As someone who has only spent 4 years in the US as an international student, I went into Philadelphia out of curiosity and for the cultural experience after the Eagles won. I meant to start working but I haven’t been able to work since the events of last night. Here are some questions on my mind. Let’s think through them together.
- What does it mean that Regional Rail passengers were almost exclusively White, and folks of color exclusively patron the Norristown High Speed Line and Market Frankford Line?
- How can it be that White Haverford students last night did not even know the NHSL exists?
- What does it mean when last night, the celebrations were attended by folks of all different races, but the rioting was done almost exclusively by White, college-aged cis men*?
- Who gets to decide when the destruction of property is socially acceptable and when it isn’t?
- What was the White Villanova boy thinking when he told the homeless Black woman having an anxiety attack because of the cheering on the train that she should relax because the Eagles won?
- For my White friends: Are you now aware of the sheer power that you hold? You were able to assemble in a violent demonstration with no protest permit, and engage in the destruction of property for hours-on-end before any police response. At no point in time did any of you seem to fear any legal repercussions. Given that this is the dangerous power that you possess, when will you use it?
- Inner-city Philadelphia is predominantly occupied by folks of color. This fact is important to my final question, which is: What does it mean that regional rail sends rowdy, affluent, drunk young cis White men in to destroy an inner-city that isn’t essential to their daily lives, before escaping back to the comfort of a suburban college campus, leaving the inhabitants of the inner city to clean up the mess? What does it mean that the blame is now being placed on the folks living in the city of Philadelphia, and not the White college students bussed in by a segregated public transportation system?
Just some questions I had from last night. Let’s discuss.
*based purely on my anecdotal observations, almost all the rioters engaged in the destruction of property last night were White, cis, young, college-aged men. I would love for someone to show me otherwise.