Philly Mag’s “Being White in Philly” Is Really Being Wrong in Philly

I grew up four blocks from 19th and Diamond, and I’m not dangerous.

Robert Huber, a writer-at-large at Philadelphia magazine, wrote a cover story this month titled “Being White in Philly.” Although both he and the story were well-intentioned, that’s not good enough because the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The story has a fatal flaw, and it’s what I call the “Frankenstein Flaw.” It’s when you lambaste the innocent so-called monster but ignore the actual malicious creator. Although the townspeople of Geneva about 200 years ago condemned the no-name creature just as the American people continue to do today, those Swiss mostly ignored, and Americans still mostly ignore, the creator: Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Well, goddamn it, slavery, sharecropping, convict leasing, Jim Crow, and de facto discrimination are this country’s Dr. Frankenstein. And the violent black criminals and the lazy, shiftless young black men that Huber seems fixated upon are the creations. If you disagree, then there’s only one other explanation: Black folks are genetically predisposed to be violent, to be criminal, and to be lazy and shiftless. It’s either nature or (forcibly imposed) nurture.

There’s a right answer and a white answer. Take your pick.

Before I expose other flaws in the piece—which stem mostly from the article’s shallow anecdotes—allow me to address the simmering anger of the white people who are reading this and asking who the hell do I think I am to imply that they’re racist if they don’t answer the question as I would like. Those white people are the very same white people who say that blacks have come a long way and should be appreciative. They also say that, with the 2011 reelection of Mayor Michael Nutter—as well as the fact that we have a black police commissioner, black fire commissioner, black D.A., and black City Council president (not to mention last year’s reelection of black President Barack Obama)—we live in a post-racial Philadelphia (and country).

OK. But if that’s true, answer me this: If you had to go to trial in a criminal case tomorrow and you had the choice to go as a black defendant or a white defendant and both defendants have identical backgrounds, which would you choose?

The answer is obvious, at least if you’re honest. Therefore, in terms of our condition and behavior, race matters today as it has always mattered in America.

• 1619: 20 Africans were sold in what is now Hampton, Virginia
• 1776: One-third of the 56 white signers of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia enslaved blacks
• 1787: The Constitution mandated a 20-year extension of the slave trade and the recapture of runaways
• 1789: The first of 18 U.S. presidents held blacks in bondage (George Washington enslaved nine humans at America’s first “White House” at Sixth and Market right here in Philly)
• 1857: The Supreme Court ruled that blacks are “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect”
• March 3, 1859: Two Philly brothers, Pierce and John Butler, held the largest single slave auction in American history when they sold 436 blacks over a two-day period in Georgia
• 1896: Supreme Court ruling on Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” doctrine upholds racial segregation
• 1954: The Brown v. Board of Education decree that, unbeknownst to most Americans, was not finally implemented until 1999
• 1954: Two men were convicted in federal court of enslaving and whipping black men after they had been “purchased” from county jail officials in Alabama and Mississippi

In fact, it wasn’t until just 49 years ago pursuant to the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, that blacks began to get some real semblance of justice.

But the magazine ignores all of this. And as my grandmother used to say, a lie of omission is just as bad as a lie of commission. However, it didn’t ignore the fearmongering and stereotyping in the use of such terms as “dangerous neighborhood” at 19th and Diamond where Huber’s Temple University son rents an apartment. By the way, I was born and raised about four blocks from there. And I ain’t dangerous. And neither are the guys I grew up with. I’m a lawyer. They’re bus drivers, plumbers, teachers, cooks, factory workers, and city employees. All of us are law-abiding.

It also didn’t ignore the quote from the cops at 24th and Parrish who said crimes in the neighborhood are committed “Mostly … (by) black guys from North Philly.” That’s the same kind of racist nonsense that former D.A. Lynne Abraham espoused in 1996 when she was told that 85 percent of the inmates in city jails are black and was then asked, “Do you believe that blacks commit 85 percent of the crime in this city?” She responded “Yes. I do. I really do.”

I couldn’t believe she said that shit. I was livid. I demanded an apology. When she refused, I proposed that City Council cut the D.A.’s budget by a third, which was the amount by which she had overstated crimes allegedly committed by blacks. As I organized political opposition to her, she finally relented and apologized for “any unintended negative perception” that the proportion of blacks in city jails reflects the crime rate among blacks. She ultimately conceded the existence of racial bias in arrests, bail settings, prosecutions, convictions and jailings.

Oh, wait a minute. My bad. It wasn’t me who made that demand and that proposal and who got that apology. It was the other angry black Michael: then-Councilman Michael Nutter to be exact. Good lookin’ out, bro. To the white readers, that’s black talk. Don’t be alarmed. It’s not Django code. It simply means “Thank you kind sir, with whom I share African ancestry, for your enlightened cultural activism.”

In regard to those cops I quoted above, I wonder why Philadelphia magazine didn’t ask them about their racist views.

Maybe they would have mentioned that as recently as the 1940s, it wasn’t just the department’s brutality against black civilians that was rampant. There was also official racism against its own black officers. James Reaves, who became a cop in 1940 and later the city’s first black captain, pointed out that black cops were barred from driving—and even riding in—police cars. And maybe those aforementioned Parrish Street cops would have pointed out that in 1979, Philly made history when the police department became the first in the country to be sued by the Justice Department for having committed or condoned “widespread and severe” acts of police brutality, almost exclusively against blacks. Maybe they would have discussed the videotaped brutal 1978 beating of the unarmed and surrendering Delbert Africa. Maybe they would have spoken about the 1985 Police Bombing, falsely referred to as the MOVE Bombing, on Osage Avenue, which resulted in the killing of 11 human beings, the destruction of 65 homes, and more than 500 mostly white cops firing more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition into a black neighborhood. Maybe those quoted cops would have said something about Stop and Frisk, specifically that in 2009, 253,333 persons were victimized by this police misconduct and that 72 percent were black, while only 8.4 percent led to arrests.

In addition to the stereotyping and fearmongering, there’s the sensationalizing. Huber writes that, as he was driving past Broad and Lycoming, he saw a “padlocked rowhouse door” and that a “torn sheet covering the window in that door looks like it might be stained with sewage.” To paraphrase Gary Coleman, “What the fuck you talkin’ bout, Willis?” What do you mean “looks like” and “might” and “sewage?” Is such speculative hyperbole necessary? Or is it just plain racist sensationalism? And to add insult to injury, he comments that he “imagines (it’s) not a crack house.” So why even say it then? He also writes about supposedly better, i.e., wealthier, sections of North Broad Street and goes on to equate such “progress” with “gentrification.” Tell that to the 70- and 80-something-year-old widows and widowers who are being priced out of the houses they were born and raised in.

