Being White in Philly

Whites, race, class, and the things that never get said.

My younger son goes to Temple, where he’s a sophomore. This year he’s living in an apartment with two friends at 19th and Diamond, just a few blocks from campus. It’s a dangerous neighborhood. Whenever I go see Nick, I get antsy and wonder what I was thinking, allowing him to rent there.

One day, before I pick him up for lunch, I stop to talk to a cop who’s parked a block away from Nick’s apartment.

“Is he already enrolled for classes?” the cop says when I point out where my son lives.

Well, given that it’s December, I think so. But his message is clear: Bad idea, this neighborhood. A lot of burglaries and robberies. Temple students are prime prey, the cop says.

Later, driving up Broad Street as I head home to Mount Airy, I stop at a light just north of Lycoming and look over at some rowhouses. One has a padlocked front door. A torn sheet covering the window in that door looks like it might be stained with sewage. I imagine not a crackhouse, but a child, maybe several children, living on the other side of that stained sheet. Plenty of children in Philadelphia live in places like that. Plenty live on Diamond, where my son rents, where there always seem to be a lot of men milling around doing absolutely nothing, where it’s clearly not a safe place to be.

I’ve shared my view of North Broad Street with people—white friends and colleagues—who see something else there: New buildings. Progress. Gentrification. They’re sunny about the area around Temple. I think they’re blind, that they’ve stopped looking. Indeed, I’ve begun to think that most white people stopped looking around at large segments of our city, at our poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, a long time ago. One of the reasons, plainly put, is queasiness over race. Many of those neighborhoods are predominantly African-American. And if you’re white, you don’t merely avoid them—you do your best to erase them from your thoughts.

At the same time, white Philadelphians think a great deal about race. Begin to talk to people, and it’s clear it’s a dominant motif in and around our city. Everyone seems to have a story, often an uncomfortable story, about how white and black people relate.

Take a young woman I’ll call Susan, whom I met recently. She lost her BlackBerry in a biology lab at Villanova and Facebooked all the class members she could find, “wondering if you happened to pick it up or know who did.” No one had it. There was one black student in the class, whom I’ll call Carol, who responded: “Why would I just happen to pick up a BlackBerry and if this is a personal message I’m offended!”

Susan assured her that she had Facebooked the whole class. Carol wrote: “Next time be careful what type of messages you send around and what you say in them.”

After that, when their paths crossed at school, Carol would avoid eye contact with Susan, wordless. What did I do? Susan wondered. The only explanation she could think of was Vanilla-nova—the old joke about the school’s distinct lack of color, its perceived lack of welcome to African-Americans. Susan started making an effort to say hello when she saw Carol, and eventually they acted as if nothing had happened. The BlackBerry incident—it probably goes without saying—was never discussed.

Another story: Dennis, 26, teaches math in a Kensington school. His first year there, fresh out of college, one of his students, an unruly eighth grader, got into a fight with a girl. Dennis told him to stop, he got into Dennis’s face, and in the heat of the moment Dennis called the student, an African-American, “boy.”

The student went home and told his stepfather. The stepfather demanded a meeting with the principal and Dennis, and accused Dennis of being racist; the principal defended his teacher. Dennis apologized, knowing how loaded the term “boy” was and regretting that he’d used it, though he was thinking, Why would I be teaching in an inner-city school if I’m a racist? The stepfather calmed down, and that would have been the end of it, except for one thing: The student’s behavior got worse. Because now he knew that no one at the school could do anything, no matter how badly he behaved.

Confusion, misread intentions, bruised feelings—everyone has not only a race story, but a thousand examples of trying to sort through our uneasiness on levels large and trivial. I do, too. My rowhouse in Mount Airy is on a mostly African-American block; it’s middle-class and friendly—in fact, it’s the friendliest street my family has ever lived on, with block parties and a spirit of watching out for each other. Whether a neighbor is black or white seems to be of no consequence whatsoever.

Yet there’s a dance I do when I go to the Wawa on Germantown Avenue. I find myself being overly polite. Each time I hold the door a little too long for a person of color, I laugh at myself, both for being so self-consciously courteous and for knowing that I’m measuring the thank-you’s. A friend who walks to his car parked on Front Street downtown early each morning has a similar running joke with himself. As he walks, my friend says hello and makes eye contact with whoever crosses his path. If the person is white, he’s bestowing a tiny bump of friendliness. If the person is black, it’s friendliness and a bit more: He’s doing something positive for race relations.

On one level, such self-consciousness and hypersensitivity can be seen as progress when it comes to race, a sign of how much attitudes have shifted for the better, a symbol of our desire for things to be better. And yet, lately I’ve come to fear that the opposite might also be true: that our carefulness is, in fact, at the heart of the problem.

Fifty years after the height of the civil rights movement, more than 25 years after electing its first African-American mayor, Philadelphia remains a largely segregated city, with uneasy boundaries in culture and understanding. And also in well-being. There is a black middle class, certainly, and blacks are well-represented in our power structure, but there remains a vast and seemingly permanent black underclass. Thirty-one percent of Philadelphia’s more than 600,000 black residents live below the poverty line. Blacks are more likely than whites to be victims of a crime or commit one, to drop out of school and to be unemployed.

What gets examined publicly about race is generally one-dimensional, looked at almost exclusively from the perspective of people of color. Of course, it is black people who have faced generations of discrimination and who deal with it still. But our public discourse ignores the fact that race—particularly in a place like Philadelphia—is also an issue for white people. Though white people never talk about it.

Everyone might have a race story, but few whites risk the third-rail danger of speaking publicly about race, given the long, troubled history of race relations in this country and even more so in this city. Race is only talked about in a sanitized form, when it’s talked about at all, with actual thoughts and feelings buried, which only ups the ante. Race remains the elephant in the room, even on the absurd level of who holds the door to enter a convenience store.

A few months ago I began spending time in Fairmount, just north of the Art Museum. Formerly a working-class enclave of rowhomes, it’s now a gentrifying neighborhood with middle-class cachet and good restaurants. I went to the northern edge, close to Girard Avenue, generally considered the dividing line from North Philly, and began asking the mostly middle-class white people who live there, for whom race is an everyday issue, how it affects them.

Strangely enough, a number of them answered. Their stories bring home just how complicated white people’s negotiation with race and class is in this city, and how varied: Everyone does have a race story, it turns out, and every story is utterly unique.

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  • Paddy McGuire

    Just try to be yourself.

  • carmatogo

    I lived in Philadelphia for the past four years and attended school at Temple University. I am a black student for a very suburban area in northeastern PA. With that being said, having lived amongst predominately white people my whole life, for 21 years, before moving to the Temple area, I shared a lot of their same views on low SES blacks and the crime in Philly…until I myself was subjected to the discrimination and the daunting racial profiling/snooty steers as if I’m up to something when I walk up to my bike and unlocking it, or walked around campus with other blacks, and pretty much anything that involved white people.

    You won’t believe the amount of times white people asked me (in general conversation), “what part of Philly are you from?” When I tell them I’m not from Philly, I’m from a very familiar suburban town, some of their expressions are one of disbelief, dissonance, or embarrassment. But then my white friend who was born and raised in Fishtown (Philly), always seems to garner shock when people ask her where she is from, and she tells them Fishtown. I’ve heard a white person tell her “there’s no way your from Philly!” I could not hold back my side eye glare.

    With all this being said, Whites living in Philadelphia may be surprised (or ignorant to the fact) to know that blacks are subjected to the same crimes as whites. That is the definition white privilege for you. You see me, a black college student, and think your son, who lived 4 blocks away from me, deserves to be more protected then me. My best friend was white, and we met at Temple. She told me about 3 of her white friends who were robbed. When I told her I knew 4 black people that were robbed, she said “I honestly thought they only picked out the white kids?” I could not help but laugh and make her aware of her white privilege. Yes! her and I have the same chances of getting robbed, but unlike her, I will always be looked at as a possible suspect. I do not do drug. I did not hang out with blacks that were loud or unruly. I made it a point to try to dress nice in Philly and talk “proper”, but I still had a door slammed in my face when I was walking behind a white girl my same age in center city. I’ve was still followed around Sephora by workers, instead of being asked if I wanted assistance.

    So what is it like being White in Philly??? Nothing compared to being black (and unassuming) in Philly.

    • Joy Ward

      How many times can I say THANK YOU for these sentiments??????

      • Guest

        Thank you Joy! I’m glad someone appreciates what I had to say. I just spoke the truth, not my opinion, based on my experiences. There is a cold war going on in Philly. It is a concentrated version of the one that is happening around the nation that has been making headlines lately. It’s a race war! In one corner you have the modern day 2013-2014 neo-racist. Some still angry a black man is in president. Other’s blinded by their subjective view points. Their favorite line is “I’m not racist, I have black friends… but black people__________ (fill in the blank)” In the other corner you have blacks walking on a fine line, as to not ‘race hustle’ but stand up for equality, with a lack of unity and distraction within the black community. This does not mean superiority.

        • Mia

          They’re not angry he’s president. The majority who supported that are non black just oppose what his administration has been doing while in office. When most blacks cry racism it is mostly in their head with the sub conscious that everyone non white esp the whiter their skin color is out to get them. That feeling of paranoia has to stop because if it does not then things will never improve with the African American communities. Most crimes and murders of blacks are by blacks.

          • Guest

            We are all aware by now that most crimes committed by blacks are against BLACKS. Does this mean we as black people, should be less immune? In actuality, this makes folks like me even MORE concerned. Carm makes a great point, And I disagree 100% that MOST blacks ‘cry’ racism but it is in our heads. Stop it. Racism is so pervasive and consuming that whites are clueless as to what it even means to be it and many blacks are hypersensitive to it since it is so embedded in our culture. No, it isn’t in our heads and if it were, when, where and how did this get planted there?

          • Janet Williams

            Oh. Please. You mean because white people lock their cars when you walk by? So what?
            That’s it? Because you think a store owner is suspicious when you walk in? BFD?

