Ambiguously racist wheat pasting

This morning, I was leaving the gym and getting myself together and thinking about how it is looking more and more likely that Obama will be the Democratic nominee. As I've said before, he's not my guy but if he gets it I'll volunteer some voter i.d. time for the guy in the Fall. You bet! Anyway, I'm getting dressed and folding up my gym clothes and I started looking down the road and it occurred to me that it could be pretty dangerous to be the first black President of the United States.

It was one of those ah-ha moments, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt absolutely sure that there are people in this country who will be pushed around the bend if Obama gets sworn in come January. That's definitely not to say he shouldn't do it, but I'm sure his family is worried about him.

Well, it turns out that I forgot to pack a belt today, and I really needed one. So, as I was having these thoughts, I also decided to stop by the Gap Outlet to grab one on clearance. After locking up my bike outside the store on Chestnut, I turned around and I saw the two wheat pastings posted above. The big one you will recognize. The smaller one, atop it, you probably won't [Click on the image for a close-up of the smaller wheat pasting].

Now, I'm not 100% sure what to make of it, to be honest. I've been in this whole liberal business long enough to have seen anti-racist posters/pastings/fliers designed to provoke conversation/thought in such a way that they almost seemed racist. Since I can't figure out what the heck the propagandist here means by "...next," I'm sort of scratching my head on this one.

I only say that as a cautionary comment, though. I'm 90% sure I understand the message of this wheatpasting (not Obama's -- though I get that too, I'm writing about the one on top of it). It always stuns me when I see openly racist graffiti or other sorts of vandalism. Someone had to care enough to go out and make it. In fact, they had to care enough to go out and do it in a predominantly black city. I'm not going to lie... if I was a white supremacist, I'd be scared out of my mind to put something like this up in Philadelphia.

Someone did, though, and I think this sort of thing is worth putting up here to remind us all, at least in part, what we're about. It's easy for us living in our progressive bubbles to forget how deep the hostility is in some communities. It's still real. There are people out there who really, really hate the idea of a black man running this country.
____________________________
This Too Will Pass -- for the guts in your cerebrum.

cool photo

Yeah, that's disturbing... Sen Clinton did all she could to try and tap into the racist sentiment against Obama, and hopefully she failed, but she revealed here self to be a really slimy person---almost as slimy as her husband... We have to hope that there are more white folks that want to make our racist history truly a thing of the past.

A question:

Can I not vote for Obama and not be a racist?

Can I vote for Obama without it being a statement denouncing America's racist past?

I don't "get" it either

Who is the picture of? My first thought was that it is Sean Conroy, the Starbucks guy beat down on the El platform but then the the question (and the suggested solution) posed in the poster doesn't make much sense. . . Sean was white so there is no "white guys are next" aspect . . . and fight back??? One slightly built asthmatic guy against a couple heartless thugs? Thugs don't pick on guys they think can offer effective resistance.

No matter what I agree with you, the message isn't clear; while at first read it seems racist the message is so poorly conveyed it turns into a parody of a racist poster.

For those who have seen them, is this wheatpasting something that's just being stuck on Obama posters? Even if it is, it's even harder to discern a larger political message.

on racism

My impression of the mini-wheatpaste is that it is a clear appeal to white racism---although the message seems rather unclear and convoluted.... Often-times overt white supremacists come off as fairly stupid, so I guess the unclear message is an extension of that.

--No, I don't think one is a racist for NOT voting for Obama. That is way too simplistic.

However, Sen. Clinton and others have made overtly racist appeals in their campaign against Obama, and that is totally inexcusable.

As a racially inciteful

As a racially inciteful poster that one fails on many levels. As you say, racists tend to be idiots so messages to them are not nuanced or metaphoric. Witness the ones being splattered in the Northeast:

Ignorant White racists have as much right to vote as ignorant Black racists and the campaigns will always court them.

Every campaign has their wink and a smile euphemisms for conveying messages to the "under the radar" fringe and the race focused fringe is only one of many. We saw it on the repub side with religion with Romney getting raked over the coals, "who will vote for a Mormon" was the oft heard question . . . The race focused fringe in the Black population are a given for Obama (marginalizing themselves and their voice from the process), . . . and Hillary and McCain have forfeited them for now, probably forever.

The "bitter God and guns / hard working white" voters would have a choice to make between two White candidates if Hillary was the nominee. But of course Hillary wasn't speaking to or courting those whites with her latest comments; she was really speaking to the super delegates about her perceptions of Obama's real ability to woo that "bitter God and guns / hard working white" vote in the general election.

How do politicians discuss the breaks and movements in voter demographics without being called racist? The entire process (ESPECIALLY on the Democrat's side) is one of splitting people into neat little self-interest groups . . . Donna Brazile made that point quite well I think -- in rebuttal to Begala saying that Obama "cannot win with [just] eggheads and African-Americans . . ."

It is going to get really interesting in the next couple weeks!

Wow....

That poster above is incredibly disturbing. What does the text on the bottom say? What is the website address?

---
Check out my website!

You just NOW noticed these posters?

I believe all or most of these posters are promoting the Keystone State Skinheads.

Their website is http://www.keystoneunited.com

They have been discussed at length on Phillyblog for quite a long time. And they were also pasted up months ago in Fishtown, which scared the beejesus out of the liberal white yupsters that live over there.

I live a block from City Hall and there's about 3 surviving posters that haven't completely faded away.

If the KSS is trying to find new membership, I'm not sure putting up posters in Center City would net them anything. I would rather give out free trinkets at a Flyers game where you're likely to run into a few more sympathetic white people (since we're all banging on the stereotypes here).

I think the subtext of the posters, which have been blanketed up in the Northeast, is mostly as a "defense" to discourage non-white and poor minorities from moving further up into the Northeast; and it mostly targets poor blacks.

