Sunday, April 06, 2008

In Praise of Philly.

"I don't know what it is but I just never got the vibe. Field if you would or if you have summed up that which is black Philly point me in the right direction"

That quote from a commenter,"pamalicious", (who has a pretty *nice blog by the way) got me thinking, and inspired this post.

What is it about Philly that I love so much? I know I am always ripping my hometown, and lord knows I talk about more negative shit than positive (my running Killadelphia murder count is a good example), but honestly, I love my hometown. For every reason I can give you to hate the place I can give you two to love it.

"Pamelicous" says her Mom still lives here and she is dying to get her out. My question to her would be why? If her Mom has been here all of her life she probably understands the city,and what makes it tick. To love Philly you have to understand it. It's why most outsiders don't get it. It's why they look at the old buildings, the trash, the grime, and say get me out of here. They look at some of our old stark and bleak looking city blocks, that look like an old Eastern European City, and they wonder, what gives?

Here is the deal: Philadelphia has a soul like no other city in A-merry-ca. I know because I have traveled and spent some time in damn near every large city in this country. And none of them, not Los Angeles, not Chicago, not Houston, not D.C., not Atlanta, have Philly's soul. Notice I excluded New Orleans from that list, because they do have Phily's soul. That is (or at least it was before Bush's storm) a real city. I worked in L.A. (first job out of undergrad), and with all due respect to my man Cobb and the other Angelistas, L.A. is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there anymore. Too far from shit, too much smog, and too many phonies. Atlanta? I know it's supposed to be the new black mecca but it's just not my cup of tea either. Too new, too shallow, and too close to the rest of Georgia. And although I do love cities like Houston and Miami, I am sorry, they are just too damn hot and sticky for my taste (I don't live in Jamaica now for a reason ).

Give me my adopted home town of Philly right here in the Northeast corridor. When you think Philly, you think Philadelphia International, Doctor J, the Liberty Bell, Cheese Steaks, and the Declaration of Independence. But Philly is so much more. For instance, I am a couple hours from D.C., just an hour and change from New York (two cities, by the way, which I happen to love). I can drive to the beach (or as we say here in Philly, the shore) in an hour, I can drive to the beautiful Pocono Mountains in about the same time, and I can catch a direct flight home to Jamaica or damn near any city in the world, right out of Philly International Airport.

There is so much untapped potential here that it's scary to think about. Hundreds of first class universities within a stones throw of each other. Including three of America's best; Penn, Swarthmore, and Princeton. I could go on and on. A world class arts program and orchestra, great restaurants, a diverse international community, five sports teams, big five basketball, unique neighborhoods, each with their own vibe.-- If you ever come to Philly make it a point to go to Manayunk. You will think you are in some quaint German Village in the Bavarian mountains--- South street, our Avenue of the Arts, (screw Broadway) The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is a pretty damn good knock off of the Champ De Elys in Paris. Great Jazz (Coltrane made his home here). Our Mural program is a must see in the neighborhoods, Boathouse row (sorry Baaastan, the Cambridge doesn't have shit on the Schuylkill), you get the idea.

Now there is bad shit too. The people here can be pretty edgy with very high bullshit detectors. Most of our white folks here come from three major ethnic groups, and they have zero liberal guilt. They don't think they had a damn thing to do with slavery, and they damn sure aren't going to be sympathetic to black folks and our struggle because we happen to look a little different. They will tell you how white folks really feel about us black folks, and I like that. Many of them are poor just like us black folks are. (Philly is the first place that I saw a white bum in A-merry-ca) They struggle for shit just like we do, and they fight us for their piece of the pie with unapologetic openness.

People who live and breathe this city get all of that. We understand the nuances of the people, and we love it. When we step outside the door every day we know what to expect. We know where we can and can't go, and we know what it takes to survive here. In many ways, Philly is like a Third World Country. (Which is probably why I love it so much). There is great wealth, and great poverty, and if you know the right people, you can get damn near anything done that you want to. The political parties are the biggest employers, and the taxes are high. But every Philadelphian understands that, and we chalk it up to cost of doing business. None of that self righteousness that you see in other cities. Here, we are corrupt, and we know it. And as long as our politicians deliver the goods, they will get elected every time.

I know I talk about them like dogs from time to time, but I love the people here. I wouldn't want to pick a jury anywhere else, because I understand them, and they know that. We have a trust factor with each other than only someone who has lived here and connected with the city can understand.

So "pamalicious", I hoped that helped. There is so much more, but in order to experience it and really feel it, you have to live it. Next time you come to Philly to visit your Mom shoot me an e-mail, and I will try to make a little of that happen for you.

Mayor Nutter I will be expecting a check soon.

*The blog I featured earlier on the link was "Mamalicious" and not "Pamalicious".

Sorry for the mix up ladies :(


Anonymous said...


Field, you love living around with these shoot 'em up Negroes?

Or, are you in a different kind of neighborhood?

An exclusive neighborhood. Far, far away from these punk mop-headed Negroe dogs.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I enjoyed to love letter to your town. It makes me want to go to Philly, well done. OTOH, I just wrote a love letter to my dead dog so WTF do I know?

Anonymous said...

lol @ your sidebar of heston. they gonna be playing that gun totting hand waving from this COLD HAND mantra over and over on tv.

Anonymous said...

I love Philly. Last time I went there, I had a very good time. I also think of the music that comes out of there from the Roots, to Boyz II Men, and Jill Scott. Even Beanie Sigel and them have a soul about them that I'm feeling. Back in the 90s, they were the smooth gangsta to New York's rough and tough. This was a good dedication, but I don't think the mayor's going to holla at you.

Anonymous said...