          • Shechinah Divine

            Your comments are racially bias, which tells me something about you.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            How lame can you get? You can’t dispute what she says. You don’t even try.

          • kasdecor .

            paranoia is having your head blown off by DC police after your one year old child is taken from the back seat of ;your car and your only crime is becoming frightened after driving down a closed street; paranoia is being arrested for breaking into your own home by police who don’t recognize or believe your really a famous Harvard professor; paranoia is having your children shot to death by turnpike police on their way to college; paranoia is not being able to call your childs murder a race crime because the murder is also a minority; paranoia is watching whites tan their skin plump their lips and fatten their bottoms to look like you in spite of the fact that they don’t respect your political or social views because they don’t reflect their own; paranoia is watching a commercial with James Earl Jones(an obviously black actor) and a white actor and not being able to see which race they are because their skin tones have been Photoshopped; or maybe I’m just paranoid….

          • Bernardo Stevens

            DC Police? Uh, DC is a black town. If the cops there give you trouble, whose fault is that?

            And why the hell should anyone recognize a Harvard professor? He’s too good to just show his ID? Fuck him.

      • carmatogo

        Thank you Joy. I’m glad someone could appreciate it.

    • MIA

      Your white friend is kind of racist if she thinks blacks pick only on whites or must live in a box. Most crimes on black people are committed by other blacks just watch your local news and in the rare event a crime is committed against a black it becomes international news. Why? because it sells because they know America is racially sensitive. Locally I heard of groups of young blacks who targeted immigrant migrant workers and the same has happened to other migrants I know and is actually a big problem here in Washington DC. You also hear of blacks breaking into neighbors houses that are majority white in Bethesda and I know of a local drug house run by blacks in what was a good neighborhood with children. I lived in a 99% black neighborhood I lost my phone and sure I dropped it outside but no one returned it :( I actually agree though that American whites are ruder than blacks. No idea why. Being mostly native American heritage with brown skin I don’t hold doors either because door handles are nasty and full of germs and I don’t expect anyone to hold it either nowadays. I have been followed while in a store but I assume they are just there to see if I need help and if they have nothing to do I ask them for help. I don’t assume quickly that OMG THEY ARE RACIST CAUSE I”M BROWN! that would be foolish of me. Black people, focus more on your black communities instead of dreaming about a racist world where blacks are still pinpointed. Remember it was blacks who sold off their own people for greed in the past.

      • Joy Ward

        Oh yeah that’s right, since blacks sold each other into slavery, that makes it ok anyway..forgot about that..

        • uhurusandiego

          Idiotic response as usual by white people (I am white). Blacks did not sell each other into slavery. Read real history, not whitewashed version. uhurunews.com

          • cmartel2

            You really don’t know what you’re talking about. The African slave trades were operating from the 9th century. It was a very common Islamic and tribal practice.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            And the last open slave market in Saudi Arabia didn’t close until 1962.

          • Eric_Saunders

            The transatlantic slave trade is a different beast entirely. These attempts to try and blame slavery on black people do nothing except prove how racist most of these commenters are toward black people.

          • Janet Williams

            Where do you think the whites got the slaves? They didn’t dare go inland because of diseases and dangerous indigenous people. The Africans would capture people from other tribes and drag them to the coast and sell them to whites and Muslims there.

          • Eric_Saunders

            This is the way of imperialism. There are always compradors who serve as middlemen for the imperialists. Again, it is pure racist idiocy to attempt to blame black people for slavery.

          • Janet Williams

            Who is blaming black people for slavery? We are stating facts. Let people decide what they mean.

            It’s simply a fact that slavers, both European and Islamic, could not capture blacks in Africans on their own. It’s simply a fact that they waited at the coast and bought bunches of slaves brought to them by African slavers.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Transatlantic slave trade was different?
            Yes, the Islamic slave trade lasted twice as long.
            The Islamic slave trade had, as it’s primary purpose,sex slaves. So the men were castrated so they’d be trustworthy harem guards. And the women were simply raped.

          • Eric_Saunders

            This is a stupid non sequitur. What does this have to do with the US?

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Simple. You and the other grievance-mongers like to pretend that white people have somehow cornered the market on evil. When I remind you that other groups were as bad or worse, you lose your grip on reality.

          • Janet Williams

            Islamic trading in black slaves started in the late 600s. And continued until 1960s.
            Black Americans that convert to Islam are incredibly ignorant.

          • Kevin Jackson

            You are delusional. They enslaved white people as well. Not everything is the fault of white people.

          • Janet Williams

            Islamic slavers captured an estimated one million Europeans into slavery over a period of several centuries. They’d cruise up and down the coast and land and raid small towns. And capture white slaves.

          • MystiKasT

            Africans sold each other into slavery long before evil whitey came around

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Of course. Europeans didn’t venture inland from the coast. Too many diseases, for one thing.

          • Janet Williams

            And they sold each other to the Islamic slavers almost a thousand years before Europeans joined in.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            There wasn’t any article about the origins of slavery at this site.
            Thanks for nothing.

        • Eric_Saunders

          She is not a historian…

      • carmatogo

        My friends is not ‘kind of a racist’. She was unaware. We had a conversation based on experiences and facts and we both walked away from the conversation learning something new. That’s not ‘kind of a racist’. A ‘kind of racist’ would have disregarded my sentiment for their own subjective point of view.

        About your point of view, about your phone, how do you know a black person found it??? Because it was not returned??? You didn’t say that, but you story alluded to it, you know, since you live in a 99% black neighborhood. For the record, I had 2 purses stolen in my diverse high school; the first time it was two white girls, the second a Dominican girl. People steal (period). But as a culture, when it’s a person of color, “black people steal” “black people are lazy” so on. The overgeneralization of minorities speaks to White Privilege (can you admit that exists??), which is based on individuality.

        I suggest you look up the difference between ‘racism’ and ‘stereotypes’. I did not assume a door was not held for me because ‘I was brown and the white girl in front of me was racist’. I don’t know why she didn’t hold the door for me, but I know that in Philly, when I’m with my white friends, door got held by other whites more often.

        About your “remember, it was blacks who sold off their own people for greed in the past” *sigh* I almost don’t want to entertain it because it spoke to your ignorance. But riddle me this, what did these indigenous African natives people do with American and European forms of currency? Did they buy, say, gold chains and sneakers?? And slavery has been going on since before biblical times, particularly enslaving one’s own people. What is not right about your statement, is you almost justify whites enslaveing blacks.

      • Janet Williams

        Yes, almost all the violence on blacks is committed by other blacks. But it’s also a fact that virtually all the interracial violence is black on white.

        • Eric_Saunders

          It is not a fact. There white-black homicides. There are about half as many as there are white on black homicides. That sound bad, but the murder rate among black people in the US in 6.7 times higher than that for whites so if the rate held true acorss race, there would be nearly 7 times as many black on white homicides.

          • Janet Williams

            White-on-black homicides? I doubt it. Stop making excuses, it’s patronizing.

            And your trying to shape the stats is even MORE patronizing.

          • Eric_Saunders

            The statistics are pretty accurate. I did not “shape” them.

      • Mr. Big

        Blacks didn’t sell off their own people. They sold their prisoners from war. These prisoners were black but of course of different lands and/tribes. Black tribes spent allot of time fighting one another instead of forming one union. I’m sure had they viewed themselves as all one the would be one of the most powerful nations today. Instead, they are the weakest. Even today blacks fight one another and don’t see themselves as one unit. From the outside looking in their is MUCH to gain from their many strengths shadowed by this one yet decomposing weakness they all share and that is CAPITALISM.

    • Charlie

      Ya, but…

      “In the late 1990s, blacks were 43 percent of Philadelphia’s population and 76 percent of the alleged murderers (see chart below). Whites were 52 percent of the population but just 5 percent of alleged murderers.”

      “Today, blacks are 42 percent of Philadelphia’s population and 83 percent of known murder offenders. Whites are now 37 percent of the population and 4 percent of known murder offenders.”

      “As for race and crime in Philadelphia, most murders in the city were intraracial, black-on-black crimes. Of black murder victims, 95 percent were killed by other blacks. However, the report pointed to a major, noteworthy exception: “Caucasians and Asian Americans, on the other hand, were both more likely to be murdered by an individual of another race.””

      Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/mayor-changes-tune-on-black-violence-discussion/#gzfrWQUHBqXx1GLS.99

      I’m tired of the RACE card always being played

      • carmatogo

        Charlie, your words say “I’m tired of the RACE card always being played” yet…you dig up race related statistics over overgeneralize black people as criminals and whites as victims. Actions speak louder then word.

        Ironically, your statistics coupled with your bias demonstrates I (because I’m black) am more likely to be murdered….and a suspect because of my skin color. Something that I have no control of.

        • Kevin Jackson

          So only black people can play the race card? What’s that called when you treat people differently based on the way they look…

        • Bernardo Stevens

          What? It’s simple. Nationwide, black Americans committ about half the murders, although they’re maybe 12 percent of the population.

          • Amy

            I’m so tired of this BS comment. It’s the same thing every time with white people – it’s honestly so predictable now “Black are 13% of the population 50% of the crime” “Blacks are 20% of the population 80% of the crime” “Blacks are 30% of the population 110% of the crime!”. Honestly stop, you’re embarrassing yourself by showing your ignorance. You won’t even listen to someone about race unless their white and you know it. So here’s an experiment from a white person about racism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQAmdZvKf6M Or maybe you’ll complain this is too long for you. Ohhhh or maybe you’ll be all “I don’t want to sound so predictable, I’ll try something else and sound smart”! Pathetic.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            That stats are not secret. More than half the murders in the US are committed by black Americans. Likewise other violent crime. Does anyone dispute this?

            Note: Don’t send me YouTube videos. Use your own words.

            PS You’re “tired” of the comment? Oh, it’s “predictable”?
            Yes, why don’t people just accept being assaulted and robbed and be quiet about it?