In some respects, as nasty as their campaign is--I somewhat sympathize with the angst a lot of people in the Northeast have. It is a 1/3 of the city's land mass, pays a huge amount of wage tax into the city, and in return, they get low-income renters moving into their formerly 100% owner-occupied neighborhoods, spewing trash everywhere, bringing with them their poorly educated children and crime, which then drags property values into the gutter, which opens the floodgates for even more rentals. This process accelerates until it looks like a suburb of Calcutta.

If you drive along Frankford Ave in Wissinoming/Tacony and drive out towards the city line--you can see the gradient of QOL people call "the creep" up close and personal, and it's real.

Why is called "The creep"? Well, because right now the mass of rentals come to an end near about Frankford Ave and Robbins, but it is continuing its march north to Cottman.

Are you kidding me?

In some respects, as nasty as their campaign is--I somewhat sympathize with the angst a lot of people in the Northeast have. It is a 1/3 of the city's land mass, pays a huge amount of wage tax into the city, and in return, they get low-income renters moving into their formerly 100% owner-occupied neighborhoods, spewing trash everywhere, bringing with them their poorly educated children and crime, which then drags property values into the gutter, which opens the floodgates for even more rentals. This process accelerates until it looks like a suburb of Calcutta

I am not even sure where to begin deconstructing this comment, and perhaps I'd better just save my energy, but I don't agree with you, or really understand your logic.

Realism escapes you

Who said the argument had to be logical? This is the Northeast we're talking about--a place that's home to a lot of city employees (particularly PPD) who live in this affordable section of the city due to the dwelling rule which mandates that you must live within the city in order to work for the City.

If these folks weren't bound by that rule, the Northeast would have emptied out a long time ago as these residents would have headed for Neshaminy/Trevose in Bucks County and also New Jersey.

You don't understand because [it seems obvious that either] you don't live in the Northeast or know anybody who does live there; in particular below Pennypack Park.

Ha ha ha

You don't understand because [it seems obvious that either] you don't live in the Northeast or know anybody who does live there; in particular below Pennypack Park.

Ok, this seems like a childish taunt, so I'll let it be, and the many facts (online even) can speak for themselves

However, what I said I didn't understand was not the Northeast, but your empathy with some pretty disgusting and racists posters. YOU said (not anyone in the NE) that you empathized with a set of problems I would argue don't exist, or at least in the way you frame them.

Reading between the lines

You're making a blithe assumption that I sympathize with KSS. I do not.

I am sympathizing w/ Northeast residents (which is the area where the posters are coming from) mostly because the residents up there are painfully aware that this section of the city is decaying and going downhill, but you're trying to tie my sympathy up as "racist" because it makes a neat little bow for you to contemplate.

I would probably sympathize with you too should an "MLK Towers" plops up in the heart of Northern Liberties and brings with it low-income subsidized renters. It doesn't matter what end of the political spectrum you lie--you already know what will happen should that situation arise.

In the NE's case, they're facing a slow spread of low-income renters moving further and further north. Most of these folks are young families who are trying to escape sections of the city that resemble Beirut, replete with torched buildings and sporadic gunfire. Unfortunately the people who comprise "the problem" eventually migrate to these sections as well; so what was once a fantastic neighborhood as turned craptastic.

So while you wallow in "shock" about the posters which have been peppering light poles around town off and on for several years, I thought it would be helpful if most of you who don't live up in this part of the city understood the logic and people behind the poster and what their concerns are; other than tossing up your jazz hands and blurting "OMG that's so racist!" and moving on to the next bit of drama. You don't live in Olney, or Oxford Circle or Frankfor or Summerdale or Lawndale or Wissinoming or Juniata or any of these other places which have recently gone downhill.

By the way, I think it's cute you're calling an out gay man a racist.

honey

#1- i am gay too, and I know plenty of gay racists.

#2- i never called you a racist.

#3- your specific comment, originally, was [bolding is mine]:

I believe all or most of these posters are promoting the Keystone State Skinheads.

Their website is http://www.keystoneunited.com

...

I think the subtext of the posters, which have been blanketed up in the Northeast, is mostly as a "defense" to discourage non-white and poor minorities from moving further up into the Northeast; and it mostly targets poor blacks.

In some respects, as nasty as their campaign is--I somewhat sympathize with the angst a lot of people in the Northeast have. It is a 1/3 of the city's land mass, pays a huge amount of wage tax into the city, and in return, they get low-income renters moving into their formerly 100% owner-occupied neighborhoods, spewing trash everywhere, bringing with them their poorly educated children and crime, which then drags property values into the gutter, which opens the floodgates for even more rentals. This process accelerates until it looks like a suburb of Calcutta.

I don't understand your empathy. I am not going to play the "some of my best friends are from the Northeast" game with you, but as a life-long Philadelphian I have known many people from the Northeast. At let's be clear, the people of the Northeast did not put up this poster, at least according to you, skinheads did.

Therefore, the poster in question is simply racist. And I have no empathy with those who put it up.

You however identify a racial and class angst in the NE (which may or may not exist, but you are the one who has suggested it did) based on an analysis that I don't find sound or agree with. I have a feeling you just want to argue, but if you are gonna throw little bombs out, back 'em up.

Show some data that supports the implication that people in the NE pay more in wage tax than the rest of us, show us some numbers on home owners vs. renters per census tract city-wide, show us that the NE has more low-income renters than other neighborhoods, let's hear more about the trash said renters are spewing, tell us more about their "poorly educated children," and do tell, what exactly does a a suburb of Calcutta look like?

KSS are REAL nazis

That poster is from the KSS, and they are very real nazis (despite current attempts by them to downplay their overtly fascist and racist beliefs---this has been their new strategy since KSS member Keith Carney was released from prison for violently attacking a black man)....

