Philadelphia Magazine published a story called “Being White in Philly,” in which writer Robert Huber attempts to capture the angst of race relations in the city from the perspective of whites. He claims that the objective of his article is to invite an honest conversation about race, writing:

“What gets examined publicly about race is generally one-dimensional, looked at almost exclusively from the perspective of people of color. Of course, it is Black people who have faced generations of discrimination and who deal with it still. But our public discourse ignores the fact that race—particularly in a place like Philadelphia—is also an issue for White people. Though White people never talk about it.

Everyone might have a race story, but few Whites risk the third-rail danger of speaking publicly about race, given the long, troubled history of race relations in this country and even more so in this city. Race is only talked about in a sanitized form, when it’s talked about at all, with actual thoughts and feelings buried, which only ups the ante. Race remains the elephant in the room, even on the absurd level of who holds the door to enter a convenience store.”

According to Huber, today’s political correct culture discourages whites from speaking up about how hard it is to mesh with people of color. He paints himself as courageous for publishing the “things that never get said.”

But those things are deplorably racist.

Huber’s interviews with anonymous sources paint blacks as criminals, thieves and drug dealers who are predisposed to violence and general bad behavior. The interviewees, who are all white, tell their sad tale of being victimized by the black people in their neighborhood. The only trait connecting the criminals the interviewees describe is the fact that they’re all black, which suggests that race is the reason they behave as badly as they do.

And that’s not all. Huber points out that blacks disproportionately populate the prison system, drop out of school and live in poverty, but never addresses the systematic racism behind it.

He fails to consider factors like class; though he briefly mentions there’s a black middle class, the article only addresses the behavior of black people who “live below the poverty line.” He never even acknowledges the obvious truth that actions of one, or even a group of black people, don’t represent the entire race.

Instead, he interviews several people who recount unfavorable experiences with blacks. Some describe being robbed while others lament giving black kids candy on Halloween when they didn’t even have the decency to dress up. Huber’s anecdotes communicate one strong message: how very hard it is for good-natured whites to live among blacks in Philadelphia.

Huber even interviews a law school student “Anna,” who says:

“Blacks use skin color as an excuse. Discrimination is an excuse, instead of moving forward. … It’s a shame—you pay taxes, they’re not doing anything except sitting on porches smoking pot … Why do you support them when they won’t work, just make babies and smoking pot?”

There is no rebuttal to her obviously racist and offensive statement, nothing to contest the egregious claim that melanin alone might cause someone to spend all day smoking pot, having babies and failing to become a contributing member of society.

In fact, Huber appears to tip his hat to her, saying that her international background and absence of a “historical filter” informs her honesty or “raw view,” as he puts it. To make it plain, Anna has the balls to say what white people think about lazy, entitled, drug-abusing blacks because she doesn’t have to grapple with the guilt of slavery, which was a really long time ago by the way.

Huber might not call black people the “N-word” or rally against them with KKK supporters in the deep South, but he is just as racist. What’s scary and unsettling about Huber’s kind of racism is that it isn’t overt. The black people who Huber so selflessly held the door for at Wawa have no idea how he truly feels about their kind. His is the type of racism that might cause a person to follow accomplished actor Forest Whitaker through a deli, frisk him and accuse him of shoplifting, the kind that might lead a neighborhood watch volunteer to shoot and kill a teenager in a hoodie who had nothing more than candy and tea in his pockets.

Instead of coming from a place of openness and understanding, Huber was driven by fear and ignorance. In “Being White in Philly,” he tried to force a discussion about race relations by blaming black people; he implied that we’re the reason why white people can’t talk about race and why they can’t even feel safe in their gentrified city neighborhoods. If Huber’s race conversation will only consist of white people pointing the finger at us, excuse me if I sit this one out.

What do you think of Robert Huber’s article “Being White in Philly,” Clutchettes?

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  • Apple

    Oh white people. You never learn

  • Val

    In general I really don’t give a darn what the average White person thinks about Black people. But, when that average White person is a doctor in the ER or a police officer pulling me over or someone who works in HR and is interviewing me, then I care. And, that is the problem with this article, these people aren’t Klansmen or members of some other racist organization, they are indistinguishable from non-racists. And that makes them a million times more dangerous than the KKK. They do their dirt undercover.

    • Tara

      That’s right. They are more dangerous….

    • Chic Noir

      What Val said.

      This right here. Just look at those studies about Blk women getting hysterectomies in comparison to White women is just one example.

  • Starla

    I am going into the other realm here. The truth is everybody responds to telepathic signals. Black people are being bombarded telepathically daily by everybody. EVERY single group have something negative to say about us. For us to rise up over the physical obstacles and psychic obstacles that are put in our way is herculean.

    Many Blacks are also psychically bombarding their own with negativity daily. People pick up these telepathic signals and act them out. Black people, especially Black children must be fed uplifting and empowering thoughts and words to go up against the mental bombing they take from all over the globe. Exalt the divine spirit in each other, say uplifting things about yourself, and each other always.

    Our greatest enemy are the ones we cannot see. This man has written his thoughts in the article and we read it and get upset, something we shouldn’t do, because getting angry only give life to his words (,_or_the_Wreck_of_the_Titan). But imagine walking pass him on the street and he sends his negative thoughts about you out there, and you walk pass 300 people on the street and they all send hundreds and thousands of negative thought impulses out to you. Compound all those mental negativity sent your way day in, day out and the effect they have in the long run. Compound that with your own negative self-imagine, depression, unhappiness and you are doomed to failure in all your doings. Things happen in your life you can’t explain, you make strange choices that cause destruction, your entire home/family is a ruin.

    Protect yourselves! practice meditation, prayer, positive affirmation, loving yourself and your fellow black people. Every time you see a black person surround them in a protective shield of love. We are all we have in this world.

    • this is only true if one is unaware.

      i read ra un nefer amen and i meditate. i don’t give a hoot what white people emanate.


  • This writer is dumb and sheltered. Does he not know that middle class black students also attend Temple with his middle class white son? and does he not think that their parents are just as worried about crime in the area (which pretty much plagues all universities in urban areas)? Does he not know that there are more white people receiving welfare for having babies and not working, but they live just outside of Philadelphia or even further into the hillbilly country that is Pennsylvania? Has he ever left Philadelphia? Has he ever spoken to a black person? I just cannot bother with this guy. He’s completely deluded and is trying to use a pity party as a defense mechanism to not get a knot snatched in his behind for promoting racism, prejudice, and demonizing an entire race of people based off what their impoverished counterpart does.


  • There are a lot of poor whites and the number is growing; the whole white privilege thing is slowly dying off. Being white is not “enough” to get your foot in the door anymore; now you have to be white, rich, AND with connections; its a scary to a lot of white folks. lol

    Really, ever since a brown family moved into the white house society has become more and more scary for white folks. Sooo its no surprise that this article was released by Philly Magazine. The whole purpose of the article is for whites to remind blacks that they are superior by highlighting the negative aspects of the black community in Philly. Its to direct attention away from the increase in white crime and poverty.

    • Keshia

      +1 You better preach!!