          • Stacey

            The thing is this, blacks are naive. They wear rose colored glasses which makes them very easy to manipulate and abuse. The beauty of it all is they will only blame themselves and the lack of education will keep them right where we need them ( holding ME up from the BOTTOM). Hey, someone has to lose. IJS

          • Amy

            Also, just because we’re bringing out random statistics now. The majority of people on welfare are white! Wow! And the race that has killed the majority of the people over history have been -gasp- white! Oh my gosh!

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Are you sure? Historians in India estimate that centuries of Islamic invasions killed 80 million Hindus. Add the black African slaves killed en route to Arabia by Islamic slavers and the jihads everywhere else….maybe Muslims killed MORE than whites?

      • Joe

        Thanks Charlie for the stats, Charlie…so if Caucasians and Asian Americans are directly impacted by the plight of blacks in the city should it be in their best interest to want to help improve the situation or are you making some other point?

        • chris8lee

          no blacks, no crime..know blacks, know crime

          • Joy Ward

            So this post goes to show you how much you’ve been taught to believe. Any quips on white crime? Oh jeesh, we all know only blacks ‘know’ crime as you stated…how could we miss that??

        • Bernardo Stevens

          The plight? No, they’re impacted by feet, fists, clubs and guns.

          • Tone

            funny you mentioned about impacted by feet, fists, clubs and guns when your coward forefathers invented the violence and hatred because of their lack of courage. Maybe they should’ve stayed in a world of their own. Fuck your racist views, no your facts. It’s ignorant cowards like you that keep the shit brewing.

          • Janet Williams

            In the current day, it’s simply a fact that black Americans commit half the murders although they’re maybe 12% of the population. Yes, it’s embarrassing.

          • Eric_Saunders

            Right. It’s a national disgrace. It puts the lie to any notions of America as a land of freedom and equality. It shows how little has changed since Frederick Douglas gave his speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.”

          • Bernardo Stevens

            A “national ” disgrace? You’re saying it’s the nation’s fault?

          • Eric_Saunders

            Yes. America has never come close to compensating black people for slavery, segregation, and various other forms of structural and institutional racism. Instead, racists continue to vilify black people.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Please name a racial group that was never subjected to slavery.

          • Eric_Saunders

            “Race” is a social construct, thus its existence is a function of the spatial, temporal, cultural, and political boundaries in which it comes into being. For our purposes, only “black” Americans as a “race” were enslaved within the institution that was American slavery. Any other individuals of a different race/ethnicity who might have had an atypical status during the era of slavery are not really relevant to the discussion (in case you are thinking of bringing any of that up).

            The majority of black people in America are descendents of slaves. Slavery was an evil institution and the racial myths used to legitimate slavery have been rehashed in different forms to justify and perpetuate racism up to the present day by racists like you.

          • Janet Williams

            So we should pretend that the million Europeans kidnapped into slavery by Islamic pirates don’t count? Must we also pretend that the 160 years have not passed? Must we pretend that there is some kind of DNA memory so that eight generations later somehow descendants of slaves “remember” what never happened to them?

          • Eric_Saunders

            Arabian pirates have nothing to do with this discussion. You can honor their victims however you want. Ditto for the victims of Genghis Khan. The historical impact of slavery and white supremacy, on the other hand, is enormous and ever present in American society.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            I agree completely that this is your position.

            How come we don’t see a “historical impact” of Islamic slavery on white people? Or indentured servitude on white people?

            How come you lefty/libs never talk about a “historical impact” of Islamic slavery on blacks? Why is that? It started approx 900 years earlier and went on for at least a century longer. But that’s okay?

            If the white folks aren’t the bad guys, you ain’t interested?
            Is that it?

            As I said above
            “Please name a racial group that was never subjected to slavery.”

            Yes, I know. You’re going to tell me I’m a wacist.
            Wacist wacist wacist. Vewy vewy wacist.
            I’ll add this — please name a racial group that never OWNED slaves.

          • Eric_Saunders

            Your conception of a “racial group” shows that you do not have an understanding of what the word even means. So for example, the ancestors of the people that we think of as “black” in the US were not members of a “race” in Africa because race is socially constructed. Thus it was that dark skinned people from Africa became a “race” in the United States. So when you say “please name a racial group that never owned slaves” your very question shows that you are completely ignorant about “race” and are clinging to an essentialist and anachronistic conception of what the word even means.

            But not only are you aggressively racist, you are motivated enough by racism that you like troll and argue your racist perspective ad nauseum. I do not think that you are arguing from any position of erudition. If you would like to disprove this, please tell me what intellectual figures (historians, etc.) you believe have produced any sort of theory or knowledge that you find useful in terms of understanding race in America. (A word of warning: you probably don’t want to cite David Duke)

            Judging by your aggressive anti-intellectualism, I would guess that you were never were fortunate enough to attend college. However, even an autodidact has to read books written by someone, so who is it that informs your white supremacist perspective?

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Amazing. It took you three paragraphs to say
            “I can’t answer the question, as it will undercut my grievance-mongering race-baiting”

          • Eric_Saunders

            One sentence: Your question presupposes an essentialist conception of race that reflects a racist, backward worldview and thus is nonsensical to any person who is not of your knuckle-dragging persuasion.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Must be exhausting defending the indefensible. C’mon, even Jesse Jackson admitted it.

            “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to
            walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about
            robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved….
            After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own
            streets, how humiliating.

          • Eric_Saunders

            Do you think that he is making a statement based upon the racial essence of black people or do you think that he would attribute these problems to America’s legacy of racism?

          • Bernardo Stevens

            At least he’s not denying it.
            OK, I retract the argument.
            The point is, it’s been 8-9 generations since the end of slavery. Two generations since Jim Crow. Fifty years of affirmative action. Tell us what YOU think it would take.

          • Eric_Saunders

            Well, I think that MLK had it figured out here:

            Basically we need a revolution of values that reorients us from a thing oriented society into a human oriented society. We should reorganize the economy so that human needs are met first and foremost. We should fight the evil triplets of racism, militarism, and economic exploitation. Everyone should have the right to a good education, housing, medical care, food, and a job.

          • Big Picture

            No, name a racial group who chose to stay on same land that victimized them. Name a race of people who have been enslaved in every first world country today. Name a race of people who, when set free, were better off economically and socially as a slave. And finally, name more than one race of people who were enslaved in America and still still treated as such 100 years later. What wonders white su premix must do for the esteem of little whit children who get to enjoy block buster hits on the big screen packed with powerful “characters” who ALWAYS look just like them I.e. Super Man, Bat Man, Iron Man… The subtle subconscious racial assumption are their. Most whites don’t see it because they don’t want to, yet the effects are evident. They day Hollywood can celebrate a dark skinned black woman for her performance as something up lifting and not degrading (12 years a slave) will be the day we can TRUELY say COLOR and RACE is NOT a determining factor for them way us as human beings socialize and view one another. Until that day hold your pursue tightly in all black neighborhood which are always more than likely were the over worked and unemployed reside.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            You’re saying that American blacks “were better off economically and socially as a slave.” ?

            You’re saying that American blacks are “still treated as such 100 years later.” ?

        • ybor

          Honestly it’s really in their best interest to move. Only a masochist would stay and have their quality of life go down the toilet out of some bizarre sense of guilt.

      • Jasmine Guy

        YOu are no more black than Michael Jackson was white…get the fuck out of here

    • pcjoeyd

      this is the reason why my wife & I moved out of Philly years ago. We did not want our kids growing up in that city (or even the outskirts). And yes, it is a very racist city….and it goes both ways.

      • MystiKasT

        Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity. Blacks are very racist.

        • Eric_Saunders

          You are an idiot. Black people in America cannot be racist by definition.

          • Janet Williams

            Hah! Yes, according to Critical Race Theory. Which is a racist, semi-Marxist bunch of bull.
            When a mob of black teens surround white people and chant “get the white bitch” and then attack, you’re telling me that’s not racism?

            When virtually ALL the inter-racial violence in America is black-on-white? And virtually NONE of it is white-on-black, that’s not racism?

          • Eric_Saunders

            Racism is a system that creates a hierarchy of supremacy and domination according to a social construction of “race.” Things that reflect or reify the hierarchy are ‘racist.’ I understand that this is complicated and hard for you to wrap your racist mind around. That is why these things are taught in colleges by trained professionals.

            It is also racist of you to use the handle “Janet Williams” and have a brown-skinned woman as your avatar while you spam your evil racist comments.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            So you’re not disputing what she said about black teens?

            You’re not disputing that “virtually ALL the inter-racial violence in America is black-on-white?
            And virtually NONE of it is white-on-black, that’s not racism?”

            You would just rather see a different avatar saying it?

          • Eric_Saunders

            Racism is a systemic social hierarchy in which one or more “race” is privileged over others. In the US this is reflected in White supremacy and blacks as a group are in a subordinate or oppressed position. A large portion of the black population is so socioeconomically disadvantaged as to constitute an “underclass.” This type of social class manifests all sorts of social pathologies stemming form lack of education, developmental resources, material security, etc. The higher crime rate is a part of this. You are looking at the crime issue and arguing that this shows that the black underclass is guilty of racism. This is such an ignorant and racist argument in and of itself as to be laughable were it not so offensive.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Your black “underclass” has it better than 99% of humans that ever lived.

          • Eric_Saunders

            Again, a simplistic, irrelevant, racist non sequitur from a despicable troll who is so motivated by his racism that he spends his time spamming comments threads with racist idiocy.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Again, a defensive, paternalistic deflection from one who makes himself feel important be encouraging others to cling to their obsolete grievance.

          • Eric_Saunders

            The grievances are hardly obsolete. If one does not point to the history of racism, how else does one account for the racial disparities in the US? For example, the typical white family has 2000% more wealth than the typical black family. Without an acknowledgement of the history and persistence of racism, the only explanations are racist and tainted with white supremacy.

