The lead article in the most recent Philadelphia Magazine, “Being White In Philly” by Robert Huber, has—to put it politely—spurred a lot of talk. Huber devotes his article to sharing the “true” voice of white people scared to speak their minds about the many struggles they face living among Philadelphia’s black residents. Since publication, Huber has been told in numerous venues that his piece ignores personal and institutional histories of racism, has an ugly, discriminatory core, and essentially perpetuates bigotry. Is Brotherly Love dead?
Charles Gallagher, chair of race and ethnic relations at LaSalle University, commented on Fox 29 News that indeed, everybody talks about race, whether privately or publicly. But, Gallagher says, Huber’s article only focuses on the opinions of white residents in a mixed neighborhood. What about people from minority groups? White residents across neighborhoods of varying segregation? Are there no “white voices” that enjoy living in a heterogeneous city? As a sociologist, Gallagher emphasizes that, beyond being offensive, Huber’s piece generalizes where it has no grounds to do so: there is no single voice of white Philadelphians.
Steve Volk, a colleague of Huber’s, crafted his response on one of The Philly Post’s blogs. In it, Volk dismantles the original piece to reach a refreshingly blatant conclusion:
[Huber] seems to miss the obvious here, which is that if white Philadelphians would like to be able to address race without being labeled “racist,” they should avoid saying racist things.
A memorial to the “Little Rock 9,” students who integrated the Little Rock schools in Arkansas on Sept. 23, 1957, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Photo by Steve Snodgrass via flickr.com
After more than half a century, the U.S.’s efforts to end segregation are winding down. In the years after Brown v. Board of Education, 755 school districts were under desegregation orders. But, according to a new study conducted by Stanford’s Sean Reardon and his colleagues, that number had dropped to 268 by 2009.
So, did Brown v. Board succeed? According to The Atlantic’s Sarah Garland, yes and no. (more…)
Racism Moves Out, peterthomasryan.com
Not only are we excited to spot Reynolds Farley’s Contexts article “The Waning of American Apartheid?” (Summer 2011) written up in the Emerging Ideas section of the Jan.-Feb. 2012 issue of the Utne Reader, we’re gratified to see the elegant treatment it’s received in this “Citings & Sightings” style piece. Further, the illustration (at left, by Peter Thomas Ryan, peterthomasryan.com) wittily gets at the heart of the matter. What more could an editorial team want?
In the piece, the author writes of Farley and his fellow researchers’ extensive longitudinal work:
The stats aren’t evidence of a racial utopia (50 percent of thse respondents hit the edge of their [neighborhood] comfort zone at a 50-50 split in racial composition), but from block to block, there does seem to be slow and steady progress toward a more racially integrated America.
To check out the original article, please visit contexts.org.