*The downward spiral of Detroit seemed like a forgone conclusion, according to the city’s former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, who stated that Detroiters “are going to begging for a [white] savior.”
Kirkpatrick’s remarks came during a private interview for “KMK, A Documentary of Kwame Kilpatrick,” a film by father-son duo Tim and Tobias Smith. The comments were made before Kilpatrick began serving a 28-year prison sentence on corruption charges, not to mention Mayor Mike Duggan becoming the Detroit’s first white mayor in 40 years.
The need for a white savior was spoken with more detail as Kilpatrick spoke on the topic in relation to the socioeconomic issues that resulted in Detroit’s current financial situation, Tobias Smith told the Post.
“The people, the indigenous people of the city of Detroit are going to be begging for a savior, and that savior is not going to be black,” Kilpatrick said in a video clip of “KMK” that was previewed on WXYZ-TV. “Some of the blackest people in town are going to say, ‘Hey, we need a white man.’”
Smith went on to reveal that Kilpatrick’s motivation for going into Detroit’s situation came after he talked about the views of local activist and author Mike Hamlin, who referenced a long history of some whites wanting to prove blacks are inferior.
The history in question, HuffPost noted, includes 19th-century studies that claimed blacks were suited to slavery, in addition to what the Post labeled as “contemporary insinuations that undermine the abilities of black leaders, whether they be Kilpatrick or President Barack Obama.”
“Kwame was an abomination, but even his [criticisms were] enhanced” because he was black, Hamlin told HuffPost while highlighting larger racial dynamics that were reflected locally when Detroit’s problems are blamed solely on its leadership and
the attitudes of some suburban leaders in a region that has been deeply segregated since whites started leaving the city in the 1950s.
“They were hopeful that the city would collapse because they wanted to prove … that blacks couldn’t govern,” said Hamlin, who believes this to be part of the reason behind Kilpatrick’s claim of Detroiters wanting a white leader.
“Not only did [propagandists] convince the rest of the world that blacks were inferior, sexual beasts, a whole lot of other things, [but they also] convinced blacks of that,” Hamlin stated. “A lot of people had hope [for Kwame]: he had the credentials, he was black, he identified with the notion of black pride, and that kind of thing, and after he faltered and ended up doing whatever he did, they were just disgusted and they decided to go with Duggan.”
“It isn’t that Detroit needs a white savior; it is that Detroit needs a right savior. And at some point, color has to not matter,” Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley wrote in 2012 while speculating about Duggan running for office.
“KMK, A Documentary of Kwame Kilpatrick” is set to premiere April 3 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.