I feel ya! I too, LOVE this city and don't wanna live anywhere else (except maybe Paris).
In addition to field's reasons, let me add my own. I moved here from
Texas where mass transportation meant 2 people in a car. Here, I don't own a car. I walk or use mass trans to work, groceries,
entertainment, friends... and I have friends who live all over this city (except the greater northeast)..

I love that there are still mom and pops for everything.... groceries, hardware, clothes, music, restaraunts, bars... big boxes exist, but they are in the suburbs. There are FAR more local coffee cafes than starbucks, and goin out is sooo much cheaper than most big cities.

When I walk down the street, I will hear on average 3 or 4 different languages just passin people by.

I love that I am a legal assistant with no sugar mama or inheritance and I can afford to live downtown, nothing fancy, but clean, small, and liveable. And Philly has one of the largest urban population living downtown (center city) in the country... not just fancy rich folk, and not just white folk....

And I LOVE the "Yo, Fuck you Im From Philly attytood." and heres why...

In Philly, if you are straight up honest with folks, and dont pretend to be nice and then stab em in the back, you are respected even if disagreeing....
If you give 100% and fail, we will love you cuz you are a fighter....

People are loud, animated, funny, sad, sometimes a little angry... but I can embrace them all and feel right at home... warts and all, home.

field negro said...

nsangoma, I have the number of a very good African American shrink, you need to call me :)

"I just wrote a love letter to my dead dog so WTF do I know?"

wine dog you must be white. LOL!

Jose, I am feeling your hometown too. I have mad love for New Yawk.

field negro said...

Damn jody, I will split my check from Nutter with you :)

BTW, I live in the Northeast, so now you have a friend in the Northeast too.

Constructive Feedback said...

Field Negro:

As a native Philadelphian who was born at Lankenau Hospital and spent my formative years in West Philly at 61st and Jefferson I am struggling to understand your general sentiments with Philadelphia and your blog contents.

As I scroll down the right side of your blog page I get the distinct impression that Conservatives/Republicans/Fox News (sorry Faux News/Fake News) / and all turn coat Black Conserative Negroes make up the biggest threat to you and thus Black America.

Having vacated the city of Philadelphia for more promising opportunity and occassionally checking back in with the homeboys I can indeed say that my choice to depart was a wise one. In my view my "misery index" is far lower than the vast majority of those who remained in Philly. I must also note that many have moved to South Jersey or Limerick or Delaware - the new suburbs of Philly.

What I don't understand however, is that Philadelphia as well as the county above where I live in Georgia are DEMOCRATIC PARTY STRONGHOLDS!!! It should stand to reason that in having achieved the state of political dominance and having a seriously weakened Conservative and or Republican adversary that PROSPERITY should be ringing for Black folks for the mandate spelled out by Civil Rights leader Bayard Rusking some 40 years ago has BEEN ACHIEVED TO-DAMNED-DAY in Black America!!!

Philadelphia is an 80% Democratic city. In the other message thread I laid out the complete Democratic sweep that a Black person in West Philly (and Southwest Philly and North Philly) enjoys. Only those 'sellout Blacks' who dare to move to Northeast Philly have any chance to have an enemy Republican as their local representative. I am quite sure that this is more distrubing to them than the stick up kids in West Philly that torment the community.

Field Negro - In the past 20 years I have been to Philly both as a returning native and as a vistor on a business trip. Clearly there is a vast difference between the downtown business and tourist districts and the residential areas in the regions that I have spoke of.

With all of the political stars aligned as such - I must ask you - why hasn't the promised prosperity kicked in for these said communities? Weren't the people SOLD on such claims? Having run the adversary out who is to BLAME now? Might it be that they will turn in and do some introspection regarding both the POPULAR ASSUMPTIONS of what politics can do for their general benefit BUT ALSO begin to inspect their own actions to determine if what they are doing beyond politics will ever allow this long sought after prosperity to flow like the Delaware River upon their communities?

It seems to me that the exhuberance over the election night victories of THEIR PARTY has not been translated into any meaningful victories and achievements in their communities.

I recall that last summer many of these same residents departed their communities and marched or rode a bus 117 miles westward to the state capital to demand that the external state legislature RESTRICT THEIR SON'S ACCESS to the guns that THEIR SONS were using to KILL SOMEONE ELSE'S SON from the community. Think about the rationale of this Field Negro - the very children who came from the cradle that THEY ROCKED for 18 years need to be prevented via laws from destroying THEIR OWN COMMUNITY! They had to leave West Philly to ask these external people to restrict these tools from entering their communities.

The White rural legislators who also have guns but use them to shoot game were said to be unsympathetic to the plight of the people who communities have guns but which are used more often to kill other people. It was the WHITE LEGISLATORS who took the hit from the marchers to a greater extent than the trigger men who THEY raised and instilled the values for human life within.

Is it possible, Field Negro that we as Blacks are in a HIJACKED STATE, working on behalf of SOMEONE ELSE'S INTERESTS rather than our own? This other entity's VICTORIES have not translated into OUR OWN where it counts.

But hey at least we don't have to worry about Alphonso Jackson ever being mayor let along dog catcher in Philly. As a Black Republican is name is mud in Philly.

Hathor said...

There is no neighborhood in Philadelphia that is safe from shootings. Believe it or not, murder is not the exclusive enterprise of Negroes.
Some neighborhoods are as diverse as my neighborhood, which has two public housing units, one university, the home of our Senator, Governor, Congressman and many middle and working class people.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I read the link in sidebar about the spanking.

Funny. I used to live in Fairview, TN. It is all you imagine it to be: a one-horse Tennessee town near the interstate, looks like it all fell of the back of a pickup truck, little tiny 4-man police department with a Chief who wears 5 stars on his collar. And, just packed with racists. Mr Armoster picked the wrong damn town.

