Most narratives coming out of Detroit deal much with the African American experience. Given that nearly 90 percent of the city’s population is Black, this comes as no surprise. Though, the story Dean Dimitrieski (pictured), a Macedonia-born White man who moved into a mostly-Black, drug-infested Detroit neighborhood with his family in the 1970s, is one that personifies the Motor City as well as any other narrative.
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And, through his new autobiography “Tears For My City: An Autobiography of a Detroit White Boy,” Dimitrieski sets out to personify his Detroit experience, Fox 2 Detroit News reports.
Dimitrieski told Fox 2 that, in addition to dealing with language barriers, the neighborhood he and his family moved into was rife with drugs and gang violence. “We had more guns in this neighborhood than people,” he recalls of his early childhood. “A lot of people didn’t make it out of here.”
And, being a White kid with an Eastern European accent, he certainly stood out. “I was hit with a baseball bat just waking out in the neighborhood,” Dimitrieski said. “I had a brick thrown at me.” But he befriended some of the very drug dealers and gangsters who made his upbringing unsafe. In fact, Dimitrieski said a mentor of his was a “notorious drug dealer” who kept him away from the dope game. That some of his friends carried guns made him feel secure when trouble confronted him, the now 44-year-old business man said.
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He eventually had to leave his east side neighborhood after testifying to a murder he witnessed and consequently left the city for safety reasons. But he returns often. His children regularly accompany him. They are not afraid of Detroit, he says. Hopefully, his book will help others shake any fears or negative perceptions they may have of the city he calls home.
“I wrote the book to express my love for Detroit and that will never change,” Dimitrieski told Fox 2 Detroit. “Growing up here, you’ve earned the right to be called a Detroiter.”