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View Poll Results: Is Metro Philadelphia - N.J. a Racist Region?
Yes I think so! 44 24.86%
Moderately Racist. 52 29.38%
Maybe a little bit. 44 24.86%
Not at all! 43 24.29%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 177. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-27-2010, 06:58 PM
Location: Philadelphia-G Town
49 posts, read 173,638 times
Reputation: 38


Originally Posted by carolinajack View Post
sadly, low brow has taken over much of center city as well. i lived downtown for 10 years and just recently moved to chestnut hill. people of all races and backgrounds curse, spit on the street, are very rude and self absorbed, will not look you directly in the eye, will ask the most racist and unintellectual questions about race, class, etc. we have an adopted daughter from china and you wouldnt believe the ignorant things people who are educated from Bryn Mawr, UPenn, Haverford-much less the working class schools like st joes and temple, and so called Liberal minded, ask about adopted children, children of different races and backgrounds or about interracial couples.

philadelphia at one time may have been sophisticated but i think the new meritocracy is only about materialism and careers and less about character, high brow culture and class. they tend to like more lowbrow art and culture, more sporting events and contemporary or street art. Sans the Kimmel, the Academy of the Arts and Curtis , we have found very few people esp younger adults under 45 who are sophisticated and properly well bred. I thought coming to a city with an Ivy would be great, like boston or NYC--but its more like New Haven. granted my Ivy in Providence experienced the same things with the town but providence is no Philly.

New Haven is actually a really nice city. It has a lot to offer for a small city and I miss it aloy.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:28 PM
221 posts, read 420,402 times
Reputation: 189
Wow! I read the other thread on interracial dating in Philly //www.city-data.com/forum/philadelphia/48988-philly-interracial-couples.html and I've read through many of the posts under this thread. I honestly didn't think Philly had this kind of race problem when I lived there 5 years ago (from May, 2006 to January, 2007). I'm an African-American male, by the way. Infact, my time in Philly was very enjoyable. I had alot of fun. Infact, looking back on all the cities I've lived in (Philly, Detroit area, LA, DC, Wichita, now Minneapolis), Philadelphia seems to be the best one. Infact, I am thinking about moving back to Philly.

Now, I will admit I did experience a few racial incidents. For example, back in 2006, I was in a bar in Old City (I don't remember if it was the McFadden's bar) to see the Michigan-Ohio State football game (I am from Ann Arbor, MI, I was a hugh Michigan football fan, and UM and OSU were ranked #2 and #1 in the country respectively). Anyway, I ordered a plate full of chicken wings and a beer (I paid around $15 total of the whole thing). Later on as I was watching and enjoying the game, the bartender that was serving me told me "if you are not going to order anything else, then you can hit the road (or something like that) because I don't have the space in here for that." I remember looking around, and noticing that the whole bar was almost empty. I didn't argue with the woman. I quietly got up, and left. But, I was very offended by this, and talked it over with one of my roommates and one of my co-workers. Both of them confirmed what I knew intuitively--that I was racially discriminated against. I started to write a letter to the owner or manager of the bar and shared this plan with my roommate, but he told me it wouldn't be worth it.

But overall, my experience in Philadelphia was a bit different that (what seems like) the majority of the other black posters in this thread. I'm not saying those experiences could not happen to me (I have had those same kinds of experiences in other cities, so I know how they feel), but Philly did not seem like a racist city overall. Even regarding that incident I had at that sports bar, my roommate and I concurred that the bartender (and maybe even the bar owner) were probably from some rural town nearby, and weren't really part of the Center City Philadephia community.

I did spend alot of time all over Center City. I hung out pretty much all over Center City (CBD, Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square, Logan Circle, Society Hill, South Street, the Art Museum area, and everywhere else in CC). I partied in Old City all the time, and even had my favorite nightclubs (there was an after hours club on 2nd St., somewhere between Chestnut and Walnut right under a parking structure, which played nonstop techno/house music, that I went to fairly often, and even went there on New Years day [even though I got there about 10 or 15 minutes after midnight]). I actually went to ALOT of the night clubs in Old City, and met several white girls there (if that means anything), even danced with them and saw other black men dancing and hanging out with white women, and I honestly did not notice any problems. Hec, I spent many nights in Center City (and well into the early mornings, not getting back home until 7 in or 8 in the morning), just walking around and enjoying the city, and sometimes eating breakfast at some diner in Center City (I don't remember the name of it) and having very good conversations with the white patrons and cooks. In Rittenhouse Square, I met alot of people (many of them were white), and engaged in some very good conversations with them. They all seemed genuinely cool.