Anonymous said...

Hi Field:

I think Philly is a good place to live and like every other urban city in the America, it has it negative points. I live in New Jersey, so I am less than 30 minutes away from New York City, an hour from the shore, an hour and a half from Philly if I take the train, and could not imagine not living in near a city that provides me with the arts. I personally do not want to live without the Alvin Ailey, jazz concerts, or the symphony. I live in Irvington, NJ where gang violence has taken a stronghold on the town, and if I didn't have something like the arts to give me another perspective, I would lose my mind.

You forgot about another home person of your hometown, Jill Scott.

Anonymous said...

... Believe it or not, murder is not the exclusive enterprise of Negroes. ... Some neighborhoods are as diverse as my neighborhood, which has two public housing units, one university, the home of our Senator, Governor, Congressman and many middle and working class people.
hathor 12:55 PM

Hathor, how many of those 65 murders were mop-headed Negroe upon mop-headed Negroe?

Hathor, are those public housing units 12, 18, 22 story housing projects? Or, are they just '2', section-8, single family homes?

Hathor, what do you tell those public housing unit dwelling mop-headed Negroes when they trespass upon your street?

Keep on rollin-nin Negroes, you mah colour but you not my kind; roll on up out of here, back to your public housing units where those of your lower ilk belong.

Anonymous said...

I've been to Philly once and "felt" its authenticity and grittiness. The City has a high "in yo face" factor. I love and hate that about Philly.

Youthful exuberance, newness, freshness and gentility/humility are important to me and, after living in Chicago, I would never again live in a City that experiences real winters.

Philly is a fine and historic place to visit. Its culturalism and the artistic talent that the City produces are phenom.

Anonymous said...

Continuing my comment on the spanking side-bar: Fairview is a town I lived in in the mid-80s as transplants northerner. Like Mr Armoster, I picked the wrong damn town.

And may be I was too simplistic saying the place is packed with racists. They also hate Catholics, Italians, damned Yankees, birds, people from Franklin Tennesee, hippies and their kids, building inspectors, ...

If you hate just about everybody, are you a racist just because that includes negroes. In this case, yes, because in Fairview you can feel reasonably secure in acting against negroes, where you'd probably have trouble if went after a caucasian Catholic physically.

These 2 links give more of the flavor of life in Fairview TN:

Anonymous said...

Those types of incidents, the ones that you linked to, happen every day in Anywhere, A-merry-ca.

Arsonists and dumb criminals are not unique to Fairview, TN.

Hathor said...

The public housing units aren't what you described and Negroes look like Negroes. I would gather from your comment, if you are a black person that you wear a "process."

You can't trespass on a public street. And why would I want any person to be harassed, since I don't want myself or my son to be. Since I have been here, the only problems with kids, have been bored white kids and their pranks.

The way this city is built, you may have the really rich on one block and the next extremely crime ridden. Whites have found that their flight from Negroes has not excluded them from what they feared, the upwardly mobile white riffraff brought the same trouble with them.

Now if we would start the conversation about white riffraff, I sure there many more than Negroes, even in this city, which I think is 49% black. We could even point out why they aren't in prison. If you are not comfortable with Negroes, they are some sections you could live, where you fear for life, but never see a black face. You wont see them on the streets, but you'd be awaken during the night when the next house is being raided for drug dealing; not crack, but heroin.

Constructive Feedback said...

Regarding the death of Charleton Heston - Field Negro says:


Interesting that a person who lives in Philly and who clearly toes the line of the anti-NRA people.....I am sure that few of the people who have killed the 65 people in Philadelphia this year WERE NRA MEMBERS. Still the thrill of getting a shot in on their now departed leader, as irrelevant as it might be serves to pacify some individuals that such an attack will have any bearing on the 2008 homicide count in the city of brotherly love.

I wonder if an insenstive "White rural legislator" who is unwilling to have his own people's gun rights to be restricted were to say something as insenstive upon the untimely death of a resident of West Philly as what Field Negro has said about the NRA's Charelton Heston - would HE survive the damnation and criticism for his words, just as Field-Negro spouts off on his blog for all to see but will never miss a beat in the process of his rants?

Field Negro - with the death of Charleton Heston - do you figure that this will have any bearing on the 2008 homicide rate in your beloved city?

Was this a comment stated out of "love" or just pure "hatred"? I guess since YOU believe that the NRA stands more against the INTERESTS of the Black community than do the people from WITHIN who are ACTUALLY DOING THE KILLING your ultimate 'good intentions' for the community should have your hateful words be washed away.

Has Charleton Heston ever killed a Black person in West Philly with a gun? I am hoping that all of the surveillance cameras that mayor Nutter is planning will catch on video a few of these NRA members that drive into Philly from Bucks County, shoot someone in SouthWest Philly dead and then place the fire arm on an unsuspecting Black man and thus point the finger of blame at him. With these cameras on the street the days of the killing spree by the Conservative NRA members in Philadelphia is OVER!!!

Anonymous said...

And then there's Pa's Governor.

Extracted from transcript of today's MTP:

Mr. Tim Russert: Senator Casey, if Barack Obama goes into the convention ahead in elected delegates combined with superdelegates, having won more contests, and has the popular vote lead as well, can he be denied the nomination?

SEN. CASEY: Oh, I don't think he, he could or should be.

GOV. RENDELL: I, I disagree.

MR. RUSSERT: Governor, Governor...

GOV. RENDELL: I disagree.

MR. RUSSERT: Governor Rendell, let me ask you a simple question. If Barack Obama, at the convention, is ahead in elected delegates, ahead in contests won, and ahead in cumulative popular vote, could the superdelegates still nominate Hillary Clinton?

