Also, what would you say to a comment like this one, found at the end of the article:
Anon • 12 days ago
Yea, you are right he is courting a white audience. And that is the point. Despite all the negative comments, I actually want to say that this article really captures my feelings as a recent (and yes, white) transplant to Philadelphia. I'm going on my 5th year here and while I have tried to really get into the arts, the city, its culture, etc, I have found myself in very conflicting feelings about Philadelphia. I too, while making life long friends of all races, and some of my favorite people here are in fact African American, I have also struggled with the cocaine dealers next door, the guy who hit me on the sub, the muggings, the weird, forced and unexpected "how are you doing today sweetie?" not knowing what to say to all these "new" problems, which I really believe goes beyond "their culture" which us whites unfortunately like to use often to describe feelings of discomfort. But its something more. I think the biggest problem is that we are still letting history lead us- for both sides, if we feel we must make that division.
I think the question that everyone is looking around the room is "whos supposed to take responsibility for it?" The communities themselves?, "the culture" itself? Us "upperclass whites"? The government? It becomes a never ending cycle of "well, how do we solve this? Whos supposed to fix it? Or can we even solve this?" These are questions that I never would have to ask myself if I still resided in Portland, OR, but you do have to give merit that someone who has the opportunity to continue living in a "safe, white" bubble decided to come out here and make a difference.
So am I doing the right thing as a "white person" by moving to inner city philadelphia? Now that I have been around it, and I am seeing how little power I actually have over others conditions, I'm more starting to worry about my own wellbeing. You can call that racist or you can call it common sense. All I know is that I am responsible for my own actions and All I know is that I am not helping anyone else by lowering my consciousness out of a feeling of guilt to attempt to connect with other perspectives. Its not working and its not doing anyone any good. Philadelphia does wear on your psychological strength- for all sides. I used to blame people for leaving here, for "ignoring the problem"- but its something beyond that, its a problem of consciousness- not from outside sources coming in to "rescue" it, but at the source itself. But when the source has only been told that it has no other choice but to sell drugs for a living- that thought seed is the only thing that needs to be changed, and getting through to that thought seed source is more often than not a risk.
Another interesting comment:
Emmy Anon • 10 days ago
Anon, this is Emmy from the comment right below yours. I grew up in Philly and my parents live there and they tell me never to move back there. I am black. I appreciate this article and your comment because in all the times I've visited Philly in the past few years, with my white spouse, we've felt extremely threatened among some blacks and we've also felt eyed with suspicion among whites. I kept wondering what was going on - Philly was not always this much of a powder keg. So I appreciate that some white people are talking about what's bothering them about racial tensions - the sooner we have an honest conversation, we can start changing things.
Honestly, though, I don't believe Philly is a safe city to move to as it currently is. For one I wonder how anyone finds a decent paying job there. But also I feel like there is something about to burst at any moment, racially, that would be awful to experience.
The most important thing, in my opinion, is that when people do decide to talk about race, in mixed dialogue, they all come to it assuming, honestly, that the other person of another race is 1) human, 2) capable of change, 3) speaking from their experiences only, 4) honestly interested in improving interracial interactions and communication and in reducing the violence and dysfunction.
Here's a local story on Mayor Nutter:
Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013, 6:32 AM
Mayor Nutter issued a scathing letter Friday calling Philadelphia Magazine's controversial "Being White in Philly" cover story a "pathetic, uninformed essay," and asking the city Human Relations Commission to consider a rebuke of the magazine and the article's author.
Tom McGrath, the magazine's editor, fired back, accusing Nutter of "sophomoric statements" that suggested he is "more interested in scoring political points than having a serious conversation about race."
Rue Landau, the commission's executive director, replied to Nutter: "The commissioners and I share the concerns of the mayor regarding the racial insensitivity and perpetuation of harmful stereotypes portrayed in the Philadelphia Magazine piece."
Landau, whose comments were included in the mayor's news release about his letter, dated Wednesday, said the commission "will take up the mayor's charge and, as a matter of fact, we are already looking at intergroup relations in the city, particularly in changing communities."
The commission voted Friday to have its next public meeting April 18 in the Fairmount-Brewerytown area to address issues raised in the magazine piece.
On Monday, McGrath will moderate a panel discussion starting at 6:30 p.m. at the National Constitution Center about the issues raised in the story and the controversy it stirred.
In the first sentence of his four-page letter, Nutter came out swinging against not only the article, but also the magazine's reputation.
"This month Philadelphia Magazine has sunk to a new low even for a publication that has long pretended that its suburban readers were the only citizens civically engaged and socially active in the Philadelphia area," Nutter wrote.
He said either the author, Robert Huber, or the people quoted were "too cowardly to provide" real names.
Nutter accused Huber of ignoring positive anecdotes "to feed his own misguided perception" that African Americans are "lazy, shiftless, irresponsible, and largely criminal."
The mayor called the magazine cynical and hypocritical for providing an alternative cover with "an attractive woman of color" for hotel guests and other visitors.
