I wrote all that by way of an introduction to my next post which is about said Magazine.
It seems that they have been getting a not too friendly post- racial buzz from their readership and they wanted to address it. They did just that by way of a long, haughty, condescending article, that was supposed to be about a dialogue between the races, but ironically was only about the pitfalls of being white in Philly.
In fact, the title of the article is "Being White in Phily." (Would Philly Magazine allow me to write about being black in Philadelphia? Corrupt politicians (black and white) who use their power to prey on the weak, politicians in Harrisburg who put a negative label on every child of color born in Philadelphia before they start to walk, or a system of exclusion long practiced by trade unions to keep minorities out of higher paying jobs....I could go on, but this is about the white folks.)
It is a long article, so I will give you the link so that you can read it in its entirety when you have the time.
But it starts like this:
"My younger son goes to Temple, where he’s a sophomore. This year he’s living in an apartment with two friends at 19th and Diamond, just a few blocks from campus. It’s a dangerous neighborhood. Whenever I go see Nick, I get antsy and wonder what I was thinking, allowing him to rent there.
One day, before I pick him up for lunch, I stop to talk to a cop who’s parked a block away from Nick’s apartment.
“Is he already enrolled for classes?” the cop says when I point out where my son lives.
Well, given that it’s December, I think so. But his message is clear: Bad idea, this neighborhood. A lot of burglaries and robberies. Temple students are prime prey, the cop says.
Later, driving up Broad Street as I head home to Mount Airy, I stop at a light just north of Lycoming and look over at some rowhouses. One has a padlocked front door. A torn sheet covering the window in that door looks like it might be stained with sewage. I imagine not a crackhouse, but a child, maybe several children, living on the other side of that stained sheet. Plenty of children in Philadelphia live in places like that. Plenty live on Diamond, where my son rents, where there always seem to be a lot of men milling around doing absolutely nothing, where it’s clearly not a safe place to be.
I’ve shared my view of North Broad Street with people—white friends and colleagues—who see something else there: New buildings. Progress. Gentrification. They’re sunny about the area around Temple. I think they’re blind, that they’ve stopped looking. Indeed, I’ve begun to think that most white people stopped looking around at large segments of our city, at our poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, a long time ago. One of the reasons, plainly put, is queasiness over race. Many of those neighborhoods are predominantly African-American. And if you’re white, you don’t merely avoid them—you do your best to erase them from your thoughts.
At the same time, white Philadelphians think a great deal about race. Begin to talk to people, and it’s clear it’s a dominant motif in and around our city. Everyone seems to have a story, often an uncomfortable story, about how white and black people relate.
Take a young woman I’ll call Susan, whom I met recently. She lost her BlackBerry in a biology lab at Villanova and Facebooked all the class members she could find, “wondering if you happened to pick it up or know who did.” No one had it. There was one black student in the class, whom I’ll call Carol, who responded: “Why would I just happen to pick up a BlackBerry and if this is a personal message I’m offended!”
Susan assured her that she had Facebooked the whole class. Carol wrote: “Next time be careful what type of messages you send around and what you say in them.” [Article]
This anecdote sets the tone for the entire article. The author talks to different anonymous white folks who live around the city and who express various degrees of frustration over the browning of their city and the pitfalls of navigating through it.
There is also a general theme throughout the piece that whites would like to engage blacks and talk about race but us black folks make it hard for them to do so.
Of course nothing could be further from the truth. Does talking about race make us a little more upset than it does you? Of course it does. Talking about racism with a white person is like that pig and chicken discussion about breakfast: When you are the pig you are the f*****g breakfast. The chicken (see white folks) can drop an egg and keep it poppin.
I would like to give Philadelphia Magazine credit for attempting to at least start a dialogue, but hey, it's Philadelphia Magazine, so unfortunately I can't.
"But racial history is uncomfortable. That's because it's filled with structural violence that is based in real physical violence. This is the case for far (far) more brown people than white people. It's time to get uncomfortable, white folks (I'm looking at you, author!). Time to step out of our neurotic obsession with blackness and talk to people of color about their experience of the world. Lucky for us, it's not going to involve real physical violence, despite the undertone of this piece. - A white lady who has lived at 22nd and Federal and 23rd and Poplar
· What Huber doesn't really have the stones to write about is the poverty that pervades so many neighborhoods in Philadelphia and crushes people's lives, because his subscribers on the Main Line or in Cherry Hill don't want their peaceful dream of entitlement disturbed. So instead, he blends anecdotes into a soothing milkshake of "See, even nice people with the best possible motives can't get along with black people because they're SO DARNED TOUCHY. It's not you, it's them!" Talk about an advanced case of White Male Privilege.
There's a reason why only people in the suburbs subscribe to this local version of SkyMall. They wouldn't want to read anything that actually looks at economic inequality, heavens no.
· This is the type of irresponsible drivel you get when you only see the world through biased/racist eyes.When you can't even see the bias/racism in your stories anymore. Philadelphia magazine is officially trash."
Apparently I am not alone.