"East Chestnut," I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny or not, but apologism for Nazi appeals to the northeast's racism does not seem legitimate to me in any way at all. Nazis are totally unacceptable. Furthermore, gay people can certainly be racist, and many are.... Just like folks of color can be anti-gay.... Nazis and fascists have always attempted to play upon folks' real fears, and that doesn't mean folks' real fears are legitimate in any way. The ideological basis for govt. sanctioned lynchings of blacks was that the "white women had to be protected from black rapists." The fears played upon in those posters is just today's equivalent.

Folks mentioned that the KSS has been discussed before, but if you don't know about the new Natl Geographic documentary on Racist Skinheads today, check it out. KSS is prominently featured, as well as the KSS' buddies, Jason Tankersly and the Maryland Skinheads.

As documented in the National Geographic special, for the last coupla years they have tried to revamp their public image and strategically come off as less overtly racist.... but they are real nazis.... for example, their website is still kss88.org. "88" means "HH" (H is the eighth letter in the alphabet) or "Heil Hitler", as documented in the Natl Geographic doc.... This is a you-tube vid giving an excerpt from that doc, featuring Jason Tankersly of the Maryland Skinheads, who was hanging out with Keith Carney and the KSS at the April 19 Mumia demo..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pxhx4d-w0k
Carney is shown in this vid 40 sec in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf2njPRdxsM

This is a photo of Tankersly in York, PA, 2002: http://phillyimc.org/files/imagecache/story/files/tankersly.jpg

Interestingly, if you look at the April 19 Mumia footage, they have changed that poster from "Dangerous Minorities" to "Violent Criminals." I would guess that this was done because the "Dangerous Minorities" statement was so obviously racist that they wanted to tone it down....

by the way

By the way, I moved to Philly in 2001, and since me arrival, and involvement in the Philly activist scene, I quickly learned that the Northeast (as well as parts of South Philly) is almost universally regarded as a bastion of white racism and lots of other reactionary views.... The common term I have heard, is "Nazi Northeast," so maybe there is something to the assertion that folks in the northeast do hold such reactionary beliefs...

However, I haven't spent much time up there. I am just reporting on what I have heard from folks who grew up in Philly.

Thanks for the insider report on the NE

This has to be the most ridiculous thread of comments on YPP that I can remember. (And that is saying something.)

Please stop.

EC is just summarizing a whole "literature"

What Ray refers to "racial and class angst" about the percieved encroachment of "section 8" (both the actual program and people imagined to be pariticpants) and rentals generally into NE (and particularly areas like Mayfair) is a dominant theme in hundreds and hundreds of threads each with in turns hundreds of posts on Phillyblog. It can be quite sobering to read how so many fellow Philadlephians think on those terms but I fear people are blaming East Chestnut in part for accuratetly summarizing what I would call a pretty developed discourse over on PB.

I have a limited stomach for it myself but I think its important for progressive folks to understand how deep and pervasive those "concerns" are. Once you catch the tune (it doesn't take long) you hear its echos in more mainstream political circles. Councilwoman Krajewski's had a bill last year related to reducing the number of rentals, for example. Basically if you pick almost any other random thread in the NE Philly section of PB, you get the same basic theme. Homeowners are moving out replaced by "absentee landlords" that rent to "them" that bring "their" trash and loud music, etc.

I have no interest in defending our explaining such attitudes, just pointing out that if you are not at least aware of it, you will miss out on how it influences everything from City Council debates of rental law to Taubenberger's TV ad in the mayoral campaign with all the folks from NE saying one after the other "He's one of us. He's from NE." over and over again.
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

confusing the issue

Sean, I am not blaming EastChestnut for anything. I am saying I do not share his emapthy or his belief that there is in fact a problem in NE Philly. Again, here is what he said:

In some respects, as nasty as their campaign is--I somewhat sympathize with the angst a lot of people in the Northeast have. It is a 1/3 of the city's land mass, pays a huge amount of wage tax into the city, and in return, they get low-income renters moving into their formerly 100% owner-occupied neighborhoods, spewing trash everywhere, bringing with them their poorly educated children and crime, which then drags property values into the gutter, which opens the floodgates for even more rentals. This process accelerates until it looks like a suburb of Calcutta.

And I respect that PB may talk about this a lot, but you don't even have to go to PB to hear Philadelphians say racist things or betray an ignorant perspective. I am well aware of that. What I did not get is why EC was empathetic.

And Sean, this attitude toward people moving in or out of neighborhoods, and the racist or classist subtext, is hardly limited to NE Philly. In fact it happens just as much right here in West Philly, though the context or the trimmings may seem different.

All I am saying

Is that I have lived in many cities and until I started reading how many folks in NE Philly think, I had never heard racism articulated in the detail and uniformity as I have read it spelled in an astonishing level of detail as here in Philly, particularly from folks from lower NE Philly.

And I don't mean from "kooks", I mean from folks that are the heads of neighborhood associations, self-described community leaders, party activists in both the Dem and Republican party.

That quote you are holding up with disdain seems to be the opinion of about 90% the people with computers in Mayfair from what I can tell. I'm saying if that quote gets under your skin, you really are gravely missing the depth of feeling in that neck of the woods. EC's just repeating what he's probably seen posted literally thousands and thousands of times (no exaggeration). What EC posted is not even the tip of the iceberg, its barely a kitchen size ice cube as to what exists out there.

And there are few small unfortunate truths that feed the misperceptions. PHA is often horrible at managing its scattered site facilities and is often unresponsive to neighbors. An awkward reality of how pricing is set for Housing Choice (the new Section 8)is set is that at a certain point in a neighborhood's decline if housing values are going down that there is a built fiscal incentive for landlords to overpack those areas with subsidized units so that more affluent neighborhoods don't end up carrying their fair share of the burden (which inclusionary housing at lest in theory is designed to address). L&I is arbitrary and lax about enforcing housing codes.

