Wednesday, June 08, 2011

White Flight


The 2010 census figures have shown a major shift in Philadelphia's racial makeup. Approximately 263,000 white folks have moved from Philadelphia to surrounding suburbs in last 20 years. (And truthfully, if the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments didn't require a Philadelphia residence I can guarantee you that number would be a lot higher.)

"The city's white population dropped by nearly a third, 263,254 people, from 1990 to 2010, representing a larger numerical decrease "than the entire population of Buffalo, N.Y.," according to a report released yesterday by the Pew Charitable Trust's Philadelphia Research Initiative.

Northeast Philadelphia, particularly the lower Northeast, saw a significant drop in whites. The Northeast declined from 92 percent white in 1990 to 58.3 percent white in 2010. At the same time, the black, Hispanic and Asian populations grew..." (source)


As I read this article, I couldn't help but think of the 60 year old man from Nebraska that I recently met. He came to Philly a few months ago for a business meeting and couldn't contain his excitement as he admitted he had just seen "his first Black person in real life." SIXTY YEARS OLD! Given that I've lived here my entire life, that's wild to me. My first favorite teacher was Black. My first best friend was Black. We had more Black foster babies than I can remember...yet that guy, a Lib that lives in a lily white state, is telling me *I'm* a racist because I went to a Tea Party or two. Really?

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