PittGirl goes “there.”

Racial issues are divisive, so you’d think I wouldn’t write about them, but Mike Seate wrote a column entitled “Steelers tickets too pricey for black fans” that includes the following:

I first heard about this from black readers who attended professional football games.

They returned complaining about country music blaring out of the Heinz Field public address system and a dearth of black faces in the bleachers. Their observations rang true on Sunday, as I watched a mostly black Steelers team play before a crowd that was whiter than Christmas dinner at Ann Coulter’s crib.

Though 70 percent of National Football League players are black, according to the league, I saw few blacks in the stands. Well, at least few who weren’t pounding the stairs selling $6 beers and $4 Cokes.

And the $60 or so it costs to land a ticket might not seem like a lot of money, but it’s a lot more than most black families I know can afford.

So just because we’re not visible in the stands doesn’t mean black Pittsburghers don’t enjoy the Steelers. It just means many of us can’t afford to enjoy them in person.

My thoughts:

1.  There are shitloads of white people that can’t afford to enjoy a Steelers game either.  Shit. Loads.

2.  Not every white person likes country music just the same way that not every black person likes hip-hop music.  Shocking, I know.  Readers?  How many of you are white and hate country music?

3.  There is absolutely NO QUESTION that this city’s black population is faced with a huge gap in income, education, and other important areas.  Hell, black individuals even get sent to prison for drug offenses at rates much higher than whites do, 27 times the rate of whites to be exact!  That is really scary and simply not acceptable.

But I think Mike Seate has done a disservice to the black population of Pittsburgh with this article, stereotyping the race as hip-hop loving, dirt poor beer men.  I have about a dozen black friends that don’t fit that mold at all who say, “I can afford to go to a Steelers game, but I’m too damn smart to freeze my ass off.”

4.  The title of the article alone was painted with a brush so big that Alan Faneca would have had trouble picking it up.  Will Mike Seate’s next column be “Diamonds too pricey for black families”?

5.   There is so much that can be written about the racial disparity that exists in Pittsburgh, and so much that SHOULD be written about it, but just picking an expensive item and saying “here’s a race that can’t afford it and I know because I went and I eyeballed it” is irresponsible journalism that accomplishes nothing … kind of like The Burgh Blog.

6.  If the NBA came to town (I’m not saying all black people like the NBA, I’m just trying to give you an example here from a sport with stats to back up the racial makeup of the fans), will Mike Seate be sitting in an arena much more to his liking?   What will he entitle his column after he sat in that arena surrounded by lots of black families who all paid about $60 for each ticket?

“White people hate the NBA”?

All right.  I’m done.  Let me have it, Burghers.  Show me the error of my thinking.

(h/t Spoon)





65 Comments


  1. Sofa King
    December 19, 2007 11:39 am

    While there are probably only 20 country songs in the history of the genre that I actually like, I have to go on record and state that about 90% of all hip-hop is mindless garbage, as well…especially the crap the labels are putting out now.

    The economic divide that exists in Pittsburgh is commonplace throughout the country. In every major city of the nation, pundits are lamenting the growing divide between the predominantly white suburban families and the predominantly black urban families. However, they can never seem to explain why people of other ethnic origins- Asian, Hispanic, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc.- can move into this country and, in 1 generation or less, own their own businesses, and obtain post-graduate degrees, etc. In my section of Arlington County, VA, the racial make-up is exactly 1/3 white, 1/3 Hispanic, and 1/3 “other.” The crime rate is exceedingly low and at least half of the local businesses, probably more, are owned by immigrant families. While I’m far from being racist and have several good friends of all races, it seems to me like a lot of the problems faced by the urban black community are symptomatic of prevailing defeatist and seperatist attitudes within the community. Loudmouthed community leaders, such as the “good reverend” who tried to make the tragic fire deaths of those children in East Liberty earlier this year a race issue, do little more than perpetuate the culture of victimization.

    While it is appalling that blacks are imprisoned 27 times more than whites for drug-related offenses, I would like to see more specific numbers pertaining to what the exact offenses are. Since one is much more likely to be incarcerated for selling or possession-with-intent than for simple possession, I’d be willing to wager that more are arrested under that category. While a racist cop can easily change a simple possession to possession-with-intent, from what I’ve seen living in urban areas, black dealers trading their wares on street corners are much easier targets than the more discrete white, middle-class high schoolers pushing “E” through suburbs like Mt. Lebanon. I’m not saying this explains the entire divide, but it may contribute to it.

    Lastly- on average, I attend 3-6 sporting events/month…one of the “perks” of my job. NFL games more so than any other sport, except for hockey, skew heavily toward white, upper-middle-class attendees. This is because in addition to higher ticket prices, there are a large number of “legacy” season ticket holders and a large number of seats occupied by corporate partners. The complaint from “true fans” who can’t afford, or even get access to, NFL tickets persists all over the country, and with good reason.

    Sorry if I offend anyone, just my opinion.