Its not always easy to separate those real-world issues from people's racial fears and prejudices. EC was repeating in a by comparison very mild form what an astonishing level of Lower NE citizens believe to be the truth of what's going on in their neighborhoods, sadly. Probably only because he's read them post it so very, very often.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

I'm not getting your point

The racism I have heard from people in NE Philly-and Center City and University City-is not shocking to me (I wish it were). I do understand how passionately racist and classist a lot of Philadelphians are, and I think I have written extensively about it before and I have certainly tried to work on it as an activist. But that's not the point.

I am asking someone who posted to a blog whose mission to provide a forum for young and progressive Philadelphians said that he personally sympathized with this racism and classism that he says people in the NE have (which is certainly, if nothing else, a generalization) to explain himself.

I am also asking him (or anyone else) to define the problem better: like does NE Philly have more low-income renters than anywhere else, and what exactly is wrong with low-income renters?

More fairly put

Several lower NE neighborhoods are what I would call post-war short-haul "white flight while still keeping the row-house vibe" neighborhoods. They are neighborhoods where progressive job loss (we are still losing jobs net) and crappy public schools are still driving those who can afford to head out further to the burbs. Often the people leaving are now empty-nesters with conservative social views, who perceive crime as a symptom of declining moral values and immigration as a threat (rather than the ticket to economic reinvention it often is in cities).

As these people depart, players in the rental investment proparty biz note these neighborhoods are in fact a better investment than neighborhoods already in worse shape. Many folks from parts of North Philly already in worse shape move into what they percieve to be nearby but more stable neighborhoods. This makes those prone to "White flight" more nervous and the process does feed on itself.

This general trend gets exagereated in the minds of those prone to fears about "neighborhoods changing" and becomes a rallying point and voila groups like KSS find an urban toehold.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

Something missing from your white flight equation, Mr. Luigi

I lived in Mt. Airy where whites moved out of nice neighborhoods without any contemporaneous encroaching decline. You know why they moved out? Because they were racist. They didn't move out because of job loss, crappy schools, or their perception of moral decline.

This discussion makes me think of Obama's point in his "race" speech. Simply calling people racists will not lead to progress on issues such as this one. Sure, there are people who have legitimate concerns which underlie attitudes that some oversimplify as racist. On the other hand, there are folks who are just flat out racists.

Linking the racist attitudes those posters express to legitimate concerns about property values seems pretty absurd.

Racism: Stupid

To dislike a person for no reason but his or her race or ethnicity without regard to such persons morals or intelligence or something else does not make sense to me. Thus, I agree with D.E.II as well as anyone else with like arguments.

Koba

I agree and I don't

On the one hand of course on a gut level these people are idiots of course. Unfornately, having actually read posts by these KSS clowns, even argued with them directly repeatedly, I know that its a little too easy to just insult their intelligence. It would be simpler to just say "Oh they believe those hateful things because they are mentally defective" but its not true. They believe a hateful twisted ideology but neither of the two I mentioned earlier are in any literal sense lacking in intelligence, sadly.

They go to events like the release of Maureen Faulkner's book at Geno's Steaks and are quite "smart" about using it as a recruitment tool, putting across their ideology in a more "palatable" form to pull in new supporters. They go out of their way in their public announcements to use words that feigns a certain degree of respect like "the black community" while trying to make "white power" sound reasonable to those they would like to bring to their side. Sadly when you encounter these people in real life (or rather on the computer), they are not as cartoony and easily dismissed as laughable as one would like them to be.

Really, I tire of talking about these people. The less they are mentioned the better - except that it is important to note that they do exist right here in our city, they are not "ambiguous" in their message or intent and that their activity warrants an appropriate level of vigilence. Nothing more, nothing less.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

One other thing

Several KSS members are actually frequent posters on PB. If you want to read their opinions on anything from the assault rifle ban to Joey Vento to why Ron Paul is the best thing sliced bread in terms of economics cerberus and thirteenstars are the two that spring immediately to mind. Cerberus is a building trades union member (not surprisingly he was outspoken in opposition to the Convention Center work agreement) and an Iraqui War vet, actually, I believe. Both PB posters, cerebus and thriteenstars, are quite active in KSS and lifelong residents of Mayfair as I understand it - so yes those posters are in fact very, very likely made by people from lower NE Philly.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

On the button

Mr.L, precisely. Mind you, in a few weeks I'll be joining those folks up in the Northeast, as I am leaving Center City.

Northeast Philadelphians have some common bonding beliefs that were gained over years of experience with living in this section. I'm not sure exactly how many people post or read YPP who actually live above the Frankford Transportation Center up to Franklin Mills, but with all due respect, this is a section of the city many people ignore and/or dismiss since it holds little value to those living in other neighborhoods.

Mind you, the Northeast is the only Republican-friendly area in the entire city, save for a bungalow here and there in Chestnut Hill. There are some key things you should know with respect to cultural differences between NE residents and those in the gentrified areas that cling to Center City. The area, especially near Mayfair but also continuing northward, is home to many of the city's police and fire fighters. It is conservative, including all the Democrats who live there. It's working class, not creative class.

It helps to know this sentiment, one could say resentment, if you want to grasp why wheat pastings such as the ones this post today even materialized to begin with. The members of KSS who are operating in the city, sympathizers, etc., live in NE and South Philadelphia. They are capitalizing on resentment and disapproval of their city based on local economic forces that are happening around them, namely the change of some adjacent neighborhoods from what one could consider sublime to one now known as sub-prime.

