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Almost half a century later, complaints of racism and fears of white-led gentrification are rising in Detroit.
Racial tensions in Detroit exploded into riots in 1967.
“There are black people who get shot and killed in Detroit on a daily basis,” he said.
“I caution people against centering Arab life as if it’s more important than the overwhelming majority of people who get shot in Detroit who are actually black residents.” Walid pointed to the discrepancy in police presence and response time between the greater downtown area and the mostly black neighborhoods on the east and west sides, where Arab Americans own gas stations.
“Bulletproof glass tends to dehumanize people — dealing with people basically as commodities, not as people,” he said.
Walid said the demarcation lines that separate Arab and black spaces in Metro Detroit were designed intentionally, so it will take intentionality from community leaders to eliminate them.