The essay seems to have provoked indignation (for example: see here). For what it's worth, I found the essay funny and poignant. We all have romantic views about where we grow up, and when we go back as adults, we find it all changed and quite a bit more coarse. In poor Stein's case, the change was in the place's racial makeup. Pointing this out in a wistful way doesn't make him racist.