Philly Mag published a story on Monday titled “The Eagles Won Big Sunday Night, and So Did White Privilege.”
Some people dismissed it as clickbait, and maybe it is, but I was told that only shitty blogs did that, and not traditional and respected media outlets.
Anyhow, I’m stunned that Philly Mag would poo-poo a big sporting event. Stunned! This is the same outlet that crapped all over the NFL Draft being in town, referring to NFL players as “future rapists” in a piece eloquently titled “Dear NFL: Take Your Stupid NFL Draft and Shove It.”
This is the same outlet that hosted the excellent “Birds 24/7” blog, then decided to get rid of it. This is the outlet that decided to part with one of the city’s best Sixers writers for no apparent reason.
So I’m not surprised that they would take a unifying sporting event and use it as an opportunity to publish something totally divisive instead.
The author, Ernest Owens, is a mini-Shaun King who boycotts the NFL over the Colin Kaepernick issue. He wrote an entire story explaining how Malcolm Jenkins is a sellout (aka Uncle Tom) for “exploiting” Kaepernick, with hardly a mention of Jenkins’ award-winning charitable work for communities of color. Other recent offerings for Philly Mag include a story about how white organizers were influencing the Philly Women’s March and how gay male business owners are trying to take advantage of white privilege.
He also wrote a story for the Metro two years ago titled “Please don’t let this Villanova Parade be another display of white privilege,” so it’s almost like he has an agenda he wants to push.
You understand what beat he’s on.
This latest column begins with him again calling Malcolm Jenkins a sellout before writing this:
When so many are chanting “Fly Eagles Fly,” I am reminded of the double standards around these celebrations. Crowds of white people, in all of their unapologetic privilege, got publicly drunk, set fires, scaled traffic poles, and disrespected city monuments on Sunday night — and everyone cheered them on. “It’s a Philly thing,” I heard down my newsfeed as people relished in the team’s victory. There had been reports of violence before the game even started, and based on press conferences last week, the police weren’t planning to stop the antics, but merely manage them.
Ignore the fact that he links to a Philly Mag article that begins with video of a shirtless black man, who appears to be having no trouble celebrating, wearing an Eagle head.
You know, this guy:
As for the “crowds of white people,” here’s one cheering on a black guy who is banging a drum in the middle of Broad Street:
How dare all of these people… enjoy themselves?
And how about this white privilege right here:
Let’s go to Frankford and Cottman, where the white privilege was on full display in this very diverse crowd:
I don’t know. Looks like a crowd of Eagle fans just having some fun. The irony here is that Mayfair is starting to see an influx of immigrants and people of color, which should help prop up a struggling neighborhood. We had a white guy write about that this week.
Let’s go now to the television to see if they got the hooliganism on camera:
Nope, just three black women and a little girl dancing with a mohawked white guy.
So that part of the story doesn’t hold up. It certainly wasn’t just crowds of white people out on Sunday night. Turns out everybody likes the Eagles.
Let’s see what else Ernest has for us:
So thousands of mostly white people got to roam the streets freely without heavy police intervention and basically got to do whatever they wanted all because our city won a game? There’s a long history of this local tolerance of bad behavior from Eagles fans. But honestly, this level of accepted misconduct isn’t a unique “Eagles fan” phenomenon — it’s an acceptance of white privilege.
Well, according to police reports, there wasn’t much misconduct. There was a whopping total of six arrests on Sunday night.
Our African-American Police Commissioner, Richard Ross, spoke about that:
“When you get upwards of tens of thousands of people in different locations you’re gonna get some fights. Mostly minor in nature,” said Ross.
And police say there were six Eagles related arrests.
In one instance, police say a man named Andrew Tornetta punched a Pennsylvania State Police Corporal and his horse. It happened in Lot M about three hours before the Eagles game started. Tornetta now faces assault charges. There were also two disorderly conduct arrests and three for counterfeit tickets.
Still, because of the hard work of the cops and all the fans who celebrated without causing trouble, Ross says Sunday was a win.
“I think in the grand scheme of things it went very well,” said Ross.
The white idiot kid broke the law and was arrested. The rest “went very well,” according to the commissioner.
Does that make Ross a sellout, too?
It’s baffling how public marches and protests that uplift people of color and women can be heavily monitored by police, but widespread mayhem perpetrated by white men isn’t. I have witnessed a small handful of Black and brown activists being followed by multiple police cars and officers on bikes as if they were a large army. And yet I don’t see such zeal in policing when majority white Mummers take over the streets. I also don’t hear much concern over public safety when large crowds of white people partake in multiple days of St. Patrick’s Day drunkenness.
But people of color are never given the same benefit of a doubt, and that matters.
Probably the only part of the column that makes any kind of sense. I’d agree that the Mummer’s Parade has a history of uncouth behavior, some of which is just idiots being idiots (on 2nd street), and some of which is Caitlyn Jenner signs and blackface, and whatever assorted bullshit people come up with. There are plenty of white people out there who have yet to join the rest of us in the 21st Century.
As for the police stuff, it really gets into the weeds with logistics and numbers. Events are different, yeah? Things like the Mummer’s Parade and Odunde Festival are easy to police and protect because they take place in defined geographic areas. I’ve been to both and I think the law enforcement deployment is very similar. Drunk idiots walk around in various spots during St. Patrick’s Day, so that’s harder to game plan for. And small protests, like the one involving Woody’s and ICandy, you’re going to see the obvious disparity between crowd size and police presence, which I’d think is more about protecting a tiny and mobile group rather than straight-up profiling. In the case of Sunday night, you just try to contain revelers and then disperse the crowd peacefully, which I think the police department did a good job of:
— Andrew Kramer (@Philly_Kramer) January 22, 2018
Ask yourself whether the city would have embraced a crowd of Black men the same way if the Sixers had made it to the NBA finals? If your answer is no, then ask yourself what exactly are we celebrating for.
Saying that football fans are predominantly white and that basketball fans are predominantly black is a stereotype. I see a lot of scrawny white hipsters at Sixer games. It’s probably the most diverse crowd in town. And to answer your question, yes, it absolutely would be embraced, and policed, in similar fashion.
Look, I’m a white kid from a white town on the Berks County border. I went to college in a white state, then moved to Georgia to live in a city that was 60% black. I consider myself fortunate to see how people live in different areas of the country, to experience the new south vs. the old south and immerse myself in ideas and cultures that were new and unfamiliar to me. I worked the 2008 election in the Bible Belt. I’ve seen a lot of shit in 33 years and I’m thankful for it.
I’ll tell you that I feel like white privilege DOES exist. I think a lot people like myself are smart enough to acknowledge that, yes, we probably had an easier path to get to where we are today. We don’t take that for granted. I think we understand that we had a bit of a head start, but the only thing you can really do is work hard to try to build from that. I’m not going to walk around feeling “white guilt” for something that I can’t control. I came out of the womb half Italian and half Anglo mutt, so it is what it is. My parents taught me to treat other people the way I wanted to be treated, and hopefully I can play a role in leveling the playing field for everybody else.
The problem here is that you’re taking an event that unifies an incredibly diverse city and making it divisive instead. I didn’t see black and white on Sunday night, I just saw Eagle fans.
Ernest saw colors, white and black, and does himself disservice by viewing it through that lens.