Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Race Isn’t Real

Posted: January 12, 2015 by Donna Bivens in Uncategorized
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race isn't real


On Wednesday, March 27th, BBDP held a story circle with members of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of Notre Dame.  As participants told the stories of their upbringing and experience with desegregation, one of the recurring themes was the isolation and silence of Boston’s white communities.  Many commented on their lack of interaction with people of color growing up, mentioning the “1 or 2” Black children they went to school with.  “I feel like my life is extremely white,” said one of our participants.  Others talked about how racism was something that was never discussed openly in white neighborhoods, but instead hinted at and expected to be understood.  Some of the consequences of these attitudes for whites came up during the post-story discussion.  As one circle member put it, “We didn’t grow up with a healthy respect for other people.” However, many of the participants also described eventually having more diverse experiences both inside and outside of their own communities and discussed how these experiences fostered in some way their own commitment to equity, access and excellence.

Several Sisters who were directly involved in the busing/desegregation crisis participated in the circle but did not want their stories shared publicly. Still they shared much that will enrich the new narrative the project seeks to create with the diverse voices being interview and doing story circles.

In terms of residential segregation–of social segregation –that still seems very much the fabric of my life. I feel like my life is extremely white. Barbara McQueen  As much as I really appreciate the idea of intentionally mixing things up, I think my experience of being in the schools says there will still be bias. MaryRita Weschler I understand perfectly what the racism is in the country. I don’t have the experience in Boston–for which I am very sad. Sr. Helen Colbert I wish at the time –especially as Sisters of Notre Dame–that we had really done a more converted effort of looking at institutional racism and how we were responding. Sr. Linda Bessam 

New Year’s Reflection on History

Posted: January 2, 2013 by Donna Bivens in Uncategorized
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2013 begins a year of anniversaries leading up to Boston’s 40th marking of the Busing/Desegregation Crisis. It also starts off with a significant anniversary for the nation: the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. An article in the Huffington Post by Janell Ross entitled America’s Understanding of Emancipation Proclamation on It’s 150th Anniversary Too Simple for Country’s Own Good could just as well be a message to us as we look at the history of Brown v Board of Education and Boston’s long struggle for excellence, equity and access in public school education for all.

“What Americans have to understand is that there were 100 years between Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington,” said Bunch, “and a few years more before that freedom was given any durable and consistent meaning with the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.”

“When you understand that freedom was a process, not a moment, then you can allow yourself to wonder what work is left for us in the next 100 years.”

We look forward to continuing to explore this history with you in the coming year through interviews, story circles and through cross class and nationality intra-racial group explorations linking the past to the present  and future. As always, we welcome your reflections on the blog or in person.

Happy New Year!