As that decline happens, it doesn't take long for you to notice the neighborhood getting a new concentration of little red dots in the Inquirer's shooting map. The correlation between neighborhood decay and violence is uncanny.

And that's where the KSS is stepping in--just like the recent shooting with Sgt. Liczbinsky. While almost every YPP reader has been struck with fear by those posters, there's plenty of others who've spotted them and thought to themselves... "ain't that the truth!"

While I SYMpathize with NE residents' angst, on the basis that they feel powerless to prevent their neighborhoods' decline [not EMPathy, there's a difference], the us/them viewpoint most NE residents take between those who have lived their entire lives in one 4 block radius versus allowing new residents into the neighborhood only exacerbates tension and makes the air quite toxic.

This tension, left unchecked, could blossom into a situation that could go supercritical and will be beyond the City to control it.

We have been in this situation before [ignoring certain festering problems], and it gave us the 1985 MOVE bombing.

incredibly condescending

East, you have started off from a premise that you are the only one who knows anything about the sentiments and feelings of white working class people or residents of the Northeast. Quite simply put, you don't, and in fact what you profess to know about Northeast residents seems overly-generalized and sterotypical to me.

There is of course the reality that many white people are scared of living near people of color, and many middle-class and aspiring middle-class people want to be as far as possible from lower income folks. And that is very much a part of (and is today still) a part of the history of neighborhood development a la white flight in Philly (and many cities).

And there's also no arguing that a lot of middle class people in this city and country are on their own as compared to the super rich who can afford to isolate themselves from real life with their financial privilege (which is even what is happening in the city, to some extent, in Chestnut Hill and Center City and Fairmount) but...

...that does not make it right. Poverty and racial injustice are communal problems, and with 1/3 of our residents living in poverty, there is an urgent need for communal action here.

Which is why I agree with you here:

This tension, left unchecked, could blossom into a situation that could go supercritical and will be beyond the City to control it.

That's why, IMO, we need to beef up the affordable housing trust fund, keep landlord-tenant laws in place, spend a lot of $ on afterschool programs, fix the school district, expand health center hours, keep libraries open on weekends and evenings, fix SEPTA and incorporate sustainable, fix our DA's office, find more money for good community policing and new officers and focus on medium to high wage job development at every step along the way.

Do you disagree? Do you seriously think, as you say elsewhere, that building new prisons is the key?

Uhm, I talk to NE residents

Uhm, I talk to NE residents every single day. They are also some of the most active bunch of posters on PB. A NE resident is the one who showed me the house I'm moving into. 16 people whom I work with live up this way. I know most of the bus routes through the area. IOW, it's not foreign territory to me.

Look, you simply cannot have a meaningful discussion about racism like this in our city (like this poster slick) without talking about race, class, and where the poster came from and what kind of energy is behind statements as shocking as this. As I said before, throwing your hands to your face and blurting "OMG! That's so racist!" and moving on doesn't help anyone understand what's going on.

The sentiments of the people whom I described earlier are not outliers, it's a widespread belief up yonder. Go spark up a neighborhood discussion at any NE Chickie and Pete's location with the locals. You'll get a hell of a lot more unedited diatribe about the state of affairs up there than the painstakingly-filtered version I am giving you here.

As for my other post about crime, yes I believe a significant increase in jail capacity will reward us with a huge KO in the local recidivism rate here which may even give the side boost of deterrence when word gets out that parole will become a bit more difficult to come by. As far as WHO is in prison, I think some adjustments can be made to PA's sentencing guidelines which mimic actions by other states to re-prioritize offenses (as has been done in California and Colorado for marijuana possession) to free up some bed space so that way the state can meet its goals in retarding recidivism.

your record is skipping Mary

Listen, I know some of your best friends are from the Northeast (a real representative sample too!), but you keep repeating the same point which is that you know some racist and classist people who live in the NE.

I heard you , but so what? I am not surprised or shocked by this (you seem to have me confused with Brady who actually wrote this post), but I am saying that as much as it's true, it's bad. Like duh. And unlike you, I have no sympathy for anyone who would post a sign like the one you loaded up above (which is very clearly what you hint at above).

And I, for one, am not wringing my hands and moving on, and all you have to do is search my other posts and look at what i do in real life to see that I try my best to support or help make change happen especially in terms of racism and classism.

What exactly is your plan of action? Telling us that racism is "real" and that everyone is NE Philly is a racist? Gross generalization much?. Or that you want to build more prisons? Smart. Or accusing me of homophobia? Slick. Or that you think it's a shame that renters are moving to the NE? Don't you own a few properties yourself EC? And that you think they "spew garbage" or have uneducated children? Uh huh.

Whatever. Moving on.

I have obviously been a fool to waste so much time on this already, but bottom line, back to the beginning, yea Brady, the Nazi posters you found on Obama's posters are bad. There's racism here. Duh. I still don;t get why you are still with Clinton. Luckily the chances of Obama beating McCain are great, and when he does, it'll be one leg up on racism. Meanwhile, in the short term, Dan's post about the budget and the BPT is worth a read as it hints at local opportunities to address racism and injustice at the city level.

It is my considered opinion, that we have here

is a classic case of a "concern troll." Consider the evidence: Saying that building more prisons in a country with 5% of the world's population, 25% of the world's prison population, and a relatively high crime rate, will effectively reduce crime (while unexplainably excluding any other suggestions). Saying that "tons of idiots" believe that banning machine guns will magically make them disappear. Expressing "sympathy" with those who blame worsening conditions in their community on race.

I'll leave it to the jury to decide.

Saying that building more

Saying that building more prisons in a country with 5% of the world's population, 25% of the world's prison population, and a relatively high crime rate, will effectively reduce crime (while unexplainably excluding any other suggestions). Saying that "tons of idiots" believe that banning machine guns will magically make them disappear. Expressing "sympathy" with those who blame worsening conditions in their community on race.