            It was MLK at least as far back as 1967 who spoke of the need to “rehabilitate” the poor. He was a prophet, of course. Too bad America did not heed his advice.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            How does one account for racial disparities?
            Question: The NBA is 90% black. Is THAT due to racism?

          • Eric_Saunders

            This book answers the second question:

            http://www.amazon.com/Taboo-Athletes-Dominate-Sports-Afraid-ebook/dp/B003ZHVC66/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396458523&sr=1-1&keywords=black+athletic+dominance

            You imply that there is some analogous genetic mechanism at play which is responsible for the racial disparities in US society. This is an odious, notorious, and scientifically discredited argument.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            OK. And what is YOUR explanation for why the NBA is 90% black?

            PS Instead of pointing me towards a book, as if you’re a professor assignment me reading, why don’t you simply summarize what you think the book said? And/or include quotes.

          • Eric_Saunders

            Geez, dude… chill out. I am actually in the midst of academic work so it actually very silly of me to be posting stuff like this in the first place. I will break down his argument, but you could read stuff of the amazon page to get the gist of it:

            (1) The book’s title is Taboo b/c there is a taboo against acknowledging the athletic gifts of black people in the US…

            (2) The superiority of black athletes is dicey to acknowledge because to acknowledge genetic advantages that correspond to “race” is to get close to making racially essentialist arguments like those that existed in the time of slavery and even in US social sciences for much of the 20th century. These racist assumptions served to legitimate white supremacy.

            The Nazis embraced this scientific racism and took it to its evil logical extreme and thereby discredited racist science for all time (hopefully). The last attempt to revive scientific racism was the notorious book The Bell Curve.

            The upshot is that there is no scientific evidence to support the notion of intellectual racial superiority.

            (3) The superiority of black athletes is obvious. Basically West Africans dominate sports that reward sprinting and jumping. East Africans dominate endurance events (or at least long distance running).

            Seriously, look at guys like Lebron James or Jordan or Bo Jackson, etc. etc. etc. There is literally no white analog. In the NBA, the best white guys are OCD freaks who compensate for their whiteness with insane skill sets like Larry Bird, Steve Nash, Dirk, Kevin Love, Pistol Pete.

            It does not follow that whites dominate society because they are genetically superior.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Thank you. You agree that blacks have genetic traits that give them an advantage at sports. As you say, there are no white analogs for James, Jordan Jackson, etc.

            But but but…I thought your position was that race was an artificial social “construct”.

            So is it conceivable that are there ANY traits where any other group has an advantage?

          • Eric_Saunders

            “Race” is a social construct. Phenotype is not.

            Are you aware that racial essentialism went out of style with the Nazis?

          • Bernardo Stevens

            So it’s politically correct to say that Africans have an advantage at sprints and long distance running.
            How is “Phenotype” is different from “race”?

            Oh, I see. If it’s ” observable characteristics or traits” that are different then it’s okay, huh?

          • Bernardo Stevens

            Phenotype means inherited characteristics that are visible.
            The “observable characteristics or traits” says wikipedia.

            Are you saying that observable characteristics CAN be inherited but non-visible characteristics cannot be inherited?

          • Eric_Saunders

            Look, you are rehashing racist arguments. I have better things to do than debate someone with crypto-Nazi opinions on race. Here is an article from a much more serious source than wikipedia that you can read to forever put to bed your racist and evil line of reasoning:

            http://medicine.yale.edu/labs/kidd/www/440.pdf

            Please make copies of this and disseminate it at the next Aryan Nation meeting that you attend.

          • Bernardo Stevens

            You’re the racist, racist. You’re saying the black people can have inherited characteristics that make them superior at some sports. White men really can’t jump?

            You’re saying that observable characteristics CAN be inherited but non-visible characteristics cannot be inherited.
            Yet it cannot be true that non-visible characteristics are inherited? Note – I’m not saying that these non-visible characteristic are inherited. Or that they’re not.

          • Eric_Saunders

            My understanding of the athletic issue is basically encapsulated in the Entine book I linked to. My understanding of the issue of intelligence and race is that there is no scientific support for intellectual racial superiority and this is reflected in the scholarly article that I linked to.

            I have stated my positions and understandings clearly while you have only obfuscated and misdirected without even stating your position clearly and/or providing any citation of works that believe are authoritative on these subjects. Given your line of argument, your positions can be inferred. Because your crypto-Nazi racial essentialist perspective is not uttered in polite society, it is unsurprising that you would want to avoid stating them outright even in the context of your internet race-baiting trollery.

        • Shechinah Divine

    • Bernardo Stevens

      Yes, many of the victims are black. What’s important is that the majority of violent crimes are committed by blacks, a small percent of the population.

      You must know that half of all murders are committed by blacks. Sorry, it’s just statistics. Most of the rest are committed by Latinos.

      • Tone

        whites just don’t get put out there in the media as blacks do, just designed that way by racist amerikkka. Whites are sadistic and serial killers. Sick whites raping their own fucking kids, thats a crime that don’t get put out there often. No matter what if either race was superior we would not walk the same earth surface. When you die you still get buried or cremated, what the fuck makes any race better than the other.
        we breathe the same fucking air, etc. Ass holes

        • Janet Williams

          It’s simply a fact that 55% the murders are committed by 12% of the population.
          And that 12% are black.

    • elgeman

      i grew up in philly during the 40s 50s 60s, and i really didn’t know shit about what’s going on in the city that i still love. [why else would i be reading this mag?] i ran away early 80s for reasons not concerned here. this is a great article that really opened my eyes. its very sad, and i hope that those who survive have the smarts and the energy to keep this great city alive.

  • Matthew Brooks

    WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE COMMENTS?

    • JonOMD

      Inconvenient historical records are often altered/erased under totalitarian regimes….

  • Joy Ward

    I read this article over and over again, and with my kids too. Funny, a few of the incidents that were pointed out, really had nothing to do with race and the perspectives were really skewed and off. It’d be nice if blacks wouldn’t always be the focus of negativity. The media has done a serious job in making sure both races have a thorough misunderstanding of one another. Bout time we as people knew better…don’t you think? Do an article about that. This way, there would be no need to hold open doors or wait for a ‘thank you’….just be yourself like Carol and watch what happens.

    • MystiKasT

      Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity.

      • Joy Ward

        Another ‘STAT’ stalker…Gee, I’m impressed.

      • highvoltamps

        Right on

    • ysongo

      Wait… so you don’t feel that Carol’s reaction was completely ridiculous? In the Carol story Susan *was* being herself, was unfairly and lambasted for it (which was actually racist on Carol’s part really) and was made to feel hugely uncomfortable. If I were Susan, I’d have said “what the F are you talking about Carol? It’s not my fault you get offended by a lost and found note”

      So you’re saying that THIS would be the CORRECT course? So I assume that when Carol would then get violent (which you can almost guarantee she would have), you’d have been completely on Susans side? Please… at least be honest with yourself.

      • Joy Ward

        I believe I meant to say ‘Claire’ not ‘Carol’ so I don’t know what you are referring to in regards to a note or what not. In either case, you have no idea who I am so being honest with myself isn’t something you can speak on..

    • johnee

      Try being white and walking down any inner city street!

      • Nero

        Try being anyone…and walking down an inner city street. If you aren’t from a given neighborhood and you don’t know the residents…you’re a stranger…and strangers often get hurt…

  • Anthony

    I have recently read your article “Being White In Philly” and find your argument interesting. In the article, you sight several reasons for why race relations are the way they are currently in Philadelphia. Some of the argument you make may hold validity, but most is made only out of opinion, which cannot fully give a picture to any form of argument involving race relations not only in Philadelphia, but anywhere in the United States.

    I agree with some of the statements made, and without a doubt there is indeed a race problem here in Philadelphia. This problem exists all across the country, but can be exemplified in so many ways in this city. Areas of largely Black population that you would call a ghetto, showcase issues that you address in your article. Yes, there is a problem among Blacks in this city, but it is not against Whites, it is amongst themselves. These problems exist because of the historical events that have lead to concentrations of Blacks being stuck in these areas. With a large majority of Black people living in these types of areas not possessing skills necessary to secure a good job, wealth cannot be accumulated. A lack of wealth accumulation travels from generation to generation, forcing people to remain in these same low income affordable areas. The areas then continue to degrade and do not improve, because most people in areas like ghettos rent their properties because thats what they can afford. Lack of personal ownership of property contributes to not caring about it, and slumlords continue to profit off of people living in shambles, with no real way to improve their situations. This is just one example of why these areas that you state as people being so afraid of come to exist. One cannot look at race and racial theories validly without basing their arguments in historical fact, or else opinions run wild and fallacious statements are made, like several throughout the article.

    One statement that struck a particular spark in my mind was “white people are stuck, dishonest by default, as we take a pass on the state of this city’s largely black inner city and settle for politely opening doors at Wawa, before we slip back to our own lives.” This statement of opinion hold wild fallacies in terms of the real state of the racial problem in Philadelphia, as well as in this country in general. This statement shows that you fail to recognize something significantly important for a person trying to debunk racial problems, that you yourself have a race. You are white, a race just like Black or Asian or any other. Not being able to recognize your own race except when the situation calls for it, like driving through a predominately Black neighborhood, is part of the problem that the White race contributes to racial relations. This statement also shows that you indeed are not as racially aware as you’d like to believe. The entire article is presented in a manner addressing the blights of White Americans, and makes it seem as though Whites are the only people with racial relation problems, and are subject to the worst of them. You fail to recognize that almost every single problem you state in the article that White individuals face in this city, are also faced by Blacks themselves. Black people also do not feel safe in these areas, get their property stolen off their porches, and are subject to comments as they walk through neighborhoods. These types of problems are not problems of race, but instead problems of the degradation of areas of the city into poverty and disrepair.

