A Small Request: Will You Please Stop Talking About The Gallery In Wincing Tones Just Because Black People Shop There?

Try as she may, tripping all over herself to play both sides of the fence, this piece by Inga Saffron about the Gallery brought us straight back to this Philebrity post from 2006, which was probably the first time we broached the topic: When many of you Philadelphians (and those from the outlying areas who refer to yourselves as such) talk about The Gallery, it’s all you can do to keep your muted racism from popping out. This, along with a 37-years-late architectural review of The Gallery, is the menace lurking in this piece. It’s not so much Saffron herself. It’s just what we talk about when we talk about The Gallery.

So here is how we do that: You speak in code. You layer things to hide your meaning. The Gallery is a mess, you say, buuuuut… it’s also a success! The Gallery needs to attract more tourists, but it also needs to be “a big tent for the whole city, a large, lively neighborhood hangout in Philadelphia.” The Gallery needs to attract more “middle-class shoppers,” but no one wants to point out the elephant in the room: A) what you mean when you say “middle-class” is, in this case, “white and likely suburban,” when it’s as plain as the nose on your face that B) those people are already lousy with malls in their own locales, from Cherry Hill to King Of Prussia. Bonus beats: C) This is a false choice. As Saffron herself manages to point out without somehow going all “Being White In Philly” on us, the Gallery has an audience. It doesn’t need to find one. That audience, and I include myself in it, is not going anywhere. And that is great. The Gallery is great. The Gallery is good. But like this whole damned town, it just needs some love. And yes, let there be new energy and resources pumped into the Gallery, but for the love of God, fellow white people of Philadelphia, quit fucking whining. It makes you look bad. And you already did not look good.

Sincerely, A White Person Who Regularly Shops At The Gallery AND LOVES IT.

11 Responses to “A Small Request: Will You Please Stop Talking About The Gallery In Wincing Tones Just Because Black People Shop There?”

  1. thegreengrass Says:


  2. Northeaster Says:

    The Gallery is ugly, that’s my main problem with. Some renovations and it will improve greatly. There’s no reason it can’t be a mixed-income shopping center. If lower-income shoppers are displaced, then perhaps someone will build a shopping center somewhere like Olney or North Broad that is also a transportation center in an area with a dearth of businesses.

  3. LB Says:

    good points in this article. same points easily made about ryan howard, whom white philly has anointed with ‘worst contract in baseball’ while utley gets the grand-old-veteran treatment. both players are making comebacks after 2 recent injury-shortened seasons with very similar combined stats. no kidding:

    Chase (’11-’12): 183g – 699ab – 22hr – 99rbi – .258avg
    Ryan (’12-’13): 151g – 546ab – 25hr – 99rbi – .245avg

    i wonder if gallery patrons make the same error, or think that both players are pretty good and assets to the team. i betcha more of the latter.

  4. GlassJawn Says:

    Ryan Howard is making a comeback? To what? 2012?

  5. GlassJawn Says:

    Have you been to Olney? There are a ton of places all along N.Broad and N.5th there.

  6. Northeaster Says:

    I went to HS around Olney, but there’s nothing there I can think of the same size as the Gallery.

  7. Cronmoax Says:

    Shithole seems to be a bit of an exaggeration.

  8. Cronmoax Says:

    Why so angry?

  9. ChrissMari Says:

    yes, low income shoppers only live around olney and north broad. not within walking distance of the gallery at all…

  10. ChrissMari Says:

    because sometimes you’re in desperate need for something actually affordable (not the “New Philly” definition of affordable) that didn’t come from a thrift shop.

    I swear white people have no issues buying other peoples throw aways but god forbid you get that same thing at burlington coat factory without someone else’s bo on it.

  11. Northeaster Says:

    There are less and less low-income shoppers in Center City every month, and most of the Gallery’s customers arrive by subway or El

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