Evaluating Boston’s Legacy

Posted: December 17, 2012 by meghandoran in Uncategorized

Perhaps we all tend to get reflective towards the end of the year; we’ve been hearing a lot lately about Boston’s legacy on race and racism since school desegregation, and not just in relation to school assignment.

Miniard Culpepper had this to say in the Boston Globe recently:

I think Boston has come a long way; I think we have a long way to go. I look at city government now, and the representation in upper management — 10 percent Hispanic and African-American [males], 12 percent women [of color] in City Hall leadership positions.

In reporting that Boston has the number one per capita rate of hate crimes in the country, the Boston Business Journal also brought up where we’ve come to:

Approximately half of Boston’s reported hate crimes were race related, a fact that pokes holes in the idea the city has come a long way since the chaos following mandated school busing in the 1970s.

Mayor Menino also recently commented on where we are today from a historical perspective:

Asked to name the best thing he had done for Boston, Mr. Menino pointed both hands at himself. “Me becoming mayor!” he laughed.

More seriously, he said, “my No. 1 thing is bringing racial harmony to the city.” Referring to the bitter battles in the 1970s over school busing, he added, “We don’t have the nonsense that we used to have because I don’t tolerate it.”

We’ve learned from our work over the past year that parts of the truth is in each of these assessments of race and racism in Boston. How do we fully evaluate where we’ve been, where we are, and where we have to go in dealing with complex issues like systemic racism and socioeconomic inequities in Boston?  What do you think? How do we evaluate how far we’ve come? And, more importantly, what do we have to do to move forward?

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