"Being White in Philly" article still has legs with the local media and some folks here in my hometown. Most folks seemed to be upset about it, I suspect, though, that the folks at Philly Magazine love the shine that they are getting from their one sided race relations hit piece.
My girl Jenice Armstrong just wrote about it for Philly.com, and I am sorry I read the article.
Apparently some folks now want to organize a mass kumbayah love in at....well, Love Park. (Where else would it be?)
"Organizers hope Philadelphians of all races will turn out next week for an event at Love Park called “Being in Philly.” The gathering, scheduled for 4 p.m. on March 20, is in response to a controversial Philadelphia magazine cover story called “Being White In Philly.” In the piece, based on anonymous interviews, Robert Huber makes the claim that white people are afraid to talk about race for fear of being called racist.
The article has a lot of problems, many of them well documented already. But the first-day-of-spring event isn’t so much to address the issue of bad journalism but to present another view of what’s happening in Philly.
“The goal is to have an intellectual dialogue and discourse that promotes a positive outcome and interactive cultural understanding,” Chris Norris, a lead organizer, told me last week.
Organizers also hope to bring Huber, the author of ‘Being White in Philly,’ to Love Park to introduce him around.
“To introduce him to organizations like Rising Sons and to introduce him to the Black Male Engagement Project that the Knight Foundation is spending millions and millions of dollars on to change the narrative in this city and Baltimore and Detroit. To introduce him to people like Gregory Walker (founder of the Brothers Network)…Gregory Corbin and Solomon Jones. That’s the goal. Not to make him feel scared, to make him feel like there’s going to be an angry black mob waiting for him. That there’s going to be intellectual black men waiting with open arms to embrace him because, hey, he needs a hug. “
Now I respect some of the people involved with this event, and I actually consider Solomon Jones a friend, but I have to question the wisdom of this planned outreach and racial lovefest.
Why do we have to go out of our way to show some naive journalist and folks who think like him that we are normal? Mr. Huber is a grown ass man; if it takes people having a planned event to bring him in contact with "educated" black people in a city like Philadelphia, well then maybe Mr. Huber and his cohorts are the ones who need to be doing some soul searching.
This, of course, is easier said than done. It is folks like Mr. Huber who are now playing the victim card and reverse racism is now the meme of the moment. (I think "white tears" is trending somewhere out there in social media land.)
Sorry folks, I would like to be on board, but I cannot. I understand the real reason folks like Mr. Huber have issues with people who are different, and why they fail to understand that there are other factors that affect people's behavior besides their race.
"We want to encourage Philly magazine to write a part 2 (called) being a Philadelphian. Not being white. Not being black. But being a Philadelphian. That’s really important,” pointed out Rashaun Williams, 18, a Temple University sociology and history major who's helping organize the gathering.
In addition to all that, organizers say there will be free musical performances and a water ice giveaway. Editors at Philly mag also have been invited."
I need a break.