rioted for their city, but Detroit’s leadership was going to let blacks continue to take her for their own.

To Conclude

In 1950 there were 1.55 million whites in Detroit. By 1960, more than 360,000 had flown the coop. Through the next decade, there were another 344,000. As if the mere appearance of blacks weren’t damning enough, blacks began rioting in the ‘60s because, well, that is what they do [60]. As a result of this behavior, a further 437,000 whites left during the ‘70s. By 2018, almost 95.7 percent of whites had deserted Detroit city – only 67,000 remain.

For Minneapolis, only 1.3 percent of their population was black in 1950; just under 7,000. While the number of blacks in Minnesota increased to 53,344 in 1980 [61], they were still only 1.3 percent of the state’s population. Minneapolis currently sits at a semi-manageable [62] (this link is maddening) 18.9 percent black.

In Detroit’s case, civil rights activists got what they wanted: black access to a white area. However, a peculiar thing occurred: Within a couple of decades, Detroit became the worst city in America.

Perhaps Detroit isn’t actually a bad area, only a black one. A better question might be, is Detroit an anomaly? Below are four European countries with median incomes [63] well below Detroit’s, plus a few of the whitest and blackest cities in the US, ordered by ascending murder rates per 100,000 (countries [64], cities [65]). [66]The worst of the white offenders is Springfield, Missouri, which has a murder rate of 9.5 per 100,000 people. This is well above the US average [67] of five. However, the least murderous majority-black city on the list is Flint, Michigan, with a rate of 33.4, which is 2.5 times higher than Springfield’s and 5.7 times the US average. St. Louis, on the other hand, has a murder rate that is 5.4 times higher than Springfield’s and is 15 times more murderous than Portland.

In hindsight, it appears the first word in Great Migration was used in only the numeric sense. Blacks were allowed to migrate en masse into several of the greatest American cities – and what has become of them?

The Good Blacks Paradox. Blacks are smart, competent, good people, which is why we need more of them in academia [68], corporations [69], sports [70], media [71], entertainment [72], communities [73], and our bedrooms [74]. However, neighborhoods and institutions that are predominantly black are worse in every quantifiable metric than ones predominantly white. Therefore, it’s imperative that we let blacks into white-dominated areas to help the bla-, er, to enrich the whites, who are doing better in every way but will benefit greatly from the addition of the blacks, who are failing miserably.

In this writer’s remarkably humble opinion, man does not shed his genetics when he steps on foreign soil. The answer to the Detroit Question: Its politicians failed to keep it sufficiently white. This answer provides us with a lens through which we can understand many of America’s major failures. Additionally, the implicit assumption when one asks why Detroit is Hell on Earth is that a predominantly black city should not be like Detroit. But why should this be assumed? Wakanda is a fiction.

White politicians gave blacks complete access to some of the world’s most prosperous cities, and within a few decades the country now has several slums hardly distinguishable from Haiti or Cameroon. As Teddy K. said [75], “the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and its consequences have been a disaster for the white race.”

The irony is that since this country’s elite are hellbent on turning America into various shades of brown [76], Minneapolis will come to resemble Detroit within a couple of decades should its current influx of Africans [77] continue.


[1] [78] Median income is from the same 1950 Census reports linked in the Demolition/Demographic Men section.

[2] [79] The current data [80] for the cost of a housing unit is specific to the city while the most precise data for 1950 included the whole state, so the two time periods are not perfectly comparable, but the trends are obvious.

[3] [81] 1950-1990 [82] (no data for 1960), 2000 [83]. I would have compared the black rate to the white rate directly, but the whites are hidden in the US total and do not have their own column.

[4] [84] As an aside, a particularly learned reader might make the case that the absence of redlining helped Detroit blacks later on, as sixty percent of them owned a house [85] in 2000. However, this is obviously a result of the incredible drop in household value and the subprime mortgage crisis [86]. Confirming this, the Detroit homeownership rate receded after the 2008 crash to 41 percent by 2016, which is identical to that of the African-American average.

[5] [87] This study is behind a paywall, but SciHub [88] opens it for free.