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Old 01-11-2007, 08:53 PM
 
23 posts, read 87,773 times
Reputation: 36

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I am absolutely for finding opportunity wherever you can. What infuriates me is the fact that he is blaming his misfortunes in Pittsburgh on racial discrimination. As I said before, I am from New York, and TRUST me, you have not seen discrimination if you haven't been to the Apple. In my six years in Pittsburgh, I never once saw any incident that could be described as racial discrimination. I hardly believe that he will find any other city to be more accomodating to him as a black person, especially one that is one state over and less than 200 miles away.

Last edited by Tom6623; 01-11-2007 at 09:21 PM..
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Old 01-11-2007, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,811,612 times
Reputation: 29355
I live in Chicago proper, which is probably even less integrated than NYC. I am quite familiar with "real" urban racial tensions. There are whole swaths of my own city bigger than all of Pittsburgh proper where my skin color makes me unwelcome, and a few places where it could very well get me hurt. I've been there & done that. NYC does not have a monopoly on the problem.

Here's where NYC and Chicago differ from Pittsburgh: in NYC and Chicago, no one race forms a majority and blacks form almost as much of the population as whites. In fact, blacks outnumber whites in Chicago. Coalitions and power-sharing between the races is crucial to the basic functioning of both cities. NYC and Chicago have black power brokers whose concerns must be addressed or they can practically paralyze the city. A few of them wield enough power and influence that they are known from coast to coast, for instance, Al Sharpton in NYC, and Jesse Jackson in Chicago.

Can you name one black power broker in Pittsburgh? And I don't mean a community activist; I mean someone whom the city government must approach and consult in order to get a particular ordinance through City Hall?

I didn't think so.

And the reason is because whites form 2/3rds of the city's population and outnumber blacks roughly 2 to 1. Pittsburgh can quite literally function while completely ignoring the concerns and input from the black community. I'm not saying it does, and that certainly would not be an efficient way to run a city, but it can happen. I think it's self-evident that less concern is paid to the needs and input of the black community in Pittsburgh than in NYC and Chicago. And no, it's not because there is some conspiracy by The Man to keep the bruthas down. It's just the way the demographics shake out. But whether it happens by conscious design or circumstance, the net result is the same. And it's bound to be frustrating if you're a member of the "1" group in the "2-to-1" ratio. It can foster a very real sense that you have no stake in the process and in the greater community. Combine that with the fact that the economy in the city is stagnant and opportunities are limited no matter your educational level and ethnicity, much less for working-class blacks, and you might be looking to get out too.

I once made the mistake of thinking that race relations in Pittsburgh were better than in Chicago. I have since come to the realization that race relations are simply quieter in Pittsburgh. The process of power-sharing and compromise that goes on between the races in Chicago and NYC can become contentious, polemic, vitriolic and sometimes just plain toxic. But don't make the mistake of thinking that race relations in Pittsburgh are better simply because they do not bubble to the surface the way they do in Chicago or NYC. While I sometimes wish I could walk up to Jesse and/or Al and knee them in the groin for their racial agitations, I think NYC and Chicago are better off for the contentious process of power-sharing and coalition-building, and I think everyone is more satisfied with the final outcome than if we all quietly pretended to get along.

I don't know whether the treatment of blacks is any better or worse in Columbus than Pittsburgh, and it's not something I'll probably ever get to find out personally. The demographic proportions appear to be nearly identical to Pittsburgh. But PG&H's experience is his own and I've got no call to question or doubt it. If nothing else, at least Columbus's city, metro region and economy are all growing, which means there are probably more and better opportunities there for folks of PG&H's stripe. And if you think a couple hundred miles doesn't make a difference in attitudes, beliefs and culture, simply compare Los Angeles to San Diego.

To pimpsgangsandhustlas: Best wishes to you. I hope you find what you're looking for in Columbus or wherever you end up.

Last edited by Drover; 01-12-2007 at 12:15 AM..
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Old 01-11-2007, 11:39 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 24,465,817 times
Reputation: 3826
Well, I won't rehash what Drover says, but as a former NYC (and only months ago, not years) I concur that the differences between Pittsburgh and NYC are similar to what he describes.

And on a personal note, I've met two Black men with whom I was able to have long, and extended talks during two of my visits. One is a masters degree educated born in Pittsburgh fellow, and the other is a local fellow who drives a cab, but holds a B.S degree. One is living and working in Chicago and we met at a post-holiday brunch. The subject of race, and where it is more comfortable came up: hands down: Chicago.

