I am a Philadelphian born and raised, and I think the one thing that bothers me most about the city is that it’s blatantly segregated.
If you aren’t familiar with Philadelphia the areas of the city are comparable to the boroughs of NYC, South, Southwest, West, Northwest, Northeast, North and Center City Philadelphia all make up this beautiful yet complex city.
South Philly, traditionally speaking was populated predominantly by the Italian Americans, now not so much, it’s more of a melting pot of people. You may still find a very dense population of Italian Americans who have lived in this part of the city for generations.
Southwest, again is a melting pot of culture and ethnic diversity, two of the cities largest Universities are set up in this part of the city so you’ll see people from all walks of life. West Philly depending on which area you’re in is predominantly an area where people of color live more specifically Black people. Northwest is comparable to Southwest, you have a bit of everybody living in the Northwest certain areas are “darker” than others. Northeast Philadelphia is broken into two section, “Northeast” and the “Greater Northeast”, in the lower half of the Northeast you have Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Irish Americans and a sprinkle of Caucasians; the “Greater” Northeast (don’t ask me who decided to call it greater) is predominantly Caucasian, Russian American and other descendants of Northern European countries.
In Center City there is a little diversity not a lot but it’s predominantly Caucasian professionals who more than likely aren’t from Philadelphia at all. Transplants that more than likely attended school here and upon graduation found employment with one of the many companies located in the city.
Last but not least North Philly, North Philly depending on who you ask is made of quite a few neighborhoods that were created to differentiate from the areas where Caucasian’s live, and to make sure there is a separation from the stigma (black and Latino people) of North Philly, if you’re from Philly anything North of City Hall is supposed to be considered North Philadelphia, plain and simple, but someone decided there needed to be invisible lines set up to differentiate the predominantly Black and Latino sections of North Philly from everyone else non-Black or Latino(or from those who were Black and/or Latino that fit into a certain socio-economic status). So you have the Northern Liberties, Port Richmond, Bridesburg, The Art Museum area, Brewerytown and Fairmount, these North Philly neighborhoods are home to majority of the Caucasian population North of City Hall.
Whenever anyone talks about living in North Philadelphia, it automatically invokes negative feelings, the phrase I love most that I hear mainly from Caucasians, “Isn’t that area very sketchy?”, if sketchy is code for poor and full of Black folk then the answer is yes! I’ve heard things like “I rode through the ghetto the other day”.
On a side note I blame black people for taking the word “ghetto” and making it synonymous with our people and our struggle. In no other minority group that I know of do others refer to where they live as the ghetto. I’ve never heard an Asian person, refer to their neighborhood as the ghetto. No matter how far we’ve come and how far we’ll go as a people, the word ghetto and black will always be equivalent.
We all know living in the United States of America that racism is alive and well and probably not going anywhere anytime soon, but it seems in my opinion that now (or maybe it’s been this way but I was too young to realize) there is a new system of power used to separate/alienate those that don’t fit the status qua.
That system I believe is the system of classism, “classes..”
The difference again this is always base on my opinion, between classism and racism is that people from your own racial/ethnic demographic can and will show prejudice towards you. So not only do “you/we” have to deal with people hating you/we based on the color of your skin, now you/we have to deal with the addition of prejudice based on our socio-economic status.
If you live in a certain neighborhood people automatically judge you, good or bad, if you send your children to public school, instead of charter school, private school or catholic school. I don’t understand why it seems mankind is so hell-bent on finding ways to separate ourselves from one another instead of learning from each other and creating a better world for the future generations.
I get tired of hearing people talk shit about things and people they choose purposely not to understand. North Philly isn’t anymore scary then the suburbs, IMO the same shit that happens in a “sketchy” neighborhood could happen anywhere. People period are capable of violence, and destructive behavior no matter their economic status, or color of their skin.
Honestly I’m tired of being tired…trying to teach grown ass people that it’s insensitive and in some cases racist or classist of them to say things about a certain group of people is draining.