    For many individuals, race is indeed a difficult subject to talk about, and feel comfortable to do so. For Whites in particular, being racially aware can be a difficult thing, as Whites have had more advantages and opportunities placed in front of them. A White individual can find difficulty in speaking about race out of opinion, with most people having the inherent fear of being perceived as racist. There are different ways to go about openly speaking about race, and that begins with basing arguments and statements about race in historical facts. Without historical basis, statements made about race become solely out of opinion, and that is where I believe that the social construct that is racism begins. I believe that racism comes from the conflict of two persons opinions, such as a White and a Black, and that racism is created when one of those two people think that their difference of opinion is because they are of a different skin color. I think that speaking openly about race would be an easier thing to do for many people of this city if they were to recognize that, and speak about race in a historical manner rather than only out of opinion.

    • James Peek

      Look at Africa, the real issue is BLACKS. Tell me about ONE all African community that is run successfully! Define successfully you will say… Cover it up, it everyone else’s fault… Like petulant children. Even the Mayor took the bait. Grow as a people, stop ignoring the truth.

      • Janet Williams

        How about Detroit. Oh right. Camden NJ? DC? Kansas City? Oh well.

    • James Peek

      You only read the first page dick bag

  • Some Black Guy

    White people you wanted your conversation, well here it is. I figure since the author failed to provide any black voices, I would provide mine. I am a 27 year old black male from Philadelphia.

    So essentially, the sort of conversation that white want to have is to complain about having to live near poor people. The “problems” that white’s perceive are merely a product of poverty. What whites are really complaining about is how they find poor people distasteful, but they for some reason perceive this poverty as being a result of black pathology. It’s quite strange actually. Imagine whites being afraid of blacks. Let’s just pause and think about the irony of that. If anything blacks should be terrified of whites, given this country’s history in dealing with them. Blacks should be running in horror every time they see a white person, if history were to be taken into account. Let’s face it, whites over time have killed, raped, hanged, beat, tortured,and physically, economically, and socially oppressed more blacks than any blacks have do to whites. Now that that’s out of the way let’s get to the real point.

    It’s terrible when you actually think about it. Whites enslave blacks. Then blacks are “freed”. Then whites fearing economic competition, and wanting to keep blacks in subordination enact the black codes, jim crow and all sorts of laws to keep blacks from economic or political gains. The arguments used to convince other whites that these laws are a good idea are pretty much the same that are used today: “moral poverty”, feeling that blacks would steal from them rob them, rape them, or kill them. Which is ironic when you think about it, everything whites in those days had do to blacks. Either way, this led to even more laws to block them from economic participation and a disinvestment in education where blacks lived, thus producing poor, uneducated people.

    Fast forward to the present moment and we have the same fears by whites, leading to the same sorts of problems. The only reason we have poor blacks is because whites fear crime, which they equate with blackness. This fear leads to political support of “tough on crime” measures by politicians to appease whites, however these tough on crime measures like “the war on drugs” or “stop and risk” essentially criminalize being poor. Having criminalized being poor, and divesting in education, a group of people are produced who have no marketable skills and therefore subsist on either welfare or the drug trade. This is not a function of black pathology, but of white fear.

    But let us be clear white people, who want to be so open about race, you are the problem. By equating the inevitable effects of poverty with black pathology, you support laws that produce that which you fear the most (poor black people). You think that if you were in the same situation as a poor black person that you would somehow figure a way out. But this is not the case and if you could see beyond your privilege you would know this to be the case. People live the lives presented to them. You have lived the life you were presented. And the poor blacks live the life they have been presented.

    Finally let us take a moment to consider the actual problem of poverty here. Capitalism is its cause. There must be winners and losers in this game. It is a system specifically designed to produce unequal outcomes. The American dream is the nobel lie told to the masses, that everyone has a chance to make it if they work hard. But this is not the case, some people will toil away their entire lives and end up with nothing, while others will do relatively nothing and be rather comfortable. This is how capitalism works. The one who starts off with more capital usually stays as the one with the most capital, regardless of how much they toil. Just ask the slaves what hard work brought them. Most children and grandchildren of European immigrants to American believe that they worked hard to get where they are but in reality their situation was a product of FHA loans (excluded from blacks), labor unions (which excluded blacks) redlining (the federal and bank policy of excluding blacks) and pensions (which are becoming no existent). The point is, in Obama’s words “You didn’t build that”. And the only reason poor blacks are where they are and the middle class whites aren’t is for the most part not due to any excessive hard work, but due to receiving benefits that were purposely denied to blacks.

    Have you considered just how you much you whites in Philadelphia have benefited from the mere existence of the poor blacks? Just imagine what would happen if the poor blacks across the city had had the SAME education you had, in the SAME schools with the SAME resources. If they had the SAME cultural experiences and the SAME social capital. Obviously they would have similar life outcomes. If that were the case then whites would have to compete with blacks economically. You’d be competing for the same limited job opportunities. This would be bad for you because in order to be paid $80,000 a year and live in Fairmount, someone else must be paid $5 an hour and a certain portion of people in society must not participate in the labor market at all. That is the only way that your house of cards can be maintained. So in reality, whites who are so concerned with having a conversation about racism are actually really interested in having a conversation that blames poor people for the fact that they are poor and confuses poverty and crime with black pathology, and ignores the economic oppression that is necessary for them to have good middle class lives.

    • Who knew

      Omg, I love you:)

    • Secret Person

      What a crock of BS. It’s self-inflicted wounds now.

      This interview with Walter Williams says it all.

      “Even in the antebellum era, when slaves often weren’t permitted to wed,
      most black children lived with a biological mother and father. During
      Reconstruction and up until the 1940s, 75% to 85% of black children
      lived in two-parent families. Today, more than 70% of black children are
      born to single women. “The welfare state has done to black Americans
      what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest
      racism couldn’t do,” Mr. Williams says. “And that is to destroy the
      black family.” ”

      “Racial discrimination is not the problem of black people that it used
      to be” in his youth, says Mr. Williams. “Today I doubt you could find
      any significant problem that blacks face that is caused by racial
      discrimination. The 70% illegitimacy rate is a devastating problem, but
      it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with racism. The fact that in some
      areas black people are huddled in their homes at night, sometimes
      serving meals on the floor so they don’t get hit by a stray
      bullet—that’s not because the Klan is riding through the neighborhood.”

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704881304576094221050061598

      • Some White Guy

        You guys I think are both right except that the second thing doesn’t have all that much to do with what they first guy was talking about. The problem with making a correlation here is that the self perpetuating poverty came before the spike in illegitimacy. “Some Black Guy” is in broadstrokes explaining the external economical influences that have contributed to perpetuating black poverty.
        The poverty came before the spike in illegitimacy so any connection would have to be that the poverty had a hand in causing illegitimacy, not the other way around.

      • Nero

        @google-e32308278417b42bdb3f69b300a84973:disqus…it’s obvious you completely missed the point and were just trolling for some post to reply to. Your reply is so incongruous to what @disqus_201z2AfP6S:disqus said…its almost as if you didn’t read it at all…

      • Eric_Saunders

        It is racist to blame the conditions of the black underclass on the shortcomings of members of the black underclass.

        • Janet Williams

          It’s white people’s fault that black people don’t get married?
          It’s white people’s fault that black “students” make it impossible for teachers to teach with their aggressive and wild behavior in the schools?
          It’s white people’s fault that reading and studying is called “acting white”?

          • Eric_Saunders

            I am not going to waste my time explaining how the world works to an ultra-right wing racist. I will simply suggest that if you seek answers to these questions, you could probably find some used sociology textbooks on Amazon for pretty cheap. Of course, I do not think that you want to educate yourself, but would instead prefer to spam comment threads with evil racist filth, so… you know… carry on or whatever.

      • Who wants to know

        Mr. Williams has it all wrong my friend. Black families are broken up because of INTEGRATION AND PRISON! Those black ladies are raising children on their own because daddy is locked up, or dead, or finally got his opportunity to date UP. Aside from these two FACTS education or the lack there of plays a huge role in single-parenthood. And we all know Papa can’t be a real daddy selling dope on the corner.

    • Andrew

      Best comment here.

    • oDannyboi

      Black guy.. you are full of shit. All because of poverty? There are millions of poor Mexicans in the US, but you don’t see them killing and robbing people in large numbers.

      • MystiKasT

        Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity. Blacks will think up any excuse they can not to take personal responsibility. Slavery, poverty, drugs, racism, etc.

      • Bernardo Stevens

        Yes. You do. Blacks commit half the murders. Latinoes commit most of the rest.

    • MystiKasT

      Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity. stop committing so much crime.

    • Bernardo Stevens

      Nope. They just object to being threatened and attacked.

    • cesario

      I get what you’re saying here and I do agree with it on many levels, but the problem is you’re speaking in hugely broad terms that don’t really help the discussion much. “Black people” *do* tend to be afraid of “WHITE PEOPLE” (meaning this nebulous *concept* of “WHITE AMERICA”). “White people” are *absolutely* afraid of “black people” (meaning the individual black criminals whom they are most likely to be the victim of)

      Of course the majority of black Americans who are *not* criminals also suffer (more so actually) at the hands of the same criminal element.

      I disagree that whites “benefit” from this institutional culture of poverty. That’s a ludicrous strawman. If the entire city were educated and productive, and safe, more business would come there, there would be more great places to go, and the city would be healthier and more prosperous.

      The “zero sum game” you express here and seem to strongly believe in, where “for YOU to have $10 *I* have to have $1!!!” is precisely the type of defeatist thinking that *allowed poverty to perpetuate*.

      If the US had not a single impoverished and crime ridden area left anywhere this would be a *net positive*. It wouldnt mean that suddenly “white people” were making less money.

      I’ll tell you that the *majority* of white people agree with me. What no one can figure out is how the hell we get there though. The circle of poverty, crime and drugs in black urban areas really seems just unbreakable.

    • duke

      Best breakdown i’ve heard ….took all the things I already knew and explained it in such a way that even the asshole racist on here can’t honestly deny it.

