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Interesting article, even if with it's all encompassing title. The premise is correct though, only with interaction can perceived differences be eliminated.

By John Halpin, Guest Blogger on Mar 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm

People across the ideological spectrum are agitated over this Philadelphia Magazine article by Robert Huber entitled, “Being White in Philly: Whites, race, class, and the things that never get said.” The article centers on anonymous interviews with white people describing their “honest” views about race, often not stated publicly according to the author. Huber describes the genesis of his article as follows:

A few months ago I began spending time in Fairmount, just north of the Art Museum. Formerly a working-class enclave of row homes, it’s now a gentrifying neighborhood with middle-class cachet and good restaurants. I went to the northern edge, close to Girard Avenue, generally considered the dividing line from North Philly, and began asking the mostly middle-class white people who live there, for whom race is an everyday issue, how it affects them.

As you might expect, Huber gets a raft of inflammatory and outright racist comments from people such as Anna, “a tall, slim, dark-haired beauty from Moscow getting out of her BMW”:

”I’ve been here for two years, I’m almost done,” she says. “Blacks use skin color as an excuse. Discrimination is an excuse, instead of moving forward. … It’s a shame—you pay taxes, they’re not doing anything except sitting on porches smoking pot … Why do you support them when they won’t work, just make babies and smoking pot? I walk to work in Center City, black guys make compliments, ‘Hey beautiful. Hey sweetie.’ White people look but don’t make comments. … ”

But he also elicits seemingly more thoughtful (if self-absorbed) responses from a young white mother named Jen who has recently enrolled one of her own children in a public school near her home that is 74 percent African American. Trying to ascertain why more white parents don’t opt for the predominately black school, Huber describes:

Another mother told Jen: “I didn’t want to be the first”—in other words, the first to make the leap to Bache-Martin. “It takes a special person to be first.” Another told her: “Not everybody is as confident as you.”

Sipping tea in Mugshots on Fairmount Avenue, Jen rolls her eyes over the nut of the problem: Unfounded fear. Groupthink. A judgment on a school without even setting foot in it. “I wouldn’t like to imply that it’s about anything else,” Jen says, but of course it is: race.

Think Progress

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Replies to This Discussion

I'm frankly getting tired of that meme. Such blatant brainless prejudice. I did see the actor who played the devil in the History Channel's The Bible. I refuse to believe it's a simple coincidence.

When my older son was in high school, he was given a pamphlet in the subway by some christian proselytizer. It was about making choices and going to Hell. It was like a comic book. In the final scene, there is a long line pf people who fork into two paths, one going to hell, the other to heaven. The people going yo hell were noticeable "brown" and wore hooded sweatshirts while the ones going to heaven were mostly blond and wore baseball caps. It was so blatant my son brought it home to show us. Un-fucking-real.


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