1. Where did the first two statistics come from? Is this a subjective source?

2. The problem with the crime rate in Philadelphia is recidivism and jail capacity has been exacerbated. How would YOU approach the issue? Give out hugs?

3. And AGAIN you are misreading me because you only want to twist my words and cry "racist". I sympathize with NE residents, which you disregard as complete racists, based on the fact that they are lying witness to their neighborhoods deteriorating and falling apart. It's kind of like going to visit grandma's house 25 years later after you have last been there and then finding out it is now a crack den.

I don't disregard residents of the NE

except those that are racist. And this thread was directed at racist propoganda.

In reverse order:

You have tied legitimate concerns about property values to the beliefs of those who are, clearly, racist. And you continue to do so in this thread. There are no shortage of threads on this site that discuss the problems of poverty in this city, and what kinds of actions should be taken to improve neighborhoods, and, less desirably, slow the deterioration of neighborhoods. Yet you bring up that topic in a thread on a post about a racist poster. In case you haven't noticed, there are all kinds of neighborhoods in this city which are experiencing, and which have experienced, decline. Yet, your interest seems to be exclusive to one neighborhood, and you not so coincidentally comment on that neighborhood in a post related to race. If want to talk about racism in this city, I suggest you write a post, and create a more inclusive context for the discussion.

Jail capacity is a real issue - particularly as a short-term solution. But, initially, you brought up lack of capacity as the single solution to the high crime rate. First, simply building more jails will not reduce over-crowding problems nearly as efficiently as focusing on who goes to jail for how long. Secondly, simply increasing jail capacity will not, unless you throw people into jail for the entirety of their lives, not efficiently reduce recidivism. People thrown into jail for minor offenses are likely to become more hardened criminals as a result of their experiences. Finally, simply railing about lack of jail capacity, without putting it in a context of where the money is going to come from is nothing more than bloviating (and it is one of the reasons why you seem like a "concern troll). Maybe you should talk to some of your NE Republicans why they object to paying the taxes that might help with the funding for initiatives such as building more jails.

I'm not sure where the stat comes from. It's something I heard on the radio. I believe it to be true. If you don't, try doing some research.

One last note: I suggest that you take some of your NE buddies on a tour of East and/or West Mt. Airy. If you do so, then they'll see beautiful and economically stable multi-racial, mixed income neighborhoods. Seeing those areas might help alleviate their concerns about their region of the city.

And another note, EC

The reason why sections of East Mt. Airy, and West Mt. Airy did not suffer the fate of white flight is because the residents there made an explicit and concerted effort to fight the ugly effects of racism. They did not "sympathize" with racists. They recognized how racism infects a neighborhood to everyone's disadvantage (outside of real estate agents and speculators).

That's why, even though the racists moved out of Mt. Airy (good riddance), the area has remained successful and stable.

But YPP readers believe just about EVERYBODY in the NE is racist

In other words, "Visit Mt. Airy with our high property values and our white and black middle class folks of retirees and creative class professionals."

1. The Northeast comprises 1/3 of the entire city's land mass. It's not a teensy weensy little part of town like Oak Lane or Mt. Airy.

2. The Northeast is geographically boring. Flat land with post-war rowhomes, twins throughout most of it, and a few wooden apartment complexes and every now and then a McMansion.

3. The people are overwhelmingly working-class. A large number of city employees live up in this section. Drive around... it's clear that income levels are above poverty level, but way below what people who live in Mt. Airy make.

4. The folks in the NE are overwhelmingly conservative, which upsets/irks most of you. But these are the people who are keeping Perzel employed.

I'll repeat it again, the local KSS is operating out of THIS SECTION OF THE CITY. Their sympathizers live up here. They actually pop out in public and hand out flyers in the flesh at events up here.

"The creep" is the logic behind why the KSS is active here, and why your rainbow of community of gentrification is getting peppered with Racistnazi posters under the cover of darkness. These guys feel emboldened.

If you want to continue believing otherwise, or think that's too preposterous an idea that it couldn't possibly be true... then I strongly suggest when you travel on Interstate 95 to NEVER take the Cottman Avenue exit.

Regarding Philly's overcrowded jails

"Hugs" vs. building more local jails is a false dichotomy. It costs a ridiculous ammount of money for the city to house as many people as it does. According to Gillison in last week's paper, around 30% of the people we are holding in city jails (not state prison) are simply folks awaiting trial on minor drug and property-crime charges who are too poor to make bail. As I harped at length last week for many of these non-violent offenders alternative processes drug courts, pre-trial parole like supervised release, etc. are not just better solutions but more economical. Or we could let the problem fester and let the courts start mandating releases with the possibility of many of the people who should not be on the streets get dumped there.

Additionally there are a smaller number of folks who are serving two sentences that together are 24 months (state time) who the state system should be taking off of the city's hands.

Last week, I urged repeatedly for progressives to "step up our game" in terms of local incarceration and criminal justice system reform - including looking at the state of the art for takling recidivism.

RE EC- despite folks grumbling here I know to be one of those "Obama Independents". His adoption of a more conservative criminal justice line here I fear is more a reflection of us "progressive's" lack of a stronger, more developed criminal justice reform discourse - exactly like I was calling on us to develop.

RE "wringing hands" - not fair. Remember, I've actually gotten into knock-down drag-out arguments with these guys from KSS on multiple occasions. What some here are not perceiving, I think, is that on many of those occasions East Chestnut was on "our side" (speaking out against blatant racism) in the bigger scheme of things.
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

I can't handle this discussion

except to briefly say that we have known this:

According to Gillison in last week's paper, around 30% of the people we are holding in city jails (not state prison) are simply folks awaiting trial on minor drug and property-crime charges who are too poor to make bail.

for a while, it is f----d, and so are our priorities if we don't actually do something about it. The fact that the ability to pay a couple hundred dollars bond determines (for a time) whether a person is incarcerated or free...

