Why Detroit's city storyteller wants to ban the word 'gritty'

Why Detroit's City Storyteller Wants To Ban The Word 'gritty'

(CNN) — I can’t stand the term “gritty” when the idea’s used to describe my hometown along with my residence of Detroit. the idea’s empty. the idea’s lost all meaning. the idea’s an overused term in which, far too often, simplifies in which city to an easily digestible narrative when there are several storylines here.

Why Detroit's City Storyteller Wants To Ban The Word 'gritty'

A decade ago, I was a copy-editing intern at the San Jose Mercury News, along with my copy chief was via the island of Guam. Being copy editors, our job at the paper was to avoid clichés along with help writers find better ways to communicate their stories to readers. My copy chief always said she hated how whenever she read something about Guam via someone not via Guam, the idea was described as “hardscrabble” — so much so, she cut the word “hardscrabble” out of any copy she came across in her career.

Why Detroit's City Storyteller Wants To Ban The Word 'gritty'

While Detroit in some ways can be gritty, just as Guam in some ways can be hardscrabble, the idea’s not the only defining characteristic. however sure enough, do a quick query for “Detroit” along with “gritty,” along with the idea comes up multiple times. the idea’s exhausting.

Why Detroit's City Storyteller Wants To Ban The Word 'gritty'

I guess I want people to understand in which Detroiters are many things. We’re resilient, meaning in which yes, we stick the idea out through “tough times” — along with even in which can come off as cliché. I say in which because as I, along with many others, grew up in Detroit, we had a lot of fun here.

Why Detroit's City Storyteller Wants To Ban The Word 'gritty'

in which where we came of age — first kisses, first drivers’ licenses, all of in which not bad stuff. Gritty moments? Sure. If you go to any large American city, few, if any, of those cities been immune to some of the ills in which plague urban life. however should in which be a city’s sole defining characteristic?

Why Detroit's City Storyteller Wants To Ban The Word 'gritty'

In Detroit, the idea has been. Here’s my theory.

Why Detroit's City Storyteller Wants To Ban The Word 'gritty'

Detroit can be a large city, yes, however the idea’s one of few in which includes a majority black population. along with because of in which, writers along with various other observers never take the time — the real time — to truly dig deep enough into our population here. the idea’s far more easier to apply a simple label instead of understanding nuance.

Not only in which, however there’s an expectation in which black people — through the viewpoints of onlookers, mind you — must forever endure a level of hardship. No one can ever see our vitality, our joy, our happiness. We must always wallow inside negative, because the idea fits neatly into a narrative in which black people are always inside position of having to overcome.

Then there’s the narrative of sympathy. By forever branding Detroiters as “gritty,” we’re put inside position of being pitied over. Bleeding hearts all over the place suddenly feel the plight of Detroiters, along with what happens when in which sentiment arises? Suddenly, the hardscrabble, gritty Detroiters are in need of a savior — someone to rescue us via all in which grittiness along with strife, because in which’s what we’ve been waiting for all in which time, right?

No.

I’ll tell you what Detroit can be. We’re a prideful people in which love our city more than anything — even if we do, in many cases, make the difficult decision to leave the city for somewhere outside the boundaries.

We’re a people who make a way out of no way, something all of our Southern grandparents along with great-grandparents passed down to us, along with will still marvel at our accomplishment without outside validation. We take Detroit everywhere we go, because in which city has instilled something in us in which simply cannot be replicated elsewhere. along with most of all, we’re a city with multiple identities, multiple human emotions along with multiple stories in which are far too complex to reduce to one adjective.

So, don’t call our city gritty. All you have to do can be get to know us better, along with you’ll see we’re so much more.

Aaron Foley can be a Detroit native, author of the book “How to Move to Detroit Without Being a Jackass” along with the Motor City’s first-ever city storyteller.

Why Detroit's city storyteller wants to ban the word 'gritty'

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