Why We Wrote About Race

On Philly Mag’s article “Being White in Philly.”

In many ways, I look at “Being White in Philly,” which appears in the March issue of Philly Mag, as the bookend to an article we ran last September. That story, Steve Volk’s gripping “Welcome to Hell,” examined violence in some of the most dangerous parts of Philadelphia through the tales of two teenage boys—one killed by gunfire in his neighborhood, the other with a mother who so feared for his safety that she sent him to live with his father in the Dominican Republic. “Welcome to Hell” brought to life what it’s like to live in the literal equivalent of a war zone, where thousands have died over the past decade and potentially hundreds of thousands more suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Being White in Philly,” by writer-at-large Robert Huber, looks at some of those same parts of the city, and some of those same issues, but through a decidedly different prism: how middle-class white Philadelphians feel about them. Huber spent several weeks in the Fairmount section of town, on the edge of North Philadelphia, talking to white people there about race and class, and their impact on their lives.

Race, of course, remains the most explosive topic in America—last year’s Trayvon Martin case is the most recent vivid example—and as you might imagine, we as an editorial team had many conversations about whether this piece was one we should do. Indeed, among our discussions was a debate about whether we—a magazine with exactly zero people of color on its full-time editorial staff—even had license to report and write on such a sensitive topic.

In the end, I decided to go forward with the story for two reasons. First, because I believe it is a story. As Huber notes in his piece, when race is written about, it’s generally done from the point of view of African-Americans. There are many just and legitimate reasons for that, but to pretend that white people don’t also have thoughts and feelings about the issue is dishonest. And so it seemed to me that if nothing else, there was something to be learned.

Beyond that, it struck me that not to do this story would be to declare that the problems of Philadelphia’s underclass are theirs and theirs alone. In truth, the fact that nearly a third of African-Americans here live below the poverty line—and in many cases live surrounded by violence—remains Philadelphia’s single biggest issue, the one that drives every other issue, from crime and violence to schools and unemployment.

I’ll let you read for yourself what Huber found when he talked to those white Fairmounters, except to say this: Their stories are varied and complex, in most cases as far from black-and-white as you can imagine. “In so many quarters, even to talk about race is considered racist,” Huber writes in his story. He’s correct in that observation, but I also believe this to be true: To not talk about race is to admit that we can never move forward.

This is taken from Tom McGrath’s editor’s letter that appears in the March 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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  • doreenmcgettigan

    I agree. Not talking about it leaves us stuck.

    That said, no matter how many computers we buy, no matter how much money we throw at violence and poverty until we face the fact and admit out loud that these young men are killing each other because it is easier than working/studying their way out of poverty the violence will not stop.

    The outrage is loud and clear when a cop or a white person kills a black person unjustly and it should be it is UNACCEPTABLE. That said where is the outrage from the communities over the 1000′s upon 1000′s of young men that kill each other every six months in this country.

  • disqus_m2f9xSmrCJ

    Philly Magazine is “a magazine with exactly zero people of color on its full-time editorial staff.” Why are you OK with this?

    • Markos_Anderson

      Because, like with MSNBC, they’re packed with white “intellectual” liberals.

      • timesyours

        and the fact that Melissa Harris-Perry, Tamron Hall, Al Sharpton, Martin Bashir all have their own shows?

        • Markos_Anderson

          That these tokens share the same Far left Lunatic values as their white colleagues?

          • MO

            Is there some One True Black Perspective that they aren’t presenting for you?

    • Andre Lanouge

      Do you know any blacks that can write?

    • kavukahn

      Why are you not? Isn’t it perfectly reasonable that their situation could occur organically with no ill will intended or practiced? It’s YOUR position that needs to be examined and questioned; in your mind they are guilty of racism they probably didn’t commit. Let me see, arrogant and judgmental while ignorant of context . . . . congratulations, you are a Liberal.

  • RightsTough

    I haven’t read the story as yet but I can imagine that Mr. Huber tap dances over the ROOT problems in the black community. And nothing is more rooted in the modern day african american community than division. Their is a stark “line” in the black community that divides the blacks that want a future based in contributing to the greater good through accountability and education (this is the growing segment of the back community) and the misguided, shoot myself in the foot, blame everyone but myself and game the entitlement system blacks that have eroded cities such as Detroit, DC, Philly, Camden etc.

