Title: The Honkie American
Subtitle: Detroit’s racist newspaper
Date: 1968
Notes: Fifth Estate #59, August 1–14, 1968

The Detroit American is a racist newspaper.

It is written by racists and for racists. Its pseudo-populist rhetoric about defending the little man from “crime in the streets” and fighting against “THE BIG PRESS ESTABLISHMENT” is nothing but subterfuge for its racism.

The American defends itself against attack by saying that the bleeding-hearts can’t bear to have accused criminals referred to as “curs”, “punks”, “whelps”, etc. This, of course, is not the central issue.

Their choice of adjectives for accused criminals is secondary to the fact that racial designations are made in each case. This discredited practice has been discarded by every newspaper outside of the South and the reason for its use by the American can be only one: they know that racist appeals are successful (Detroit American daily circulation: 176,000).

Still, we do not feel that the American is practicing racism for its own sake. There are three major reasons for it.

First, to make money. Hysteria in the white community is so high that these vultures know they can reap large profits by exploiting the alleged “crime wave”. In fact, none exists.

Secondly, the honkie president of the American, Anthony Wierzbicki, is trying to get back on the Detroit Common Council that the voters wisely removed him from in the last councilmanic race. His campaign centers on the same crime issues as does his paper.

Thirdly, if the paper didn’t use the sensational crime issue luridly splashed across the front page everyone would realize that the other news in it is two day old stuff rewritten from the Windsor Star. A joke going around says that the American lost its wire service when someone knocked their radio off the table.

The future for the American looks bleak. The strike effecting the News and the Free Press appears to be in its final stages and two liberal dailies are in the works if the major papers don’t return soon.

Although making a profit, the American is still faced with an advertising boycott by the major department stores and businesses. The notable exception is Hughes-Hatcher-Suffrin which takes out weekly full-page ads while continuing to do a large trade among Black people.

Apparently the ad boycott has been so successful that the American got two of its friends in the State Legislature to introduce a resolution calling for a committee to investigate restraint of trade practices by major advertisers against the American.

The resolution was introduced in the House by George F. Montgomery (D.-Detroit) and in the Senate by Stanley Rozycki (D.-Detroit). Rozycki is the typesetter for Wayne University’s South End newspaper and was responsible for the big black marks that appeared in the paper everywhere the staff had written four letter words.

Here’s what you can do about the Detroit American:

1. Don’t buy it.

2. Don’t advertise in it. That’s how a paper makes its real money.

3. Don’t buy from those that do advertise in it. If a firm is willing to support such overt racism in order to do business they are not worthy of your trade. Also, let them know you disapprove of their advertising in the American by phone or letter.