I am a college educated guy, but actually I never even lived in Center City (even though I wanted to). I actually lived in Castor Gardens, which was a neighborhood in the near Northeast. I was renting a room in a row house around Summerdale near Levick. Infact, I worked at a pharmacy over in Lawncrest, just blocks from my house. When I started that job (I was only a cashier), I ended up spending hardly any time in Center City (and alot of that was due to the fact that I was working overnights), and spent the vast majority of my time in the Northeast, specifically around Levick, Oxford Ave, Castor, Bustleton, Cottman, Roosevelt BLVD, Frankford, and so forth. Again, no significant problems there (I bring this up since the Northeast was alluded to as one of more racist areas). I really don't know what you guys are talking about. I lived in that area for 8 months, and I had a pretty good experience. There were actually alot of white people and Puerto Rican people and Asian people (my landlord was Vietnamese) that I was very cool with. I even saw my share of interracial couples in the drug store I was working at. I just did not see this racial friction that many of you are talking about. The only problem I did see, was what seemed like a gradual rise in the violent crime rate in that area, but other than that I had a good experience in that neighborhood.

Maybe I wasn't in Philly long enough. Maybe my "unique" experience was due to the fact that I wasn't from Philly (which everyone was able to pick up). Maybe it did have something to do with the way I carried myself. I don't know. But, I don't understand where all of this racial friction in Philadelphia is coming from, because, honestly, I didn't see a much of it when I was there.
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Old 11-21-2011, 05:30 PM
16 posts, read 31,907 times
Reputation: 13
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
I'm joining the thread late but that's exactly what I was going to post. Reverse racism (I believe that is the term) is rampant here. I was amazed when I moved here how much hostility/hatred is generated toward whites from a majority of blacks. That coupled with the fact that this isn't exactly an "arms wide open/warm and fuzzy" city to begin with, makes this a difficult place to love as a newcomer.
Originally Posted by bryson662001 View Post
What he said! There is no love lost on either side but AAs seem to be much more prejudiced then whites here and I would have expected the opposite in a place that experienced so much "white flight" (whites displaced from their traditional neighborhoods) AAs also seem to hate other minorities even more then whites.
Very, very late on this thread, but I just chuckle at both of these posts.

Firstly, there is no such thing as "Reverse Racism". Racism is racism, no need to "reverse" it. Smh.

Secondly, "white flight" is hardly a term describing whites being "displaced" from their "traditional" neighborhoods...LOL.

Wow. If those aren't two loaded-with-issues comments, I don't know what are. Haha.
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:52 PM
221 posts, read 420,402 times
Reputation: 189
Well, after reading pretty much the entire thread, there were alot of things about Philadelphia I did not pick up when I was there. The answer to the question in the thread title has been a mere unanimous "YES!" So, Philadelphia does have some unresolved race problems, and this seems to be prevalent throughout the majority of the city (and even the few neighborhoods that are considered more progressive like Center City and University City, also have their share of racial tension). In my case, I spent the first 21 years of my life in Ann Arbor, MI (where I was born and raised, obviously), and Ann Arbor (overall) doesn't have these kinds of problems. Then, I moved from Ann Arbor, to Southfield, MI to finish college, but I spent most of my time at the college that I was attending, and did much of my partying at Royal Oak (and Ferndale on occasion). So when I finished school and moved to Philadelphia, I was a new college grad with an Engineering degree, I did not have a whole lot of life experience. It was my first time in the real world. My social skills/intelligence was different than it is now. I think at this point, I am basing my current assessment of Philadelphia on a relatively brief experience I had in the city 5 years ago, and specifically when my life perspective was much more limited for the following reasons:
-I grew up in Ann Arbor, MI (which is nothing like Philadelphia).
-I was a new college grad with an engineering degree, and I had just spent the last 6 years of my life in college. Specifically, I had been in school (of some sort) literally from age 4 until the age of 24 (at that point).
-I did not have any life experience, and I certainly did not have any experience living in a major/urban/gritty city like Philadelphia.

Perhaps, if I were to return to Philadelphia, I would probably have the same reaction that (pretty much) all of you have about the city. I have complained about the racism that I have experienced in other cities that I've lived in (or currently living in). Looking at myself, I am not the same person I was 5 or 6 years ago. I just know that I would have the same experiences that the other black posters have had (or are having) if I were to move to Philadelphia. I still like Philadelphia and there's alot of things about the city that I deeply appreciate, but I guess there's some things I need to consider before I make the move back there. Actually, there's a few other cities I have in mind, so I may not return to Philadelphia (not that anyone will miss me or anything ). I have to evaluate what kind of person I am, what I really want, my lifestyle, and be honest. Then, I need to be realistic, and ask myself: Is this city (Philly, or where ever) a good fit for me? There are some cities that are only good for visiting (and that varies from person to person), but not to live. So I need to keep these "vacation spots" separate from places that would be ideal (in my individual case) for actually settling down and establishing a new home in.
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Old 11-23-2011, 04:37 AM
958 posts, read 962,477 times
Reputation: 228
Originally Posted by runjoe View Post
Firstly, there is no such thing as "Reverse Racism". Racism is racism, no need to "reverse" it. Smh.
Actually, reverse racism means being the opposite of racist, which is in itself being racist. For example, patronizing African Americans and other minorities and assuming that all of them must be amazingly perfect (because that's the only way you can accept them), not blaming them for anything, etc. This is something people from places without any actual diversity or racial tensions do a lot. Most of the sheltered white people who are the quickest to cry racist or blame problems on racism and not on the people themselves (they must be victims, they can't be doing something wrong) are reverse racists. This actually brings me quite nicely to what I was going to post in this thread.