...How awful that is is self-evident.

And Sean, yes, I agree that it is a really necessary and potentially productive moment to push the discourse further, but:

I fear is more a reflection of us "progressive's" lack of a stronger, more developed criminal justice reform discourse - exactly like I was calling on us to develop.

Come on. If a person is going to question bare STATISTICS OF INCARCERATION RATES, I really don't think the problem is the packaging of a progressive criminal justice policy.

A Quarter of the Worlds Prisoners

Per the International Herald-Tribune: 5 Percent of the population, 25 percent of the prison population, highest per capita rate of incarceration.

Questioning prison stats is a duh issue

From the New York Times, April 2008:

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

If you're wondering about subjectiveness, compare your attitude with the rest of the world:

Whatever the reason, the gap between American justice and that of the rest of the world is enormous and growing.

It used to be that Europeans came to the United States to study its prison systems. They came away impressed.

"In no country is criminal justice administered with more mildness than in the United States," Alexis de Tocqueville, who toured American penitentiaries in 1831, wrote in "Democracy in America."

No more.

"Far from serving as a model for the world, contemporary America is viewed with horror," James Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale, wrote last year in Social Research. "Certainly there are no European governments sending delegations to learn from us about how to manage prisons."

Meanwhile, believe it or not, there are better ideas than prisons and hugs:

From the Washington Post, February 2008:

Although studies generally find that imprisoning more offenders reduces crime, the effect may be less influential than changes in the unemployment rate, wages, the ratio of police officers to residents and the proportion of young people in the population, report co-author Adam Gelb said.

In addition, when it comes to preventing repeat offenses by nonviolent criminals -- who make up about half of the incarcerated population -- less-expensive punishments such as community supervision, electronic monitoring and mandatory drug counseling might prove as much or more effective than jail.

Is it a function of our

Is it a function of our statistics being thoroughly collected, i.e. having excellent accounting, or are you arguing that we have developed a unique "jail-culture" that absolutely no other country in the world could even mimic?

I believe it's the former.

Yeah, you know Western

Yeah, you know Western Europe, with all those hidden gulags!

No its the later.

We do have a "jail culture" and an "economic disparity culture" that few other wealthy developed country would ever mimic. That "economic disparity culture" comes from a form of economic and geographical isolationism that often revolves around differences in school districts and access to jobs. Rarely is the racial dimension of this as explicit as some of the stuff discussed in this thread is but it often involves what I would call a "soft racism" thats often harder to put your finger on. Its also harder to separate from what some would describe as "valid" middle class and working class woes. See Clinton v. Obama.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

"I heard you , but so what?

"I heard you , but so what? I am not surprised or shocked by this (you seem to have me confused with Brady who actually wrote this post), but I am saying that as much as it's true, it's bad. Like duh. And unlike you, I have no sympathy for anyone who would post a sign like the one you loaded up above (which is very clearly what you hint at above)."

Accusing me of actually pasting the things? You are really, really reaching. It's sad. You need therapy.

"And I, for one, am not wringing my hands and moving on, and all you have to do is search my other posts and look at what i do in real life to see that I try my best to support or help make change happen especially in terms of racism and classism."

Apparently it's worked out so well that there's hardly any racists or classists in Philadelphia. Moving on...

"What exactly is your plan of action? Telling us that racism is "real" and that everyone is NE Philly is a racist? Gross generalization much?. Or that you want to build more prisons? Smart. Or accusing me of homophobia? Slick. Or that you think it's a shame that renters are moving to the NE? Don't you own a few properties yourself EC? And that you think they "spew garbage" or have uneducated children? Uh huh."

I'm saying IGNORE THE FREAKING POSTERS. If you knew who was responsible for them then it shouldn't bother you too much. The AA community is not having an apoplectic fit about them, just a few scattered white liberals. You are a white liberal, no?

As far as spewing trash, and having uneducated children, I urge you to take a walk with me the entire length of Master Street and Diamond Street through some of these bombed-out neighborhoods.

And walk it. Don't sit in the comfort of a car or a SEPTA bus. A bicycle is OK.

After you visit that, maybe you can also take a look at the western side of Oxford Circle and Juniata, areas that have recently laid fallow. It's not racist or classist to observe how the densification of poverty affects negative changes.

"I have obviously been a fool to waste so much time on this already, but bottom line, back to the beginning, yea Brady, the Nazi posters you found on Obama's posters are bad. There's racism here. Duh. I still don;t get why you are still with Clinton. Luckily the chances of Obama beating McCain are great, and when he does, it'll be one leg up on racism. Meanwhile, in the short term, Dan's post about the budget and the BPT is worth a read as it hints at local opportunities to address racism and injustice at the city level."

I'm not sure how the presidential election fits into this, other that it was a wheat pasting on an Obama poster.

As far as curing racism and injustice, don't you think that's better accomplished through a complete destruction and rebuild of the Philadelphia school system?

I would argue that a source of many of our problems lie with the children who live in Philadelphia and the education that they currently are not getting. We still have a 2-tier school system in this city.

Why?

Stick with the Northeast EC

As far as curing racism and injustice, don't you think that's better accomplished through a complete destruction and rebuild of the Philadelphia school system?

Not interested and won't get involved in a long debate with you over the public schools, but as someone who has taught, done administrative work, professional development, and am now a parent in the public schools, I would advise that such reactionary talk doesn't become someone who's arguing against a one-size-fits-all stereotype of your future neighborhood.