GOV. RENDELL: Sure. It depends on what trends are happening. And number one, Hillary Clinton's ahead in electoral votes, states carried with the most electoral votes, number one. Number two, popular vote, I think the popular vote will narrow decidedly in the next seven or eight contests.

MR. RUSSERT: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. Stop there. Stop there, Governor, because Senator Clinton tried that yesterday, in terms of the goalposts.

MR. RUSSERT: But if, at the convention, there are more elected delegates for Obama and the popular--not counting Michigan and Florida, because it is contested--is Obama, and more state contests for Obama, what do you think? You've been in politics a long time. What would African-American delegates, young delegates, Obama delegates, do in Denver if the nomination went to Hillary Clinton after they had won more delegates, more states in the cumulative popular vote?

GOV. RENDELL: Well, again, it would depend on where the popular vote was, what percentage it was. It would depend on what the electoral college map looked like. If she still--if she wins Pennsylvania, she'll have an insurmountable lead among states with electoral votes. I think you can make an argument. Will some people--if Senator Clinton were to win the nomination, will some people stay at home? Sure. But Senator McCain is going to lose some of the far right wing in his party.

And Bob Casey and I in Pennsylvania will work either way to make sure that Clinton or Obama voters come back to whoever the nominee is. Will there be some falloff? Absolutely. Will it be disastrous for the party in the, in the fall? Not necessarily.

Anonymous said...

SingaporeSwim: yea, I know none of this unique. It's just the shock of being reminded that I used to live in that town. (And, it seemed like something like this happened EVERY DAY there, like there's anti-prosac in the water.)

Anonymous said...

I'm a black woman. DON'T JUDGE ME. I went to Philly for a Madonna concert a few years back. First and only time!

Honestly, I experienced several racist moments. I got, "What are YOU doing here." from this white woman after the concert. It happened out of nowhere. She just walked right up to me and said that. I'm NOT one of those sensitive black folks that go looking for stuff but damn there were too many uncomfortable moments to share on this blog.

Yes, I know I was in a predominately white venue but it was a Madonna concert not a Nascar event. I've seen white performers before but I've never experience that amount of hostility.

Still love Madonna though and her concert was great!

White folks in Philly gay or straight ARE NO JOKE! I'm from Virginia - capital of the Confederacy. So, I'm use to that level of hate. But for some reason, I was caught off guard.

So no thanks - you can have Philly.

Lola Gets said...

Ive always liked Philly. Ill be honest though, Ive only seen certain parts of it, so I might be biased. But I still like the place!


Anonymous said...

As of today...

Daily presidential tracking:
Obama 50%/Clinton 42%

PA: Clinton 47%/Obama 42%
NC: Obama 56%/Clinton 33%

Anonymous said...

"Constructive Feedback"
The NRA supporters are not pulling the trigger, no question about that. However, they ARE providing the guns... There is not one arms manufacturer in North or West or parts of South Philly. Where the hell are these guns, which are easier to find in some parts of the city than a bank, grocery stores, recreation centers, movie theaters, art centers, coming from?
You are, according to your profile, a self described middle aged man. I am middle aged, too. The difference from our childhoods/youth and today is that while kids may have gotten into fights when we were kids.. which they did... there was not the proliferation of guns in neighborhoods that exists today. Kids fought, but lived to see another day cause no one pulled a gun.
And, it wasn't because we had vastly different values from then. If the guns were flooding the streets back then, we would have had more gun deaths then.
It is going to take more than politicians to solve this. But it WILL take them, too. In the meantime, since you also profess to be a student of history, look at the history of arms sales, both domestic and international (check out IANSA, an international NGO that tracks small arms globally) to check the profiteers of guns and violence. It sure as hell aint the kid at 23rd and Cambria!

Anonymous said...


Tenn. is not ready for a black male or white female Prez.

Tennessee: McCain Leads Both Democrats by Double Digits
Sunday, April 06, 2008

Anonymous said...

Yea, it is easy to forget, when you live up north, just how benighted the South still is. It's not McCain's fault: Kerry would lead by double digits, too.

Christopher said...

I always enjoyed my visits to Philadelphia. Since I love history, places like Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC, appeal to me.

I'm sure part of it is because I come from California. Born in San Francisco and I spent my early adult career in Los Angeles -- both places I love more than life itself.

But one thing about California is, we're a relatively new place and people tend to not care much about the past, instead looking ahead and forward to the next new thing. It's the opposite of the east coast.

field negro said...

"And in much of your talking thinking is half murdered"

~~Khalil Gibran~~


I could argue each of your idiotic points one by one, but I gave up e-fights with black republicans (and dumbocrats for that matter) long ago. It's a pointless exercise which I find totally useless. Some (not all)blind partisans annoy me, and you fall into that category.

I make no apologies for what I say about the newly departed head of the NRA or anyone else for that matter. Never have, and I never will. You call it "hateful"? Tell that to the hundreds of thusands of people who have lost loved ones to gun violence. At least his sorry ass lived to be 83.

You represent a group of people who have zero relevance in the community with which I choose to align myself. Thus I find your twisted rants somewhat amusing, and nothing else.

But hey, I am sure some people who visit this site will find your comments interesting. All points of views should be out there for people to listen to and to read.

That's the A-merry-can way.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing about PA north of Rt 80. Nearly every adult male has at least three guns. The income in this county has dropped to below $11,000 for a family of four. The amount of gun violence is almost statistically insignificant. So when you do go to a white pol from these areas, that's their background.

Visited Philly and liked a great deal of the city. OOps, I was in the WSZ where odd behaviors are quickly dealt with.


A.F. said...

Your post and the comments about Philadelphia give me hope that if we're (those who were able to come back) driven from New Orleans again, there's a real place to go, a place with a soul, a place where the "big boxes" as Jodi said, are way out in the suburbs.