    • Massachusetts

      Your analysis is welcome, but somewhat flawed. First, I feel that you are correct about the problems being created by laws and practices imposed by white people.

      However, secondly, and at the same time, the problems you relate to “Poverty” are in reality the product of the imposition of disempowerment that has resulted from the racist, or, at best, sexist structure of the “Safety net” programs produced by the “Great Society”.

      People, especially women heads of households, are offered Food Stamps, Section 8, Medicaid, and so forth, but this security is only provided on condition that they do not work or otherwise assert themselves in support of their families. Guys are penalized for not having steady work, even though much of the work has been shipped overseas. Economist Paul Krugman of the NY Times has suggested that the marginal tax rates for lo income people, even without discriminatory administration, can be as high as 80%. Here is a link

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/10/whose-incentives/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

      These programs, which benefit affluent providers instead of the supposed beneficiaries, were instituted over the objections of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who predicted that they would destroy the Black family. He instead called for “Benign neglect”. or in other words, letting people stand on their own feet. This idea was rejected. His predictions have unfortunately been largely realized.

      As a result today we have the large poor populations described above, not all of which is Black, but all of which is virtually captive (That part that is not actually in prison) in a situation where any amount of temporary income will get you cut off of benefits, and, basically, where no good deed will go unpunished, and where there is no responsible role available for many men, especially young Black men. Look at the real unemployment figures, including the “Under-employed” and those who have “Left the workforce” and it is truly scary.

      So we need to have a few conversations, including some better conversations about race that include everyone, but also about how all of the behavior being complained of is the logical result of policies imposing heavy means-testing on all these programs, on policies providing tax incentives for moving manufacturing out of the city and even overseas.

      As soon as everyone starts to see that we are all in the same boat, and need to figure out how to row in the same direction, these conversations can start.

      • Eric_Saunders

        This is contradictory. On the one hand you cite Moynihan who was worried about whether welfare would create dependency. Then you state that the means testing makes these programs harmful, but the implication is that it would be better if there were not means testing and the programs could be more generous towards working poor.

        Additionally, it is worth noting that the Great Society programs were a response to poverty in America which was already widespread so it is not really honest to say that the Great Society caused these problems.

        And yes, globalization has screwed labor and the working classes, especially minorities. This is by design. You can see this if you go back and read Sam Huntington and the Trilateral Commission papers. The ruling class hated the sixties and wanted to restructure society to reverse what they called “an excess of democracy.”

    • Eric_Saunders

      This is all right on except that I think that the black-white split has not actually helped whites. It always left blacks as a potential ‘reserve army of the unemployed,’ keeping white wages low and undermining attempts to organize. And now racist dog-whistle politics capitalizes on white racism to persuade whites to support economic policies that actually hurt them. Racism is a powerful tool in the toolbox of the Overclass.

    • Janet Williams

      What a long, boring whining tirade.
      Fifty years of affirmative action aren’t enough?

  • Benwilcock

    The real issue here is socioeconomics. Take any neighborhood be it Black, White, Asian, etc where the people are not poor as dirt; and the crime level is significantly lower. Unfortunately, many poor Blacks are caught in a cycle of crime due to generations of poverty dating back to slavery. Well-to-do people generally don’t feel the need to steal and turn to crime to make a living. I’m not making excuses. However, when you are raised in an environment where there is little emphasis on the importance of education and where many jobs don’t pay a living-wage; what do you expect?

    • Secret Person

      Appalachia is white and dirt poor and the crime rate is nowhere at the same level as the inner city. In fact, it’s 56% lower than the national violent crime rate.

      • REDII

        however the use of drugs in Appalachia is much higher

        • oDannyboi

          lol. kill yourself

        • MystiKasT

          Even if thats true, the crime and violence isn’t — which leads us to conclude, blacks are more violent then all other races.

          Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity. Blacks will come up with any excuse they can to avoid personal responsibility for their actions, they are like little children, ‘racism’, ‘slavery’, ‘poverty’, ‘drugs’, ‘rap music’. The jews were nearly wiped out during WW2 and look how well they are doing, only 60-70 years later. Its been much longer than that for blacks and they are still at the bottom — whats their excuse? Oh yeah, we’ve heard them all. Step and get your shit together black people.

          • APOD.

            the history behind white poverty and black poverty for the most part is different. Ofcourse crime will be lower in the NO name, rural towns, which are small and neighbors and houses Isolated from eachother compared to inner cities which are huge, houses, projects, apartments, stacked together. More ppl, lack of resources = chaos.

          • Janet Williams

            The history? You believe in genetic memory? STOP MAKING EXCUSES @!!!!!!!

          • APOD.

            How am I?

          • Bernardo Stevens

            When you say this stuff about “history behind white poverty and black poverty” it’s as if you believe in DNA memory.

            As if black Americans born in 1995 somehow have a magic memory of what happened in the 60s.

            Stop making excuses.

    • James Peek

      Where is that black community Benwilcock? You are the problem Benwilcock! You, create excuses! Blacks are doomed by white people like you everyday! You’re BS about wages? Really? Giving without earning has destroyed Europe! You speak about helping or preaching your concern about blacks?? Your ideology only holds us back!!

    • MystiKasT

      Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity. Blacks will came up with any excuse they can to avoid personal responsibility for their actions, they are like little children, ‘racism’, ‘slavery’, ‘poverty’, ‘drugs’, ‘rap music’. The jews were nearly wiped out during WW2 and look how well they are doing, only 60-70 years later. Its been much longer than blacks and they are still at the bottom — whats their excuse? Oh yeah, we’ve heard them all. Step and get your shit together black people.

    • bingobongo

      Huge chunks of Asia are *institutionally poor*. The wealth in these countries is concentrated, by and large, AT THE VERY TOP ONLY. There is also institutional racism that *only* Asians understand (because blacks and whites both tend to just blindly assume that “all of them are the same)

      Yet despite *all* of this, the poorest crap section of the worst Asian city is safer than Philly or Detroit. Now THAT is pathetic and not easily explained away by economics.

    • Shechinah Divine

      WOW! Someone here does have a brain. Now if we could just get people to open their eyes as to WHY this fact is so. Maybe Philly could change for the better.

  • Ptah

    it’s becoming more dangerous. I am out of here

    • MystiKasT

      Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity. All white people: leave philly and let it become the shining beacon of black progress. Just like detroit and every all black country/city, they destroy. Blacks cannot live in a civilized world, they only destroy. Do not let them destroy you in the process.

  • Napa

    Racial inequity is promoted by democrats in order to maintain power. If folks in political power really gave a damn about poor folks, they would require vocational training to receive a welfare check or food stamps… teach a man to fish.

    • MystiKasT

      Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity. Blacks will come up with any excuse they can to avoid personal responsibility for their actions, they are like little children, ‘racism’, ‘slavery’, ‘poverty’, ‘drugs’, ‘rap music’. The jews were nearly wiped out during WW2 and look how well they are doing, only 60-70 years later. Its been much longer than that for blacks and they are still at the bottom — whats their excuse? Oh yeah, we’ve heard them all. Step and get your shit together black people.

      • APOD.

        You do realize there are 45 Million black ppl in USA.. BLACKS are responsible for 5,000 homicides a year .. According to the FBI stats of 2011. 5,000 homicides were committed where the killers was unknown, so lets give you the benefit of the doubt and say blacks were responsible for those 5,000 homicides. So out of 45 Million blacks, 10,000 homicides fall under blacks a year, that is a very very very very small percentage. Only 2 percent of blacks will commit Violent crimes a year. WHITES are responsible for 84 percent of murders of whites. That being said, whites should fear WHITES more so than blacks. I agree that crime in the INNER city is a problem, but it is such a small population of blacks, who created the ghettoes? I will give you a hint, the same ones who created slave plantations. NO whites are not telling blacks to kill or gang bang or sell drugs, but the conditions in the ghetto were created by the government that just so happened to be all white. Blacks could note vote until 1965, would be lynched for trying to do so. That being said we are not even 50 years removed from when blacks faced terrorism, torture, and racist laws. Everytime blacks tried to change their circumstance, MLK, Malcolm X, Black Panthers, they were killed/assassinated. Many black leaders fear trying to change or improve things in the ghetto out of the fear of being targeted by the gov. Until the conditions are changed in the ghetto, crime will continue. The two races that have been OPPRESSED THE MOST are blacks and Native Americans. Is it a coincidence that that blacks who live in the ghetto and Native Americans on reservations have the highest rate of crimes. The 400-500 year history of terrorism, torture, discrimination. led to the conditions in the environment that breed violence. Proof of Native American violent crime ( the reservations average a higher violent crime rate than many cities in US outside the reservations. )

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/us/on-indian-reservations-higher-crime-and-fewer-prosecutions.html?pagewanted=all

        In conclusion, no more than 2 percent of blacks commit VIOLENT crimes a year. Meaning 98 percent of blacks are law abiding citizens. (ofcourse of the 98 percent, 45 percent are on welfare, which does not automatically mean they are lazy.The 2 percent is usually concentrated in the ghetto. SO BASICALLY YOU are Ignorant if you think ALL ORR MOST BLACKS ARE THUGS.
        84 percent of white murder victims were killed by OTHER WHITES. SO whites should fear whites more so than blacks. Then the root cause of high crime can be explained through history given the connections drawn between the suffering of blacks and native americans. If a black dude in the hood shoots me, obviously he should go to prison, blacks are not saying oh he should be set free, because slavery and jim crow caused this ghetto culture. We are just simply acknowledging the cause of the crime not excusing it.

        • Nero

          …Got’em…get’em…good…Very well put argument. I think people that make arguments similar to @MystiKasT:disqus are being intellectually lazy. You’ve laid out what you think are the effects, now state and understand the causes– otherwise, your argument is only half-baked and naive at best.