    I see the young african americans and I see lots of hope. Their family structure, which never vanished, is coming back en masse. These young people value education. They work their fannies off. The laugh and they are true contributors.

    Luckily for all of us, a large % of the mid age blacks – the blacks who grew up in the entitlement age defined by the Great Society – are dying off and taking their “won’t do” attitude with them. Their younger off spring have access to all types of technology and they are choosing the path of assimilation.

    The next leap for Black vs Everyone else relationships is to create a forum where everyone else can talk honestly to blacks without the constant fear that the simpleton blacks will simply pull out the “you’re a racist” card. Once open dialogue is available the path for blacks will be accelerated because african americans under 40 have proven that they will do what everyone else will. And more importantly, they have proven that the “get it”!

    I think this Phiilly Mag story is important in a city like Philly where blocks of blacks inhabit places like North Philly because they are forced to. And all of us would be come animals if we were forced to live among the lowest form of life. It’s called the survival instinct!

    • Amanda

      hope to God you’re right. However, many of my students talk about race constantly–and in a very unproductive and ugly way. “You dark. You fail the paper bag test.” I know much (all?) of this is the fault of white people. Black people will never gain a competitive advantage, though, unless they start to be as passionate about mathematics, literature, and critical reasoning skills as they are about finding things to divide us and brood over. It is time to leave the culture of victimhood behind because that is a self-fulfilling path to take. It is like the battered woman who goes back to her abuser.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.champion.566 Chuck Champion

        Ask black youth in the inner city what they think about when they wake up in the morning. How do they focus on science when the guns go off in the night and their parents have no idea how to get away from it all? The issue starts at home and is so much more complicated than the value put on education in a black home

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fabio-Escobar/44205874 Fabio Escobar

          They focus the same way a student writes a paper two days after his father dies, or a student comes to class even though her father threatened to behead her for dating a non-Muslim. They get it done and they fight for their own future by educating themselves by candlelight if that is what it takes. What’s the alternative, after all?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ariella.cohen.583 Ariella Cohen

    I am a journalist humiliated by the notion that a prominent member of my field has just stated that “when race is written about, it’s generally done from the point of view of African-Americans.”It is a well-known fact in the industry that journalism as a profession is overwhelmingly white, a reality alluded to by the fact that Philadelphia Magazine has “exactly zero people of color” on its full-time editorial staff. How could the story of race be told by blacks when so few are in positions to tell those stories? You have just dashed any hope of me ever subscribing to Philadelphia Magazine.

    • disqus_tr6jl8eaXd

      Yup! That’s why we cancelled our subscription!

    • PinkieB

      Hey, I think you’re confusing “by blacks” with the point of view of
      blacks. I think what the author was trying to say was that for the most
      part, the discussion is about how it’s hard for black people to deal
      with racism.

      • http://twitter.com/SewSoDef Ashley

        The idea that Black folks are driving the mainstream discussion on race is laughable, per Ariella Cohen’s point.

        As to your assertion – I don’t think that this is what McGrath or Huber meant at all, but White people reporting on Black people’s point of view is ALSO problematic. White people are not Black people. If you want to publish a Black person’s point of you, you need to talk to a Black person.

    • Ed

      Yes but since journalism is infested with guilt wracked white liberals such as yourself. So the story of race in this country is still told from a black victimhood perspective.

      As a Black person, whose parents are from Africa, I feel I offer a different perspective. I find the media very dangerous in the way they excuse anti-social behaviors that seem to dominate in inner city Black cultures. It gives rise to dangerous backlash from folks who feel that they have no voice.

      The article was refreshing. Now a good follow up to the article is to ask Black residents of mentioned neighborhoods about their experiences and some of the criticisms leveled against them.

      • Janelleany

        The article was not refreshing. It was boring. Middle-class whites are afraid of urban blacks and think we’re dangerous, lazy or violent? That’s not refreshing–it’s just a mild rant. We already knew white folks thought this about you when you walk down the street (although it has not, as you say, affected your life yet). I knew last week, before this article, that some white folks think I sit on the porch and make babies. I knew it in 6th grade–when a little boy in my class at my elite Park Avenue private school in NYC said something less-than-kind and very racial to me. He was 11–he didn’t learn that sentiment on his own.

        I’m fine with an article with non-PC, even contrarian (but intellectually honest) views. Publish that! Let’s hash it out; let’s have a discussion; let’s get into it! But this was just a list of anecdotal tripe. There was no insight; no perspective. It was as if he hit ‘record’ and let a bunch of white people vent. What’s the journalistic value in that? At the end of the article, he wishes white people felt more free to tell us to get our act together? That’s the insight? Lord help us all if that’s the state of intellectual integrity and subtlety of thought in this country.

        I did learn something about myself with the reading of this article: I wasn’t mad because Huber offended me (although he did offend me), I was mad because reading the article was an utter waste of my time. Turns out I can forgive offensive but I cannot forgive subpar.

    • kavukahn

      You are humiliated that a prominent member of your field stated a fact?

  • Sar Sar Binks

    i’m so tired of reading about white people’s opinions on this topic. Robert Hubert didn’t even interview 1 PERSON OF COLOR for his article. Philly magazine is fucking lame.

  • Mike11052

    This is such bullshit. Black people- poor, middle-class or rich- live EVERY SINGLE DAY dodging racism.. in school, in their cars, at work, shopping, walking down the friggin street. Can a white person even try to understand that? Who cares what a white person thinks about what it’s like to be black. How patronisingly naive and insulting. Your magazine patronises everyone who is not like you. And hire a black journo for God’s sake. Get off your ass and go out and find one! Have you ever even listed a job classified with the Black Journalists association. There is no excuse, other than inbred, subconscious racism, that PHILADELPHIA magazine does not have a black editorial staffer. A disgrace! Did you bother even to try seek out a black journo somewhere to read your insipid bullshit before you published it? Stop lying to yourself. The article was complete meaningless tripe. I’m white if that matters at all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.mcjetters Christopher Sebastian McJetter

      Looks like it’s time for some binders full of black people!

    • Ed

      I’m Black and that hasn’t been my experience. Then again my folks are African so I wasn’t raised to see myself as a victim.

      • Julia

        Oh look here comes the random “black person” who has never experienced racism. The only victims of racism are those who let it run their lives. However, you do know there are such things as direct and indirect racism? No….please make room for me in your bubble.

        • Guest

          Ed.. I am gay and never experienced homophobia.. But I don’t thing for second that homophobia isn’t a very real thing. Racism, subtle and overt, exists in this country. I am glad you don’t see yourself as a victim, but don’t deny that others are victims of racism.

          • Ed

            No doubt racism exist but so do a lot of other -isms. Human beings are always going to notice differences and like or dislike other humans because of it. The key is that most of these isms aren’t government policy in the USA at least.

      • Mike11052

        Ed.. I am gay and never experienced homophobia.. But I don’t think for second that homophobia isn’t a very real thing. Racism, subtle and overt, exists in this country. I am glad you don’t see yourself as a victim, but don’t deny that others are victims of racism.

      • disqus_tr6jl8eaXd

        My parents are African-American and I wasn’t rasied to see myself as a victim. Stop stereotyping, you’re just as bad as the rest.

        • Ed

          So what? Your community sees itself as a victim. Your leaders get to power by seeing African Americans as victims. Nothing is ever the community’s fault? Black kids killing each other, it’s because of guns.

          Black kids not doing well in school irrespective of class, well the teachers are bad.

          This is why African Americans come across as angry people to a lot of other people with perpetual chips on their shoulders

  • http://twitter.com/ImYourKid the Kid

    Good intentions noted, but man, the fact that you don’t have any non-white staff (or probably non-white readers, right?) in such a diverse city is EXACTLY why you can’t be the ones to talk about it.

