Comedian Chillian Thomas Talks Growing Up Black In A White Trailer Park

Gus Navarro

This summer the Detroit Today community has been reading Matthew Desmond’s Evicted which takes a deeper look at housing insecurity as a cause of poverty, rather than a symptom of it.

In the book, one of the main settings is a trailer park with predominantly white residents living below the poverty line.

Despite living in dire economic conditions, some of the white people featured in this book find ways to put themselves — in their minds — above African-Americans, who are ostensibly living in the same situation.

There are two young biracial girls living in trailer park who in some ways have a harder time than anybody else because they face poverty and overt racism.

Chillian Thomas is a comedian from Detroit who spent some of his childhood living in a trailer park in Westland. Thomas speaks with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson about the experience of living as a young black man in a poor community with mostly white residents. 

Thomas discusses the racial dynamic at play in the trailer park and how being evicted was ultimately for the best.

In that situation, and it’s the same thing that goes with poverty in any kind of neighborhood, what surrounds you is, kind of, where your mentality is,” Thomas says. 

To change your mentality you really gotta get out of that surrounding so you can start thinking differently.” 

Click on the audio player above for the full conversation. 

Image credit: Bandcamp

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