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Let Syrians Settle Detroit – The New York Times


One of the most offensive pieces I have read this year, where great minds in California and New York decide what to do with our “urban vacuum.”
Refugees can revitalize the city, which has a large Arab community.

Source: Let Syrians Settle Detroit – The New York Times



  1. Yes now I understand. They are referring to Detroit as if it’s an object that can be managed, not a living-breathing city with it’s own values and agency.

  2. I can see how the whole situation is offensive if you see US policy as a causal force behind the situations in both Syria and Detroit. Or the way the author refers to “refugees” as a faceless, homogeneous source of inexpensive labor.

    I don’t understand what’s the most offensive aspect of this article? Who is the article offending?

    • ProfAHistory says:

      Matt, my sentiment is not really that difficult to trace. As I said in the first line “great minds in California and New York” deciding what to do with a populous city anywhere other than California and New York is offensive. Similarly, you don’t have to live in Detroit to know that referring to any city, as in the article’s first sentence “Detroit, a once great city, has become an urban vacuum,” is a judgement about the value of a community, and in this case, somebody else’s community.

      Now if YOUR home is an urban vacuum, and you want to volunteer it for something, that’s a different conversation, isn’t it.

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