          Also, as @addisonsarter:disqus pointed out: Black people in no was excuse crime. As a black man, if _any_ man commits a crime, he should be punished…point blank. Its both disingenuous and and counter-intuitive to claim otherwise. To see why, have you ever seen a neighborhood hold a rally to defend a known drug dealer?

          Didn’t think so :/

          • Dc

            @nero Thanks. Also I cant tell if you are talking to me or MystiKasT when you say the argument is half balked, If so, In terms of black crime issue.. We have have these “New Black Panthers” who are racist and preach the towards whites which is what Im against. No matter what color you are if you love me or respect me I will do the same. That being said, if those “new panthers” wanted to do something..nvm forget it I wont leave it up to them. If 100 black, educated men, in every city in America patrolled the hood, crime would go down. There are no men. The Prison stats say 75 percent of inmates grew up in a single mother home. That alone is a big clue.

      • ctmany

        OOPS, you forgot that blacks are still oppressed in today’s America. Please read up on the racist criminal justice system (including mass incarceration) and underfunding of the public school system, just as two huge factors FOR STARTERS, before saying another word in this conversation.

    • Nero

      You fail…because they do…require “Vocational Training”…its called “Welfare to Work”…next…

      Although, I do agree that welfare should be a 5 year maximum lifetime benefit…period…

  • MystiKasT

    Being white in philadelphia is a scary propsition. Gangs of feral blacks roam the streets, indiscriminately attacking and robbing and raping whites they see. We are constantly harrassed, spit at, called cr*ckers, and white b*tches. Things are very bad in philadelphia for whites, especially white women.

    • fire lion

      spending some time away from stormfront?

      • Janet Williams

        What he said was true. Yes, it’s embarrassing.

    • johnee

      You should move.

    • frustrated student

      (To preface: I’m going to assume that you were being deliberately hyperbolic and a bit tongue-in-cheek in your second sentence).

      I completely agree that it is challenging and often scary or uncomfortable being a white woman in Philly. From what I’ve observed and experienced, there is definitely an undercurrent of blind anger towards white people from certain parts of the black population in the city, and being a woman who is white makes you especially vulnerable to it.

      I live on Penn’s campus, so on a daily basis I’m generally surrounded only by other students, professors, staff, etc. However, whenever I venture into center city, almost without exception, I am harassed by at least one black man. This happens sometimes when I’m simply walking down a street, and almost always when I’m waiting in a Septa station. It also happens whether I’m alone or in a group of girl friends, but never when I am with a group containing at least one guy. I suspect that I’m singled out not only because I am white and a woman, but because I have unusually fair skin. These incidents always go the same way: while I am completely minding my own business, I am approached by one of these men, they hover extremely close to me (and/or follow me), and say horrible, often sexual, things as well as call me racist names, like those that you mentioned.

      It makes me both sad and frustrated that every time I venture significantly off campus I’ve simply gotten in the habit of having to: carefully consider what I’m wearing (because I’ve noticed that when I’m dressed up for something, the harassment is so, so much worse), be hyper-aware of my surroundings (though I don’t believe these types of men would take any action to harm me, especially in daylight in heavily populated areas, I can’t help but be cautious), and be mentally prepared to just block out whatever they say to me, and not let it ruin my experience of living in this historic and beautiful city.

      • June

        I’m a Temple student and I live off of Penn’s campus in the ghetto. I experienced the same things too. It’s pretty much a daily thing for me as I commute to school. But it’s not because you’re white or I’m asian, it’s because we’re females. If you think you have it bad, try being me. I’ve been called every racial slur. But the other day was a first for me, I got called a “white b*tch.”

        • Kyle

          Lol, it’s not because you’re female, it’s becasue you’re an uppity, college attending, “white b#$%h.”
          Now you may not be any of those things, but that might be what you project yourself as.

          • Janet Williams

            It’s because trashy ghetto people think they have the right to assault you verbally and intimidate you for their perceived grievances.

      • ctmany

        Gee, do you think a long history of of previous and current poverty and white supremacy and marginalization could have anything to do with the situations you are seeing??

        • Janet Williams

          Why? Do you believe in genetic memory? How come poor people come here from Vietnam after their families were rice-growing peasants for a thousand years. And their kids go to school and become doctors? Why is that?

          • Shechinah Divine

            That is because those people leave the place that caused them pain in search of a new world, one with hope and a rewarding future. They come to America, their travel to refuge is a symbol of CHANGE. Now, my question to you is this, is everyone who STAYED back in Vietnam rich, doing well, or at lease out of property; or are many STILL slaving as peasants?

            You do realize blacks STAYED on the lands that enslaved them. Concerning the US many were refugees from South US to North US, but that proved to show no hope. Blacks world wide are stuck and the ONLY “coming” is seeking WITHIN.

            You should stop talking around blacks as if we are all one group of people, for if we are all the same than you are just like us, no different. We both bleed the same blood so you should act as such. You could use a little humbling and a history lesson. Clearly, you are ignorant and only chose to know CERTAIN things.

          • ivelow

            Because they get money from the government as well as housing my Cambodian partner told me that from the war,too bad we didn’t get anything from slavery ,rape and murder free labor..

          • Bernardo Stevens

            You were a slave? Or raped? Or murdered?
            You provided free labor?

        • Shechinah Divine

          Exactly, they think nothing about cause and effect. They think they are suffering. HA!

        • golgisupreme

          No. It’s called “the spirit of ignunce”, and it some people carry it with honor.

    • Shechinah Divine

      Many blacks within Philly are undereducated and it should come by no surprise. Philly has no real economy, parents are working two jobs and still can’t pay rent, and public school choices are rated at a -2 out of 10. With no education many are stuck in an animal like state. This is not something that is only true for blacks, any race of people would behave just the same when trapped to be inferior.

      You think you are harassed because you are white but this is not so, they harass any and every type of woman. I’ve had snow balls thrown at me in the winter time and words yelled at me from afar in the summer time. Clearly, I am black. So, no one is calling me a WHITE bitch, just bitch. I am from North Philly so on average no one is disrespectful around here, everyone knows me. Most of which I described has happened when I am walking in West or South-West Philly, where no one knows who I am.

      I have been out clubbing in old city and have had white, italian and Greek men approach me and my black girl friends after the club. They come to use VERY assuming trying to be “black”, very funny. However, they do say little slick stuff that I am sure they wouldn’t say to a white looking woman, or would they? I don’t know, because I am not white and don’t have any close white girlfriends.

      Men are always thinking about sex and survival, black men in Philadelphia are no exception. However, with a lack in survival, feeling the troubles of being black in Philly (not the same as being white in Philly, worse) they sexually pursue woman one way or another. They feel they are at lease accomplishing something. It is when they feel inferior to you (like you are out of their league) that they pursue aggressively. Yes, in this case white woman will have it the worse because psychologically the white woman represents everything to the black man all at once, sex and survival (let it sink it).

      When it is all said and done their is a gender war among us just and this race war. And when you are Black and female the male-world itself can seem rather- well, rude…

  • MystiKasT

    Maybe if blacks weren’t 13% of the population, making up 52% of all violent crimes (according to the 2004 FBI Annual Crime Report), they wouldn’t be the focus of such negativity. Blacks will came up with any excuse they can to avoid personal responsibility for their actions, they are like little children, ‘racism’, ‘slavery’, ‘poverty’, ‘drugs’, ‘rap music’. The jews were nearly wiped out during WW2 and look how well they are doing, only 60-70 years later. Its been much longer than blacks and they are still at the bottom — whats their excuse? Oh yeah, we’ve heard them all. Step and get your shit together black people!

  • Tom

    I’m white and have black friends, I judge those on their character and not their skin color. One thing I don’t have is white guilt though. I didn’t enslave black people and neither did my ancestors they were poor Irish and Italian immigrants, I work with a ton of black people and I get along fine with em we dig each other with racial based jokes. I think people just need to stop being pussies and actually talk to people truthfully and not walk on egg shells around each other. Besides the real enemy is the government who holds us down and turns us on each other.

    • Nero

      I agree…get out there..talk to people. Get to know the guy/gal you ride the bus with. Get to know they people how pick up your trash. Get to know your teachers, policemen etc. People are all around you. And people are vibrant and interesting and …. human… once you get to actually know them and not just their stereotypes.

      Who are these racially confused people the article presupposes? I’m black and I can honestly say that your okay as long as your okay to me. If you haven’t done anything to _me_ personally, I have not basis to judge you, least of all because of your race….

  • Kanjigator

    This is a thought-provoking article, but it is wincingly narrow-minded and, well, racist. The author produces a bunch of hand-wringing white folks in Philly that are uncomfortable around blacks and are barely suppressing their fear and contempt. Where are the black and minority voices? Even if you agree with the author’s sentiments, this is a weird and telling omission. It is outright neglect by the editors of this magazine to allow such an unbalanced depiction, irrespective of the gist of the argument made by the author. Philadelphia has a long and storied history of integration, complicated by the racism that attends the ethnic diversity of the city: we deserve better.

    The main logical flaw in the argument presented here is that crime, poverty and social pathology has a black face, but there is absolutely no explanation aside from whispered asides of “what’s wrong with these people” as to why that might be the case in America. The author talks about race riots as being the reason for white-flight out of the inner-city into the suburbs, and then ponders the racial resentment that somehow produced that. But where did that come from? How and why did that happen in Philly (as in many urban areas) in that moment in time? What are the underlying economic factors that compelled this action? Racism and discrimination are not just abstract principles: they have reason and a history and none of that is told – or even alluded to – in this disturbing essay.

    I was a student at Temple in the 80s when crack hit and crime was rampant and as a naive white student, I had certain inclinations that were daily reality checked by living amongst people who were different than me. I am frankly shocked that a writer of this caliber would be so lacking in empathy, so lazy in his analysis and so blind to the history of this city that he would produce such a document and hit the “send” button.

    This author should follow his kid to Temple and get an education.

