At the end of last year, The Boston Globe released a series of articles called Boston. Racism. Image. Reality. They look at Boston’s relationship with race through 5 different lenses – the development of the Seaport neighborhood, hospitals, colleges, sports, & power. They then offer some solutions to the problems they discovered in these spheres & ask readers to offer their feedback as well.
Here are a few excerpts from their introductory article:
“Google the phrase “Most racist city,” and Boston pops up more than any other place, time and time again.
It may be easy to write that off as a meaningless digital snapshot of what people say about us, and what we say about ourselves — proof of little beyond the dated (or, hopefully, outdated) memories of Boston’s public and fierce school desegregation battles of the 1970s.
Except that Boston’s reputation problem goes much deeper than an online search. A national survey commissioned by the Globe this fall found that among eight major cities, black people ranked Boston as least welcoming to people of color. More than half — 54 percent — rated Boston as unwelcoming.”
“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.
Boston’s complacency with the status quo hobbles the city’s future.”
“For all the gains that Greater Boston has made, unfinished business on race is everywhere.
In a 1983 series of stories, a team of Globe reporters took a hard look at racial equality in our region. It was not a pretty picture, but local leaders promised things would improve. Thirty-four years later, the promise has yet to be fulfilled. For example:
Then: Just 4.5 percent of black workers were officials and managers.
Now: That number has barely moved, to 4.6 percent in 2015.
Then: The “Vault” — an organization of Boston’s most powerful business leaders — had no black people among its 20 members.
Now: The “New Vault” — the 16-person Massachusetts Competitive Partnership — has no black members.
Then: This area’s unemployment rate was about twice as high for blacks as whites.
Now: The gap remains, with black unemployment more than double the rate of white workers in 2014.
‘A lot of times when Boston engages in looking at itself around race, it focuses on attitudes and prejudices,’ said James Jennings, professor emeritus of race, politics, and urban policy at Tufts University. ‘With that, Boston certainly has made a lot of progress, but Boston needs to start looking at structural inequality — racial hierarchy, poverty, academic achievement — to move the needle forward.’”
Read the entire series of articles for free here: