The issue of race in the City of Bortherly Love has come to the forefront after a recent Philadelphia Magazine cover story called “Being White in Philly.”
The article, written by Bob Huber, a white man, describes the experiences of white people who live in racially mixed neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The story garnered plenty of attention since it appeared at the beginning of March especially since Mayor Michael Nutter got a hold of it.
On Friday, Nutter sent a letter to the city’s Commission on Human Relations in response to the article. In his letter, Nutter claimed the article had a “disgusting tone” and criticized its “collection of disparaging beliefs and negative stereotypes.” He also claimed the story “used isolated negative experiences” and made “generalizations” to portray African Americans as lazy, irresponsible and criminal. Nutter requested that the city’s Commission on Human Relations conduct an “inquiry” into the state of racial issues in Philadelphia.
Rue Landau, the Executive Director on Human Relations, agreed, claiming that the article perpetuated “harmful stereotypes.” He also stated the Commission is currently looking at “relations in the city.”
Huber defended his article in an email, claiming his goal when writing the piece was to simply address the city’s problems in race relations and to “push for a better dialogue.” While he agreed with the Mayor’s decision to ask for an inquiry on the city’s racial issues, he also called Nutter’s description of the article “off the mark to the point of absurdity.”
Tom McGrath, the editor of Philadelphia Magazine, also called Nutter’s statements “sophomoric,” according to Philly.com. McGrath accused Nutter of being “more interested in scoring political points than having a serious conversation about race.”
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