When Huber points out that he lives in Mount Airy “on a mostly African-American block,” he describes it not only as “friendly” but also as “the friendliest street my family has ever lived on … ” Is Fox’s Bill O’Reilly a member of his family? He must be because they seem to think alike. Remember Bill’s compliment to us black folks in 2007, when he described his visit to the famous Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem? He said that “even though it was run by blacks … (with a) primarily black patronship, there was no one … (there) …  screaming M-Effer, I want more iced tea.” I guess all the blacks there that day were the friendly type from Huber’s Mount Airy block.

Philadelphia magazine and Huber missed a golden opportunity to make some headway on race relations. They should have factored in history. And—concerning alleged criminality and laziness and shiftlessness—instead of focusing exclusively on black, they should have considered green, or the lack thereof. In that regard, it’s class, not race. Otherwise, you white folks got a lotta splainin to do about Kensington and Fishtown.

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  • Favorite part of this piece “Philadelphia magazine and Huber missed a golden opportunity to make some headway on race relations. They should have factored in history. And—concerning alleged criminality and laziness and shiftlessness—instead of focusing exclusively on black, they should have considered green, or the lack thereof. In that regard, it’s class, not race. Otherwise, you white folks got a lotta splainin to do about Kensington and Fishtown.”

  • RMA

    As a white reader, I found this excerpt to be extremely
    condescending “Good lookin’ out, bro. To the white readers, that’s black talk. Don’t be alarmed. It’s not Django code.” …..I’m pretty sure the phrase “Good lookin’ out, bro” is not strictly a black one and most intelligent people can glean what is meant by the phrase. My major problem with this rebuttal is the constant need to fall back on the injustices of the past. The past is the past and we all need to focus on the now, the present, and how to overcome our issues in life without blaming the way things are because of something that happened in the past. It’s time to take some responsibility for our own lives and how they evolve. We all have the ability to overcome our lot in life instead of wallowing in what we were born into. Stop blaming the past and start making a change or no one is ever going to get ahead.

    • the onus of change should not be strictly, or even mostly, the responsibility of those who have been and continue to be oppressed. it requires the cooperation and restructuring of society as a whole, which means us white people need to stop saying “forget the past” and be a part of the forward-looking solution

      the past is not just the past. ask yourself the question mr. coard asked about whether, if you were about to currently go on trial, you’d rather be a white defendant or a black defendant

      • …”oppressed” as in lower college admission standards, readily available gov’t handouts, “diversity” fast-tracking almost everywhere, and free-passes for crime because its “someone else’s fault”? … I hope I can be oppressed soon.

        • There are more whites on welfare than African Americans in this country…THOSE ARE MY TAX DOLLARS.

        • i also hope you can be oppressed soon.

    • ChrisJ9

      While I agree that we all need to find out ways to fix the problems that our society now faces, I think you’re missing the point, which is that the problems that our society now faces were created and are continued through forms of institutional racism. Your reply assumes that finally, yes, all racial injustice has now been accounted for, all laws that can fix racial injustice have been passed and implemented fully, and we are all now are on a level playing field. Yet, there is still an incredible amount of racism on the individual/micro level (police discretion, lending practices, housing and education opportunities, just to name a few) all the way up to federal policy (criminalization of drug-use offenses and mandatory sentences, the farm bill’s/department of agriculture systematic dismantling of black family farms, predatory lending/subprime mortgages, and the list goes on). That’s the conversation Americans need to understand and engage in, not this low-brow, counterproductive, “white people need to be more vocal about their negative stereotypes” conversation that Huber tried to enable. The racism is still out there, it’s just harder to track. To an extent, there is some truth about anyone (not just poor minorities) needing to stop playing the victim card, but at the same time, public policies and practices also need to be constructed and implemented in a way that change the circumstances which give people an uphill battle.

    • KellyH

      I am also a white reader, and I found this excerpt to be extremely refreshing and on point. Maybe you’re so blinded by your own deeply embedded racism that you fail to recognize this, but the media is jammed full of racist comments towards blacks and other minorities every single day. Of course the minute someone says something towards “white readers”, most white people have a heart attack.

      My major problem with your comment, is frankly your ignorance. “The past is the past”? When every single system in our country is based on racism, fed on racism, and still today operating on racism you are deeply flawed to say he is “falling back on the injustices of the past”. Those injustices are still very much present in all systems; housing, education, law enforcement, industry, etc. Your mentality is a contributing factor to why the past is the now, to why we are not progressing further.

      • RMA

        Thank you for calling me a racist, it means the world to me!….but since you don’t know me personally you have no way of knowing that I
        am in a bi-racial relationship and have been for quite some time….and since I am responding to this post I also did not have a heart attack upon reading this gentleman’s article. I am completely
        cognizant of the fact that racism is rampant in our society and perhaps I am ignorant when I say the “past is the past” but in my opinion (which is not only ignorant but flawed as well, according to you) blaming the past is a tired argument regardless of race (black, white, hispanic, etc.). To me, it is an easy way out, where is the accountability for the here and now?

        • …yeah, racism is rampant alright. It mostly affects White people in the country their forefathers founded and comes at the hand of blacks. Something needs to be done.

        • No you’re pretty racist. Your words clearly show that you contribute in thought an action to the systemic inequality that maintains your (and my) position of racial privilege. Get over it, racist, and educate yourself.

        • KellyH

          Your comment was ignorant and racist – so I called it as such. Stating that you are in “a bi-racial relationship and have been for quite some time” does NOT make your comment any less racist or offensive. Knowing or dating someone that is of a different race than you is not equal to you not being racist. People use this all the time to try to claim they are not a part of the race problem in this country, and that mentality is frankly illogical.

          You and I are both asking where the accountability is. However the difference is, I am asking where is the accountability when the cops target minorities? Where is the accountability in police brutality? Where is the accountability in the fact that schools are shut down and prisons are built instead? Where is the accountability in the racial wage gap? Why don’t you go ask the DA where the accountability is?

          Now maybe you didn’t understand my first post, but I wasn’t talking about blaming the past. My point was that the past is still here. The inequalities are still very much rampant in any system that you examine in our country. It is YOUR mindset – that everything is fixed, that people are simply blaming and not being accountable, that continues the white privilege in this country…which like it or not, you and I are a part of. Do some research before you say ignorant things just because you think your “bi-racial relationship” makes you exempt to being racist. You just sound silly.

