There hasn’t been much in the way of updates on 76 Place, the working name for the arena the Sixers want to build on Market Street. We published a study a few weeks ago on the Inquirer’s arena coverage, while the current Zeitgeist continues to center on Chinatown and the community response to the proposal.

It’s been a mixed bag so far, somewhat of an uphill climb for the Sixers in the realm of public perception, but they won a big endorsement this week when local black leaders got together to announce their support for the project:

There’s an interesting arena subplot here that people are afraid to talk about, and that’s the divide between Philadelphia’s black and Asian communities. We at Crossing Broad are a handful of white dudes, so we’re not going to pretend to be experts on race relations, but anybody who has paid half attention to the arena timeline can see that Chinatown appears to be overwhelmingly against the project while the city’s prominent black voices have been more favorable. In our Inquirer story, we noted that labor leader Ryan Boyer and former Mayor Michael Nutter authored arena op-eds trending from supportive to neutral, based on the macro-level thought that 1) this would be good for Market East and 2), create union jobs that are worked by black men and women in Philadelphia.

The truth is that this is much more than some simple concept of marginalized Asian community vs. rich white developer. Boiling it down to that doesn’t tell the full story, because it leaves out the black community entirely, even if the arena project is not going to directly impact a predominantly black neighborhood (like the Temple football stadium in North Philly would have). The arena, of course, is on the Chinatown border, and will certainly have some sort of impact on the neighborhood, but when you consider job creation, construction, and basketball’s prominence in the black community, it would be naive to think these opinions or endorsements don’t matter.

Plus, the bottom line is that the black/African-American population in Philadelphia comprises more than one-third of the entire county, according to the latest census data. Even at that community meeting where the Sixers got absolutely hammered, it wasn’t David Adelman and Josh Harris getting crushed by the crowd, it was a black guy, David Gould, standing up there. This is all very complicated and goes far beyond the Chinatown vs. Sixers storyline that’s been most visible in the media.

It’s something to think about as the arena discussion plays out in the coming weeks and months. The Sixers took some significant winter hits and are fighting an uphill battle here, so they’ll need as many small victories as they can get, and stuff like this helps their case.