We may be in Obama’s post-racial America, but Time magazine is still in the middle of a debate after their
article photo on their pick of the eight most influential figures cleaning up Detroit, Mich. included no African-American men on their roster.
“The Committee to Save Detroit,” did include two African-American women, Faye Nelson of the Detroit River Front Conservancy and public prosecutor Kym Worthy. The Detroit Free Press‘ Rochelle Riley wrote a piece yesterday that resonated quickly throughout the web: She listed three African-American candidates that would have been equally suited for Time‘s qualifications, including Robert Bobb, who is the emergency financial manager of Detroit Public Schools, and Dan Varner of Think Detroit PAL. She solicited and received over 1,000 emails for suggestions on who else would be a good candidate for community leaders in a city where 83.7 percent of the community is African-American.
On the other hand, the group was anything but wonderbread: It also included Ismael Ahmed, the head of Michigan’s human resources, and the magazine also included an entire article was devoted to David Bing, the mayor of Detroit who also happens to be a black man. It also asked in the issue “Can Detroit’s First Openly Gay Pol Save the City?” The article was about Charles Pugh, also a black man.
Detroit was hit hard during the recession, with the giant car plants shaving off thousands of workers. It’s doubtful that the magazine’s intentions in saluting those who are trying to increase the standard of living in Rock City was to come off as racially insensitive, although unfortunately that is how some critics are taking it.