The Boston Globe recently did a series of articles probing Boston's reputation as the most racist city in America.
But this much we know: Here in Boston, a city known as a liberal bastion, we have deluded ourselves into believing we’ve made more progress than we have. Racism certainly is not as loud and violent as it once was, and the city overall is a more tolerant place. But inequities of wealth and power persist, and racist attitudes remain powerful, even if in more subtle forms. They affect what we do — and what we don’t do.I haven't read the whole thing, but it triggered my thought from yesterday - there are topics we can discuss, like racism, and there are ones we can't discuss like cultural rot. When I started reading the Globe's work, I wondered, "What if there's a basis for the feelings? I wonder if they deal with that in the series."
I have a friend who is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive. They love to talk about racism and they have the obligatory lefty hatred of the South, particularly of southerners who still like the Confederate flag. In San Diego, there's an excellent soul food restaurant in one of our few black neighborhoods. The prog won't visit it because they don't feel safe. Personally, I've got no problem going down there and getting my fix of deep-fried okra. The prog will preach to you at length about how racist America is, but their actions show they feel there is merit to the racists' arguments.
There's the elephant in the room again. We can talk about the Stars and Bars, but we can't talk about the reality of communities where the traditional family has broken down. We clearly know what it means in terms of crime and ruined lives because we quietly avoid those places, but we dare not say what we're implicitly thinking.
Going back to Boston, how many of the readers of that series will be nodding their heads, thinking about how terrible it is that so many of their neighbors are such racists all the while never having shopped, eaten, worked, lived or gone to school in those neighborhoods because, well, look at them, they're such cesspits!
It feels like our conversations about race are really all about ourselves and whether or not we are virtuous. What would we discuss if our first priority were the people who live in those neighborhoods?
|A park in Boston. There are no statues of Robert E. Lee, but plenty of racism. Hmm.|