But White People Do Thuggery Like This ...

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From Michael Nutter:


ADDRESSING the "butthead" youths who've been mobbing Center City and the "sperm donors" who've passed for their fathers, Mayor Nutter thundered from the pulpit of his church yesterday in uncharacteristically fiery remarks. "

You've damaged yourself, you've damaged another person, you've damaged your peers and, quite honestly, you've damaged your own race," he said. "You damaged your own race. "If you want ... anybody else to respect you and not be afraid when they see you walking down the street, then leave the innocent people who are walking down the street minding their own damn business. Leave them alone." 

Nutter's 30-minute sermon in front of a white-robed choir invoked rousing applause from the packed house at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, in West Philadelphia, where he's been a member for 25 years. 

The only problem was that the median age of the congregation appeared about four times that of the 11- to 19-year-olds who have randomly accosted Center City pedestrians this summer in large groups of mostly black youths.

Not a small problem, at all. I never like rhetoric like this, mostly because I never think white people are particularly embarrassed by fools like this. But then you read something like this...

I love to farm and shoot guys and wreck cars. I'm a redneck and proud of it, I like causing mayhem with my siblings....

and you remember that white is a country, and even if most people in that country aren't embarrassed, perhaps those who would ID themselves, or have in the past been ID'd, as "redneck" might be.

Back to Nutter, I think it's also important to remember that Nutter was ultimately in his own church where he'd been a member for 25 years. 


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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