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.