          • persephone


    • Really, the past is the past? Surely you jest. Have you ever heard of institutional racism? African Americans in poor communities are still dealing with the crap outlined in Mr. Coard’s rebuttal. Try to get fresh fruit or vegetables in some of these neighborhoods. Think it’s simply a coincidence that most of the schools slated to be closed by the Philadelphia School District are neglected, under-performing schools in the neighborhoods outlined in the Philly Mag article. Black folks and their children have been forced to do more with less from day one, yet you want us to focus on the present– that’s rich buddy.

      • Kim

        Are there no white children in the Philadelphia School District?

    • Hmmm… the past is the past huh? Well why is it that when I go for a check-up, first thing my Doctor does is check my chart… and my “past” medical history? Or, when you apply for a job, why does your potential employer ask to see your resume’ and work history? Or how about this one… You go to have your car checked, sold, or traded in, and the mechanic wants to know things like: mileage and has the car ever been in an accident, and a lot of things about the previous owner and car maintenance . All things from it’s “past.” (There’s that word again)

    • And one more thing. When an individual suffers physical and mental abuse for a very long time, let’s say years, it’s expected that after said abuse is over they seek Psychiatric treatment, least they succumb to the abusive behaviors obvious psychological damage.

      When have ANY African Americans, and their heirs received said treatment from anyone let alone, America? Huh…? Well…? (crickets)

      • Kim

        Do you not consider yourself a successful black man? Are there not other successful black men and women in this country? So, though there IS racism in the current day you have been able to become successful. It does not negate the racism that is a part of today’s world but you cannot say that the racism of the past has harmed YOU unless you are and elderly man and by your picture you do not appear to be.

  • Fuckin ridiculous. If you want to “open the dialogue between whites and blacks, creating a peaceful conversation about race” then I’d say the smart ass comments to and about white people in your article is the farthest place from where you should’ve started. Does your son have white friends? Are his friends racist? If you had a daughter would you want her living at 19th and Diamond? 55th and Market? Kensington and Allegheny? And I’m sure no white people or Hispanic people or Asian people live in these areas right? These are strictly black neighborhoods? And when white people or other races do move in, and the rents go up because the demand for homes in that area have gone up, is that gentrification or is that just fucking economics? Supply and demand. You’re a college graduate, I’m sure you understand that concept. Instead of having a condescending, one sided conversation, why don’t you open your eyes. This is 2013. Sure, there are racist people in the world, including yourself. But if you want to see an end to racist views and beliefs, start with yourself. And try focusing on something positive. Negativity will get you nowhere.

    • …if by “racist people” you mean Whit people who have learned that living in a black neighborhood is essentially a death sentence for your children, then yeah, its on the rise.


        • You are a moron. Get a clue and life

        • Reverend Bacon

          You are wrong, and it’s not even close. The first anecdote happened over a decade ago (James Byrd 1998), or, if you are thinking of something else, it probably didn’t happen. Cite your sources. The second anecdote is a lie from 1988, made up by Tawana Brawley, who is still paying off a defamation suit from this lie.

          And anecdotes aren’t statistics. You may find one of your little anecdotes that is true (not these, mind you), but the statistics overwhelmingly show that blacks commit violent crimes against whites at a rate 40 times (that’s 4,000%) more than whites against blacks.

          Hate has nothing to do with it, at least for me. Whether it’s nature or nurture (as the author of this columnist claims), blacks are statistically very dangerous. We can debate how to solve the problem, but when you start arguing that it doesn’t exist, as you do, or that it’s somehow justifiable for crimes committed decades or centuries past, you lose me.

  • You put it very eloquently Anthony. I’m down for some unicorn juice..

  • Nir

    Both the original article and this one are substantially racist. While I’m happy that the issue of race is being discussed, I’m actually happier about the details within Huber’s article about how the communities themselves are acting, not the writers in Philly Mag.

    Both of you are wrong in assuming that Philly Mag readers are as racist as you portray them, unless I’m missing something.

    Anthony, you’re more dangerous than you think as an educated black man. Good lookin’ out bro.

  • hape2b

    The fact is racism does exists and it is deeply ingrained into ALL of us and with the way things continue to be, I don’t know if it will ever change. It is sad. And maybe it isn’t really race that it is the issue but more socio-economics. But, make no mistake, it is just as hard for every other race that is poor as it is blacks. At some point in time, we have to move beyond the slave days. That is not to say forget them – because we should never forget them. But we can’t let that dark time in history control the present and the future. I was called a white honkey at work my first week here in Philadelphia. I was told that I was in the wrong part of town and didn’t belong when I was at the entrance to Temple University Hospital. When I decided to shop at the Old Thrift Drug in Progress Plaza, the black security guard asked me if I was lost. When I asked him why, he said because he didn’t see “my kind” there and was concerned for my safety. He followed me around the store and then escorted me to my car. I was refused service at a restaurant/bar in North Philly until my latino friend came in and demanded they wait on me and I also was refused service at a lunch counter and had to get a black co-worker to come with me so I could get lunch. And these are just a few of the instances of racism I personally experienced. I can be called a honkey or a cracker by a black person but I better not dare use the N work or another derogatory term for any other race. As a white person, I am not allowed. Talk about double standards. There will always be whites who hate blacks and blacks who hate whites. But, I count on the bell curve effect and hope that we can each make changes so the majority of all races fall some where in the middle. We all experience the same difficulties and as the economy continues to tank, it is going to get harder and harder for all of us. We need to get past the black/white issues. But to think whites are not discriminated against in this town – it is be blind and in denial as well. I’ll agree that I would rather be white in your scenario of going to court – no questions asked, but when it comes to a lot of other areas, being black or other minorities is to have the advantage. When I am up for a promotion with a person of color, unless I am way ahead of them in education or experience, they are guaranteed the job in this town even if their education and experience are less than mine. When my children apply to schools in the city, they have to be THE top of top to get in otherwise they are overlooked because the schools have a quota to fill. To deny this doesn’t exist is to be blind as well. The only way we are ever going to get beyond it is to accept our differences and to embrace our similarities. It is hard to not see color, when the those of color blame me for their hardships because I am white.

    • Kwame Seth

      Some times I need to hear the other persons point of view

    • Its also hard not to see color when 75% of violent crime is committed by only one “color”.

    • Hap2B. Let me attempt to explain this statement and others to you:

      “I was called a white honky at work my first week here in Philadelphia. I was told that I was in the wrong part of town and didn’t belong when I was at the entrance to Temple University Hospital, etc…,etc…,”

      The so-called racism you think you are experiencing, has nothing to do with the color of your skin and EVERYTHING to do with the way you and your race have treated US and OTHER races of people! No one hates you because your skin is white. Hell, your race has done such a great job of brainwashing that people actually create and use products to make ones skin lighter and whiter! (When was the last time you’ve seen Sammy Sosa?)

      No Hap2B, sorry to have to tell you this but no one hates you because you’re white. It’s what being white represents and what it’s owners have done to others that makes you hated! Had your race not wanted to conquer any and all, killed helpless Native Americans, Enslaved generations of Africans, Fought a war with Mexico over their land (California) maybe folks would like you more; ya think? How about keeping blacks and other races out of pro-sports, clubs, restaurants, swimming pools, or sitting in the balcony of a movie theater or court room, or making them drink from different water fountains and use different rest rooms? Oh, here’s one; Lynching? For entertainment! Sort of like the Romans watching slaves fight to the death, only the slave/black person never had a weapon or a chance. Hell, he never even got a warning. And you wonder why you’re not liked?

      It’s for those reasons and so many more, that if a black man or woman or Latino restaurant owner, has a chance to say NO to you; well that person damn sure is going to flex , (another black term meaning stand up for themselves in this instance) use their options! But think about it. All these years and you can’t think of a dozen instances off the top of your head of blacks or any race in america since slavery, of killing and maiming whites just because they were white. Go ahead, I dare you to do it without going to Google Now ask me the same question?

      That’s the difference.

      • hape2b

        Sir, there was nothing “so-called” about the racism. It was in fact racism. And racism is wrong regardless. Your explanation does not justify the behavior. It seems your perception is that blacks can treat whites any way they like regardless. With this ideology, you have proven my point. We will never move on and intolerance will remain until the end of time. BEYOND SAD!!!!!! I can only hope our young people can realize this ideology doesn’t work, and at some point in time, we move forward. No one can undo the past – we can only direct the future. Let’s hope that change comes so we all have better tomorrows.

  • You made my day sir! Let the “splainin” begin……

  • Nadirah

    I think the most important paragraph is the last. Ignorance and Crime is a GREEN thing not black or white. Poor people generally behave poorly. Because they don’t know any better don’t believe they have any fair shot at better and have gotten to the point where they don’t give a damn. I white Heroin or Meth head in the badlands, Kensington or Fishtown will rob you just as quick as a dumb black kid in North Philly who has no-one at home to “care” for him pun intended…

    • Sorry, according to the FBI, violent crime is EXACTLY a black thing….75% of it at least.

  • Michael Coard, your article was more than on point…I wish it were required reading for everyone in the U.S. People want Black folks to disconnect from the past…but they never want to acknowledge the way the past affected us. Keep on keepin’ on Michael. Some of us truly appreciate your work, and others are too ignorant or too arrogant to investigate their biases.

  • Brilliant Michael…just brilliant!

  • J.Oz

    I grew up 4 blocks from 65th and Elmwood and I can’t change the past. What are the solutions to enable us to move forward? Why did you succeed when so many others struggle and some fail completely?

  • PlaidArmour

    Fishtown has gentrified with white hipsters and yuppies. While Kensington is now largely Puerto Rican, Dominican, Palestinian, Vietnamese, & Black with the same gentrification patterns as Fishtown in its southern and eastern border. So the last sentence isn’t so valid.

  • Kim

    Dbryant….ehhh….I was born and raised at 50th Market….nobody lives at 55th (its always been a grave yard……now listed as a historical site) I neeeeeeever came outside and watched heroin hookers parade past my house. I’ve never ducked bullets and I never experienced or witnessed violence. Just sayin…….:) This neighborhood is composed of black elderly home owners…..many retired professionals with college educated children. Pleeeeeeaaaase do your research!!!

  • If PhillyMag published “Being White in Philly” to fan self-made controversy in order to generate interest in its own publication: it worked.

  • C. Ann Powers

    Read: “Media’s Racist History: A Psychological Affair at:

  • Tryin to Understand

    This is a complex issue. But I think the author is right to point out the ahistorical nature of the Philadelphia magazine article. I recommend the book “Slavery By Another” name for a detailed history of how this country made it illegal to be black. It should be obvious to all that this is a nurture issue. African Americans simply haven’t had the opportunities that whites have had. That doesn’t go away with the passing of a law or the passing of a generation. In fact it may never go away. Basically being black has made it hard to rise in class in America and the upper class has no interest in making it easier for the lower class to get a slice of the pie. Thats true for whites as well. That doesn’t let people off the hook for crime but when you don’t give people the hope of a future its pretty easy to fall into despair and rely on crime as a means of making money. Today’s white can’t be blamed for the sins of their forefathers nor the privilege they enjoy because of their skin color. But I also doubt they will willingly give up that privilege. Particularly when people seem to need any advantage they can get in this country.

    • Which privilege am I enjoying? The privilege of being passed over for college admission, employment, or promotion because I’m not “diverse” enough? The privilege of paying taxes to provide hand-outs to people too stupid and/or lazy to keep themselves alive? The privilege to watch blacks multiply like cockroaches and turn every neighborhood they inhabit into a drug-slum?
      Whites founded Liberia for a reason, these “victims of slavery” are more than welcome to return to Africa.

      • Tryin to Understand

        That would be the privilege of not having your grandparents have to sit at a separate table or be arrested for simply trying to walk down the street. They therefore had the advantage of having access to better resources which was then passed down to the next generation. As Chris Rock says, black people can get rich, but white people become wealthy. Even if we grant that everyone has the same opportunity as everyone else today (which is false) the years of black people being treated as second class citizens has had a profound effect on the American landscape today. What you are talking about is affirmative action but I haven’t advocated for that. In fact, my point is just that we will probably never be able to compensate the African American community for the injustices of the past. It’s just not in the interest of those in power. And that’s why I tied it to class which transcends the race problem. I’m sure if it was feasible, some would return to Africa, but getting citizenship there would be difficult and Africa has a lot of other problems as well.

        • Non-race hating white guy

          What the hell are you talking about? Why should we compensate for past injustices? The vast majority of white peoples’ families immigrated here after slavery was abolished. Furthermore, what would that “compensation” look like? $20,000, $30,000, a hand written apology from every white person? I would gladly pay reperations to get rid of the real institutionalized racism that is Affirmative Action and to never have to hear the bullshit excuses about slavery and segregation again. White people put down the liberal guilt and step away. You don’t owe anyone anything. This so called white privledge does not exists. Its just a new way to cast us as permanant opressors.

