In Monday’s Washington Times, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is quoted giving a tongue-lashing to the city’s black youth, or at least some of them.
“Pull your pants up and buy a belt ‘cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt,” the mayor says in the second paragraph of the story.
The piece features a photo of an angry-looking black youth running down South Street, an archive shot from March, 2010. As of this morning, the story had provoked over 1,200 comments.
There are arguments to be made for and against Nutter’s very public posture on the teen mob issue. Publicizing this stuff can hurt the city’s image, scare people who may not have known much about the incidents, and perhaps encourage some miscreants.
On the other hand, reacting forcefully can reassure people that the city will be safe and make it clear to kids there will be consequences for their behavior.
Whatever the case, the issue has presented Nutter with an opportunity to increase his national profile, and it has to be a more appealing one than explaining budget cuts and tax increases.
Nutter has been careful to present a balanced message of tough love and encouragement for kids, but sometimes issues like these take on a life of their own.