In an e-mail, Huber responded: "The goal of my piece is to point out problems in race relations in Philadelphia, and to push for a better dialogue. So I think the mayor is right on point in asking for an inquiry into the state of race relations in Philadelphia."
Huber said "the mayor, like anyone, has a right to his reaction to the article. But I think his characterization of the article's thesis and tone and so forth is off the mark to the point of absurdity."
Nutter asked the commission to conduct an inquiry into racial issues and attitudes in the city, and to decide whether the magazine and the writer should be rebuked.
He also asked it to consider whether the article was the "reckless equivalent of 'shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater.' "
In a statement, McGrath said the mayor's suggestion of a rebuke was "rich with irony," after Nutter was shouted down during his budget address before City Council on Thursday.
"In short, the mayor loves the First Amendment - as long as he and the government can control what gets said," McGrath wrote.
Here's the obligatory African American female response from The Inquirer:
The only black person in the room
Adrienne Simpson, For the Inquirer
Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013, 11:44 AM
Adrienne Simpson is a freelance writer and sometime football blogger for hergamelife.com
I'm accustomed to being the only black person in the room.
When my family moved to South Jersey more than 30 years ago, we were the first blacks in our neighborhood. I was the only black girl in Sunday school at our all-white Methodist church, the only black girl in my Quaker elementary school class, and I was definitely the only black girl in ballet class.
Nonetheless, I was a little surprised when I realized there was only one other full-time African American employee working at Philadelphia Magazine when I joined the marketing department last year. She recently left the company, which makes me the only black full-time staffer, something that I was never uncomfortable with until now.
I am an event planner. So when the magazine conducts a promotion, throws a party, or hosts a luncheon, I may greet you at the door. I am one of several people who represent the magazine in public settings, interacting with guests, clients, and service providers.
This month, I have the pleasure of representing a publication that felt the best way to spark a discourse about race was to feature a lopsided, conflagrant editorial - that teetered on the brink of fear mongering - as its cover story. At the crux of Bob Huber's story, "Being White in Philly," is the notion that black people are essentially what's wrong with the city, and that the white people who live here are afraid of them.
In his editor's letter defending the decision to publish the article, editor Tom McGrath called it a "bookend" to "Welcome to Hell," a well-written expose by Steve Volk on the psychological impact of urban violence, published last September. Based on McGrath's juxtaposition of the two articles, are we to believe that being black in Philadelphia is akin to living in hell and being white in Philadelphia is, quite frankly, scary?
Even more interesting was a Twitter Q&A with the editor after "Being White" was published. McGrath was asked what he planned to do about the lack of diversity on the magazine's editorial staff. His 134-character response included the following: "I'm open to pitches from writers of color." While it might not be fair to highlight a snippet out of context, in the land of 140 characters or less the message is loud and clear. If only Woolworth's had been open to allowing black people to look at the menu.
McGrath states in his editor's letter that the appropriateness of Philadelphia Magazine tackling race was questioned. "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," he wrote.
The correct answer to that question is no. The all-white staff of a city magazine, a city whose black population makes up 44 percent of its residents, is ill-equipped to spearhead any kind of enlightened discussion about race. Why? Because its hiring practices have made it abundantly clear that black people and their opinions have no place in its discussions. And I don't just mean discussions about race. I mean discussions about Philly's best salons and boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs, playhouses and theaters; discussions about local politics, education, enterprise, and government. The magazine's positioning of itself as the voice of progressive racial discourse in Philly is the equivalent of Chris Brown being a marriage counselor or Lindsay Lohan being a sober living coach.
Obviously I disagree with Tom McGrath about the journalistic value of "Being White." The irrational fears and misguided logic of one white person are not a story. There is nothing novel in the sentiments that Huber expressed, and that other white Philadelphians anonymously endorsed. It's a narrative that has been repeated for centuries. The difference is that most respectable and responsible publications have evolved to the point where they would not give a platform to these statements without offering a counterbalanced perspective.
The real losers here are not black people. We're used to being marginalized and maligned. It's actually white Philadelphians who should be angry that a publication claiming to speak to them and for them has characterized them as fearful, kowtowing, door-holding racists. Having lived in Philadelphia for 13 years - and having frequented the same Wawa on Germantown Avenue that Huber writes about - I don't believe this to be the case.
Bob Huber seems fixated on what white people are allowed to say about black people. Some would say he risked a lot in his quest to find out. Well, I have no idea what black employees are allowed to say about being black at Philly Mag, but I guess it's time I find out. I'll let you know who took the bigger risk.
Here is Ms. Simpson's usual typing: http://www.onhergame.com/2012/11/the...of-the-season/
Last edited by Elspeth; 03-17-2013 at 11:09 PM.
Ms. Simpson is typical in that it is always somebody else's fault other than the individuals within her race, there seems to be an inability with many to take any responsibility for their own actions.
Crime statistics prove it, grades prove it, unemployment rates, prison population statistics, even longevity, but it is all the fault of the white man.
Sounds like that piece hit way tooooo close for NutJobs taste.
Opportunistic idiot comes to mind.
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