by Brandon James Anderson
Over the weekend I came across an article from the website PolicyMic entitled “This is American’s Most Apocalyptic, Violent City – And You’ve Probably Never Heard Of It.” The city to which the headline and the article’s writer, Laura Dimon, are referring is my hometown of Flint, Michigan.
I know from experience that writers seldom have final (or sometimes any) say over the headline of an article. So it may not be fair to place blame for the inanity of “and you’ve probably never heard of it” at the feet of Dimon. The article refers and links to a number of statistics and information regarding the city of Flint’s crime rates and employment figures. Such data is readily available for someone like Dimon to quickly look up. And many of the sources used in the piece come from national media outlets such as Forbes and The New York Times.
The struggles of my birthplace have long existed before myself, and many of Flint’s residents, were even born. The realities and misconceptions are hardly new, even if Dimon’s piece includes a link to an About.com article on the Rust Belt as if the term was recently coined.
I spent nearly three years living in San Diego during my time in graduate school and never once did a friend, acquaintance, or stranger say they have never heard of Flint, Michigan. Granted, most people would bring up the negative connotations they associate with the city or tell me how much they liked Michael Moore’s documentaries, but the idea that Flint has never so much as ever entered the collective consciousness of America, as Dimon’s piece seems to be suggesting, is utterly false.