Ugh, one more thing

it is really startling (though maybe shouldn't be?) that in the years since so much of the city saw and experienced white flight, that our understanding of how it works and what is behind it is apparently so ridiculously thin. You'd think it was still the 1960s reading some of this conversation.

I see your education failed you, too

"Not interested and won't get involved in a long debate with you over the public schools, but as someone who has taught, done administrative work, professional development, and am now a parent in the public schools, I would advise that such reactionary talk doesn't become someone who's arguing against a one-size-fits-all stereotype of your future neighborhood."

Not withstanding the grammar, this type of retort exemplifies some of the problems the Philadelphia School District has.

Ok, EC, I'm done

Try reading some more more of Helen's posts: She is an excellent writer. Criticizing her on her grammar is laughable. Criticizing her analysis of the problems with our public school system might be legitimate, (although I wouldn't recommend trying), but your blanket dismissal is pathetic, at best.

Indubidibly

Quid pro quo.

Yeah, especially in terms of

Yeah, especially in terms of schools, that Helen Gym has no credibility at all.

I am honored to have someone like Helen posting at YPP. Keep up the personal attacks, and you can join Danny Savage's gf over at Phillyblog complaining about what a tyrant I am.

really, last word

ok all: brady took a picture of a messed up nazi poster downtown. apparently folks on PB saw these a while back and blogged about 'em (is a poster is pasted to a wl and no one blogs about it...can anyone see it?), but it was new to YPP folks. And for those who are not in CC or the NE everyday, and hadn't seen 'em, the posters are gross. and racist.

And then EC came around and posted a pic of an equally messed up pic directly aimed at people of color moving into the NE that is posted in the NE.

Also gross, also racist.

That should be the end of convo right? What else is there to say, and what else to do but the things many of us to do on a daily basis to make the world a better place?

So why are we now replying to someone who moved to Philadelphia recently (yet thinks he speaks for the whole NE and apparently thinks everyone there, or a majority are conservative and/or racist) and who himself may own property in the areas he calls slums and ghettos (raise your hand if you grew up in an urban neighborhood and hate slumlords), who is here only for a fight (including accusing me of homophobia against him) and who is sympathetic to said posters?; let's all move on.

EC can spin his wheels all he want. But between schools, city budget, Philly Against McCain, health care in the state leg, and more--there are plenty of better things to talk about.

Excuse me

When have I ever posted a picture on YPP?

You keep claiming I'm posting and adding KSS-sympathetic rhetoric. I am doing no such thing.

Instead, all of you choose to attack the messenger. As much as all of you seem to share collective rhetoric and shut out anything to the contrary; all you seem to really do is ignore the very problems that you claim to want to solve.

My bad/Fav Crit of YPP

[I know I said last word, but I couldn't resist]

I was wrong EC, sorry, Jeerleader posted pic. You still did say some crazy stuff.

This though is my new fav line, Dan maybe we should make it the tagline on the header?

As much as all of you seem to share collective rhetoric and shut out anything to the contrary; all you seem to really do is ignore the very problems that you claim to want to solve.

EastChestnut, you are a Republican. You support two Republican candidates in your PB profile alone. So, yes, it's true, we are shutting you out. Read the current header: "Progressive, Young, Philadelphia Politics, from Small to Big."

I continue to be amazed by how incensed some people are that this site is a specific and dedicated community (and a clearing house for on and off line progressive community action and discussion)for young progressives. That's why we exist--why would we veer off that to chat with Nazis or any other opposing group when there's so much to organize around and decide among our own community? You know you don't have to read YPP if you don't like it, lord knows that's why I don't read PB.

And more to the point today, why engage you, a Republican, in a conversation where your goal is to get a rise out of people by saying dumb stuff?

And EC, ever hear about people in glass houses throwing stones? LOL, I love this new post you put up at PB cuz it sure exemplifies it:

http://www.phillyblog.com/philly/politics/57048-youngphillypolitics-coll...

Anyway, what do the rest of you think about the city budget?

You STILL don't get it.

I'm a Republican?

*sigh*

No, I'm a centrist and severely anti-statist Libertarian. It is actually the anti-statism part of my rhetoric that gets you the most upset. That's why I seem like a Republican to you (pro civil rights, but anti foie-gras ban, etc.)

As for the term "Nazi", that's not exactly the correct noun/adjective to use on these specific groups. I would stick to the Southern Poverty Law Center which is a paid mission that is dedicated to monitoring hate groups such as this. They've labeled KSS "skinhead".

And for PB (and PWD and Philebrity) yes, we do hold you guys up as examples.

at the repeating myself stage

from an earlier comment:

So why are we now replying to someone who moved to Philadelphia recently (yet thinks he speaks for the whole NE and apparently thinks everyone there, or a majority are conservative and/or racist) and who himself may own property in the areas he calls slums and ghettos (raise your hand if you grew up in an urban neighborhood and hate slumlords), who is here only for a fight (including accusing me of homophobia against him) and who is sympathetic to said posters?; let's all move on.

Um, and we're almost all Democrats here. I think you are probably in the wrong forum to participate in the kind of MM you seem to prefer at PB.

And, with some editorial privilege, I am shutting off comments now. I can't imagine any new ideas being contributed to this thread, and there are other posts and issues, including one by Helen Gym with a School District update, well worth a read.

Really uncalled for

As someone who defended you in part a couple times in this thread, East this post is wrong-headed and rude. Also plalinly based on inaccurate assumption. Google Helen, why don't you.

Edit: Dan beat me to it.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

Oh Brava. Helen worked

Oh Brava. Helen worked inside the beast.

I've proposed numerous times that the problem with PSD is the size of the beast itself. Let's see how long this next CEO lasts before he/she quits.

ETA: I'll give Helen credibility when she can convince the average Philadelphian that it's a good idea to send your high school age children to Philadelphia public schools.

Until then...

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