Is Park Slope Really Racist? We Asked Its Residents, and They Mostly Said No!

03/04/2011 3:29 PM |

Earlier this week, news spread that some Park Slope residents are up in arms over Prime 6, a new club getting ready to open on the neighborhood’s famously boring, stroller-laden Seventh Avenue. And why are they up in arms? Well, because the club will be playing mean, scary rap music, thus attracting mean, scary black people and the crime they inevitably bring with them wherever they go. One resident, Jennifer McMillen, has even begun circulating a petition asking Prime 6 to play, god help us, “indie” music instead of hip-hop, citing “statistical fact that crime is more likely to occur among urban audiences than among audiences of other demographics,” even though, you know, she never did present those actual statistics. The whole thing is gross, obviously, for many reasons, the most abhorrent of which is the defense that basically goes, as our own Henry Stewart put it the other day, “I’m not a racist, I just know that black people commit more crimes than white people.”

Because we actually kind of like Park Slope, and also because we kind of want to think that not everyone is fucking awful, we sent two of our interns, Sydney Brownstone and Tom Sullivan, over there to find out if the regular folks walking down the street share McMillen’s sentiments. Here’s how they made out.

Katie, 25
“It’s totally ridiculous, though not that surprising. Park slope is really cementing itself as the Upper East Side of Brooklyn.”

Steve Cuomo, 4-year resident
“I think it can go either way. I like hip hop music, but I understand concerns about demographic. But I think it could give the neighborhood a more unique feel. I think its stereotyping, but stereotypes are there for a reason. But I’m a caucasian male. I don’t really think along those lines.”

Theo, 45, 20-year resident
“People really need to get over themselves. This neighborhood is hilarious, there’s always something absurd like this going on. I’ve been here for awhile, so I should know.”

Beth, 50, 30-year resident
“They just shouldn’t open it period. It’s not even a question of the music. There shouldn’t be a club like that on 7th Ave!”

Judd Greenstein, 4-year resident
“We need more live music venues in park slope, and the way that the criticism is being leveled against it sounds like code words for racism.”

Lee, 43, 30-year resident
“I don’t they should have it [the club]. It does bring a lot of negativity. And sometimes it can get outrageous with the alcohhol. [McMillen] has a legitimate case. When they put the basketball stadium up the crowd that leaves the stadium wants to get drunk. They may get out of hand, get crazy. It’s kinda racist, but she has a legitimate beef. Because I know how I was when I used to go out to the clubs.”

Maya, 30, 3-year resident
“Well, I mean, the area is a residential neighborhood with apartments and small businesses. There’s no reason for it to be there, and it doesn’t really make much sense to begin with.”

Rob, 38, 2.5-year resident
“I haven’t heard of any evidence that links crime to hip-hop clubs. I know that in San Francisco, police have been cracking down on street crime that they claim is related to clubs, but it seems to be completely unsubstantiated. I would hate for something like that to happen to New York City.”

Michael, 50
“‘Demographics sound like code for race. That doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about crime. It might be that hip-hop clubs attract crime, but [McMillen] has got to do a better job justifying her argument.”

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