I'm behind you with the Heston sidebar. I posted a link to his obit next to a link to the story of a bible stopping a possum hunter's bullet in the midwest from hitting a family. Then I thought, "oh this is too mean," then I thought, "no really it's not." And so forth.

Kellybelle said...

What about Cleveland? We've''s nice.

Anonymous said...

Constructive Feedback,
While it is true that historically A-A's have reached out to and relied upon the government to save us from ourselves, it is also true that our plantation massas - from the cotton fields to the White House - have systematically and systemically legislated against the welfare and interests of the most oppressed.

That's not an excuse for underachievement or malfeasance but a contributing factor that this country continues to refute and not come to terms with - your arguments, like many others that put the onus on the victims instead of the perpetrators ["the system"], put the cart before the horse.

The remedy is not in analyzing or pondering how we got where we are or who's at fault for where we are as a country BUT how we move beyond. Leadership has answers and solutions to that question.

Christopher said...

Bury that fucking rifle with Charlton Heston's cold, dead fingers wrapped around it. The guy made some classic films but he was a stark, raving, rightwing lunatic.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting.
My cousin and I were looking for some math card games for my younger male nephew in a department store once. We had gotten a bit animated talking about him. At twelve he's brilliant, fatherless and easily bored.
He lives in the city and frankly-- could go any way. . .
We were soon followed up the isle by a man who informed us that he'd been listening to us (sorry)
and he was a boy scout troop leader who taught the boys all about guns. Shooting, hunting, gun safety (I 'd guess.) Maybe my nephew would be interested in his kind of troop.

We politely said no. But he kept insisting. Telling us how wonderful this would be for my already hyper, video game playing, school ditching little African American nephew to learn the joys of firearms.

He kept trying to plead his case and probably pure of heart thought he could save our beloved little boy. We could not get him to truly see or hear what we were saying. It seems his suburban troop had won many shooting awards. . . .

I finally turned on him almost screaming and taking a risk of being kicked out of the K-Mart " I will not have my nephew put a gun in his hand when he is surrounded by gang members in a bad neighborhood with cops that only see his skin color."
The man finally backed off.

So if all those people north of 80 making 11 grand or less live where my nephew lives and have to traverse his world maybe the conversation would be a bit more even.

R.I.P Charlton. I hope the fates are kinder to you than you were to the memory of all who have died because of your cult of personality.

ZACK said...

Hey, don't be knockin DA CHI! The 'GO! The Windy City!

I think all cities are a dichotomous microcosm of the Two Americas: Poor vs Rich, Black Vs White, Ugly vs Pretty. God help you if you're poor, black and ugly (like me). I want to be rich, white and handsome like Obama!

I remember visiting Katt Williams' hometown of Cincinnati and learning that his warning was true: the city's safety level changes by block. We weren't 2 minutes away from downtown before the city became the hood. Chicago is just like that. And just about every major city.

But great post!

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]However, they ARE providing the guns... There is not one arms manufacturer in North or West or parts of South Philly. Where the hell are these guns, which are easier to find in some parts of the city than a bank, grocery stores, recreation centers, movie theaters, art centers, coming from?[/quote]


I fully REJECT your line of reasoning on this important point.

You are placing the KILLING OF OUR PEOPLE as a function of the availability of the GUN more than the CONSCIOUSNESS and RESPECT FOR HUMANITY on behalf of the THE OPERATOR OF THE GUN, who is too often a YOUNG BLACK MALE.

What do you ask of the people who you theoretically have control over since they are of your same race and come from your community?

Where as the story goes - the CORPORATION is attempting to destroy us Black people.....what do you say to the Black man who is assisting in this effort? Sounds to me that you are saying "I understand that you are brainwashed and societal conditioning has forced you kill that which looks like you, which you hate. Don't worry I am going to improve your community by GOING OUTSIDE OF IT and making sure that these guns don't enter YOUR HANDS so that you won't kill your brother based on your instincts".

Does this sound like YOU believe these Black people are EQUAL HUMAN BEINGS to you Jody?

I personally own 3 guns. Make that 3 HAND GUNS in particular. In listening to the reasoning of the Black mayor of Washington DC in his post Supreme Court interview - these hand guns have some special magic in which once an inner city Black gets hold of them - he will start killing.

We need to change things by first raising our people and the assumptions that YOU HAVE FROM THEM to a level EQUAL to that which you have for yourself and others. When you assume their inferiority and base instinctive behaviors in response to the presence of a gun - you have already lost this generation.

I am only seeking to promote the young Black male to an EQUAL human being - responsible for MANAGING the eventual outcomes IN HIS OWN COMMUNITY. What is YOUR agenda?

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]You represent a group of people who have zero relevance in the community with which I choose to align myself. Thus I find your twisted rants somewhat amusing, and nothing else.[/quote]

Field-Negro - I am NOT a Republican. I am an independent. At this point in my life my primary mission is to study the forces to which my people are BEHOLDEN TO which have us focusing on strengthening these forces rather than our own community. In doing so I am going to tend to focus on the forces that have THE MOST POWER AND INFLUENCE over my people.

It is interesting that you and others can point to those forces (ie: Black Conservatives) who HAVE NO CREDIBILITY within the Black community and who hold no seats of power, seemingly MORE THAN YOU FOCUS ON THE PEOPLE WHO DO HAVE POWER.

Are these the actions of a person seeking REAL CHANGE or are these the actions of a people who seek to PROTECT that which he is aligned with as he chases others due to their ideological variance? Doesn't make sense to me. How about you Field Negro?

It seems to me that the people who DO HAVE RELEVANCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY also have their fingerprints all over the steering wheel.

