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Does Racism In Boston Exist?

Christian Aquino is a Sophomore at Milford High School and loves Boston sports. He wants to be a journalist once he graduates college.



Writers Note: Whenever an {} shows up mid quote it's a number sowing what the corresponding link is at the bottom of the page

In the past year or two, I have witnessed plenty of people say “Boston is Racist”. I live in Milford, Massachusetts. It's about a fifty-minute drive. I’ve been there a couple of times and never experienced any racism of any kind. It wasn’t until I stepped on Twitter where I realized people thought Boston was racist. I was baffled because I thought it was a great city from my experiences and I thought everyone thought the same. I wanted to see everyone’s opinion on this topic so I set out to get interview quotes from already published articles and possibly, quotes from direct Bostonians and Ex-Bostonians.

This first quote was from twitter user @GWillyFanClub. This was received on June 2nd, 2021. “I’ve never witnessed racism in the city of Boston, only heard about, and it’s mainly the cops. But in every major city you go to you’ll see it in some form. the “reputation” doesn’t allow us to be better it just cements the city/state as racist. “Boston has a lot of work to do”-Jaylen Brown. {1}But if we wanna talk city to city. Govt bombed a neighborhood in Philly {2}, dumped literal tons of crack in LA {3} and we already know where Flint is at with water {4}. It's bigger than Boston that’s for sure” He brings up some good topics in this quote. Talking about how Boston’s reputation is seen as racist. He also brings up how he personally has never been discriminated against in Boston (I didn’t want to ask what race he was due to it being an uncomfortable question) and how it was mainly cops that were racist from his point of view.

This opens up an entire new pathway for discussion. Almost everyone knows what happened in Minneapolis almost a year back. George Floyd was murdered and many thought it was a racially charged attack, I also think that it had to do with skin color. There are plenty of studies I can find that support my claim but I don’t want to get off topic. In Boston the police are the citizens' favorite people, but should they be? {5} The police are so obviously biased against the minorities in Boston, with so many people supporting this claim in news articles. “Seventy percent of people stopped by Boston Police officers through the department’s “Field Interrogation and Observation” program throughout most of last year were black — even though black residents comprise less than one quarter of the city’s population.” {6} Another example of racism in police near Boston “Newton police officers stopped Duncan and his wife while looking for a murder suspect thought to be in the area… The officers soon realized Duncan was not the man they were looking for, he said. However, Duncan, a former deputy athletic director for external affairs at Northeastern University who spoke out publicly about the experience last summer, said he believes the incident is an example of racial profiling… “None of us should be stopped in that manner — just because I was a tall, Black man,” he said. “I wasn’t policed the way other folks are policed.”” {7}

I can get more sources but you get the jist of it. Now that answers the question “Are Boston Police racist?” but it brings up another “Does racism from people in power rub off on the people below them?”. I think that’s a extremely complicated question to answer because you have to think about who the higher ups are, is anyone above other people, and what traits from those “Important” people pass on to the ones below. It has to be answered however because that would help us find the root of why the stigma is what it is when we talk about Boston. I personally think that it doesn’t. I think that the police already resemble what the basis of a community is. They do take in people from their local areas normally. The police force anywhere can be seen as a smaller pool of the community their “protecting”. So with that, it ends up showing that Boston must be racist, now I know I haven’t personally met a person in Boston like that but I can completely see how some can be. Also, you have to take into account the limited pool of people I have personally met in Boston.

Another place we can look to solidify the fact that Boston has racist tendencies is sports. In May 2021 the Nets and Celtics played each other and Nets star, Kyrie Irving said this “I am just looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball; there's no belligerence or any racism going on — subtle racism," Irving said. "People yelling s—- from the crowd, but even if it is, it's part of the nature of the game and we're just going to focus on what we can control.”{8} Kyrie Irving was part of the Celtics back in 2017 and left in 2019. This isn’t just one player stating this also. Players like Marcus Smart, whos been with the Celtics since 2014, and Tristan Thompson whos been with the team since 2020 but has played them plenty of times before said this “Smart confirmed Thursday he's heard TD Garden fans direct racially-charged comments at opposing players. "Yeah, I've heard a couple of them. It's kind of sad and sickening," Smart told reporters… "Even though it's an opposing team, we've had guys on your home team that you're saying these racial slurs and you expect us to go out here and play for you. It's tough."” and "If they choose to use those kinds of words to get a player's attention, that just comes from their home training and the lack of home training," {9}

Like Tristan Thompson said, it starts with home training and parenting. People aren’t born racist, they’re raised racist. If the kids are born and the parents are already racist the kid is going to pick up those traits. A quote that supports that kids pick up parents' traits is “The current thinking is pretty clear - our personalities are shaped by biology and upbringing, and it is almost impossible to hold an all-or-nothing view.” {10} That proves that however you act will rub off on your kid. It’s also obvious that racism runs deep in Boston’s roots. Take Bill Russell’s experiences about it. He played for the Celtics and brought 11 rings to Boston and still got racial slurs hurled at him. Heres what he said TW: Racist Terms ahead “He wrote: "During games people yelled hateful, indecent things: 'Go back to Africa,' 'Baboon,' 'Coon.' 'Nigger.'" {11} That was back in 1959! Those people that were saying that had children and raised them like that. No wonder some of Boston is racist.

This topic is a hard one to fix. Racism isn’t something that we can just solve in a day, week, or even decade to be honest. There are some things we can do to try and solve the problem, however. I'll be using Human Rights Career as a basis of what to do. The first thing they say is “The first step to ending racism is to recognize its existence. Many people think of racism as always overtly blatant or intentional, but racism comes in many forms… there’s bias in every sector of society from healthcare to housing to media… Job applicants with “stereotypical” African-American names are less likely to get called for an interview, while around the world, the beauty industry celebrates fair skin while degrading dark skin tones.” They are correct in every way in this quote. Just people bringing up racism and acknowledging it (The entire point of the article) makes people realize that racism is still a major problem. The second thing is “Getting rid of laws that negatively and disproportionately affect certain races is a vital part of ending systemic racism. It isn’t enough to simply acknowledge that a law has a racist intent or effect; it needs to be overturned… Getting rid of laws based on racism and designed to uphold unequal outcomes is necessary for ending systemic racism. Many people believe that society can stop racism by teaching love and acceptance, but the reality is that even if everyone stopped being racist overnight, the system would still produce outcomes that disproportionately impact certain races.” This also brings up excellent talking points on what would help solve racism. The part where they say even if we took away racism somehow, the system will still be against certain people. The way we solve that is by taking away those barriers and making everyone equal. This has to be done in courts and abolish all those laws that discriminate because of race.



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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Christian Aquino

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