Stipulated: Detroit is a city in which race is not just subtext, but the text itself. Stipulated: City officials, and the newspapers that quote them, are famously nervous about confronting these things. Stipulated: Last week two Detroit police officers, both white, were shot to death by a black assailant.
So this week, someone paints the Joe Louis memorial — a giant black fist — white. At the base of the sculpture, someone leaves photographs of the two dead cops, with “courtesy of the Fighting Whiteys” written across them.
But: Police said Monday they were unsure whether the white paint splattered on the sculpture early Monday symbolized racism or some other type of political statement against violence in Detroit. Ohhh-kay.
Two men are in custody. Make sure you click through for the remarkable picture of this remarkable piece of public art, which we were told on our KWF tour of Detroit was a gift from Sports Illustrated magazine. When I first read about it, in Zev Chafets’ excellent book on the city, I seem to recall it was pointed inland, at the suburbs. I don’t know if I’m misremembering or it was moved, but now it points to Canada, a suitable target for a swinging bronze fist, I’d say.