Everything You Know About Flash Mobs Is WRONG

[Photos by AL IN PHILADELPHIA] BY JEFF DEENEY So late last week the flash mob story broke national, and the middle class is freaking out about poor black teens using new technologies to organize riots that threaten white business districts, even though now it seems there was never a flash mob to begin with.  You’ve heard all kinds of commentary from a thousand white journalists who have never spoken to black teenagers in the neighborhoods except maybe when taking statements in court for a story, and seen bloggers who are equally distanced from urban poverty jumping in front of cameras […]

FLASH MOB ALERT: University City, NOW NOT!

[Photo by AL IN PHILADELPHIA] AL IN PHILADELPHIA: On Saturday, March 20, 2010 the South Street District was hit with what the media have been calling a “flash mob”–large groups of teenagers converging on areas organized through social networking websites and microblogs like Flickr. That night I would estimate between 10-20,000 mainly high school students filled the streets and sidewalks. There wasn’t too much going on, as many of the store owners closed up shop in fear of riots and looting, as happened a few weeks earlier with another, much smaller “flash mob” in Center City. Overall, everyone was pretty […]