          • Tryin to Understand

            Okay let’s separate it out from white people and just say the government. The government should compensate black people for its treatment of them. For starters every black family gets 40 acres and a mule which was promised after the abolition of slavery. But let’s not focus on slavery. Read the book I mentioned or visit that website. “Slavery By Another Name”. Even after slavery ended the government instituted policies that were detrimental to blacks and privileged white people. White people shouldn’t be punished for that, but the government could try to make up for it somehow. I am not sure it can or will. Which is to say, I’m not saying they should be compensated just that it would be a possible way to help alleviate the problems of many African Americans in this country, problems which are born out of years of unfair laws based on race. To get away from slavery, the civil rights act was enacted in 1964, that’s less than 50 years (one generation) with which to claim that everyone is on a level playing field. I think you are a perfect example of why people didn’t like the original article. No one takes a long view of this problem and tries to confront it with a sense of why things are the way the are. You just wonder why an entire race of people who were brought to a country without their consent and enslaved for 100’s of years and only got equal standing in the eyes of the law 50 years ago (to say nothing of society) can’t seem to pull it together? Go to the website. Its eye opening:

          • Non-race hating white guy

            I’m not sure they mentioned it in this book you keep promoting but the U.S. government nevered promised freed men 40 acres and a mule. That was a field order issued by Gen Sherman. Anyway, were do you think the government gets its money? Detrimental policies like the Civil rights Act of 1965, the 13th and 14th Amendments all passed, by white people mind you. How about just insuring evry American just has an equal oppurtunity to chase their version of the American dream? You strike me as a nice well meaning person who was subject to a sevre brain washing at some liberal institution and made to feel guilty for the oppurtunities your parents probably worked really hard to make sure you had. Stop feeling guilty!

          • Tryin to Understand

            I don’t feel guilty I just think we have a pretty bad government but probably one that we deserve. See here for more about the mule, which was a bit of a joke:


            I think we agree that we should ensure every American has an equal opportunity,

          • Guest

            Hard earned opportunities like the Homestead Act. No 40 acres and mule for the free labor from slavery, but they gave free land to whites, free education and assistance in farming, and many farmers still collect government checks… Or hard earned opportunities like the New Deal, which was never distributed evenly to Blacks. Or hard earned opportunities like the GI Bill which sent GI’s to get a college education on the gov’t’s money into racially segregated colleges? Why is White people are given so much assistance and they are considered to have done it all on their own and by hard work, but it’s nothing but complain and scream about any other group receiving some assistance in a program. If the 13th and 14th Amendment were worth the paper they were written on, then Martin Luther King should have nothing to complain about. Maybe we should have told him “You don’t like America, then leave!”

          • $2021523

            I grew up in the Bible belt and it is ridiculous to say racism changed with the civil rights act. Lawsuit were then possible– but many school districts have STILL not been desegregated. Very few did without being sued.

          • $2021523

            What the hell are YOU talking about? Let’s have a discussion based on facts and not just opinions. Many more unqualified white students get into colleges due to legacy admissions (legal, white racism) than black students do via affirmative action. Can you say: George Bush went to Yale!

            Many more black people than white get sent to jail for the EXACT same crimes. Any study that sends exactly equal white and black people to any job interview or loan application or apartment interview finds overwhelmingly that the white people get what they want over the black person.

            When the white supremacist structures of society are eliminated (legacy admissions; civil servants including cops not have to live in the city they work; red-lining by banks; real enforcement of anti-discriminatory hiring practices by corporations, etc.) THEN WHITE PRIVILEGE IS OVER. It is measurable.

      • It’s pretty evident why someone like you would be passed over for college admission. Fear not, you’re not alone, ALL employed Americans are paying taxes (one way or another). Race plays no role in that at all. Perhaps higher education (if you possess the intellect to apply, gain acceptance, matriculate, and graudate) would have taught you the function of affirmative action. The “good ole boy” network is still more effective than affirmative action policies. But then again, youR family probably never garnnered enough influence to utilize that network. Maybe YOU ALL (by all, I mean everyone) should go back to the countries you came from, and give MY LAND back to me and my Native forefathers.

  • Good book: ”

    All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence” — A timely reissue of Fox Butterfield’s masterpiece, All God’s Children, a searing examination of the caustic cumulative effect of racism and violence over 5 generations of black Americans.

    Willie Bosket is a brilliant, violent man who began his criminal career at age five; his slaying of two subway riders at fifteen led to the passage of the first law in the nation allowing teenagers to be tried as adults. Butterfield traces the Bosket family back to their days as South Carolina slaves and documents how Willie is the culmination of generations of neglect, cruelty, discrimination and brutality directed at black Americans. From the terrifying scourge of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction to the brutal streets of 1970s New York, this is an unforgettable examination of the painful roots of violence and racism in America.

    From the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of China: Alive in the Bitter Sea comes the poignant story of how the tradition of white Southern violence and racism has long affected and still haunts one black family. Butterfield follows the Bosket family of Edgefield County, South Carolina, from the days of slavery to the present.

  • I’m surprised we haven’t seen an comment from ms_anthro on this article yet but then again I doubt it since this article actually contains real hardcore facts and goodness knows she wont let facts get in the way of whatever racial agenda shes usually trying to push in these message boards

  • T M

    This is what I cannot stand about talking race relations in Philly. Instead of talking about the article itself, you go into a rant of, “Hey listen, yea, black folks in some areas are bad, but guess what, you guys conditioned us here!” And then there is the whole “would you rather be white or black at a trial?” red herring. That’s simply not the point. And by the way, I’m Asian who went to Bodine, and boy was there some really awful open racism there and my middle school.

  • “…there’s a right answer and a White answer.” The only “answer” these uppity criminals deserves is a rope-answer.
    Bottom line: Any White with any sense will avoid blacks at all costs. These animals take no responsibility for their actions.

  • Send this piece to the parents of Bailey O’Neill, 12-year old White kid murdered by his black classmates in Philly. I’m sure they’ll understand that negro crime is their own fault.

  • i am white and agreed with the story. i don’t think i am a racist but maybe fear of the unknown- I would say fear is more likely. I have not known any black people and grew up in a very sheltered environment. i am glad i grew up in a nice place that was safe. Maybe you can help me learn? I don’t feel safe in bad white neighborhoods either.

