Update (2:15 p.m.) A Zillow representative has called to inform me the website has taken the photo down. Better late than never!
Real estate blog Zillow recently published a list called “Ten Reasons to Move to Philadelphia.” Rocky Balboa, cheesesteaks: The list has all the hallmarks of a usual gloss over Philly. Plus a little casual racism tossed in.
Here’s reason number two.
Let’s parse this out, shall we? Next to a comprehensive two-sentence summary of white flight and gentrification in the last 50 years, is a photo of four black dudes hanging out in North Philly in the ’70s. That was then, scared white people! Riots! Crime! Can’t you see the it? Those hoods are about to smash a window and sell drugs to an infant!
Besides the offensiveness of the photo/text juxtaposition (and make no mistake, the photo isn’t randomly placed; the cheesesteak photo is next to the cheesesteak blurb), there’s the complete silliness of the words themselves. Crime and bad schools are still a big part of the city; it’s not because those things have disappeared that population is growing in Philadelphia. Oh, and that first sentence makes no grammatical sense. All in all: There’s probably a good reason that Bloomberg, which republished the list today, omitted that picture.