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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 10-19-2009, 11:58 AM
 
Location: South Philly
1,943 posts, read 6,301,861 times
Reputation: 648

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe84323 View Post
I've snuck into a few Philadelphia cliques either through work, or at an ethnic bar, or living in a homogenous neighborhood like Fishtown, and it is present.
I went up to Philly Brewing this weekend and spent a few minutes driving through Fishtown. It might be a quiet neighborhood but man, am I glad I don't live there.

Quote:
You won't be bashed, but you could be excluded from certain social circles, which you probably would anyway, being that Philly is very closed circle to begin with in most of the parochial neighborhoods outside CC, UC, and Old City.
I'm not originally from the area but I went to college here so . . . most people here are either from the city or grew up within 100 mile radius of here or went to college here or moved here to be closer to friends or family . . . most people already have a social circle and/or family here so you don't meet a lot of people who don't already have plans for friday night. But it's a big city and there are plenty of ways to meet people.

Quote:
One thing I would remind you: The city of Philadelphia IS a very black city, so being black would make you a plurality in the city, and NOT a minority. This ain't Salt Lake City
Blacks and whites are both about 40% of the population of the city. We'll see what happens with the next census but I have a feeling we'll see Asians and Latinos both around 10%.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:23 PM
 
5,713 posts, read 2,214,130 times
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When you live in a city like Philadelphia, just asking if people are "racist" is way too undefined of a question. You have to define what actions/reactions of people you are specifically defining as racist. You will find a mix of values and survival tactics here that would be generally branded by clueless suburbanites as racist, but some of which are learned behaviors that are necessary so as not to become a victim.

So, yes there is good old fashioned racism here. People who unfailingly view and treat individuals according to the stereotypes that they hold about a specific race. It exists in every mixed area in the country. To say otherwise is delusional.

Then there are people who take every person, whether they are walking toward them on an isolated inner city street, or meeting them in any other situation in public, as an individual and will assume the best until the worst is proven. These are the people who would typically be branded as "not racist" by generalists and idealists. These people are generally tourists or other temporary visitors to the city. These people also have a much higher probability of being victimized. The rare city resident who thinks like this, and hasn't been victimized in some way, is an anomaly.

Then there are most city residents who have had negative experiences in the city at one time or another, such as being victims of violence and other crimes, who choose to make their personal welfare and survival the number one priority, and therefore do not trust individuals in certain environments until they can prove to be trustworthy. And even then they are not fully trusted.

The only people that are considered according to their personalities and individual merits, and not according to past experiences or high probability stereotypical behaviors, are ones that are either introduced through friends, who have unfailingly proven themselves to be trusted, who they know in a professional or other organizational capacity, or whom they have known a long time. Most people in the city have friends of varying races, but also exhibit what might be called "racist" behavior when dealing with strangers. Most strangers, of any race, don't deserve this; but the few criminals ruin it for the many.

I've been robbed at gunpoint twice by members of one certain race. So, what am I supposed to think when I see members of that race come toward me on an isolated city street? Am I supposed to maintain a non-racist perspective and trust them until I see that gun in my ribs again? Or until I get taken advantage of in another way? (Not likely to happen to me but my Mom, for instance, will engage unnaturally friendly strangers in conversation in the inner city. Her lack of street smarts would set her up for a big fall if unaccompanied by me.) Am I suppose to not take any defensive action (crossing the street, hurrying so they don't overtake me, gripping a can of mace, etc.)? Because most racism theorists would brand that alone as racist. But guess what. They haven't been held up at gunpoint twice. I guarantee it. I also have a few close friends of other races that I treat entirely on their own merits, without a trace of racist judgement or treatment. So, you see, its not a defined enough question.

And in reality, its the issue of race is a correlation to the more relevant issue of socioeconomic class. Meaning that the crime rate is higher in poor areas that include all races, rather in areas that are classified by race alone. Unfortunately in most parts of the urban USA, certain races are the overwhelming majority in poor areas.

This is the way it is in the city, like it or not. Anything else and there is a much higher probability of you being a victim. You see, nasty people often first come in the guise of being "friendly". They are good at what they do. Welcome to the jungle, baby. Trust no one. If you don't want to live like this, stick to the burbs. But then you have to be wary of the much slicker, and likely better resourced, white collar business criminal. They wont kill you, but they can make your financial life hell. Paper robbery. Frankly, I have a hard time trusting a crocodile smiling white businessman walking toward me as well.

Personally, I hate living in a an overwhelmingly poor and high crime city that forces such perspectives on its longtime residents, and I cant wait to get out.
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:38 AM
 
Location: South Philly
1,943 posts, read 6,301,861 times
Reputation: 648
Quote:
Originally Posted by golgi1 View Post
Then there are people who take every person, whether they are walking toward them on an isolated inner city street, or meeting them in any other situation in public, as an individual and will assume the best until the worst is proven . . . These people are generally tourists or other temporary visitors to the city. These people also have a much higher probability of being victimized. The rare city resident who thinks like this, and hasn't been victimized in some way, is an anomaly.
Wow.

What's the point in using coded language if everyone knows what you mean anyway?

I lived in the South Bronx in the late 70s, in Brooklyn in the 80's and I've been in Center City/South Philly since the beginning of this decade.

Not only have I never been victimized but I also don't cross the street when I see a black guy walking towards me.

Having read what you have to say on the subject I'd say, in fact, that it's your profound lack of street smarts that got you into trouble in the first place.

When I see someone on the street or on the train looking frigid and/or hurried, staring straight ahead, ignoring everyone around them, avoiding eye contact and conversation . . . I don't get the impression that the person is street smart, I get the impression that they're scared . . . and that makes you easy prey.
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:50 PM
 
3,042 posts, read 8,202,159 times
Reputation: 1154
Quote:
Originally Posted by LAX_Airport View Post
Hello Forum!

I live in San Diego California where mixed couples are not a big deal! I am a White woman dating a Black man. Should I be worried about raising kids in Metro Philadelphia - New Jersey? Locals from Germantown (PHL) tell me that Philly and the Metro area is changing, but it is not as Tolerant as the West Coast. Please let me know your thoughts, Positive or Negative! Thank You in Advance.
no, not necessarily. In Philadelphia you might not experience open hostility all the time but you will run into it from time to time and depending on the neighborhood you live in. by and large center city , university city, chestnut hill are safe. other places like roxborough, maniyunk, the northeast, south philadelphia adn north philly people will stare, they will say things and some might hassle you. those places are unsafe in general though.

Its a democratic controlled city in voting but because it is not a very educated population the people tend to not be very tolerant or intelligent when it comes to race. the population is almost 50-50 but the racial divide is very large and very in your face. I m not sure why, i have been here for 10 years and cant figure it out.

it has an ivy league university adn you would think that makes it more intellectual, but it seems they dont think beyond jobs and career to deeper issues of culture, class, race and tolerance. even the so called progressives in the liberal enclaves like mt airy will stare at you if you are different, if you are a minority. ive talked to so many people who cant understand why progressives and liberal minded people act like that but i guess it is a philadelphia phenomenon.
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:08 PM
 
3,042 posts, read 8,202,159 times
Reputation: 1154
Quote:
Originally Posted by golgi1 View Post
When you live in a city like Philadelphia, just asking if people are "racist" is way too undefined of a question. You have to define what actions/reactions of people you are specifically defining as racist. You will find a mix of values and survival tactics here that would be generally branded by clueless suburbanites as racist, but some of which are learned behaviors that are necessary so as not to become a victim.

So, yes there is good old fashioned racism here. People who unfailingly view and treat individuals according to the stereotypes that they hold about a specific race. It exists in every mixed area in the country. To say otherwise is delusional.

Then there are people who take every person, whether they are walking toward them on an isolated inner city street, or meeting them in any other situation in public, as an individual and will assume the best until the worst is proven. These are the people who would typically be branded as "not racist" by generalists and idealists. These people are generally tourists or other temporary visitors to the city. These people also have a much higher probability of being victimized. The rare city resident who thinks like this, and hasn't been victimized in some way, is an anomaly.

Then there are most city residents who have had negative experiences in the city at one time or another, such as being victims of violence and other crimes, who choose to make their personal welfare and survival the number one priority, and therefore do not trust individuals in certain environments until they can prove to be trustworthy. And even then they are not fully trusted.

The only people that are considered according to their personalities and individual merits, and not according to past experiences or high probability stereotypical behaviors, are ones that are either introduced through friends, who have unfailingly proven themselves to be trusted, who they know in a professional or other organizational capacity, or whom they have known a long time. Most people in the city have friends of varying races, but also exhibit what might be called "racist" behavior when dealing with strangers. Most strangers, of any race, don't deserve this; but the few criminals ruin it for the many.