  • hi lisa,
    i am white and older and have never thought i was racist – i have never been exposed to black people so i guess i just thought i was uncomfortable for lack of exposure… maybe i was wrong but i would like to learn?

    • persephone

      Huh? How have you never been exposed?

  • Non-race hating white guy

    Can someone please tell me when we as white people have finally attoned for all of these past injustices? I just want to know when we are far enough removed. At some point I would like to stop hearing the slavery and segregation excuses. And if this country is so horrible for black people, can someone explain to me why more people have immigrated here from Africa than were brought here as slaves?

    • qui_c

      It’s not about atonement–it’s about creating a level playing field, which still does not exist for blacks in Philly, partly because of the many valid examples presented in the piece. Not excuses, just nuanced analysis of the factors that contribute to crime.

      • Non-race hating white guy

        The playing field is more than level. Last I checked it was tilted in minorities’ favor. The governments have dumped trillions of dollars into programs designed specifically to benifet minorities with little to nothing to show for it in addition to Affirmative Action, diversity quotas and so on. What you’re talking about is not equality of oppurtunity. You want equality of results, which is impossible as long as you live in a free society. Black people in the U.S. are as far removed from Jim Crow as my grandparents are from the discrimination they faced in Ireland. You would think I was crazy if I blamed Oliver Cromwell for my issues. The problems in the black community are caused there and will only be solved there. Jim Crow has nothing to to with the 70% plus out of wedlock birthrate in the black communities of Philadelphia and the ridiculos violent crime rates in Philadelphia.

        • qui_c

          I keep trying to start a response to this that includes facts and statistics, and I don’t know where to begin. Education? Police brutality? Stop and frisk? The low expectations and harmful assumptions propagated by DA Abraham and her ilk, or Bob Huber for that matter? His speculative imagination about the sewage-stained interiors of rowhouses? Access to health care and sexual education for young black women? Schools that are underfunded, poorly managed, and stretched too thin?

          But the real problem is that you are not alone in actually, truly believing that our nation’s playing field is “tilted in minorities” favor. That many white Americans hold poor blacks in contempt and are not able to look at recent American history with a critical eye. I am tired. Ta-Nehisi Coates is tired:

          Mr. Coard presented a nature vs. nurture question. If your answer to that is nature, then you are answering your own question. No playing field is level when the people in power think there is a fundamental difference in worth between them and those that suffer in society.

    • $2021523

      How about when statistics show that white and black people are treated equally in Amerikkka? Like when white and black criminal defendants with the exact same charges are treated statistically equally. When black and white loan seekers with the exact same credit history are give loans at a statistically equal rate. Maybe when legacy admissions is made illegal (you know “affirmative action” for white people, but more common than L.A.). How about when the rates for being arrested for smoking pot result in the same statically similar manner for both white and black people. Do you understand why until white supremacist conditions stop then white people haven’t attoned?
      p.s. for what it is worth I am a white minister

  • My ancestors, poor though they were, were not brought to the US in irons, were not ripped from their families, sold, enslaved, beaten, raped, humiliated, refused jobs and loans, falsely arrested, caricatured in the press, denied medical care or dehumanized. So I wince whenever a white author claims to “get it.” I wince whenever anyone says “post-racial.” I wince when a white author catalogs his friends of color.

    So for what it’s worth, I like this piece.

    • persephone

      Thank you, Charlie. Nice comment. =]

  • The problem with the “Being White in Philly” article was not just its ahistorical stance, but also the lack of any discussion of how history contributes to shame and silence and how white residents could speak about race more usefully. Perhaps the teacher could have discussed how he disrespected his student by evoking the history implicit in the label “boy”, which might have led to a discussion of how the student’s behavior is itself disrespectful of the teacher and the school. Perhaps the student with the missing Blackberry could have talked about how sad and ashamed she was to have brought the history of racist suspicion into the classroom and how she will take steps to try to avoid this in the future.

    Surely there was someone in Philadelphia who could have presented some ideas about how to think and speak about such experiences and about the historical context productively. I’ve had moving and useful conversations about how complicated and painful racism is for whites, but they generally deal with issues of history and personal shame. Leaving out history leave one with a collection of anecdotes and little room to discuss the shame and guilt inherent for many white people in the consideration of racism. The result is a superficiality that supports silence and the status quo.

  • KoeniginLuisevonPreussen

    You’ve got to be kidding me. TL;DR: “no black person can ever be held responsible for their own behavior, and statistics are racist, and if you disagree with me, you’re a racist.”

  • sammythemc

    I loved this essay, but in stereotypical White Ally style, I’m going to pick out this one tiny nit that’s sort of been bugging me: the “a right answer and a white answer” line. I see the “white people just don’t understand” idea as an excuse for ignorant attitudes in white America, pretending that this ignorance is part of who they are. It’s maybe hardER for white people to understand where issues of race come from, but for anyone trying to talk and learn about them in good faith, there is so much access to alternative opinions and scholarship that it’s not exactly hard. Blindness to one’s own privilege is becoming less and less of an excuse for spewing the kind of racism in the Philly Mag article; it’s 20-fucking-13 here. It’s not right or white, it’s right or wrong, and we shouldn’t allow people to dodge their personal responsibility to be informed by allowing them to pretend theirs is the long-suppressed voice of the voiceless White Man.

    That was probably more of a tangent than anything Mr. Coard actually implied, and for that I apologize, but I think that self-important voice for the voiceless thing really is where Hubert was coming from. It’s an embarrassment to the city, and I’m glad to see more voices join the chorus against it.

  • EastAsianNationalist

    Your entire argument consists of:

    1. Victimer-than-thou mentality
    2. Historical justification

    Neither are good arguments. It would be simpler to say that the majority will always oppress a minority, whether it’s the white majority nationwide, or the black majority in Philly. It’s human nature.

  • Joethomas215

    I love how he talks about omissions, but goes on and acts like the white race is the only one to conquer and enslave. If you don’t move on nothing changes. Whites are so bad even tho African nations owned slaves too, and sold them, but God forbid if you expect them to be held accountable. But your welcome for the big war we fought to free ya’ll you forget about that. The point of the war is not all whites are the same just like not all blacks, but it’s ok for blacks to act like we are. Quit ya bitching and keep your racist views to yourself if you don’t wanna hear any. And your knowledge of history is awfully one sided. Angry cause of ignorance should be the title. IM white black and Spanish mixed so two thirds of this is ok the rest racist, lol move on you ain’t getting a check and u ain’t getting my third

  • For the record, I am not “white”. My family history is Mexican from my mother’s side. It is Irish through my father. His mother was Cajun French, and there’s German, Scottish, English (and who know what else) in the mix.

