Reporting Charlie Langton
DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) The Detroit reverend who shouted that residents would “burn the city down” if the state approves an emergency financial oversight board defended himself and lobbed even more racial bombs during a radio appearance this week.
Rev. Malik Shabazz called the Charlie Langton Talk Radio 1270 morning show where he spent an entire hour discussing the disastrous state of Detroit. “The state of Michigan did that to us,” he said about the failing school system, at various times blaming banks, the state, and the suburbs for the city’s issues.
Michigan created a consent agreement that would put a nine-member financial oversight board in charge of the city’s books, forcing it to consolidate departments, potentially re-negotiate union contracts, give greater board oversight, find new streams of revenue and cut expenses.
The mayor and City Council are fighting the agreement proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder, though many have said enaction of the deal is imminent. Detroit has borrowed $600 million since 2005 to stay afloat. Under threat of bankruptcy this spring, the city borrowed another $137 million in bonds earlier this week.
Dozens of residents went berserk at a recent council meeting, screaming about the state coming in to erase their democratic right to elect their own officials. Shabazz’s rant got the most attention.
“Do you really want to burn the city down? Langton asked him. “Of course not,” Shabazz responded.
Caller Marcus from Detroit, who described himself as a civil rights activist, asked “where were you coming from with the ‘burn it down’ line?”
“Out of pain, I spoke the other day out of pain, out of a sense of misery, out of a sense of anger, out of a sense of major disappointment, not only with today, but a historical analysis, a historical perspective, a global perspective,” Shabazz said.
Langton asked how he could justify going in front of a crowd and TV cameras to yell ‘white supremacy’ and threaten to burn down his own city to prevent outsiders from coming in.
“White supremacy is a worldwide institutional system and it affects the lives of the human family every day, both historically as well as today,” Shabazz said. “It even disrupts and hurts white folks. To say ‘White supremacy’ is not an attack on all white people, but I am attacking the system, the mindset that ‘I am better simply because I’m white.’
“Isn’t the mood in this nation…in Lansing, that white people are better than black people? He added. “Hasn’t it always been that we’re substandard? The governor doesn’t have to say it, his policies show it.”
Asked to define his concept of ‘white supremacy,’ and explain why he’s adding fuel to a suddenly tense situation that Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson likened to a “tinderbox,” the reverend said, “I am responding to the racism, I’m not fueling a doggone thing. I am responding to it. The state of Michigan tried to help the city of Detroit out, so they said, with our court system … We can barely get a Detroiter on the jury.”
Caller John from Chesterfield said, “The city of Detroit’s problem isn’t black and white, it’s green, the legacy costs of the unions has put the city in financial disaster.”
Jeremy from Jackson said, “We have a guy who wants to separate the races…Mortgages are affecting everybody, including me, and I’m white. Your issue is white people. Everybody’s affected by our economy, it’s not just white, it’s not just black, it’s not just Hispanics. You’re a hatemonger.”
“I don’t hate anybody, I’m a lover of all humanity, and my mission is a mission of mercy and my labor is a labor of love,” Shabazz said. “God is working with me.”
“When white people get a cold, black people get pneumonia,” Shabazz said.”Whatever happens bad and negative in this country affects us disproportionately.
He said Detroiters were “tricked” into sub-prime loans by bankers and forced to live “under viaducts and on freeways”
When a caller blamed Democrats for the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, Shabazz took it back to his supremacy message.
“White supremacy is not a Republican thing, it is not a Democratic thing, it is a European, worldwide global system. It is financial, it is media, it is military, it is science, it is economics, it is religious.”
Taking into consideration his feelings of anger and disappointment, Langton asked Shabazz: Are you still excited to live in the city of Detroit?
“I love Detroit, I’m Detroit bred, Detroit led, and Detroit fed, I think we are the greatest city on the planet. I fight crime, I see poor people, I register people to vote, I close down crack houses, we capture criminals, we do things every day because we believe in this city.”