Michigan Republican L. Brooks Patterson: ‘Turn Detroit Into Fenced Indian Reservation, Throw in Blankets and Corn’
The top official of a suburban Michigan county has raised eyebrows and ire by opining that neighboring Detroit should be turned into an “Indian reservation.”
In a recent interview with Paige Williams of New Yorker magazine, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, a Republican, slammed Detroit, whose dramatic decline has immensely boosted his own county’s fortunes.
“Anytime I talk about Detroit, it will not be positive,” said Patterson. “Therefore, I’m called a Detroit basher. The truth hurts, you know? Tough shit.”
Patterson, 75, said he warns his children never to cross the county line into Detroit.
“I used to say to my kids, ‘First of all, there’s no reason for you to go to Detroit. We’ve got restaurants out here.’ They don’t even have movie theaters in Detroit– not one.”
A quick Google search turned up no fewer than four cinemas within Detroit city limits, including a pair of multiplexes.
Patterson conceded that live sporting events were one reason why people might want to venture into Detroit.
“For that, fine– get in and get out,” he said. “But park right next to the venue– spend the extra 20 or 30 bucks. And, before you go to Detroit, you get your gas out here. You do not, do not under any circumstances, stop at a Detroit gas station! That’s just a call for a carjacking.”
Perhaps the most controversial thing Patterson said during the New Yorker interview was an affirmation of a prediction he claims to have made decades ago:
“What we’re going to do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in blankets and corn.”
Detroit officials and activists predictably expressed their outrage at Patterson’s inflammatory remarks. The Detroit Free Press reports Mayor Mike Duggan has called on Patterson to apologize. Duggan and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones released a joint statement saying Patterson’s comments are “not what you would expect from a regional partner with a vested interest in a strong and healthy Detroit.”
But Patterson was not feeling apologetic in the wake of the uproar his comments created.
“People know me and they know I sometimes use worlds to make a point,” he said on Tuesday. “When I said Detroit is going to become an Indian reservation, my point was, if you don’t get black people on their feet, the successful ones will move out and the ones that remain will become dependent. We’re getting very close to that now.”
Patterson also accused Paige Williams of having an “agenda” when she interviewed him for the New Yorker article.
“She went back 38 years to find things inflammatory about Brooks Patterson,” he told the Free Press. “I’ve moved on from those kind of bombastic statements.”