Brewerytown letter was racist

In response to the letter, "Whites make Brewerytown better" (Tuesday), I'd like to express my disappointment that you published such racist content. The vast majority of African Americans living in that neighborhood do not operate "drug-dealing, gang-operated businesses."

But the most laughable statement was: "These law-abiding Caucasians have been funding the black community since their existence." Has this reader forgotten history? African Americans have been subsidizing white people since they were brought over here on slave ships and made to work for free. Even after slavery, African Americans paid the same taxes as white people while being systematically denied the right to vote, being segregated in schools, living their lives in terror from state-sanctioned violence, and more.

Forgive the residents of Brewerytown for not wanting to continue the system of rewarding white people for simply moving to a new neighborhood.

Fae Z. Ehsan, Philadelphia

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I just want to inquire as to why you would allow a vile, racist, and downright false letter ("Whites make Brewerytown better") to be posted about neighborhood dynamics in Brewerytown?

I am a 25-year-old African American male who is moving to Brewerytown from Fairmount this weekend. The neighborhood is a great mix of people. And while I am no fan of gentrification, there is no need to post a letter making a racist point about it.

Jordan E. Rogers, Philadelphia

Editor's note: After a lot of response to Tuesday's Letters to the Editor, our editorial page manager wrote a piece to address the questions and comments from readers. You can read it here.  

Whites understand blacks’ plight

The narrow-minded views and shamefully racist rhetoric presented in Tuesday's letters about the gentrification of Brewerytown reflect a disturbing ignorance. Hopefully, black readers know that many white Americans actually understand the economic, social, and political repercussions of this nation's sick legacy of enslavement, disenfranchisement, and discrimination that crippled the black community and lined the pockets of whites at their expense.

The systematic efforts, programs, and legislation designed specifically to keep people of color out of decent neighborhoods, schools, and jobs are well-documented. Richard Rothstein's book, The Color of Law, explains clearly how federal housing policies through the 1960s mandated segregation and undermined the ability of black families to own homes and build wealth, while enabling whites to reinvest equity exclusively afforded to them.

Middle-class whites love to cry economic exploitation nowadays, but this is laughable in the face of what the black community grapples with every day.

Anne L. French, Lansdale, afrench1600@gmail.com

Newcomers ‘far from friendly’

I was born, raised, and choose to continue living in the city, so I was disappointed with the article about the recent trouble in Brewerytown ("Bitterness brewing," June 20).

I shouldn't be surprised, though, because it's an approach typical of the Inquirer: Rich out-of-towners (developers) are right, and anyone who disagrees with them are wrong.

Despite community meetings with developers, the residents' opinions do not matter. As a result, businesses are erected that only people with money to burn can afford: A "spin studio," "cat salon," doggy "day care," $9 craft beers, $14 hamburgers, and $200-per-month gym memberships. Houses are now in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And these new residents are overwhelmingly white, with the vast majority of them far from friendly. There may be racism involved with not being friendly to longtime residents, but the bottom line is they have no personality — their faces are buried in an electronic screen.

When you feel adventurous enough to patronize a new business, the vibe makes you — the person native to the neighborhood — feel unwelcome.

Unlike these transient hipsters, I will be here long after they've decided to move on.

Donna DiGiacomo, Germantown

GOP health-care plan bad for Pa.

The American College of Physicians strongly opposes the Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act ("Toomey: Keeping our promise," Sunday). It will not deliver on the claims Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) makes, and it will not improve health care for Pennsylvanians. The BCRA makes coverage unaffordable for older, sicker, and poorer patients by reducing the eligibility and value of premium and cost-sharing subsidies.

The BCRA allows states to waive requirements that insurance cover essential health benefits, potentially eliminating bans on annual or lifetime limits on coverage — affecting everyone, including those with employer-based coverage. It also cuts Medicaid and eliminates the federal contribution to the Medicaid expansion program in 2024.
Pennsylvania will be forced to curtail the program in some way, whether by cutting benefits, eligibility, or coverage for current enrollees.

Instead of supporting the BCRA, Toomey and Congress should work toward a bill that would protect Pennsylvanians. As president of the American College of Physicians and an internist who practices in Philadelphia, I can attest to the harms to patients that would come from this bill.

Jack Ende, M.D., Philadelphia

Toomey, Casey should fix system

Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Bob Casey (D., Pa.) again displayed their belief that their constituents would rather see them play to their bases rather than engage in constructive dialogue with each other and their colleagues. Toomey showed his cards in his Inquirer commentary, and Casey played his hand on the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg on Friday.

We all should expect better. I know how thoughtful each senator can be, that each appreciates the many things that Obamacare has accomplished, while recognizing the law has deficits. Yet, neither is willing to give up the political issue that plays to their bases and drives dollars to their campaigns, and join to find bipartisan solutions.

Ohio and West Virginia also have senators from different parties. Toomey and Casey, following the bipartisanship legacy of Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy, should form a working group to find constructive fixes to the system. They should begin with a summit near the border of the three states and work on commonsense solutions that don't cut Medicaid, allow insurance companies to sell across state lines, and contain real tort reform.

Then they should go back to Washington, twist arms, pass legislation, allow the president and their colleagues to declare victory, and move on to other issues.

Stuart H. Shapiro, M.D., former Philadelphia health commissioner, Bala Cynwyd, shapirostu@gmail.com

Prenatal care at risk

The Senate version of the GOP health-care bill is an appalling and mean-spirited piece of legislation.
One provision that has not gotten much attention is that pregnancy would prohibit a woman from obtaining insurance through the Medicaid expansion. The Republican 2016 platform says, "Republicans formulate public policy, from taxation to education, from health care to welfare, with attention to the needs and strengths of the family."

Do they not understand or do they just not care about the impact of prenatal care on the overall health of the family?

— Peggy Wilson, Drexel Hill