    • Julia

      Bingo!!!!! This article has nothing to do with “Being White in Philly” it has everything to do with “White People in Philly who Don’t Understand White Privilege”. Instead writing a thought provoking and informative article on race relations the writer just decided to write an article based on his own feelings and back up his claim with quotes from those who agree with him. I’m sure the editor and writer want to pat themselves on the back for not giving into “liberal PC”, and by liberal PC I mean looking outside their box to see different viewpoints and taking those viewpoints into consideration. However, that would mean opening up yourself to the possibility that there may be another side to the story than your own, and who wants to do that?

  • Guest

    Looks like it’s time for some binders full of black people.

  • http://shareefjackson.com Shareef Jackson

    If you have an article about race in this country, is just journalistic sense to talk to those that are affected by this. Not treat us like a National Geographic study. Recognize when you are out of your zone of expertise and talk to people that know about it.

    Would you do a piece of feminism without talking to women? God, I hope not.

    • PinkieB

      actually, i think it would be really informative for women to hear what men think about the feminist cause. it would also help alleviate a lot of problems of gender discrimination if we had a frank discussion that included men’s views on what it’s like dancing around, say, sexual harassment, at work.

      • http://shareefjackson.com Shareef Jackson

        I definitely agree that men should be in the discussion, but not exclusively.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002965633742 Joseph Richardson Jr.

    Totally ridiculous that a mag representing the 5th largest city in the US, where 40 percent of the population is African-American can examine an issue about race without one journalist of color in its editorial room? How can a reader even consider you a credible mag when the newsroom lacks any form of diversity yet you choose to explore race in your own backyard. Such hypocrisy. What would be a more interesting story is how you arrived at being totally comfortable with the absence of journalists of color on your editorial staff? Let me guess, you couldn’t find anyone of color who was qualified? Article should titled “Being White at Philly Magazine.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fabio-Escobar/44205874 Fabio Escobar

      Because white people shouldn’t be allowed to discuss race? Why is it a problem if a white person speaks to the issue? None. So why is it a problem if ten white people speak to it?

      They’re just words. Read, think, and respond. What’s the big deal here?

  • disqus_tr6jl8eaXd

    Why is it okay for you to state that you have “exactly zero people of color”? It is the reason why I cancelled my subscription. Philadelphia is not just poor black people and wealthy white people. You ignore entire demographics and I’m sure if you had one or more people of color on your editorial staff your article would be worth reading.

  • MattyMo

    This isn’t going to get people talking about race. It is going to get
    people talking about how out-of-touch Philadelphia Magazine is from the
    City after which it is named. I am a white middle class person who
    lives in a mixed-race, gentrifying neighborhood — Graduate Hospital. I
    respect, get along with, and do not fear my black neighbors. We talk. I
    grew up in Georgia, and worked as a business reporter, covering
    banking and real estate in Atlanta.

    Ten years ago, executives at all
    white meetings
    still told black jokes to each other. Obviously, those biases don’t
    carry over into their investment and hiring decisions. I hoped to get
    away from that long history of “otherness” between races by moving
    North. Hubert needs to get out of Mount Airy more often. Or better yet.
    Keep going North until he hits New Jersey. What a crybaby.

    • http://twitter.com/hipsterboner Bjorn Toulouse

      Why didn’t Huber come to G-Ho? I guess there are too many Fairmount lifers fighting reverse racism on the frontlines for him to have explored areas where there actually are white people who aren’t upset they share a neighborhood with the people who’ve been there for 50 years.

    • robyn tevah

      The irony is that Mt. Airy prides itself as being so “successfully integrated”…..

  • MichelleLynn68

    I applaud you for hiring the best people for the job and not bowing to the political correctness of hiring someone of color based on a quota of blacks employees that society says you should have. So many great and talented people are passed over because of the color of their skin when it’s not dark. If you should be hired, let it be because you were truly the right and best person for the position, and if the best person for the job happens to be black, hispanic or asian, who cares. You were truly the best person for the postion they were hiring for.

    • disqus_tr6jl8eaXd

      This is not an issue of political correctness. Philadelphia magazine should represent Philadelphia. Having a diverse editorial staff accomplishes that. The best people for the job would be a diverse editorial board willing to look at issues from the lenses of its differing perspectives. Also, I take issue with the implication that we lower our standards when hiring people of color. That – indeed – is racist!

      • MichelleLynn68

        What the hell do you think affirmative action is????? It’s hiring someone based on a persons’s color of skin, not the person with the most talent and skill. What I SAID is that the best person for the job should be chosen based on their talent and skill and many times, if a black person is an applicant and their talent and skill isn’t as strong as a white applicant, but the company has a diversity policy, the black person will almost always get offered the job first. I’ve worked in management in a large company long enough to see it happen over and over. I’ve had friends who have admitted to me that they have had to hire based on color, not talent and skill. That’s racist. Have I hired black people? Yes. But not because of a policy based on diversity, but because I felt they were the fit, with the most talent and skill necessary for the postion I needed filled.

        • disqus_tr6jl8eaXd

          Criteria for hiring editorial staff should include hiring people with the ability to offer differing perspectives. Philadelphia and its region are not exclusively white privileged people. A good magazine would embrace the diversity of the region knowing that doing so only makes their reporting stronger. I’m sorry, but a boardroom of white people talking and writing about race relations is ludicrous. That’s why the article has been rejected so vehemently by the public. And, I’m not just talking about hiring black people, there is not an Asian or Latino voice at the publication either. You can’t tell me that white people are so much more qualified that it’s just not possible for the magazine to find a single Asian, Black or Latino writer that is good enough for their standards!. That’s insulting!

    • http://twitter.com/Timbothaking85 Slice Of Life

      you say that like everyone gets hired cause they’re the best brightest for a particular job

  • http://www.facebook.com/rasheen.sturgis Rasheen Sturgis

    “when race is written about, it’s generally done from the point of view of African-Americans.”

    ARE YOU SERIOUS ????

  • Guest

    Mr. McGrath, everything about your piece and Huber’s article is wrong, wrong, wrong and deeply upsetting. I am a street and documentary photographer who spent six weeks in Brewerytown, the community directly to the north of Fairmount, in late 2012. I put out a call to a cross-section of community stakeholders, looking for subjects to interview and photograph. Many people from all walks of life stepped up and agreed to participate…proudly and not under the cover of anonymity. The project resulted in a photo essay and installation entitled “Portraits of Brewerytown,” which sought to take a fresh look at the sensitive and often controversial topic of urban neighborhood revitalization/transformation.

    Perhaps Huber should have taken some time to walk the streets of Brewerytown, instead of relying on the recollections of a few fearful white folks… I did. That’s how I know, for instance, that the Athletic Recreation Center on 26th and Master Streets is more than just some pool. It’s a source of pride and its rich history is very much intertwined with the identity of those who live there.

    Now either the 100 or so people who came out to the opening in January were either feeling sorry for me (because I’m some kind of affirmative action freeloader) or they (and the rest of us, frankly) are truly looking to move in a different direction on the issues of race, class and shared spaces. Either Philadelphia Magazine can join the rest of us in the 21st century, or continue to be part of the problem that holds this city back.

  • http://genxtraordinary.wordpress.com/ iamtieshkasmith

    Mr. McGrath, everything about your piece and Huber’s “Being White In Philly” is wrong, wrong, wrong and deeply upsetting.

    I am a street and documentary photographer who spent six weeks in Brewerytown in late 2012. I spoke with a number of Brewerytown and Fairmount community stakeholders, looking for subjects to interview and photograph. Many people from all walks of life stepped up and agreed to participate…proudly and not under the cover of anonymity.

    Although the aim of the project was to celebrate the people and places of Brewerytown, all of my subjects spoke freely and frankly about the joys AND challenges of living/working/operating a business in a place like Brewerytown, a place that has seen more than its share of negativity and dysfunction. It examined the sensitive and often controversial topic of urban neighborhood revitalization/transformation through the eyes of people who are often times left out of the conversation.

    Did Huber take some time to walk the streets of Brewerytown? I did. That’s how I know, for instance, that the Athletic Recreation Center on 26th and Master Streets is more than just some random public pool. Maybe he would have also known about Marathon Farm, right down the street, as well.

