This is an assignment I had from one of my classes, maybe from 2014? I just wanted to share it but if you want to comment and have a discussion about it. Feel free to comment. I have an idea of what I want to critique next. Hope you enjoy!
Misunderstanding Black Philadelphians
A majority of my life has been neutral when it came to race. I knew of racial issues, but no one spoke directly to me about them. The first nine years of my life I was raised by my mother, grandmother, and grandfather and lived with my aunt in a suburban town in South Jersey. I never gave it a second thought when it came to my grandfather’s skin color, a German man. Within the last year, I have learned many hard truths about how some white people think of black people or people of color, in general. Reading this article, “Being White In Philly” has confirmed that even when racism is “over”, some white people feel equally uncomfortable around us. We are mostly seen as black first and hopefully; second, we are seen as human.
The article is crap from the start. He automatically goes into talking about how the neighborhood is dangerous but never questions the reasons of why it is dangerous. He is just stating a fact that is already known to a lot of people. The tri-state area already knows what part of Philly isn’t safe. Huber that “Later, up Broad Street as head home to Mount Airy, at a just north of and look over at some. One has a padlocked front door. A torn sheet covering the window in that door looks like it might be stained with sewage. I imagine not a crack house, but a child, maybe several children, living on the other side of that stained sheet. Plenty of children in Philadelphia live in places like that. Plenty live on Diamond, where my son rents, where there always seem to be a lot of men milling around doing absolutely nothing, where it’s clearly not a safe place to be.” This paragraph was completely nauseating. There are a lot of assumptions thrown into this paragraph. It could have been the nice clean sheet that got stained. The problem with this idea of plenty, of children lives in poverty throughout Philadelphia is because of how black people are viewed.
The gatekeepers of some media outlets are keeping the story of black people being “savages” alive and kicking. Huber also doesn’t even acknowledge his own white privilege, but definitely, brings up the tension of being in an unsafe neighborhood and how he stands out in such place. The interview with Anna from Moscow was just downright insulting. As someone who hasn’t been to Moscow, I wouldn’t assume she is a Mail-Order Bride. She has written off black people in one swoop; she states we are all using the race card, we can’t move forward and we all just smoke pot and have babies.
The article has helped white people confirm their already racist beliefs that black people are criminals and we are lazy. Huber made a point of talking about his Mount Airy home, which is diverse. What he doesn’t: hat the black person on his street can walk into any store and still be followed around, stopped and frisked at any point. Just because black people are middle class doesn’t mean that black people are held in a different light. Just a few months ago a young man was detained at a high-end department store because he purchased an item, even after showing his identification. Huber doesn’t have that knowledge. He doesn’t understand the people around Temple’s campus. If anything he should have spoken about his privilege as a white male in today’s society and how racial inequality is happing within Philadelphia. He never touches on the history that poverty within Black America is caused by white people wanting to be segregated from Black People.
In 2012, a Black couple earned $325, on average, less weekly than their white counterparts. The extra $1,300 could go to a mortgage on the Main Line while the black couple has to stay in North Philly. (http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2012.pdf) The people Huber interviewed think we are nothing more than being content living paycheck-to-paycheck, collecting food stamps and committing crimes. He gave black Philadelphians a bad name since it made some media headlines.
The weird part of all my thoughts about this article and some I didn’t express are: I would have let the article go to print. I say this because at the end Huber would have looked like a dummy in front of the city. Even though this embarrasses Philadelphians, black and white people. What if a black journalist wrote a story about being a black person in Philly and have it so chalked up with stereotypes and half-truths about white people? The article itself was good in theory and making national headlines was great for the magazine.
It would have been excellent for the because Philadelphia doesn’t influence much on the media landscape. We are somewhat looked over in the city and receiving the attention drawn from something touchy as race and poverty, is good for business. Look at Howard Stern, he is completely risqué and says off the wall things and people recognize him without listening to him exclusively. The risk of publishing this article was significant because everyone is talking about race in some form or another. People acknowledge this written work by Huber is nothing but a laugh and joke. He is merely talking to people like himself and not engaging in what could have been done in his time. Sadly, this was only a 40-second clip on the news.
This article is blatantly racist and even though Huber lives in a diverse neighborhood. I feel like he has never taken his time to understand any of his Black neighbors and keeps their conversations light and friendly. Race is something hard to understand even growing up in a semi-neutral environment. Trying to understand what it means being Black in America is hard and it will take time to acquire the knowledge. As a journalist, he connected to his story the incorrect way. He started off questioning the crime, but never got the answer he was seeking.