Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why Can't We Talk About Race?

Philadelphia Magazine

Whites, Race, Class, and the Things That Never Get Said

A reporter for Philadelphia Magazine walks around neighborhoods interviewing whites on their perspective on their black neighbors, neighborhoods, and the race relations between them and gets lambasted by Philadelphia's Mayor.

Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia has called the article disgusting, a "pathetic, uninformed essay" , and has called for the Philadelphia Human Relations Committee to issue a rebuke. He also accused the author or the people interviewed as being "too cowardly to provide their real names". 

Rue Landau, the Executive Director of the PHRC has already released the statement that "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", so I'm sure they'll get a fair hearing when the PHRC meets on April 18th. 

This is why we can't talk about Race.

I am sure that Mayor Nutter didn't like hearing what was said, some of the things are hardly flattering towards a portion of his constituency,  but does he think they are made up? Biased?  Read the articleI'm a native Philadelphian, albeit an expatriate, and the article seems to be a fairly accurate portrayal of how many white people living in Philadelphia feel,  if anything it may have taken a kid-gloved approach.  I can think of far worse things that people I know have said, then appeared as quotes in the article.

The Head in the Sand Approach

Until we can have honest and open dialogue on both sides, nothing is going to change.  Mayor Nutter is doing a disservice to himself, the people of Philadelphia, and race relations in general.  I may disagree with his politics on many points, but I had kind of liked him before this... I thought his standing on subway platforms handing out Nutter Butter cookies was pure campaign genius.

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