Please stop comparing the West Coast or the South or the Midwest or anywhere else to the East Coast and especially Philadelphia.

Allow me to paint a picture for all of you people from the West Coast and from every other "tolerant" city: First of all, the white people you find on the East Coast are nothing like the ones you find in the South or Midwest or West/Northwest, etc. The white people of the working class areas of Philly are descendants of poor Irish, Italian, and other immigrants. Some Irish people were brought over as slaves, for those who don't know. Plenty more were "indentured servants" which was coming over but being in debt for the trip over and working that debt off for as long as it took, in very bad conditions. They were promised land and other things, and most of them got none of that. Obviously nobody's trying to act like what any of the immigrants of white ethnicities went through is anything like what the Africans or any other darker skinned ethnicities did but the point is that people seem to tend to forget that the majority of the whites in the area went through plenty of hardship too. The Philly area is segregated for a reason. The enclaves exist because that's the only place they were allowed to be. Ever heard of the Know Nothings? Irish people got plenty terrorized when they first came over. They had their neighborhoods, the Italians had theirs, the Germans, the African Americans, and so on and so forth. This goes out into the inner-ring and other surrounding areas too. Everywhere that wasn't an ethnic enclave was for wealthy or at least middle class whites. That's because Philadelphia was started by wealthy whites and the immigrants came over and lived right around where they worked, which were of course businesses owned by the original wealthy white colonists. These immigrants huddled together in tenements in the original Philly area ghettos and rallied around their communities and their heritages and religion and music and other things and eventually sports. That's why the cultural strongholds exist in Philly, why it's a city of neighborhoods. Over the centuries, portions of each immigrant class slowly moved up and gave their kids better than they had and so on and so forth. Things were getting better though of course plenty of different descendants of the original immigrants were still stuck for various reasons. Then in come African Americans and other non-white immigrants who have even more needs than their white counterparts and different problems than the problems of the white ethnicities. The racism displayed and white flight and everything else when it comes to the descendants of the original Irish, Italian, etc immigrants was defensive. People in the South and West and elsewhere have absolutely no clue what that is like, to live in the only place you were allowed to be for decades, turn it into a great community and enclave, and then have other ethnicities come in or "invade" as they saw it. There have always been tensions between ethnicities. It didn't start with the "white versus black". It started with the wealthy whites versus the poor Irish and other immigrants, as well as the wealthy whites versus the African slaves.

Then the lifeblood and the way for them to advance was ripped out of the city and the inner-ring. Factories shut down, minimum wage was nothing like it once was, college tuition was much higher than it had been in the past, and a lot of the jobs where you could have a high school education at most and still earn enough to raise a family disappeared. With that went the schools and other things that made the original ghettos no worse than the wealthier areas, out to the exurbs. Philly has lost a lot over the decades, plenty of it having something to do with working-class jobs and the ability for working class people and descendants of the original immigrants to have a lot of the things wealthier whites did. Let's not forget about drugs or crime either. All of the sudden, people were stuck and had to find new ways to advance. They're still in that position. This creates tensions when people of all ethnicities are all striving for the same thing: the American dream. When working class whites who kept their neighborhoods just as nice as the wealthier ones see their neighborhoods going to sh*t, they're going to blame someone. There's going to be tensions. It has nothing to do with skin color or any of that. It's what those people represent: competition, and in certain areas, crime or violence.

I know white kids who are the first to go to college out of their families, not their immediate families, their entire families. I know kids who grew up the first generation in their family to actually be able to take for granted the things their parents so strived for growing up. People really have no idea just how long it has taken a lot of families to come up from the gutter after coming over from the various places they emigrated from in the 19th and 20th centuries and in some cases before that even. I grew up in UD township, less than 5 miles outside of the city and probably closer than that, and most of the families and people who lived in my neighborhood had "come up" a rung on the socio-economic ladder to get there. The people who could afford to move, did. Now there's plenty of African American and other immigrants coming in and they'll hopefully eventually do the same thing and "come up" as well. There's still plenty of stuck white people all over the area though.