The other fellow I've talked to for hours, and on several occasions. He is driving that cab as many hours as he can so he can get out for the same reasons Pimp described.

I think it is difficult to see the severe prejudice Black men experience with the eyes of a non-Black.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
I live in Chicago proper, which is probably even less integrated than NYC. I am quite familiar with "real" urban racial tensions. There are whole swaths of my own city bigger than all of Pittsburgh proper where my skin color makes me unwelcome, and a few places where it could very well get me hurt. I've been there & done that. NYC does not have a monopoly on the problem.

Here's where NYC and Chicago differ from Pittsburgh: in NYC and Chicago, no one race forms a majority and blacks form almost as much of the population as whites. In fact, blacks outnumber whites in Chicago. Coalitions and power-sharing between the races is crucial to the basic functioning of both cities. NYC and Chicago have black power brokers whose concerns must be addressed or they can practically paralyze the city. A few of them wield enough power and influence that they are known from coast to coast, for instance, Al Sharpton in NYC, and Jesse Jackson in Chicago.

Can you name one black power broker in Pittsburgh? And I don't mean a community activist; I mean someone whom the city government must approach and consult in order to get a particular ordinance through City Hall?

I didn't think so.

And the reason is because whites form 2/3rds of the city's population and outnumber blacks roughly 2 to 1. Pittsburgh can quite literally function while completely ignoring the concerns and input from the black community. I'm not saying it does, and that certainly would not be an efficient way to run a city, but it can happen. I think it's self-evident that less concern is paid to the needs and input of the black community in Pittsburgh than in NYC and Chicago. And no, it's not because there is some conspiracy by The Man to keep the bruthas down. It's just the way the demographics shake out. But whether it happens by conscious design or circumstance, the net result is the same; and it's bound to be frustrating if you're a member of the "1" group in the "2-to-1" ratio. Combine that with the fact that the economy in the city is stagnant and opportunities are limited no matter your educational level and ethnicity, much less for working-class blacks, and you might be looking to get out too.

I once made the mistake of thinking that race relations in Pittsburgh were better than in Chicago. I have since come to the realization that race relations are simply quieter in Pittsburgh. The process of power-sharing and compromise that goes on between the races in Chicago and NYC can become contentious, polemic, vitriolic and sometimes just plain toxic. But don't make the mistake of thinking that race relations in Pittsburgh are better simply because they do not bubble to the surface the way they do in Chicago or NYC. While I sometimes wish I could walk up to Jesse and/or Al and knee them in the groin for their racial agitations, I think NYC and Chicago are better off for the contentious process of power-sharing and coalition-building, and I think everyone is more satisfied with the final outcome than if we all quietly pretended to get along.

I don't know whether the treatment of blacks is any better or worse in Columbus than Pittsburgh, and it's not something I'll probably ever get to find out personally. The demographic proportions appear to be nearly identical to Pittsburgh. But PG&H's experience is his own and I've got no call to question or doubt it. If nothing else, at least Columbus's city, metro region and economy are all growing, which means there are probably more and better opportunities there for folks of PG&H's stripe. And if you think a couple hundred miles doesn't make a difference in attitudes, beliefs and culture, simply compare Los Angeles to San Diego.

To pimpsgangsandhustlas: Best wishes to you. I hope you find what you're looking for in Columbus or wherever you end up.
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Old 01-12-2007, 05:13 AM
PPG
 
508 posts, read 1,297,885 times
Reputation: 172
I'd like to thank everyone who understands where I'm coming from. I won't even try to respond to Tom.......sounds like the type of guy who wants to hire me!!!
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:12 PM
RNG
 
Location: Collingswood, NJ
31 posts, read 116,862 times
Reputation: 17
Smile Greetings from NJ

Good evening, everyone. I would like to respond to the original thread regarding optimism. I wholeheartedly agree with this. I currently live and have grown up in southern NJ, in a town called Collingswood, which is a bedroom community of Philadelphia, PA. I live in a beautiful, historic town, redolent with restored Victorian homes, three bucolic parks, a thriving downtown packed with excellent restaurants, unique shops, and civic pride. We have community theatre productions at the local Masonic Temple, which was leased by the city and restored to its original Art Deco grandeur and saved from crumbling oblivion. At this same theatre, we have also have concerts from famous performers, from Greg Allman to the Beach Boys and the Indigo Girls. My housing value has gone up 150% in the past two years. However, this is not the Collingswood that existed 10 years ago.