    I moved to Texas when I was a teenager. We went there because my father got a job in Houston, both my parents were happy to be near their families, my father from Shreveport, my mother from San Antonio, and for ten years while I lived there I heard the prejudices against Mexicans, people assuming because my name was Irish, I’d be sympathetic to the “white” attitudes, I’d be amused by the white sense of “humor”, I would agree all Mexicans were lazy, that they were the ones who committed 90% of all crimes. Sometimes, when I thought someone was worth the effort, I’d tell them my mother was Mexican. The smarter ones apologized for being insensitive and would be more thoughtful in their actions from that point forward. But you know what? More often than not, people weren’t worth the sake of argument.

    Oddly, I live here in Philly, my home, where I was born, where I’ve seen the fury and the joy, where I’ve heard people tell me I don’t know what it is to be attacked for my color, where I’ve met some blacks who are whiter in skin than me, where people are offended when they learn I’m Mexican, because I don’t “look it”, and still, there are those who think I’m white because my name is Irish… and sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to point out to someone I am not “white”. But more often than not, I decide it’s just not worth the sake of argument.

    I have a friend who gets annoyed when people say he’s “African-American”. Once I heard him say to someone, “I am an *American*. I am not African, I was not born there, I was born here, in Philadelphia. I have never to Africa, my parents are NOT from Africa, they’re from Barbados. You really want to get technical about it? I am from this continent! I may not be Indian, but I AM a NATIVE American!”

    Why did I vote for Barack Obama? Because I thought he was an intelligent man who spoke his heart and his mind. I had faith in his ability to discern right from wrong. I saw his wife, and I saw they were a cohesive unit, that he has respect for her, he truly believes in her strength and ability, and she reciprocates. I chose him not because he is a democrat – I chose him because I believed him to be a someone whose leadership I would follow. I believed that the two of them together would help this country grow and prosper.

    It’s funny how many people forget John McCain back in the 80’s and 90’s. John McCain was a moderate conservative: he spoke his mind, he frequently did NOT agree with his party, he used to piss people off – he did not fear to argue or point out inconsistencies in his (or any other) party policies. I respected him. I liked him. But the man who went on the road to run for President, he was a polar opposite of the man who I used to listen to, whose once fair judgment I trusted. In the 2008 presidential race, John McCain began preaching hollow. rhetoric, designed by some member of his party, and it was inconsistent rhetoric, it changed from state to state: depending on what his PR people told him to preach, sometimes, it changed from hour to hour. Never mind the bimbo his party told him he should accept for a running mate (and boy, what an impression SHE made with women across the country!). My initial thought when I’d heard he was running was, “this will be a tough choice”, but very shortly into the campaign, it became far too EASY a choice.

    I lived in Massachusetts until 2006. I was there when Mitt Romney was Governor. He was in charge of one state. He was a country club boy, with a country club attitude, everyone else was responsible for making him more rich while he enjoyed his wealth, and work – well, work just was not in his vocabulary. He took a lot of time off, he let the state of Massachusetts be run into the ground, he made speeches and looked important. It is my firm belief that man did NOT belong in charge of 50 states, and I spent the better part of 2012 making sure he would NOT be elected.

    I did not vote for Barack Obama in 2008 because he is black. I voted for him because I had faith in him. I voted for him again in 2012 because I believed him to be the best choice of two. I am appalled by the rhetoric I hear from D.C.: there is no respect for our President, and here we are, folks, we’re TWO MONTHS into his current term – there are 46 months to go.

    The next four years we cannot have this. I am disturbed by the racial slurs I hear, I am disturbed by the comments I receive from people who think I *should* think this way or that. I believe what I believe. I do not care what color anyone is. The truth is, if ANYONE looks into their family history, the mix of colors is myriad and diverse. It may be a fact of history, it may be a fact of tradition, it may be a fact of life, but *I *do *not *see *it.*

    I have a question: where else in the world does anyone say “Country of Origin-Citizenship” in their description of self? We are a nation of African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, but when anyone else in the world describes themselves, are they African-British? Mexican-Chinese? Why is it only in this country the color of skin is at the forefront? Why can’t anyone just say, “I am an American!” and be proud of that? Why must we differentiate?

    Do I forget that anyone’s family history does not include abuse or oppression? Instead of pointing out that I am “white”, or asking me where my sympathies lie because I am “Mexican”, how about realizing that I am an adult, a citizen, that I have a right to vote, and that someone should be asking me what I think because I am a living breathing being who lives here? What are we at the core? Americans. Does everyone else forget that?

    I don’t know. Maybe I have lost the point. Maybe it’s because there is no point: this is pointing out how wrong people are for living “white” in Philadelphia. How about – how are people simply “living” in Philadelphia? No, history should not be ignored: it is from history we learn our lessons. But instead of being angry about the color of anyone’s skin, why can’t we instead view people by their actions, how do they treat others, do they work consistently, do they care about anyone else besides themselves? I would hope I treat others with the respect I want to have for myself. And I hope my actions inspire others to work consistently, to treat others with respect. And while I acknowledge that someone else is this shade or that, well, that’s what color they are, but it’s not a judgment of WHO they are. And in different tones of sunlight, they may be something else entirely.

    Sometimes, I wear red. Would you tell me there’s something wrong with me if I don’t wear it every day?

  • Christian Robotti

    So you are saying that its ok to be violent, a criminal, no expectations for a good life just because of what happened in the past? And to answer your question, ” If you had to go to trial in a criminal case tomorrow and you had the choice to go as a black defendant or a white defendant and both defendants have identical backgrounds, which would you choose?” I would choose based on the evidence. Now before you get high and mighty and think of me as a white rascist I would like to tell you that I am a first generation American from Hispanic descent. Enough of the blame game. Society needs to start taking responsibility for their own actions. The article is a necessity to wake people up.

    • stfusexists

      Your reading comprehension is not great.

  • If a White person takes a notepad and asks another White person about race; Black people specifically, what do you expect to hear? Where the author went wrong was failing to ask and answer that question to himself. America is not ready for a real discussion on race… folks aren’t ready to discuss the truth about history… Black and White folk alike. While Mr. Coard said, the author may have had good intentions (I personally believe he did), however, his good intentions did nothing to help with course of race relations in Philly…Being White in Philly protects you from being stopped and frisked for no reason in most cases… Being White in Philly means that in most instances, you’ll never end up like Askia Sabur… If we’re gonna talk about race, we gotta be real on all fronts.