The question is - what is your objective in what you do?

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]SingaporeSwim said...

true that our plantation massas - from the cotton fields to the White House - have systematically and systemically legislated against the welfare and interests of the most oppressed.

your arguments, like many others that put the onus on the victims instead of the perpetrators ["the system"], put the cart before the horse.

The remedy is not in analyzing or pondering how we got where we are or who's at fault for where we are as a country BUT how we move beyond. Leadership has answers and solutions to that question.[/quote]


I am a volunteer for a reading program for Black boys. These boys from the projects were all born AFTER 1995. I simply refuse to believe anyone who attempts to tell me that HISTORIC RACISM is the reason why those of them who are behind their grade in reading comprehension is due to anything BUT the fact that THEIR PARENT(S) DID NOT PRACTICE READING WITH THEM ENOUGH.

I ask you to identify the "legislation" of the modern day that has worked to oppress these young people who will soon be teenagers and then out in the world?

You say that I should hold 'the system' accountable. It is interesting that despite the claims that "The System" of today as the problem few people seem to VACATE from the reach of THE SYSTEM but instead are represented in their district by people who seek to INCREASE their interaction and dependency on THE SYSTEM.

The key difference between you and I is that I see the need for the SALVATION of a people to be expressed via THEIR OWN WORKS. The culture of a people is crafted over time. It is nothing more than a series of "I burned my hand on the hot stove and will avoid doing that again" lessons that are forwarded to the next generation.

I am convinced from experience, however, that some of the main people who can vocalize how THE BLACK CULTURE WAS STOLEN are also some of the most UNQUALIFIED people to CONSTRUCT ANOTHER. They tend to focus on our 400 years of SLAVERY rather than attempting to connect with our 10,000 years of INDEPENDENT, FREE PEOPLE in Africa in which our own choices and actions were the ultimate determiner of if we EAT or not, if we kill each other or not and the conflict resolution principles there in.

The City of Philadelphia is but one of the many cities which executed a plan for Black people in the context of the AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM while failing to detail the strategy upon their VICTORY (ie: achieving domination over the enemy Republicans). It is interesting how some of you are so clear on how Bush failed to plan for the military VICTORY in Iraq but are unable to see that in the key cities where our people are most concentrated the same failure to plan for the victory in which OUR OWN ACTIONS would determine the economic output, level of peace on the streets and the academic attainment of our own children.

Isn't it time to focus WITHIN SingaporeSwim ?

What you PERVERT as "blaming the VICTIM" I call having the people who will MOST BENEFIT from their REFORMATION having to bear the bulk of the responsibility in bringing it forth and LEARNING from the process of birthing it.

How is this not clear to you and others?

Anonymous said...

In Praise of Philly.

Anonymous said...

Mark Penn fired?

Anonymous said...

Mr. (Non)Constructive Feedback,
I loudly and clarly hear what you're saying. History does not always move us forward. It often recycles itself.

I too believe in self-reliance, delayed gratification, home training/enrichment and commend your work in the community.

Blaming the condition of urban A-merry-ca on a lack of creativity, initiative and self-actualization and expecting the trodden upon to find their own way out (possible for some but not so for the masses) of a maze not of their own making is unrealistic and narrowly focused.

It's a zero-sum game where we are expected to (and lauded for) construct and base our worth and salvation on the values/premises of those who don't hold us in high regard and often don't value us or our contributions.

Our raison d'etre has been shaken from our souls because we've made the conscious decision to fall back to maintain the status quo insead of reaching forward towards our own growth and salvation.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord, one of us needs a hotel room for that passion about guns. Or a message board.

Field -- I'd love to see the East Coast one of these days. Philly, DC, NYC, and Boston.

I've never traveled east of Fort Wayne, Indiana and my God, I could not live in that shithole. It's the only place where I've seen the Trix rabbit silkscreened on "Silly faggot, dicks are for chicks" t-shirts on display in shopping mall clothing stores. And the shocking thing was no one in that town finds that offensive.

I had some free time during today's Flyers game and made some Obama-Aid. The original graphic took some serious airbrushing, but if you thought Mr. Salty was funny you'll love this one.

Anonymous said...

"Philly, we're not Oakland but we're trying."

"Philly, at least we're not Detroit."

I keep coming back for fun or business but I haven't fallen in like yet. At the end of a day I leave feeling as though I would have preferred to just continue on to either NYC or D.C.. About the same amount of money and better spent but I know that half the love for a city comes slowly after putting in some time and work.

Anonymous said...

First, I would NEVER presume an entire age, race, or class of people are..... anything. Something you are attempting to ascribe to me and that I whole heartedly reject. In fact, I am well aware that even in this city, with all the gun violence, that the overwhelming number of citizens, young/old, black, brown and white, are NOT engaged in illegal activity. Are NOT carrying weapons, and have the sense of self respect and dignity you are referring to... in fact most folks are working hard to make ends meet, take care of themselves and their families.

What I will also say is that from my experience working in the legal community, that those young men who I have crossed paths with, the ones that are facing gun charges, that none of them woke up that morning thinkin... hey, I think I will kill somebody today. They weren't thinking about the finality of their actions when, in an angry or scared moment, they pulled out their gun and shot or shot at someone. The young men I talk to say they have the gun for self-protection.... just like all the other god fearing, gun toting americans out there..... just like you. And in Philly, gun violence is related to one of 2 things... 1.the drug trade, where it is strictly business. Not unlike some multinationals that have as a part of doing business "cost/benefit analysis" that includes covering the costs of deaths. And, 2. a crime of passion, where in a moment of anger, a gun is pulled, and regretted almost as quickly as the last breath is taken. An all too tragic, HUMAN, reality.