I lived closer to downtown in 1996, one block from our main street. At that time, 80% of all stores were vacant. The ones that were occupied were thrift shops. There was trash, graffiti, and other signs of decay - broken signs, weeds, chipped paint. The parks were similar with dying trees, broken benches, and muddy, ugly streams. People reacted with barely-disguised disgust when I mentioned my hometown. It was a bit embarrasing to mention it. However, things changed, and quickly. We got a new mayor and new councilmen. These people rallied our residents together, and told us this has to change. And we listened. Groups formed and cleaned the streets. People were cited when they did not repair crumbling garages or paint their homes. The town opened a farmer's market, which started as a couple of stalls. Now the market is visited from people from miles around, as there are dozens of farmers, soap-makers, beekeepers, creperie stands, portable cafes with tables, as well as community hired musicians for entertainment. We have a jazz festival, a book festival, a May Fair, as well as many other events. Instead of going to Philadelphia to celebrate a night out, people from Philadelphia come to Collingswood to dine and shop. We have a yearly garden and house tour which is amazing. Collingswood has truly become the Place You Want To Be, as noted by such publications as the NY Times. We are always on the news. When people ask me where I live, they react with envy when I tell them. The change is amazing, and has spurred surrounding communities to react, and they are improving as well. My examples noted above are literally a drop in the bucket.

I have visited Pittsburgh, on purpose, for vacation, two years ago. My reason for this is relocation. OK, I know I just sung Collingswood's praises forever, but NJ is very expensive and I crave some land so I can have some breathing room. Anyway, I was stunned at Pittsburgh's beauty, diversity, and cleanliness. It makes Philadelphia, which I love deeply, look like a slum. The thing I liked most is that Pittsburgh is made up of so many unique, lovely neighborhoods, linked by a wonderful network of roads and bridges. There may be traffic and congestion, but by no means is that congestion even close to Philly's. Its houses are gorgeous and well-priced. Its center city is beautiful. The architecture is stunning. The museums are fabulous. Pittsburgh has so much going for it, and I think that its reincarnation can happen, perhaps one neighborhood at a time. I know it may seem naive to compare a large city such as Pittsburgh to a town like Collingswood, but since Pittsburgh is made up of these small neighborhoods, as it could take is for one neighborhood to say, OK, enough of this, let's do something. That would inspire surrounding neighborhoods to do the same. The domino effect is possible. Pittsburgh, believe in yourself! When I finally graduate from college, the possibility of a move to Pittsburgh is highly likely. I hope when I am there, I will find others that hope to make this gorgeous city realize its potential.

Thanks for reading my "novel". Have a great night, everyone....
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:41 PM
RNG
 
Location: Collingswood, NJ
31 posts, read 116,862 times
Reputation: 17
Default Greetings from NJ

Hello, I thought perhaps someone would be interested in reading a couple of articles on Collingswood's renaissance. Perhaps it could be an inspiration to someone.

http://www.southjerseynews.com/commu.../ca032802a.htm

http://njslom.org/magart0505_page52.html
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
105 posts, read 113,766 times
Reputation: 10
While I am not from Pittsburg, or have ever even been there, I really admire the OPTOMISM! that was displayed here on the original thread. From what it seems, many of you have given up hope for this city, but I speak from experience when I say that with hard work, your city can change. I have lived the majority of my life in central Illinois and have seen the overall change that has occured here. For those of you that are familiar with the area you will have heard of Peoria. This is an old river town that was at it's prime, along with your city, during the time of the midwest industrial boom. It had everything going for i,t but slowly as the market weakened, so did the town and it's streets. And by the time the 80's rolled around, Peoria had seen way better days. Crime, drugs, and just urban decay came from everywhere. Go to this town today though, and you will find signs and portions of the town that reflect that time period, but growth and promise are everywhere in Peoria. The suburbs of the city and growing like a weed, and the city is making a slow but, steady comeback. I have often thought about why this comeback has come to Peoria, but not to other cities in the midwest. While there is, and always will be people that abuse and take advantage of the city, there is a certain pride and almost honor, of being from Peoria. These steadfast "forefathers" have changed the whole mood of the city. While Peoria still has it's problems, just know that the future is in your hands. Sure you shouldn't have to pay for the mismanaged dealings of your elders, but aren't we supposed to leave the world a better place then when we came here. If you don't rise to it, then who will. Your kids? They are even more removed from the problems. You could be the generation that changed the area. Working together you can make it a lot better as one, instead of leaving the city for greener pastures.
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Old 01-13-2007, 01:46 AM
 
781 posts, read 1,407,840 times
Reputation: 293
I have never been in Pittsburgh, yet I am moving there in 3 weeks or so. It is very nice to see the positive posts regarding the city, and I am surprised/saddend by the racial/political issues that appear to divide and erode the city. I read this thread so I can learn, and I am thankful people are sharing their views without being rude to eachother. That alone speaks volumes.

