You Mean It Didn’t Begin In Southie? Boston’s Racism Problem

P1010126Well knock my socks off! I’ve suffered a rude awakening this last week or so. I though we were living in a nirvana of racial harmony until the lid was lifted off of it when the people from South Boston showed up to protest busing. Haven’t a million local and copy-cat national media articles blamed South Boston for racism pointing back to the ill-conceived court order in 1974 which required the busing of children to achieve racial balance and which resulted in more racial imbalance.

How was I to know it existed long before 1974 and long after the idea that busing could accomplish racial balance in school was flushed down the toilet. It’s not that South Boston did not have among its protesters to busing some people who were racist, it did. It had one of the foremost racists in the area in the person who when running for office stood in front of buses as people were getting on handing out her card and saying: “you know where I stand.”  

She was the New England’s answer to George Wallace although she tried to differential herself from him thinking he was one of those Southern hicks. We all knew where she stood. The majority of those that did voted against her and elected her opponent who ran as an independent. You don’t hear much about the people of South Boston throwing her out of office, though.

A week or so ago we saw that an MLB outfielder playing in Fenway Park was verbally abused by a racist; and the next day another racist incident. Apparently these racists were not from South Boston or we would have heard about it. Reading about this I learned here about the racist attacks on Bill Russell who lived in Reading.

Hold on. Russell wasn’t around here after 1974. Didn’t he play for the Celtics between 1956 and 1968 or so. Were the people from South Boston driving over to Reading to do this? I doubt it. Whoever these morons were they were most likely from the local area. Wasn’t it in swanky Marblehead that a white man said to Russell’s four-year-old daughter ‘‘You little nigger.’They should send all you black baboons back to Africa.”

The people of South Boston were upset because their children unlike more than 99% of the other children in Massachusetts were going to be bused to schools outside their neighborhoods.  These schools admittedly provided an inferior education. Why would any parent sit back and let her kid be shipped from a good school down the street to an inferior one in a far away neighborhood? In protesting they wrongly turned their ire against the visible targets the young black kids.

As wrong as this was it was based on more than the color of the person’s skin; what happened to Bill Russell in Reading or Marblehead was based on him being black. It was pure racism that pre-existed that of South Boston by a dozen years. It was pure racism like the recent actions of the people at Fenway Park.

Speaking of that, people have accused Tom Yawkey of the Red Sox of racism for being the last MLB owner to sign a black which did not happen until 1959. To back it up they talk about Jackie Robinson.  A report is that Yawkey’s Red Sox gave Robinson a tryout in 1945. It reads: “Even with the stands limited to management, Robinson was subjected to racial epithets.” Sounds pretty racist.

A Boston City Councilor Isadore Muchnick had Robinson speak to a breakfast group at his Temple in Brookline in January 1955. There it is reported Robinson, “termed Boston as one of the finest cities in which he ever played. “When I first came here in 1947” said Jackie “the people here made me feel right at home. I’ve never forgotten it and was glad that I was able to come up here for this meeting.”

Other stories about his tryout are here and here. No mention of racial epithets. Robinson never said there were. He said the war was still on and even though the major league needed players the door for blacks was not yet open no matter how well qualified. He’d break in with the Dodgers two years later.

The idea that South Boston gave Boston an image of racism is false. It existed long before the busing days and continues to the present. Some NFL player’s say the Patriots’ Stadium is full of racists; some NBA Celtic players said they never experienced it. (Celtics are the least racist professional team in America.) Other professional players say no city is worse than Los Angeles.

I’d have to guess Boston and every other American city still has its racists just as they have their morons. Fortunately they are a tiny minority. Most wise people know that if we are to survive as a nation all people deserve a place at the table even those who object to others being there because of a different race, creed or ethnic background.

12 thoughts on “You Mean It Didn’t Begin In Southie? Boston’s Racism Problem

  1. The Boston “experiment” was doomed given the postage-stamp size of the Boston political unit. It was suggested that the only way to achieve any kind of balance was to bus on a regional basis. This was quickly quashed by suburban legislators. Of course the goo-goos had no problem with METCO as long as Ron Lee and others could go to Lexington High.

    1. At Milton High we had 30 hand picked students from Roxbury. Fifteen Clarence Thomas’s and fifteen Condoleezza Rice’s. I came from Grove Hall. Didn’t see any of my old buds getting off the bus.

      1. Maybe you “old buds” were among the reasons your parents segregated your education as best they could by moving you to Milton. To be worthy of being Henry IV, Prince Hal had to give up Falstaff’s companionship.

        1. No. Not at all. A Black man saved my father’s life before I was born, but he despised racism long before that. My parents taught me well about race. They didn’t just want me to not use racial slurs. They wanted me to know why I was to not use them. My old buds weren’t bad dudes. They were just black as hockey pucks and not scholarly. Milton was a way for my father and mother to find their own place. “A house, a house, My kingdom for a house.”

          Well, my father did have scoliosis. (I know you will get that one.)

  2. Matt:
    We’re certainly in agreement here. I think it’s ludicrous to assert that Boston and/or its fans are somehow more racist than other areas of the U.S. Are the people of Buffalo, Chicago, New York City or, I don’t know, Kalamazoo, more enlightened than the people of Boston? Nah. No way, one might say.

    As for Louise Day Hicks and Donald Trump, ugh! Double ugh! Give me the good old Deep State any day.

  3. Always voted for Mrs. Hicks. Found her to be an intelligent, concerned and gracious lady. Living on the back side of Beacon Hill at the time that position was not popular among my neighbors.

    Yes, we all knew were she stood. It wasn’t hard to figure out. It was in the exact same place that every working Boston politician stood. She opposed busing and the very nasty piece of work on the bench Wendell A. Garrity, Jr.

    The local Deep State, that is, people without kids who would be effected by the ruling, needed a villain. So the Evil Queen was invented. The fake news media, – newspapers, TV stations and radio outlets all fell in line. There was a grand Auto da Fe and a torch was put to the reputation of the First Lady of Boston’s political life. Early on Mrs. Hicks’ prominence was more a creation of the press than it was her own drive. So a narrative was contrived and the stories written.

    Lies. lies and more lies. Why attendance was higher at South Boston High than any other school. It was a success. Integration for the working class. No one else though. Then came Avi Nelson and the wall of lies collapsed. Attendance was closer to 3%.

    This is the most important point: No one Liar reporter, not one Liar editor, not one Liar manager, not one Liar news reader at any fake news outlet suffered a single adverse career consequence for being a Liar. Lying is a career enhancement in the fake news industry from the New York Times down to the schlub who rips and reads at a small radio station.

    It has been 43 years since the honest and able public servant, Mrs. Louise Day Hicks, was given the full bore slime treatment. Time has changed nothing. Except the target. Today the target is President Donald J. Trump.

    1. “It was in the exact same place that every working Boston politician stood.”

      Check your facts.

  4. A few other historical notes:
    Remember, the first African-American U.S. Senator popularly elected (in 1966) was bronze-star recipient Ed Brooke from Newton, a suburb of Boston. Prior to that Brooke had been elected Attorney General of Massachusetts and prior to that won the Republican nomination for State Representative (1950).
    Also Martin Luther King, