I’m from Des Moines, Iowa, a city like Ann Arbor and Detroit. There are parts that shine like rich money has flooded the streets and will continue to flow through the white concrete and shiny grass for all time. Then there are parts so run down it seems as though they haven’t seen a dime in decades and won’t be seeing one anytime soon. Those sides of town are also primarily populated by minorities and seen as highly dangerous. My internship primarily took place in Southwest Detroit. When I told people that my internship was in Southwest Detroit, they would be like “Oh, hmmm I don’t know about that. Is that a safe place?”
What was blatant in this statement (and any other statement I heard along these lines) was the sheer fear or distaste for this city and the area I worked specifically. And yes, I will acknowledge that the area I worked looked run down. But that’s not because the people are ram-shaking the neighborhood and threatening any person who walks through there. It’s a lack of money from property taxes and resident that prevents those areas from prospering. It’s quite safe for you to walk through there (although some might disagree based on the appearance of the place). During the summer camp, we took the kids on walks around the neighborhood and we’re always greeted by lovely neighbors on their porches or other neighborhood kids.