    • zombizi

      Why does a single article have to have multiple perspectives? When you read articles from a black perspective, which absolutely *never* have “white voice” representation, do you actually criticize that? And if the answer is no (which it is), why don’t you *that* as paternalistic racism of your own? As long as there is a view that white people are essentially in a state of permanent guilt and culpability, and that the only valid dialogue is *endless* analysis of how the sins of past white generations got us here, with a healthy does of “here are the reasons white people are horrible”, I fail to see how we (as a society) can *ever* move forward. I say this because that *is* the state of 99% of the “discussion” I see on this topic today. We get two views… White lunatic racists who are dangerous IMO, and then the opposite extreme – the “white is the root of ALL evil” view.

      This article may be a bit uneven, and in many ways deserved of your overall critique, but at least it is an *honest* perspective from a *normal* “white person”. Meaning someone who isn’t just jumping on the “yes.. we’re evil! you are right to hate us!!!” bandwagon, and also isn’t frothing at the mount like a racist lunatic (like many of the commenters)

      For no other reason than that it’s interesting and RARE.

    • Shechinah Divine

      I believe he did this on purpose. No writer of this long would write such an article for any other reason. As a black woman I am disturbed by it, but for reasons different than most (from what I see in the comments). With such a failing school district you’d think they would raise money for better lower, middle, and upper schools for Philly inner city. SMH. Everyone knows less education equals more crime.

      • bbozeeke

        You’r only disturbed because you miss the point of the article.The point of the article that many people missed, by the looks of the posts on this blog here, is that it serves no one well to avoid having an open and honest discussion about our grievances with each other. And the reason there were no black voices in the article is because he’s giving you the perspective of the average white person with regards to race (which is often never voiced openly). White people as a whole have censored ourselves on this topic except in cases where we share the black or white liberal view on a particular race related topic.

        If you’re a white dude who got attacked and robbed by a black guy while in the wrong part of town or an old white lady whose house was robbed, you have just as much of a grievance as a black man being falsely arrested by police or a black teenager being closely watched in a store under suspicion of shoplifting. But even to say that is considered racist. And that ultimately is the problem that the article tries to talk about. Discourse is better than suppression of thought. But if black folks see it as racist for white people to even have an opinion on race, then we’re getting nowhere fast.

    • bbozeeke

      The reason there were no black voices in the article is because he’s giving you the perspective of the average white person with regards to race (which is often never voiced openly). As I replied another posted on this blog, white people as a whole have censored ourselves on this topic except in cases where we share the black or white liberal view on a particular race related topic.

      If you’re a white dude who got attacked and robbed by a black guy while in the wrong part of town or an old white lady whose house was robbed, you have just as much of a grievance as a black man being falsely arrested by police or a black teenager being closely watched in a store under suspicion of shoplifting. But even to say that is considered racist. And that ultimately is the problem that the article tries to talk about. Discourse is better than suppression of thought. But if black folks see it as racist for white people to even have an opinion on race, then how can we have that discussion.

  • APOD.

    You do realize there are 45 Million black ppl in USA.. BLACKS are responsible for 5,000 homicides a year .. According to the FBI stats of 2011. 5,000 homicides were committed where the killers was unknown, so lets give you the benefit of the doubt and say blacks were responsible for those 5,000 homicides. So out of 45 Million blacks, 10,000 homicides fall under blacks a year, that is a very very very very small percentage. Only 2 percent of blacks will commit Violent crimes a year. WHITES are responsible for 84 percent of murders of whites. That being said, whites should fear WHITES more so than blacks. I agree that crime in the INNER city is a problem, but it is such a small population of blacks, who created the ghettoes? I will give you a hint, the same ones who created slave plantations. NO whites are not telling blacks to kill or gang bang or sell drugs, but the conditions in the ghetto were created by the government that just so happened to be all white. Blacks could note vote until 1965, would be lynched for trying to do so. That being said we are not even 50 years removed from when blacks faced terrorism, torture, and racist laws. Everytime blacks tried to change their circumstance, MLK, Malcolm X, Black Panthers, they were killed/assassinated. Many black leaders fear trying to change or improve things in the ghetto out of the fear of being targeted by the gov. Until the conditions are changed in the ghetto, crime will continue. The two races that have been OPPRESSED THE MOST are blacks and Native Americans. Is it a coincidence that that blacks who live in the ghetto and Native Americans on reservations have the highest rate of crimes. The 400-500 year history of terrorism, torture, discrimination. led to the conditions in the environment that breed violence. Proof of Native American violent crime ( the reservations average a higher violent crime rate than many cities in US outside the reservations. )

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02

    In conclusion, no more than 2 percent of blacks commit VIOLENT crimes a year. Meaning 98 percent of blacks are law abiding citizens. (ofcourse of the 98 percent, 45 percent are on welfare, which does not automatically mean they are lazy.The 2 percent is usually concentrated in the ghetto. SO BASICALLY YOU are Ignorant if you think ALL ORR MOST BLACKS ARE THUGS.
    84 percent of white murder victims were killed by OTHER WHITES. SO whites should fear whites more so than blacks. Then the root cause of high crime can be explained through history given the connections drawn between the suffering of blacks and native americans. If a black dude in the hood shoots me, obviously he should go to prison, blacks are not saying oh he should be set free, because slavery and jim crow caused this ghetto culture. We are just simply acknowledging the cause of the crime not excusing it.

  • allenllee

    Sorry I didn’t find this article a year ago. My African American grandfather took his last breath from a row house on Diamond Street and one of his daughters went on to be an associate professor at Princeton, from, you guessed it, Diamond Street. I remember as a child being filmed with one of those 8mm cameras during the holiday events on “Diamond Street” in North Philly. Urban areas have always had ethnic enclaves in the U.S. since the 1800 and it’s no secret that Blacks and Whites have a long history of not living together or trusting each other. I go to google earth every now and then just to tour down Diamond Street and recall the old days and my family. You’d be perhaps surprised that some Blacks have the same demonized view of Whites that Whites have of them when they demonize the “neighborhood.” Some Blacks are actually comfortable with a certain level of violence in their community because they feel they may need those violent people to fend off White violent people.I know you don’t see yourself or your college student child as such a threat, but that’s how general demonizing works. Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, and Tiger Woods don’t want to have a serious talk about race, and I failed to read were you interviewed a Black resident during your composition.. The question to me is, Why do want to talk about it now, and do you only plan on preaching to the choir? I would suggest opening with joke: “Hey, How many White guys does it take to change a lightbulb in Philadelphia?” Then perhaps getting a fuller grasp on humanity and how the same stimuli often brings the same results, regardless of skin color. If we began a discussion talking of our mutual attributes rather than our fears and misgivings,( not that they shouldn’t be discussed) than I think we might find successful grounds for dialogue. You are being racially profiled in a Black community, and I’m guessing it isn’t a pleasant experience. We know what to do to correct racial profiling, but it has to be done with a broader brush than just to assuage gentrification.

  • Iva Wright Glenn

    I grew up in Fairmount in the 60′s,70′s & 80′s.
    Back then the race riots were horrible, I remember playing in the fire plug and blacks from Girard ave would run through our block and our parents would be scooping us up and running inside.
    why you ask? Because they would have baseball bats, sticks, bottles and whatever they could use to hurt us, smashing everything in their path.
    There was shootings off the roofs at one time, I remember going to the ice cream truck on 26th st and poplar to get ice cream and getting my ass kicked all because I missed the truck on the white side of the street, I only was a kid a poor kid in a poor part of the city trying to get an ice cream.
    sitting on my front step getting hit in the head with a board with nails in it.
    Yeah that’s the Fairmount we grew up in and we became tough.
    Bache Martin was a school in our neighborhood, public.
    None of the white people went there even though it was in our neighborhood, we weren’t allowed.
    We all went to Catholic school, we had 3 Catholic schools in a very small neighborhood. In all reality what small neighborhood has 3 Catholic schools???
    We couldn’t shop on Girard ave, even though it was the closest place to us, you would get robbed or beat up.
    So if you really want to know what it’s like growing up white in Philly, stop asking people who have moved into the area in the last 10yrs ask real Philly people and get the real scoop.
    I had to adjust to my surroundings but I survived and no I’m not racist, it taught us tolerance which black and white people alike should learn.

    • gorgar

      Wait… so being the victim of racist gangs taught you tolerance? There’s an irony there because being the victim of institutional racism taught your victimizer to hit you in the head with a board for eating an ice cream. Honestly I fail to understand why *anyone* would stay in that environment after that experience, but I do find it sort of amazing to me that living in terror like this made you “tolerant”.

      Most of the rationalizations for N Philly here in these comments are that the “horrible conditions” are the *direct cause* of the massively brutal crime. Yet your neighborhood was poor, you were horribly abused and lived in terror, and grew up tolerant. That’s worth examining.

  • mani

    My grandmother is a black woman in her mid eighties. She has lived up the street from Temple since the 50′s. Within the past few years houses around her have been sold to mostly white college students. They party all weekend every weekend. Pee and throw bottles on her lawn. Harrass her while drunk. Once they hopped her fence and trampled her flowers and once threw beer bottles at her back door. Is that how all white people are? No, fact is an a$$hole is an a$$hole no matter what race.

    • Janet Williams

      Trampled her flowers? That’s it?
      You’re comparing that to the fact that black Americans commit 55% of the MURDERS?

  • Jasmine Guy

    Thank God I didn’t pick up the Phily Mag because it would have been shited on by my puppy…fuck u

  • JaMarcus

    I’d bet every dollar I had Carol stole the Blackberry.

  • Stacey

    Blacks are such as small percentage of the population, yet they commit over half of the statistical crimes in America. OMG! That is unprecedented! How can ONE group of people be so HATEFUL, VIOLENT, and down right NEGATIVE!? They are ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE, all of them! No exceptions, if they are black they are BAD. Surly, it must be something in their DNA. Maybe they have more Ape in their blood. What is it about them that makes them HATE THEMSELVES, THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING IN IT? Hmmm…