    At any rate, my work culminated in a photography installation entitled “Portraits of Brewerytown.” Now either the 100 or so people who came out to the opening in January were either feeling sorry for me or they (and the rest of us, frankly) are truly looking to move in a different direction on the issues of race, class and shared spaces. It would be nice if Philadelphia Magazine can join the rest of us as we do just that.

    • Maleka

      Thank you, Tieshka!

  • http://twitter.com/RichardLSutton Richard Sutton

    Opening up the windows to let some fresh air in is always a good idea after a long stuffy spell. The discussion needs to be re-kindled often, but it is critical to our future. Race may once have been the number one ignition point in America, but now, I believe it has become one part of the much larger problem. That is poverty and hopelessness, which is no longer solely the province of people of color. Their voices need to be heard as strongly as ever, but as the middle class choice fades into oblivion, we need to find our common ground if we are to have any future at all.

  • disqus_MgZlcPfGpV

    Every time I read articles like this I realized how steeped we all are in our comfort zones and use them as an excuse to judge others from afar instead of engage them and find out how they really are. I live in North Philadelphia and when I tell someone what part of the city I live in they always make some comment like “I would have thought you were from Mount Airy”. Or “you don’t act like you’re from North Philly”.What exactly are they expecting? I’m Black,relatively conservative, have never been on welfare or foodstamps. I’ve been working since I was a teenager and I can have a realtively intelligent conversation about most things. Guess what? There’s more of us longtime North Philly residents like that then one would think. Where’s the article about that? There’s alot of different stories, none any better than another. Stories of people with lives and families. None of them should be glorified or judged harshly.

    • disqus_tr6jl8eaXd

      According to Philadelphia magazine, these are the types of black people that live in the city:
      1. Poor criminals
      2. Poor welfare mothers
      3. Politicians
      4. Sports figures
      You do not fit in any of those categories and therefore you do not exist (just ask their all-white editorial board).

  • disqus_tr6jl8eaXd

    So McGrath – are you even going to explain your comment as being “a magazine with exactly zero people of color on its full-time editorial staff”? I must say I am completely flummoxed that you would even put that in print. We all knew that the magazine is not intended for us- but you seriously must want to stick it to us by putting it in writing! Thanks, message received! (sarcasm intended). And yeah…you are not qualified to talk about race under those circumstances. Save those conversations for your dinner parties.

  • SNGT

    Mr. McGrath, if you thought that article or this response are an example of “moving forward”, I have only one answer: AHAHAHAHAHAHA. The author and the people he interviewed were so stuffed full of white privilege I’m surprised they had room to breathe. But of course, the huge problem of racism in America could be solved if more white people got to tell more black people what to do. Because that’s worked so well – oh wait a minute, it did work wonderfully, didn’t it? For white people.

    I’ll tell you what, how about you stop talking and try listening? That will get you a lot farther than your current plan of action, believe me.

  • lk1066

    One of the things that bothers me most about this article and the editor’s response is that it claims that when race or racism is discussed in America it is done from an African-American “point of view”.This is just false—many of the discussions about race and racist actions are promoted by conservative, white people….
    When race issues are discussed by African-Americans, it
    often becomes a story on the web and in MSM about how
    “they” are promoting reverse discrimination etc. That is, it is either dismissed or used to increase racist attitudes against African-Americans and other “non-white” people.
    I live close to the areas in this article and no one bothered to interview me even though I’m white. If I’d been interviewed, my thoughts might not have been included since they don’t fit into the “white people’s thoughts”
    stereotype that he portrayed
    I’ve lived all over the country, in rich places, middle class and poor places, with black, white, Hispanic and Asian people, in big cities and small ones, and have been in Philly and surrounding suburbs for 15 years….I can say that the first time I truly felt I encountered racism on a social level as opposed to encountering a racist individual here and there, was on the Main Line where the established openly talked about “those people” and pretended that blacks that lived there did not even exist.
    A difference—in rich white areas, it almost seemed more like a fear of poverty than a fear of black people. In the
    city, it is clear that race itself is the difference.

