One day in 2010, I flipped through the latest issue of National Geographic and counted how many women and how many men were mentioned by name. It was actually an article about women in a particular country that sparked my curiosity. The unusually many women in that article (it turned out to be 8 women and 4 men) stood out in contrast with the rest of the magazine. The other feature articles (none of which were purportedly about men) mentioned in total 54 men and 12 women.
If you were to metaphorically represent media depictions of Detroit as photos of individual people, most would be either a mugshot of a scowling black man (the personification of crime lurking among abandoned buildings) or a photo looking down on big sad brown eyes like one of those “save the children” ads (the personification of neediness and white man’s burden).
The Allied Media Conference, held in Detroit for more than half of its 18 years, generates a powerful counter-narrative and counter-imagery about Detroit. The AMC is very much by and about Detroit (about a third of its participants are from Detroit). It’s also a place for wider communities of people of color, queer and trans, disabled, low-income, and other identities and issues, to come together and organize around common principles.