  • Kim

    As a white reader (of this article and the prior article only), I find it disheartening that the author of the original article is being thrown under the bus by almost every media outfit I have seen (including his own). I don’t know how we can begin to work through issues of race until we can talk about issues without vilifying a man for a. being honest about what he sees without trying to tiptoe around what he says b. going around neighborhoods and asking others questions and recording their honest answers and c. putting them to print. We should be able to have a conversation from there. Instead cries of Racism! abound. Yes, this country has had an abysmal history of racism. Yes, there is racism today. There was an earlier commenter who said something about the past being the past. My comment would be the racism of the past and the racism of the current today are very different. Does that make today’s racism right? No. And as another earlier commenter discussed not every issue is an issue of race but we can’t get there because as soon as something hints of even the possibility of race all defenses go up and that’s the end of it. I was watching a news program one day and the subject was about the crazy things a certain political party is suggesting to women to protect themselves from rape. One of the hosts was talking about how men have been known to accuse a woman of being in the wrong neighborhood and that’s why she was raped. Three black women who were on the show’s facebook page along with me, commenting as the show went along withing seconds called for the hosts job! I asked why? I asked 2-3 times why they would be asking for her job. No one would answer me. I talked with a black friend of mine later and she said they probably took offense to the comment of “being in the wrong neighborhood”. I said, “but she was talking about what men would say to a woman who was raped.” That situation made me think – if everything is going to be so hair-trigger when it comes to words that are said – even something as innocent as that, unfotunately, I don’t think we will ever get through these issues.

    • stfusexists

      The issues that have to be addressed about race are not going to be solved by publishing more racist stereotypes about black people. I don’t know what value you got out of reading an article where old white people continued to refer to black people as the n-word, but the issues in this article are much more pressing than the pseudo-anthropological drivel that was the original article. Huber wrote a terrible, racist piece, and as a writer he deserves to be held accountable.

  • Kim

    So you remove posts that you can’t respond to???

  • Stacy Litz

    On POINT regarding institutionalized racism and black incarceration. And the false belief that because certain blacks are in power means all the problems are gone. They’re not!

  • stfusexists

    Fantastic article…wish this could have run in place of the racist trash that was originally posted.

  • Do me a favor and take a walk down 44th and powelton with your hoodie on. You racist pig. We the white people are offended by your dark skin comments.

  • Maureen ester – best post/article I’ve read yet on this issue
    I am white, 38 years old. Spent first 18 years living in philly, spent the next 10 in Boston, New York and San Francisco, moved back to philly 10 years ago. When I lived away, I existed in truly progressive multi racial/multi ethnic and multi class environments. I learned just how tainted my perceptions were about people different than me because of the conversations made possible by passionate yet respectful peers. It was when I had been back here for a year or so, living the predominantly separete life that our philly culture breeds that I realized I had started to Immediatly notice what gender/color/race/class a new person was that I realized I had slid backwards. I am disgusted that I see this before even a word is spoken. I miss conversations about race/class/ethnicity/gender/sexual orientation that lead to a deeper understanding of the other persons experien – there will always be those who cannot see past these boundaries but I miss living in a community that embraces sharing and learning from each other – where most people want to fix the problems and respect that the person opposite them wants to fix them too. We are all human, we are all ignorant and we all derseve respect at first interaction

  • Jared Fore – Hip Hop

    Yo Mr. Coard, “It’s either nature or (forcibly imposed) nurture.

    There’s a right answer and a white answer. Take your pick.” Thank you. I love you Bro.

  • Jared Fore – Hip Hop

    Yo Mr. Coard, “It’s either nature or (forcibly imposed) nurture.

    There’s a right answer and a white answer. Take your pick.” Thank you. I love you Bro.

  • freethinkergirl

    One day, and I hope it’s soon, calling someone a white person “racist” will elicit one big yawn. Many of us have already woken up to the fact that it’s lost its original, honest meaning and now is just another form of censorship and suppression.

  • freethinkergirl

    “Well, goddamn it, slavery, sharecropping, convict leasing, Jim Crow, and de facto discrimination are this country’s Dr. Frankenstein.”
    Translation: blacks get a pass for life.

  • Prophetik Soul

    There is a pattern in these articles that reveals its fatal flaw every time: they talk about black people like a monolith. All black people are not the same even within the same neighborhood. Black people in the media and on these boards are talked about as a group yet white people are individuals. When some black guy shoots someone, all black males are all suspects yet white males dont feel responsible for Adam Lanza. Straight up double standard that never seems to go away.

  • jackbattle

    Michael you could add to your timeline that if you are over 56, then you have shared the earth with a living civil war veteran. There are living children of civil war veterans in this country today. I don’t think most people appreciate how recently one could legally own another human being in the United States. That’s a wound that takes a loooong time to heal.

  • Anon11111

    >There’s a right answer and a white answer. Take your pick.

    The Author of this article is a racist.

  • reshapbrimah

    is time for the black community to realize, acknowledge, and then take
    steps towards solutions for the problems that are absolutely solvable.
    making sure kids go to school, are respectful, dress appropriately, and
    learn to read and write are not outlandish
    & wildly racist. also, the issues of fatherlessness, criminal
    activity, and single parents are real. there is a way to do better and
    we should help these kids understand what IS in their power to change.
    they can’t change others but they can change themselves and that is
    where it starts. the family breakdown is the ENTIRE root of the problem.
    poverty is not the problem. black people were poor long before the
    family was destroyed.

  • reshapbrimah

    blaming so that no real internal change has to occur. it really doesn’t
    even matter if the current state of the black community is the
    ‘creation’ of white america. even IF that were entirely true…so what??
    what does that great revelation do the black community. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! that is the sad trap of ‘blamism’ … yes, i just made a word
    when you are able to blame someone for your sad, unfortunate situation
    then you have DESTROYED your own power to change your current
    circumstances. we see daily how people we know are still bound by abuses
    that happened to them 35 years ago. what has blaming done for them? how
    has hating their father or uncle or mother helped them? it has NOT.
    only when they say i will not let this control me another minute …
    ONLY then will they find their inner power to move their lives forward.
    why is it that we can see this in other situations but it cannot be seen
    in the black community? as i have said before, if black people were
    able to overcome and succeed 90, 50, 40, years ago, then there is no
    excuse for today. NONE.