Mayor Nutter addressed his congregation at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia this morning, Cosby-style, and he had some strong words for the black community in particular. He will announce more concrete measures at noon tomorrow, but today he focused on sociological problems that have led to a culture of senseless teen violence with little adult oversight.
Here are some of his notable quotes:
"I apologize to the law-abiding citizens and teens. I am forced by the stupid, dumb, ignorant actions of a few to take actions tomorrow that will affect many."
"Parents: if don’t know where your kids are, you’re gonna find yourself spending quality time with them in jail, together."
"If you’re just sending checks or dropping in with money now and then, you’re not a father, you’re just a human ATM. If you’re not sending money or providing guidance, you’re just a sperm donor."
"Part of the problem in the black community—in many communities, but in particular, the black community—is there are too many men making too many babies and we don’t wanna take care of your children. We’re not a babysitting service; we’re a government."
"I know a lot has happened since I was in my early teens forty years ago, but some things haven’t changed: treat other people with respect, don’t put your hands on things that don’t belong to you and that you didn’t earn, and keep your butt on the steps until you’re told otherwise."
"Please talk to your children because things are going to change ... There will be serious consequences for aggressive, violent, idiotic behavior. Everyone is gonna be held accountable. We’re taking steps for the safety of citizens and of teenagers. This is about all of us—everybody. The bottom line is this nonsense must stop right now."
"I believe 99 percent of teens in Philadelphia are good in their soul. I don’t want people to think we have thousands and thousands of bad young people running around ... But a few, less than 1 percent, are really bad ones. Unfortunately, they engage in violent behavior."
"Sense and nonsense can’t exist in the same place, the same city or the same world and it’s not gonna happen in the city of Philadelphia."
"If you want all races to respect you, then leave the innocent people walking down the street, leave them alone ... Not one victim did anything to these young people."
"They’re lucky a citizen didn’t get up and start beating their butts, which they obviously didn’t have enough of when they were young."
"Here's part of the message to young African American boys and girls: if you want us to respect you, to look at at you in a different way ... not cross the street when we see you coming, not follow you around in stores ... offer you a job or an internship: stop acting like idiots and fools."
"Take them damn hoodies down, especially in the middle of the summer. Pull your pants up and buy a belt—no one wants to see your underwear. Comb your hair. Learn some manners. Keep your butts in school. And why don’t you work in extending your English vocabulary from these grunts and mumbles that no one can understand? And if you look for jobs, don’t blame it on white folks. When you show up uncombed with a pick in your hair, tattoos up and down your arms and neck and you wonder why they don’t hire you—it's because you look like you're crazy. Do those things and you will be surprised at what opportunities will open up to you."
Strong words, but the Mayor addressed many issues that have been on the minds and lips of his constituency. We can only guess what additional measures Nutter will announce tomorrow.
For more on the story, pick up a copy of tomorrow's Metro.