I've been robbed at gunpoint twice by members of one certain race. So, what am I supposed to think when I see members of that race come toward me on an isolated city street? Am I supposed to maintain a non-racist perspective and trust them until I see that gun in my ribs again? Or until I get taken advantage of in another way? (Not likely to happen to me but my Mom, for instance, will engage unnaturally friendly strangers in conversation in the inner city. Her lack of street smarts would set her up for a big fall if unaccompanied by me.) Am I suppose to not take any defensive action (crossing the street, hurrying so they don't overtake me, gripping a can of mace, etc.)? Because most racism theorists would brand that alone as racist. But guess what. They haven't been held up at gunpoint twice. I guarantee it. I also have a few close friends of other races that I treat entirely on their own merits, without a trace of racist judgement or treatment. So, you see, its not a defined enough question.

And in reality, its the issue of race is a correlation to the more relevant issue of socioeconomic class. Meaning that the crime rate is higher in poor areas that include all races, rather in areas that are classified by race alone. Unfortunately in most parts of the urban USA, certain races are the overwhelming majority in poor areas.

This is the way it is in the city, like it or not. Anything else and there is a much higher probability of you being a victim. You see, nasty people often first come in the guise of being "friendly". They are good at what they do. Welcome to the jungle, baby. Trust no one. If you don't want to live like this, stick to the burbs. But then you have to be wary of the much slicker, and likely better resourced, white collar business criminal. They wont kill you, but they can make your financial life hell. Paper robbery. Frankly, I have a hard time trusting a crocodile smiling white businessman walking toward me as well.

Personally, I hate living in a an overwhelmingly poor and high crime city that forces such perspectives on its longtime residents, and I cant wait to get out.
wow that was a great and succinct description of Philly-though i dont think the suburbanites are any more clueless than the urbanites here, unless you have a specific group you are talkinga about.

my issue with your assertions however is that you are talking about being confronted on some inner city dark street as the stereotype is usually portrayed to people in the suburbs and rural areas. what you forgot to say is the way one treats members of another race (say a black man dressed in a business suit in Center City). everyone would be wary of being a victim in your scenario, even me a 6'3 225lb black man, but the racism is apparent in all parts of the city and very much palpable. and its not some skinhead from buckcounty or some south philly lugnut doing all the hating. its white women and men who assume the worst and never gives one a chance to be human first. they are not just tourists either, i have lived in cc many years and its the everyday residents of center city and Mt Airy and U City. its professionals and hipsters and artists and so called liberal minded folk.

in my experience as an AA in Philly is that suburbanites have been the exception rather than the rule here. they are more likely to smile, help you and be more tolerant. they tend to be, in my experience running non profit organizations to the poor in CC, the people who will send housewives and smiling teens into the dangers of the city to bring toys at christmas or paint a poor widows house in N Philly. on the other hand, i rarely if every meet groups of white or black teens or professionals doing much to give back to the people in the city , unless they are getting something like a tee shirt for the many walkathons(not really getting ones hands dirty).

I have had the fortune of living in other cities of the US and internationally, Philly is unique in its rudeness, racial hostility and in your face hate. this is made apparent by the polls in national magazines and media that rank Philly on the bottom of friendliness and top of rude and ugly people. and yet NYC often ranks highly for friendliness and helpful people and it is 12 times the size.
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:18 PM
 
3,042 posts, read 8,202,159 times
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also we must remember that this area SE PA and NJ have been listed as some of the most virulent of racist areas in the country based on data by HATEWATCH from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Tom Martinez, an ex White Supremacist who founded Aryan Nations was from Fishtown and his book Brotherhood of blood explained that the victimization of whites by black crime and violence led him to a life of Extreme HATE.

so, its not some benign issues that everyone just adapts to to survive, it is a lifestyle that can and has catapulted some into Hate groups and the worst sorts of racist and antisemetic violence
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:52 PM
 
Location: South Philly
1,943 posts, read 6,301,861 times
Reputation: 648
I don't even know where to start . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinajack View Post
other places like roxborough, maniyunk, the northeast, south philadelphia adn north philly people will stare, they will say things and some might hassle you. those places are unsafe in general though.
Roxborough and Manayunk are two of the safest zipcodes in the city. Sure, they're mostly white but Roxborough has a small but long-time black community. No one is running them out with torches and pitchforks.