  2. JP
    December 19, 2007 12:56 pm

    Blacks are imprisoned 27 times more than whites for drug-related offense because of differences in sentencing policy of powder cocaine(white) vs crack cocaine (black). With powder cocaine, a conviction of possesion with intent to distribute carries a five year sentence for quantities of 500 grams or more. In the case of crack cocaine, a conviction of possession with intent to distribute carries a five year sentence for only 5 grams. A person convited of possessing 5 grams of crack gets a 5 year prision term. 5 grams of base gets you 5 years, while 400 grams of blow gets you probation or 1 year for simple possession. It has nothing to do with street coners vs. suburbs. THe police know where the drugs are.



  3. Bram R
    December 19, 2007 1:02 pm

    I wonder what how the sentancing (and the paroll) turns out in the end for white crack offenders.



  4. Patti
    December 19, 2007 2:37 pm

    GiveMeABreak:
    Damn good point!



  5. Sofa King
    December 19, 2007 2:39 pm

    So, JP, you are saying that crack is more harshly punished by law because it is a black drug? Maybe it’s because it is a much more harmful drug to individuals and society. Do you not recall the crack wars of the 1980’s that put several U.S. cities on the brink of ruin?

    Maybe YOU need to get a clue.



  6. Sofa King
    December 19, 2007 2:39 pm

    Lol @ GMAB…



  7. Dan
    December 19, 2007 2:43 pm

    Not sure what the big deal is. If there is rain or snow in the forecast, make plans to go to the game.

    The majority of older season ticket holders give up their seats during inclimate weather, and it floods the market.

    I’ve attended two games this year, at or below face, with tickets purchased from a scalper. This past Sunday was forecasted to be cold and snowy (it was), I spent $30 each.

    Note: The “bad weather trick” does not apply for AFC Championship games.



  8. Zsa
    December 19, 2007 3:01 pm

    Sofa King,

    You said:

    “However, they can never seem to explain why people of other ethnic origins- Asian, Hispanic, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc.- can move into this country and, in 1 generation or less, own their own businesses, and obtain post-graduate degrees, etc.”

    I think an important thing to point out is you’re talking people who move into the US from another country with a completely different culture and outlook on the work ethic. Most black people in the US were born in the US. If a black man who’d grown up in say Japan with that culture moved here, I daresay his work ethic and attitudes would more closely mirror those of Japanese people who moved to the US, not US born black people.

    I hope that makes sense – I’m not denying what you’re saying, but I think it’s a kind of apples & oranges issue.



  9. JP
    December 19, 2007 3:27 pm

    That is exactly what I am saying Einstein. You know who else is saying it? The United States Supreme Court. What a jagoff

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/12/10/scotus.crack.cocaine/index.html



  10. still a fan
    December 19, 2007 3:40 pm

    an alien drops out of the sky and lands in pittsburgh right outside of a custom rim shop. the alien observes the prices of shiny rims and how the price escalates when the rims get bigger and start to spin. the alien has a “beam up” spot to go back to his ship 10 blocks away. he starts walking and notices that every car that cruises past him with fancy shiny rims is driven by an earthling with dark skin. he fixates on this and concentrates on nothing else but counting the fancy rim cars and their drivers. by the time he is “beamed up” to his ship, he is at 52 cars with big shiny rims, 50 driven by earthlings with dark skin and two with light skin. when he gets back and reports to orson – he tells him that from his experience on earth the darker skinned earthlings have more money to spend than the lighter skinned ones.



  11. M. Silenus
    December 19, 2007 4:12 pm

    So the aliens are smart enough to master interstellar travel, but not smart enough to take a representative sample? I’m imagining the engineer aliens bitching Dilbert style about sending the aliens with creative writing degrees down to the planet surface.

    “I know they’re expendable, Zork, but they suck at statistical analysis.”

    Also, immigrant experience and African American experience? NOT equivalent. Immigrant experience and Native American experience? NOT equivalent. You have to gloss over some very ugly chapters in U.S. history to drive across that bridge.



  12. spoon
    December 19, 2007 7:13 pm

    Know why aliens are racist? They only abduct po white trash from middle america. oh and Randy Quaid.



  13. dwight
    December 19, 2007 7:57 pm

    I’m glad you went “there,” PG! Until we’re all more comfortable talking about race, in intelligent ways (unlike Seate), it will remain a contentious issue.

    Me > Black, early 30s, only been to Heinz Field during a playoff game where my friend had an extra ticket. I would splurge on a ticket one day, but I just can’t justify spending the money I don’t have on the Steelers instead of the several Grey Goose martinis and the Miller Lite (I’m very well rounded), that I binge drink during the month.



  14. bucdaddy
    December 19, 2007 8:32 pm

    dwight, Miller Lite? Spoon and I would like a word with you … and perhaps a drink.



  15. thejim
    December 20, 2007 9:33 pm

    Mike Seate is a carbon copy of Jason Whitlock…a guy who has nothing better to do than apply racial templates to situations where it doesn’t really apply.