And, so for those young men, I want to be a human being that does NOT reject their humanity, I want to be a person who can see that they are not the totality of one moment in time... that they are also someone's son, brother, they have the capacity, even after a horrible mistake, to choose again... to choose differently. And, I give them in that moment my unconditional support. Because I also recognize that my humanity is intricately bound to theirs.

I too want a society that promotes dignity and honors the sacredness of life for all people. And I know this is the challenge:

This country is a violent country and we glorify and codify violence. We encourage violence through wars and popular culture mediums. We teach history by war instead of social movements. Capitalism THRIVES on violence, both physical and spiritual.

Being committed to non-violence is NOT the norm. As a practioner, who has been arrested and jailed for that practice, I have been ridiculed, called naive, and on and on. But, I am CONVINCED that I have to try to live the reality I want to see, so I will continue doing what I do, in hopes that it will contribute to a more peaceful and just world.

THAT is my agenda.

Pamalicious said...

Aww thank you very much - I feel soo special :)

My mom has been there about 15-20 years and what it is now is what I want to get her out of.

I was there for a number of years myself. Went to Community College of Philadelphia and started prior to that started spending my summers there with my dad when I was around 15 or so. My first bonafide teenage story book summer romance was with a boy who lived off 5th and Mifflin.

I have some fond memories of Philly from walking down to South street, Rita's Mango Water Ice, sitting out on Synder Ave just people watching.

I grew up here in Atlanta so it was totally different to like go to the corner to the store.

I guess I never really got adjusted to what I call the 'harshness' of Philly and black folks. The girls be looking soo rough (this is my perspective and opinion), like any minute a beat down is imminent. I guess I'm just more a southern bell. I felt like I was continously in the soundtrack to set it off,lol

Not until I kinda got down with the Neo set did it become 'cool' and the women and men leaned toward a more NY kinda urban look and feel and I could get with that. I lived in NY (Manhattan) for like 10 years and that was my shit - Philly however just never gelled with me.

Not knocking your town - because you probably would go beserk in what is now the new Atlanta (rollin my eyes at these negroes to) - but it wasn't my cup of tea.

I soo appreciate you running it for me. I might be up this summer and I DEFINITELY will be hitting you up!

Thembi Ford said...

I'm from Philly and live in Philly and call me blinded but I think it's the realest place in this country. Field, you hit the nail on the head, but I have to note one thing:

When you describe the white people here it sounds way harsher than reality. Your explanation is accurate except that the lack of white guilt does not translate into conservatism or social segregation. The lower class segregates and hates in every city, but the Philadelphia middle class is notably diverse and we're just about ALL democrats.

One wonderful thing about Philly is the fact that because there are so many universities here and we're neither in blatantly racially intolerant Boston nor the HBCU south, there's an abundance of middle-aged black folks who were poor in the 70s but got educations here, settled down, became middle class, and raised a class of black up-and-comers who are more openminded than their counterparts in any other city, except perhaps San Francisco. This is where the Philly neo-soul movement comes from, this is why Mt Airy (in the northwest corner of the city) has been recognized as the nation's most multicultural neighborhood for decades, and why one of our public schools JR Masterman) has been consistenly voted one of the best in the country even when up against private schools. My peer group was exposed to so much more than our own neighborhood like any first generation middle class black kid, but there are so many of us that we've rubbed off on the city. Do we have knuckleheads and segregation and pwts and an isolated aristocracy? Of course, any city worth its salt does. But the intersection of awareness of our past, the value of education, lots of interaction with liberal white people, an ingrained appreciation for creativity and the arts, and as a result, and extreme form of BLACK OPENMINDEDNESS is notably absent from my counterparts from other cities. It just makes Philly such a cut above.

Anonymous said...

I'm torn when it comes to Charlton Heston. I didn't like many of the things he did in his later years. I found his NRA stint especially grating. Yet, in his younger years, he spoke out against racism and the Vietnam War.

field negro said...

cali, I will check out your site for tht graphic, I know you did it up.

pamalicious, you are welcome. And you are right, I am NOT feeling the new ATL. I have lots of friends there though, and I know they are going to kill me after this post. Nice place to visit and vibe for a weekend or so, but sorry, you can keep it. Holla at me when you come up this summer and I will try and change your mind about Philly.

Thembi, you put it down with that analysis, and you nailed the whole neo soul, middle class black vibe better than any social anthropologist could.

angie you are right, Heston did do some good things in his early now that I think about it, maybe he shouldn't go to the hottest part of hell.

Ferocious Kitty said...

Hey, FN...

In the intro to this column, you give a shot out to Pamalicious, but the link you provide is actually to my blog, Mamalicious! FYI...

Also, I appreciate your voice on this blog, and thanks for blogrolling me.

That said...I'm in Pittsburgh, but "some of my best friends are from Philly." F'real. One of the best house parties I ever went to was in Philly, New Year's Eve, ushering in 2007.

I'll end with a quote from Dem consultant and resident whiner James Carville: ""Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between."

Christopher Chambers said...

Field, I ain't gonna lie. I like the fact that the brothas have been moved away from Penn and you can walk around down there w/out getting mugged. I like hanging out at the Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Sq., and doing book readings at the nice as shit Borders on Broad. When I was in college the city was an armpit, or groin perhaps. Some parts were damn near the rectum. The white sections like up off Cottman Avenue were something out of a movie.
Accordingly, vive Center City, and the rest don't matter. Sacriledge, ok. But it's true.

Angela L. Braden, Writer, Speaker, Professor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela L. Braden, Writer, Speaker, Professor said...

