NBC10.com - Daralene Jones
Mayor Nutter returned to Philadelphia from his mission abroad with a new perspective and a new message. NBC10's Daralene Jones has the details.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter returns from his travels abroad to answer questions today about his trade mission to London, England and Israel as well as questions about a lengthy interview he gave overseas that dealt extensively with his previous comments on race and crime in his city.
Nutter, who just returned from Tel Aviv earlier Tuesday, scheduled a news conference to talk about the 10-day trip to promote the city, attract investment and create trade opportunities for Philadelphia businesses.
The mayor can also expect questions revolving around a nearly 25-minute interview he gave to London-based BBC HARDTalk host Zeinab Badawi about his recent Time Magazine editorial on African-American crime in cities and how that issue needs to be better addressed by the federal government.
“Black men across the country are killing one another, yet that epidemic is rarely part of any national conversation,” Nutter wrote in Time.
He echoed that sentiment in a broader sense while in London.
"We have a violence problem in America and it must be addressed," Nutter told the BBC.
Nutter told the BBC he wished that the Obama Administration would focus more on stopping violence at home rather than fighting terrorism abroad.
Nutter said America's priority should be jobs, getting kids a good education and stopping crime -- especially among African-Americans.
"The level of violence in the African-American community is very serious -- black-on-black crime," Nutter said.
Nutter said poverty is part of the problem but not an excuse.
"You are responsible for how you present yourself out in the community."
Nutter candidly answered a slew of questions from Badawi about his recent comments on race that Nutter says were specifically geared to African-Americans.
"You are responsible for how you present yourself out in the community and you can hurt the image of your own race by engaging in certain behaviors."
"No matter what title I might have, I'm a black guy from West Philadelphia," Nutter told Badawi. "I was speaking to a particular audience and a particular group of folks."
Nutter went on to explain more about his personal and political feelings on race and violence.
"It's already tough for black men and the African-American community in general... so there are just some things that you have to do or straighten up about."
Badawi asked Nutter how he would respond to critics who say that similar comments told by a white politician would be seen as racist.
"I told the truth and people in the African-American community -- either in Philadelphia or anywhere else -- know that I was telling the truth... it might be tough for some people to hear the truth but my job and responsibility is to make sure that I have a safe city."
The mayor is expected to try to focus his comments on his trip and mainly meetings he had including talking to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others about luring an Olympics -- Philly is currently considering vying for the 2024 Summer Games -- and talking to Israeli officials on the heels of the recent announcement of a plan to close the Israeli consulate in the Philly.