It seems like time to time we white folks need to be reminded of this by some ugly, inescapable incident. Now it’s racial taunts (and thrown objects) aimed at the Orioles’ Adam Jones.
Michael Che called Boston the “most racist city” he’s ever been in. Renee Graham’s columns in response from a month ago [and today] merely say what any black person in Greater Boston will tell you: Yup.
The past isn’t past. Boston’s racism is not “someone else”. It’s not the Irish, or the working class, or the Brahmins, or Harvard, or Howie Carr readers, or whomever. It’s not “from another time”. It is both blatant and insidious. It cuts across class lines: It’s cops and sports fans and (that most genteel of professions) doctors.
The following examples do not erupt randomly, but emerge from a culture imbued with racist attitudes. Like air pollution, one can scarcely avoid breathing them in. They merely show us a very unflattering reflection of who we really are. These are not hard to find!
- State police accused of “racial slurs and racist jokes, homophobic taunts, sexual advances, and lewd remarks“
- Brookline cops fired for complaining of racist treatment.
- Boston Latin’s repeated violation of non-discrimination policies.
- The repeated vandalism of a Black Lives Matter sign in Arlington Center.
- Health disparities: Doctors treat people of color differently and worse than whites.
- Intense geographical segregation – the legacy of redlining.
- Snob zoning (liberalism ends at the driveway)
- Sentencing disparities in the criminal justice system.
So, aside from our cops, doctors, judges, neighbors, town councils, and sports fans, we’re totally not racist. There but for the grace of God go I.
Racism is not the other person. Let’s not deflect, look for the “real racist” or some other “more racist” city. We don’t, and have never lived up to our liberal ideals, and we continue to deprive people of the freedoms that they ought to be able to enjoy. The “drunk idiots”, the “rogue cops” … The bad apples grow from a poisoned tree.
Progress is not inevitable. Surely any open-eyed white person has been disabused of that notion by now. We have a raw-racist president with countless raw-racist advisors. Either you’re gaining or losing territory in this war of attitudes, and lately we’ve lost it. And Boston’s present looks a lot like its history.
So who’s doing it right? Is there someone — an individual or institution – who is “desegregating” physically, politically, mentally? Whom do you know that’s actually gaining ground versus racism in Boston?
And why do we keep doing this to our neighbors?