More Recent Conversations

I have been putting myself in places to meet people from around here. I have been going on walks around my neighborhood, talking at length to people who are providing me with services (haircuts, restaurant workers, etc) and just being courteous when I can. But by far the most entertaining thing I have been doing lately is eating breakfast at McDonald’s.

I am going to tell you about a couple of conversations I’ve had this week.

I was working on a series of blog posts the other day and a guy comes and sits down next to me.

“What’s on the news?” he says.

“I don’t know, I really haven’t been paying attention.”

“Probably just bad stuff: murder, crime, people stealing, people robbin’. It’s some bullshit out there man.”

“Yeah. Is that all that’s on the news?”

“Yeah man, people losing their damn jobs left and right man. You know why that is? Money. You people wanted to hold on to your money and not givin’ a damn what that means. But I tell you what. I tell you what, worst thing that ever happened to this city was when that black mayor told you folks to get back across 8-mile. When that happened all you white people said ‘fuck this, I’m out.’ Then the city went to shit.”


“Yeah, then when you people left the jobs left. When that happen, niggas is broke and got to start doing what they got to do to survive. But that’s all we wanna do any more is survive. We not really interested in getting the city back on its feet we just wanna smoke that weed man.”

“I’m sure that’s not everybody.”

“It’s most. I was talking to an a-rab the other day. He owns a gas station. I said to him, ‘hey a-rab! How’d you get this gas station?’ and he said to me, ‘you could have owned this gas station, but you want to get high instead.’ Ain’t that some shit? He’s right though. He right. We don’t want nothing but to get high and survive. It’s gonna take white people like you, comin’ back and fixin’ shit. I ain’t gonna lie, when you people was in charge, every nigga was broke, but at least Detroit was a good place to live.”

As you can tell, I didn’t get to say a whole lot. He did almost all of the talking. Deep in here somewhere is a history lesson about the city that I am still working out the details of, but this guy, whose name was Johnny, was a Detroit native: born, raised, never left. His ideas and opinions of the city are echoed in many of the people that I have met and talked to lately.

The other conversation is a little more light-hearted. We were watching some celebrity gossip show in McDonald’s and Jennifer Hudson comes on. Jennifer has apparently lost a lot of weight,  since that is what the whole story was about. The old man sitting nearest to me says the following:

“Look at her, losing all the weight. Just another black girl trying to slim down to look like a white girl. That’s okay, it don’t matter. She ain’t never gonna lose that butt.”


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About coleyoakum

My name is Coleman Yoakum. I am formerly a student at Harding University. Today you can find me in Detroit Michigan doing what I can to expand the Kingdom of God and preparing to start an intentional community in Pontiac. I enjoy reading, writing, photography, music and politics. I am sure that all of these things will find their way to this blog from time to time. Twitter: coleyoakum Facebook: Coleman Yoakum Email: Flickr:

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