Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dancing and shouting

Am I the only one who was glad to see the strippers stand up and fight for their right to earn a living like everyone else?

The women showed up in force at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center last week to urge the City Council not to crack down on Detroit's adult entertainment clubs because doing so, they argued, would result in thousands of jobs being lost -- theirs included. They were a vocal bunch, and the case they made ultimately won over enough council members to get support. No more more lap dances, but plenty of jiggling and gyrating will continue to take place.

I thought the issue was interesting because, until the strippers began to speak up, and the media listened, they weren't part of the equation. This has been about the pastors and churches urging council to crack down on the club owners. I got the feeling no one was thinking about the single moms trying to raise their children on their own, (without welfare), or the college student trying to get through school, or the woman who felt the stage and pole was a much more lucrative alternative to a desk and phone.

Honestly, I would have a problem if I had a daughter who thought this was the best way for her to earn a buck. I would hope that I would enable her to access better opportunities. Once a woman goes down that road they are branded, and the mark is hard to shake. I am a bit bothered by the fact that Tamara Green is referred to as the "dead stripper tied to the alleged Manoogian Mansion party," by the media. She left behind children and family who know her as much more. The reality is that, no matter whether people may see the environment the clubs provide as immoral at worst or seedy at best, the work is legal. I do respect others' rights to ply a trade,.

As I listened to a number of women who professed to being exotic dancers call into a radio show to advocate for their position, the thing that struck me most was the opportunity this represented for others in our community. Wouldn't it be great if more people spoke out with similar passion about the state of education for our children, safety for our neighborhoods, or better employment opportunities in general?

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