October 28, 2013, - 5:48 pm

Does This Make Me Racist? Another Pink Sports Car, Another Detroit Murder

By Debbie Schlussel


Before I read this story in the paper, I saw this picture, below, of the car of the murder victim and immediately though to myself, “Black or Mary Kay Cosmetics lady.” (Or Dale Earnhardt, Jr., forced by his sponsors, during Breast Cancer Month.) Does that make me racist?


I don’t think so. Because who else drives a pink BMW? Not your average (straight) White guy. In general, when you see a car in a purple or pink, it’s a pretty good cue as to the race of the owner/driver. Does it make me racist that I admit out loud what we all know? I don’t think so. We all know there are certain cultural cues from which we can make a very likely conclusion, including the flashy color of a car.

Come on, admit it. You know you were all thinking the same thing. And, yes, you were thinking it, too, my Black readers. You know you were. Certain people tend to like certain things. Most Black people drive normal-hued cars like anyone else. But when there’s a car in an unusual color, you can usually determine the complexion of the driver. And he doesn’t look like Will Ferrell. There’s a line between stereotypes and educated guesses based on cultural cues. If you ignore the latter based on accusations of racism and bigotry, you are choosing to be ignorant.

And so it goes with the now deceased owner of the pink BMW. The two most recent owners of this car were both Black. The first owner was Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, who is Black. And then, there was the murder victim, the car’s most recent owner, James Blade. Also Black.


Oddly enough, the guy is–or, rather, was–a pastor. You have to wonder what kind of sermon came out of a guy that preaches G-d but drives Liberace. Since someone was clearly out to kill him, he didn’t make it too difficult. It’s kind of easy to find someone when they’re driving a pink BMW. It’s a large target.

James Blade was known around town by his pink BMW. “Everybody in the neighborhood knew my brother by that car,” said Blade’s sister, Evelyn Cross. Blade and Cross are two of 20 siblings. . . .

Part of his routine also involved making weekly deposits at the Charter One bank in the 16500 block of East Warren Avenue on Detroit’s east side. But someone was watching Friday morning. Blade was sitting in that pink BMW at 9:45 a.m. when his sister said he apparently was killed. Detroit police are not confirming his name.

The brazen attack left at least seven bullet holes in the car. Detroit police Capt. Charles Mahone said the shooting occurred around 9:45 a.m. as the car was stopped at the bank window. The suspect fired at least seven shots through the passenger window and may have walked around to the driver’s side to pull the victim from the car. . . .

The 12-cylinder luxury car, once was owned by professional football player Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. He had it painted pink in 2009 in support of breast cancer awareness. . . .

Friday morning, more than a half dozen shell casings lay on the ground on ahead of car on the passenger’s side. A plate on the front of the vehicle reads: “Let me tell you about my grandchildren.” Police are examining security camera footage from the Charter One location to help identify the shooter. He is described as a tall male wearing a distinctive hoodie.

Uh-oh. Someone uttered the H-word (hoodie).

Blade was on the minister’s board at two east side churches, including the Open Door Church of God in Christ on East Seven Mile Road in Detroit.

Very sad. But, then, that’s Detroit. Pastors murdered in pink luxury BMWs.

Only in Detroit. Say a prayer for this guy, ‘cuz it’s only gonna get worse in the City.

Oh, and one other thing: it’s not racist for me to make this prediction . . .

The next owner of that pink Beemer is gonna be Black.

**** UPDATE: Reader/friend Lisa-Lisa reminds me that Paris Hilton painted her Bentley pink (and the company ain’t too happy about it). Well, Paris Hilton may not be Black. But she thinks (or wishes) she is.


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75 Responses

Yes, you are a racist of the worst kind. At the least, you are a race batter.

Michael Johnson on April 24, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Wow Debbie, I am white,49,grew up in New England, have never touched Mary Kay but I have been to the Liberace Museum. I want to introduce myself as the person who was to be the next owner of that very car (prior to Mr. Blade). I had the car in for inspection when I decided against the purchase. I was worried about the size of the engine. I regretted my decision immediately but by the time I called back the car had already been sold. When I first saw the car I felt an instant connection to it, for me it embodied the spirit of joy, I thought of how much my friends would love to drive around in it, it had been painted pink for breast cancer awareness which made it even more special, and the best part was that it was an unbelievable deal. I think about the car often and did a quick search this morning in hopes of seeing where it might be. I was shocked and very sad to see the news clips and learn of Mr. Blade’s passing. My sadness only multiplied when I discovered your blog. Debbie, where is your heart? where is your respect? where is your joy?

Very White on April 29, 2014 at 2:27 pm

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