Fred Rogers, (Mr. Rogers) was so symbolic of caring, peace & getting along. Pittsburgh should be proud of him.

Quote:
"Won't you be my neighbor?"
http://www.time.com/time/sampler/art...,88632,00.html

Last edited by Sideblinded; 01-13-2007 at 01:52 AM.. Reason: Omitted hyperlink
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Old 01-13-2007, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,617 posts, read 65,657,734 times
Reputation: 15060
Smile Peoria, Collingswood, Scranton-Pittsburgh Could Join the Ranks of Rust-Belt Rebound!

I hope that after poring over this thread that has attempted to instill a sense of hope into Pittsburghers about the bright future of their city, that you'll all have a greater since of civic pride about not what the city currently is or currently lacks, but about what it can be with a little bit of patience, teamwork, and elbow grease. If such dead-end cities as Peoria, Collingswood, and Scranton have all been undergoing massive renaissances over the course of the past decade, then I'm sure Pittsburgh's is right around the corner as well.

Some of you natives seem to be the types who would be walking down the street in Shadyside, see a piece of trash on the sidewalk, and say "They don't clean up after themselves here; what a slum!" On the other hand, some of us would pick up the wrapper or soda can, deposit it into the nearest trash receptacle or recycling bin, and then think to ourselves "If everyone took ACTION instead of complaining, then maybe something could be accomplished after all!" Scranton didn't round the corner from being dubbed "Armpit of America" to the Tri-State Area's newest "up-and-comer" overnight, and neither did Collingswood nor Peoria. All three cities have rebounded greatly because residents simply became fed up with the deterioating conditions around them and demanded action---In the case of Scranton, residents of the "Hill Section" became so outraged over rising crime issues in their neighborhood that they formed crime watches, remained vigilant, and encouraged police saturation patrols to the point where that same neighborhood is now among the most stable parts of the city. Residents also take great pride in their properties; walking through the neighborhood's tree-lined streets on a Spring day is like being surrounded by an urban oasis of gardens and greenery. I'm sure similar stories could erupt from neighborhoods in Peoria and Collingswood.

Maybe you Pittsburgh nay-sayers should start hitting the streets going door-to-door with surveys to collect information neighborhood-by-neighborhood about what each resident would desire to have improved in their lives to make them happier and their community more attractive. Afterwards, form a grass-roots citizen-action organization (perhaps "Pittsburgh Tomorrow" or "Pittsburgh 2020"), and begin to pursue grant money for some neighborhood improvements, attend city council meetings en masse to lobby for change, approach small business owners for donations towards forming "Business Improvement Districts", etc. The city isn't going to improve if you all come onto City-Data saying "Pittsburgh sucks! WAHHHHH!!!" Things will only start to look brighter if the residents themselves start to have a brighter outlook on life. The shift from constant negativity towards cautious optimism here in the Scranton Area has been prolific, and I'm no longer "ashamed" to say I hail from Scranton, a city where I hope to someday rehab a home for my family, rehab a downtown storefront for my business, and successfully run for mayor someday.

Ahhh...to be 20 and have pie-in-the-sky dreams!
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Old 01-14-2007, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Saint Petersburg
632 posts, read 1,542,292 times
Reputation: 314
Thumbs up Optimism...yes!

I totally agree with the OP - the only thing wrong with Pittsburgh are the bad attitudes of the natives. My husband and I moved here 3 years ago, and LOVE it. Both of us lived in several cities and smaller towns out West, but fell in love with Pittsburgh when we moved here. Yes, it has problems, but it also has an incredible amount of potential. I wish the haters could get past their bitterness, take off their soot-colored glasses and see what a diamond in the rough they have here. I think a lot of them just haven't lived anywhere else, so they don't realize that the problems in Pittsburgh are problems that occur in big cities everywhere, and that Pittsburgh's positive qualities are one-of-a-kind. Oh, well. I guess those of us from other places will just have to fix it up with or without all of you negative people...
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