One side is cheerleading for personal responsibility and values that transcend race.
Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives:
Mayor Nutter deserves credit for stepping up and being a leader. Nutter is doing what Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, President Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus have thus far failed to do by speaking out against the epidemic of violent 'flash mobs' and rampant, random crime and violence.
The other side blames it all on economics and says that "Nutter's strong language enables white society in America to downplay poverty as the root cause of the black community's problems."
Frederick Harris, Columbia University political scientist:
If this discourse was led by Ronald Reagan, for instance, people would call him on his racism, but now that you have a black face to these explanations it gives it legitimacy.
Apparently Mr. Harris believes it is racist to ask the poor to act decent. And prior to a "black face" espousing these ideas, they were illegitimate? There is no legitimacy to asking young men (no matter what their race) to act responsibly and not bring thuggery to the public square?
If Mayor Nutter's "language enables white society to downplay poverty," does that mean any other explanation is not legitimate? Is suggesting that values are more important with respect to behavior than what one earns on a paycheck crazy talk that can only attain fraudulent stature when enabled by a black man? Only poverty can explain criminal behavior?
Don't we have the same expectation of decency from all other poor groups no matter what the race? Don't we rightly expect poor Hispanics, Japanese, Ethiopians, Latvians, Australians and Jews to act with civility? Or should certain races be excused of their behavior? Is there something unique about the black person's genetics or psyche that prevents them from adopting respectful values? Is Mr. Harris suggesting that it is only poor blacks who cannot embrace personal responsibility and eschew violent behavior?
What does he mean when Former Mayor John Street says that Mayor Nutter is "not a black mayor ... just a mayor with dark skin." Is there a genetically programmed way for a black man to think? How does believing in personal accountability disqualify one from being a member of a race? Is there something about dark skin pigmentation that compels one to excuse criminal behavior or to adopt certain beliefs?
Isn't what Messrs. Harris and Street are saying racist?