Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Benton Harbor/St. Joseph is the most blatant planned racist divide in the country

Job losses have not affected St. Joe even close to how they've decimated Benton Harbor. In fact, the funds of Whirlpool have been primarily placed in St. Joe. Many cities in Michigan have been destroyed by companies moving out - Jackson, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Flint, Lansing, etc. What they have that Benton Harbor does not have: a remaining company that believes in the city (NOT the all white city next door - or actually within feet). Kalamazoo's remaining wealth (after Pfizer, paper companies, GM, etc, etc), didn't keep Portage afloat. Lansing's remaining wealth didn't fund Okemos, etc.

Privileged people like to believe it was just circumstantial, however, Benton Harbor/St. Joe is the most blatant planned racist divide in the country. One only needs to visit the the sculpture park, the music shell, the downtown, the children's museum, the art museum, and the residential stock to recognize the divide. When Benton Harbor was to have it's historical show of the famous produce business (anniversary show) it had to be held in St. Joe because Benton Harbor didn't have a museum. Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, South Haven, etc. all have museums funded by the wealthiest of families/businesses. If the residents are going to take pride in their community and feel connected to their roots they need parks, basketball hoops, museums, urban planning. Now Whirlpool is taking Benton Harbor's shoreline for a golf course. The strategies are obvious.

Whirlpool receives tax breaks galore; it could be said that WP is actually robbing BH regarding this issue. And who shoulders the burden of Whirlpool's water usage? BH residents pay for it with each water bill. Does Whirlpool hire BH residents? As a rule, no. Only those from St. Joe or surrounding towns. Again, the strategies are obvious. And we've only mentioned a few of them here.