The Pittsburgh area has stark racial inequities. Black Pittsburghers face a key question: Should they leave?

Heather Manning by a community garden near her home in Wilkinsburg. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

by Tereneh Idia, PublicSource

“If you dislike Pittsburgh, you dislike yourself. If you criticize Pittsburgh, you’re criticizing me.”

I have heard this twice in the past few years. It felt like I was being admonished by a relative at a family gathering, and it made me want to leave the table before dinner was ready.

A view of Downtown Pittsburgh from Webster Avenue in the Hill District. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

 

However, another friend had a different message for me when I was on my way to teach overseas: “Never come back here, Tereneh.” It was whispered into my ear several years ago, and this friend eventually heeded their own advice and recently moved away.

The “Should I stay or should I go?” question is never far out of mind. It’s been even more present in the recent weeks, when yet another report was released echoing multiple earlier reports of the inequities most African Americans have been facing for years and generations. Immediately after the report, many Black people in the city and its diaspora weighed in. I reached out to several people — former classmates, neighbors, people on social media — and asked them to share their thoughts on the fundamental question: Should Black people leave Pittsburgh?

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The Pittsburgh area has stark racial inequities. Black Pittsburghers face a key question: Should they leave?

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