From the Editor: Black Monday

It’s been a really bizarre start to the week, Philadelphia.

And sadly, it’s all due to a swirling undercurrent of stereotyping, bigotry and flat out passive aggressive racism serving as culprit. I’ll start with the story we chased and almost nabbed for this week’s issue. This one shed light on local publication in the Bucks County Courier-Times that almost nearly picked a right-wing white supremacist to serve as a member of its reader advisory panel.  

How you don’t do at least a light Google on your members before appointing them to a panel is beyond my realm of thought, but hey we’ve all made mistakes, especially yours truly. Only until it was brought to their attention that Joe Rightwing penned a blog denouncing anyone in some form or another that isn’t of Anglo-Saxon descent did they pull the plug on his seat at the table.

I’m not even going to share this dudes blog because he’s honestly he’s not worth bringing attention to, but know that in one of his recent posts, he wrote firmly:

“Racial hatred is not going to change and it’s never going away.”

To which, I simply say, ‘yeah, you piece of shit, because of people like you.’

Oh, one more from the files of this guy…

“We can try to get whites to accept blacks by overloading the media, Hollywood and the commercial ad business with more and more black actors and more black success stories but it hasn’t worked and it won’t work because people can spot a fraud a mile away, or at least most people can spot the race frauds.”

OK, that’s enough. You get the point.

Long story short is according to that publication – after repeated calls to its editor for comment – said guy has been pulled for selection from its reader advisory board. And in the aftermath of doing so, and since there’s no real story there about some dude with a racist blog – because this is Pennsylvania and there are hundreds of dudes with racist blogs – the story is dead in the water.

Moving on, this next story is the bigger burn, in my opinion.

We have a family friend who allowed us to share their story in anonymity because it’s one that’s so outrageous that I begged her to let me share. She is a successful nurse practitioner at a local hospital, with two boys that attend a predominantly white public school.

Recently, her younger son, just 8-years-old, reacted negatively to an event that happened in the lunchroom. The way it was explained was that due to food allergies he was unable to take part in a meal with the rest of his friends and was segregated to another lunch table. Feeling ostracized, he lashed out, throwing a lunch tray across the cafeteria. Removed from the group and sent to the nurses office for observation, the boy replied, ‘don’t tell my mom, she’s going to beat me.’

In a situation like that the school has to react, but how?

Well, according to our friend, this nurse opted to call the Department of Human Services, which showed up on her doorstep while her 70-plus year-old parents visiting from out of town were shocked at the event unfolding before their eyes.

My friend is a disciplinarian. But a child abuser she is not. Those two boys have the world and it’s hard for me to think that either of them live in an environment where they’re being chased around the house by a belt-wielding, red-eyed crazy lady.

I asked a former colleague who works as an administrator for a school district just outside the city on protocol for situations like this and she agreed that a call to DHS on this mom shouldn’t have been so black and white.

“It’s a really tough call because there are a number of factors that come into play before you go the route of calling DHS,” she said. “Now again, every district is going to react to an event by their own protocols, but typically you take a look at any past history, if there’s any bruising on the child but if there’s nothing there you have to tread lightly. If this is a case of abuse, the last thing you want to do is make the parent upset at the child and have something worse happen if true. So this takes a concerted decision on behalf really of a guidance counselor and school administrators. I’ve never heard of a school nurse with that kind of power.”

But according to my friend, this one apparently felt like she did have the power.

She mentioned having run-ins with this nurse before over other incidents. But inherently her gut keeps telling her this one reeks of backdoor bigotry. Her son being one of a handful of Black children at this school in addition to the fact that she is an NP at a top hospital, to jump the gun on a passive accusation like this could cost her the career she worked decades to get.

Something she made apparent in a text that ruined the rest of my Monday night:

“It’s just so frustrating and upsetting at the same. No matter how many degrees I get I will always be a ni**** in some people’s eyes.”


  • Kerith Gabriel's Headshot

    Kerith Gabriel is the former editor-in-chief at Philadelphia Weekly but somehow hasn’t figured out that means he doesn’t have to write nearly as much. As a routine contributor, journalism has been in his blood since his beginnings as a sports writer over a decade ago for the Philadelphia Daily News.

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