Also, as somebody pointed out: various political decisions and other governmental things have encouraged tensions, whether they wanted to or not.

So please spare us this stuff about the West Coast. I wonder how tolerant and non-racist LA would be if the celebrities and other rich were rubbing elbows with the poor people of all races, not just in schools or social events but in the neighborhood. That's exactly what would happen if LA were Philly's size and had Philly's history. How many stuck white people are there out in LA? There's a reason they don't have South Philly out in LA or an old St. Patty's Day celebration. Remember that sometime.

Oh, and by the way, the way that you dress and act when in an area with the type of tensions this area has says a lot about you. If you dress, walk, and act/talk like a 'banger or a dealer, people will see you as that. If you look dangerous, people will see you as that. If you're a professional type in a suit or other type of business attire (can be blue collar business attire), people will be much less likely to see you as anything but a person.

In my experience, the kids of the working class are often more tolerant and inclusive than anybody else because they have no reason to be any kind of bitter towards other races. They're growing up in a different time. Also, the most diverse places are places where people socialize. If you go to any basketball court or playground in the area, you'll see people of all races playing with each other. If you're in the mall or a restaurant or especially a school, people of all races socialize and seeing other races or even interracial groups is no big deal, even in the suburbs outside of the main-line. I'm not the least bit racist but the fact is that if I'm at a place where it's possible something could happen and it's not a social place, whether it be walking down the street in a non-suburban area or at a terminal or stop or station, and you're looking like anything other than either a kid from the suburbs or a professional of some sort (white collar all the way down to blue), I'm assuming you could be a threat and keeping to myself. That's because I respect the fact that you could be dangerous, no matter what your race.

There's of course more we could get into but as somebody who is descended from those "uncultured" white immigrants and who grew up with the typical Philly stuff ("E A G L E S", cheesesteaks, etc), I figured it was necessary for somebody to defend them and set the record straight.
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Old 11-23-2011, 04:42 AM
Location: South Jersey
7,780 posts, read 18,921,816 times
Reputation: 2329
damn, couldnot... you about summed it up pretty good!
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:44 AM
Location: Bella Vista
2,472 posts, read 3,485,873 times
Reputation: 2202
don't eagree with everything couldnot said. But I do agree with the fact that it's really tough to compare a city like Philadelphia that has grown up from the days of slavery and indentured servitude 300+ years ago to a city that didn't have over 50,000 people until the 20th century.

And although it's probably been mentioned before, bringing up how segregated north east cities are doesn't have much to do with racism. People live amongst people from the same racial background not because they are racist but because when they first arrive here they often don't know the language, don't know what's going on. Living among people who speak the same language as you and share the same customs is comforting and makes the transition easier. It's just common sense that when you first arrive you're going to seek out your own people.

Also JmanAA said he couldn't really pick up on how racist Philadelphia was when he actually lived here and to me that makes a lot of sense. I'm one quarter black, my grandfather on my mom's side was black. I grew up in an italian neighborhood in west philly. A neighborhood that as i grew up there was experiencing a large influx of blacks into the area.

Now just looking at me, you can't really tell that I'm black at all. I look italian. But most of the people I lived around knew that i was part black and so I never heard them say a single racist thing. But there would be times where I'd be talking to someone who didn't know who I was, who wasn't aware of my racial background, and I'd hear some of the most racist garbage you could imagine. After awhile I could sort of sense that the people who knew me were holding this crap back.

Philadelphia isn't racist in the sense that there is a lot of racial violence being committed or people are being outwardly mean to people of different races. but philly is very racist in the sense that there are a lot of people walking around philly who think some people of other races are garbage. So I could see how someone who moved here who was black wouldn't have experienced any racism... in the sense that you wouldn't have noticed. But i'd be willing to guarantee that some of the perfectly nice people you talked to around here held ridiculous beliefs like blacks are destroying the city, etc. even if they were outwardly kind toward you.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:19 PM
958 posts, read 962,477 times
Reputation: 228
Originally Posted by lajones View Post
Unfortunately, it is racist in my opinion. I grew in Suburban Philadelphia and I was the only black girl in my school. I went to a friend's house and the mother wouldn't let me in the house because I was black. There was a family part of the Aryan nation who lived a block away and the PA side was extremly segregated. I moved to Georgia when I was 15 and Pennsylvania is worst than the South. I visit Philadelphia but I would never live there because of my experiences as a minoritiy.
How many Irish and Italians live in the South again?

Also, which specific suburb did you live in?

You can't paint the entire suburbs around Philadelphia with the same brush. They're as diverse as the city itself. Some of ghetto, some are working class, some are middle class, and some are ritzy as hell. They're diverse in more than just income too, as I pointed out in the other thread.
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