South Philly is incredibly multi-ethnic. I live in a mostly asian neighborhood with minorities of blacks and whites. The problems here aren't about race, they're about socio-economic status. You'll find some overt racists in the all white or all black enclaves in South Philly (Point Breeze, Pennsport, etc) but, considering some 250,000 people from at least 20 different ethnic groups live here there are very few problems. Even if, for instance, you were black and wanted to move a mostly white neighborhood I think most people are concerned about what kind of person you are as opposed to what color you are. Do you go to work every day and have a family or can you not hold down a job and party til 3 in the morning a few nights a week? And you'll get the same probing questions from the old italian ladies as you will from the old black ladies. It doesn't matter who you are . . . and outside of two neighborhoods in South Philly I also disagree that it's unsafe.


Quote:
even the so called progressives in the liberal enclaves like mt airy will stare at you if you are different, if you are a minority.
That's ridiculously uninformed. Not only has Mt. Airy been well integrated over the last 50 years but all you have to do is hang out at McMenimans for an hour to see how far off the mark you are.

Quote:
ive talked to so many people who cant understand why progressives and liberal minded people act like that but i guess it is a philadelphia phenomenon.
I feel like a lot of people who move to Philadelphia proper have either never lived in a big city before or have never lived outside of the wealthy enclaves in other cities and have never had to rub elbows with the poor.

Attitudes in St. Louis, Chicago, Brooklyn, Baltimore, DC, LA, Boston, Pittsburgh - are little different than they are here. In those other places it's a lot easier for people to stay in their own little worlds. It's not so easy here.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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being multi ethnic or even integrated doesnt mean it is a safe or place where people are treated equally. there might be tons of integration but whites still mingle with whites and blacks with blacks. thats the difference between being tolerated and being treated as an equal.

its not easier in Boston, DC, Baltimore or LA adn definitely not brooklyn. like here there is a racial divide so people have to rub elbows all the time but they dont necessarily get along, unless you are talking sports.

uniformed is not knowing that due to White flight, Philadelphia was the only city that in the 90s and 2000s, that was losing middle class whites to the suburbs while most cities saw a reverse migration to the city.

race and economics are often the same in these big old cities in the east--where whites and blacks/hispanics are divided along both racial and economic lines. sure there are a few of us blacks, and hispanics who are middle and upper middle class and not suffering as much, but that doesnt change the fact that in these old cities the racism is very apparent and real.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia,New Jersey, NYC!
6,967 posts, read 18,558,445 times
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do you think the OP has run off terrified yet? lol

but, yeah as this thread has pointed out, its more complex than a simple yes or no.
i think you will find it in all the big cities that have a lot of mixed races living in close proximity to one another - LA, NYC, DC, Chi, St. Louis, Boston, Cleveland Miami, etc......and racial tension runs even deeper in cities like London & Paris.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:20 PM
 
4,101 posts, read 7,869,465 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adream View Post
The closer to Philadelphia (urban center) you are the more tolerance you will find.

I live in far Southern New Jersey now (moved here from Philly area) and we had friends here that are a mixed race couple. (She is white, he is black).

They had to move away, to Orlando Florida, because of the harrassment he received here. He is a nice, hard working family man, and he would get pulled over for nothing other than being a black man driving a Lincoln Continental, as occured in one instance. (His car was in the shop, his FIL lent him the Lincoln to go to work and the police assumed he stole it). His wife had to come get him out of jail more than once just because they didn't believe him.

Many of the other parents in the school our children attended together would whisper about the "woman married to the black guy." We were horrified at such words, I made that plain. It was downright awful!

We were sad to see them go, they are a nice couple and their two beautiful daughters were friends with our youngest daughter. It was a shame, but we understood why they needed a different life. Happily, it turned out to be a wonderful move for them, and this harrassment is no longer a part of their lives in their new home.

Cross Southern NJ off your list, stay near Philadelphia - a more worldly, cultured and sophisticated mentality, and you'll be fine. (I guess Orlando, FL would be good, too). Best of luck to you!
Center City and close by neighboring locals fit the worldy sophisticated description. When you get into the deep South, North, West, or Northeast neighborhoods you find the low brow cheese steak eating blowhards who think the alphabet begins with E and ends with S.
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