Field, just so you and others will know, I've noticed that there is another Angie posting here.
What is a girl to do?
It's not like I have a trademark on the name. And it's not like I feel like this is my territory, and how dare she move on my turf. Hell, the more the merrier.
But for real? Another Angie in the fields?
I guess, I will have to make sure that I sign my post with the title of my blog. (Nuvision) Or maybe I should add my last name initial to Angie.
I don't know what I should do. Something happened like this with a brotha at Skep's site. I want you to know the brotha made sure that this other person,
who supposedly had the same name, didn't come back. But I'm not gon' be like that.
Well, I just wanted to point that little tid bit out. I didn't want this other Angie to say something to piss y'all off, and y'all come looking for me. LOL!
(The Realist)
Nuvision for a Nuday

BTW: Brotha, you ain't telling no lies about Houston's climate. It's only April, and the humidity and heat is already trying to sneak up on us. I'm not
looking forward to the summer.

Anonymous said...

Philly, as you, and others here have described it, seems like a smörgåsbord kind of place.

A smörgåsbord offers so many aromas for the nose to savor, that it's hard to differentiate one from the other.

A smörgåsbord offers so many choices for the palate, that you hardly know where to begin and where to end--you want to sample everything in sight.

A smörgåsbord invites the poor and the rich to sit down at the white-cloth table of abundance, without regard for the other's social status or economic wellbeing.

A smörgåsbord tempts us to over-consume, and experiment with the strange and the unusual, just because it happens to be there for consumption.

A smörgåsbord leaves us satisfied and at peace--that we have eaten our fill, and drank our limit--our belly's happily extended, and our wallet's none the slimmer for it.

field negro said...

Whoops :) Thanks ferocious kitty, I will check that.
BTW, you have a nice site too.
You folks and these handles:)

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]Blaming the condition of urban A-merry-ca on a lack of creativity, initiative and self-actualization and expecting the trodden upon to find their own way out (possible for some but not so for the masses) of a maze not of their own making is unrealistic and narrowly focused.

It's a zero-sum game where we are expected to (and lauded for) construct and base our worth and salvation on the values/premises of those who don't hold us in high regard and often don't value us or our contributions.


It is one thing to make the case that "they didn't make the maze" (the system) - they are only forced to find their way through it as the proverbial mouse did. It is yet another thing to assume their PASSIVE, REACTIONARY relationship to all that has been set forth before them - assuming that they have no power of choice to substantially shape their environment.

Philadelphia provides a wealth of examples to prove the contrary point. I was there on the eve of the "first Black mayor" being elected into office. During that time the shadow of Frank Rizzo and his famous police force dimmed the sunshine from many Black communities in the city - if you allow them to tell it. (Rizzo - the long time Democrat I must note) There was to be the dawning of day now that "We run things!!".

The plan for our community to achieve a certain end via the American political process and via party politics got derailed like the Market Frankfort el having shaken itself off of its own tracks in a self-inflicted wound once the "Move Incident" happened in which "our guy" not only allowed the incursion from the government forces but said that "he would do it again" if the situation presented itself again. In the ultimate turnabout - it was the long time popular villain of this same community who noted that if HE had commanded the police to drop a bomb on a house full of Black people and caused 2 whole blocks in a Black community to burn to the ground these same people would have ran him out of town for doing so. Seemingly that particular mayor's racial membership provided adequate cover for his actions and the muted response that resulted. But indeed the honeymoon was over for the Black citizen who previously figured that he could VOTE his way into a prosperous community and a modern day Utopia.

Fast forward to approximately 2005 where I was watching a documentary about the conflict between a group of poverty activists in the Frankfort section of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia government/police. In the classic 'good guy against the thugish system' plot it was the Philadelphia government lead by Mayor Street who is of the same party as those who are economically aggrieved in the story using its police force to film protestors as they marched in order to keep a record of their 'insurgent activities' , its licensing and inspections department to prevent these protestors from occupying housing that was otherwise vacant.

The ultimate point, Singaporeswim is that just as the universe turns in upon itself rather than going on to infinity - once THE PEOPLE got the power over their own city having run their old enemies out of town (or at least waited until they departed on their own ) a new set of ENEMIES were crafted - THEMSELVES! The same forces that they assisted in putting into office had assumed the role as the oppressor.

Thus - going back to your original challenge - as you say that the VICTIM has no role in constructing the maze that he is confronted with - I say - you had better believe that he does. He plays a central role in this development. Like a Texas two step he feeds off of this maze in his responses to it and the 'maze builder' responds accordingly to his actions as well. In Philadelphia today you have those who are putting up the new walls of the maze having been the trapped victims of yesterday. They are now in power setting up new walls for the group that is behind them.

Anonymous said...

Field, thanks for the ode to Philadelphia!!! I'm a Philly girl, through and through! Although I now live in what's been listed as the city with the best quality of life in the world, Geneva, Switzerland (which was tied with Zurich), I'd come back to Philly in a heartbeat!

I do indeed miss the in-your-face at-ee-tude; You know exactly where people stand. (I could live without the Philly accent. I don't miss that at all.)

I grew up in West Philly until my parents moved us to the Main Line, which is one of the most beautiful suburbs in the country. Philly has special neighborhoods with lots of character.

The weather can get sticky and hot in August, which surprised my Jamaican husband, and we can get entirely too much snow, but most of the time, the weather is nice. The roads can be tricked up and Septa costs too much, but it is easy to get around. The cost of living is still pretty good.

I take the good with the bad and Philly is great!

Bob said...

My family came from Philly. Some of them still there - lots of Catholic schools & colleges - & a bunch of them scattered out toward the South Jersey shore area in 1930s & 40s to buy cheap winterized bungalows & breed their large families. They're Irish, & my grandmother sounded about equally prejudiced toward all the non-Irish people in Philly regardless of ethnicity or color, which I thought was remarkably consistent.