Thursday, September 22, 2005

Some suburban Detroit residents oppose Wal-Mart for racial reasons

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) -- Some residents are angry about a planned 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter, making racially-charged comments about the people they say the store would attract to their suburban Detroit community.

The Livonia City Council will review the issue at an Oct. 17 meeting before voting on it Oct. 26, Marge Watson, a planning commission official, said Wednesday. Both meetings are open to the public.

On Tuesday night, the planning commission voted 6-1 to recommend the project to the city council after a six-hour-plus meeting in which more than 500 residents showed up.

The store, along with a Target and about 40 specialty shops and restaurants, would replace most of the now-defunct Wonderland Mall. The 74-acre property has been vacant since 2002.

During public meetings in August, some opponents of the project expressed fears about black people from Detroit coming to Livonia to shop and work, the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News reported.

More than 4,000 people have signed petitions opposing the plan.

Wal-Mart spokesman Roderick Scott said it is the first time the retailer has heard of racial concerns during plans to build a store.

Livonia, which is located about 20 miles west of Detroit, has a population that is less than 1 percent black and as recently as last year was known as the whitest city with a population of more than 100,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.


  1. I am curious as the reasoning for this opposition? Do they fear for their safety? Do they forsee an increased crime rate? There appears to be no sound logic whatsoever behind protesting this proposal.

    And how come they are not concerned about the potential influx of trailer trash to their community? Is white trash OK but black people are not OK? Where are these assumptions they are making coming from?

    I HATE unfounded bias. Not a single statistic nor rational argument appears to have been presented by this crowd of ignorami. Seems to me Livonia, MI is home to a good chunk of bigotry! Grrrr...


  2. That is just entirely messed up. Your right: Detroit is not the urban mecca of the future.

  3. This is's not uncommon for people to protest development proposals because of racial fears...this day in age, though, it's rare for people to be that explicit.

    The people of Livonia should be ashamed of themselves.

  4. I never thought, in 2005, that I would ever see racism that blatant again, especially tied to a store that in my estimation doesn't really trend towards any one race in particular. It's so hard to believe that people would rather have a rotting shell of a mall in the middle of their community rather than a new development simply based on race.

    The whole argument by certain Livonia residents smacks of classism, racism, fear and ignorance. It is shameful. I'm not only appallled; it's got me wondering what othert communities out there are holding up progress for the same reason (and covering it up more).

  5. Im honestly surprised that in this day and age in America that we are still seeing this...but then I look at the neighborhood my inlaws live in and see the same attitude. The person that originally developed the neighborhood will sneak in and out bid a non white person trying to buy a house in that neighborhood ...and so it has stayed all white since it's beginnings. (over 30 yrs ago). I agree, it is shameful-but probably happens more than we know and is covered up like this neighborhood is....unfortunately

  6. Those race-based covenants aren't enforced as they used to be, but they're in effect all over the place.

    Some of my granddad's old property deeds originally limited ownership to white people only, but a lot of the folks who had the deeds written up fell on hard times, and since Grandad was a particurally proseperous black farmer with ready cash, they set aside their hate for a second, at least long enough to get themselves out of debt. LOL