    It disgusted me on the Main Line; it makes me sad and somewhat angry here. I find that for the first time in my life, I’ve developed my own racial stereotypes—I prefer the company of African Americans I’ve met — they are warmer and friendlier than their white counterparts…Go figure. Living in Philly has made me a “reverse racist”…..

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fabio-Escobar/44205874 Fabio Escobar

      You’ve bought into the fallacy of prejudice, then. By accepting that a few represent the many you have allowed yourself to judge an entire people. Isn’t a self-correction therefore necessary?

      • lk1066

        I don’t think feeling positively about any group is such a bad thing when it is not accompanied by feeling negatively toward those outside that group. I generally enter into interactions with all people I don’t know with positive feelings, and have found that the fear and negative feelings expressed by more than a few about African-Americans in Philly to be totally unfounded.

        The racial animosity I’ve heard and felt directed toward non-white people in the Philly area is
        unfortunately not based on a “few” people’s attitudes…
        The many African-Americans that I’ve met that do not in any way fit the negative stereotypes put on them are not few in number either.

  • Natasha Andjelkovic

    I’m sure if your pantheon of local journalism so desired and wanted to hire some competent non-Caucasian employees, you could get binders full of “people of color”. You took a topic that is important and worth discussing for the sake of betterment of our society, and took an incredibly myopic view of it. Why don’t you stick with what you’re good at, such as informing us white folks about the best new tapas eateries and best private schools to send our kids to.

  • Andre Lanouge

    Sorry niggers! Sorry nutter, you piece of shit! FUCK YOU!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.ames.56 Jeff Ames

    Interesting to compare and contrast the relative handful of comments to this piece, to the 2000+ attached to the original article.

    The real problem as it relates to feeling comfortable about discussing these issues is made clear in these comments below – talking openly about how someone feels is acceptable as long as it doesn’t make anyone else uncomfortable, defensive or angry…in which case it is labeled ‘racist’, ridiculed and dismissed with prejudice.

  • Andre Lanouge

    Nobody seems to dismiss that facts in the article! Nutter is a racist asshole, and WHY does this need to only be addressed by blacks?

  • Andre Lanouge

    The fact of the matter is that without affirmative action, most minorities are just not smart enough to function in the work place!

  • JAD

    the interesting thing for me is that when I read the story as a “non stereotypical educated black female”, all I could think of was three things…

    1. black folks do not condone or like or celebrate others in our community who don’t take care of their children, are criminals, and just overall bad people. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER RACE!!! the DIFFERENCE is that there are some systemic reasons that cause joblessness, fatherlessness, depression, and poverty that are racial motivated. You may not agree but read a couple studies done by folks that weren’t even black if you think its just propaganda. I’m not making excuses, its just the country that we live in… so although we don’t celebrate bad behavior and bad choices, we also realize that behind some of those actions are deeper emotions and issues than “I just felt like doing it…”

    2. it’s funny he discussed being white in philadelphia but didn’t go to kensington, parts of south philly, and parts of girard ave. where white folks are poor, on drugs, and committing crimes. Or he didn’t go to Chestnut Hill where they had robberies in the past year and are calling it a crime wave!
    3. It’s one things for whites to feel pushed out of certain areas many years ago, but its funny that all the blacks whose homes are being sold or taken for WAY less than their value (especially in north philly), that are quickly rehabbed and sold for 200-300k and more, are never interviewed on how gentrification makes them feel…

    All I know is, and maybe I am wrong, but being white in philadelphia didn’t seem that bad…

    • JohnSkookum

      You said, “black folks do not condone or like or celebrate others in our community who don’t take care of their children, are criminals, and just overall bad people. ”

      So where does the “Don’t Snitch” ethos come from? Why are young black kids, especially boys, hazed for “acting white” whenever they do well in school? Why would anyone ever think that these are things that can ever be fixed by anyone other than black people themselves?

  • http://twitter.com/stevek525 stephen kraisler

    Interesting that folks who do not live in mt.airy,
    would make judgements about the most sucessfull integrated comunity (side by side not block by block) in the state

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Parsons/1216852555 Don Parsons

    I loved your article. I am just amazed that we can not address Violence. Some people think it is all about guns. Sorry it is not.