Prentiss A. Dantzler
CUSS Newsletter, Summer 2018, Vol 30, No 3
Last time ASA was held in Philadelphia was 2005, the same year I graduated high school. A staple in urban sociology, Philly has undergone many significant changes since then. Being raised in West Philly, my younger years were quite different than that of the Fresh Prince. My childhood functioned somewhat between W.E.B. DuBois’ (1899) Philadelphia Negro and William Julius Wilson’s (1987) The Truly Disadvantaged. In a state of double consciousness, I constantly wondered (at least on a surface) why my neighborhood was the way it was. Countless other works within our field have helped me make sense of different aspects of my childhood. Why was my family adamant about sending me to Catholic school (even though they were not at all Catholic)? Why did I have to take 3 forms of transportation to get to high school while my peers drove in new cars and trucks? What happen to all of the public housing that stood tall in many of the Black neighborhoods? How did I make it out and why are others still in the same place? And better yet, why does “making it out” mean living in white spaces? As a late comer to sociology, the joys and perils of understanding these dynamics within community and urban sociology have largely shaped my reflection on the city of Brotherly Love – a place I still call home.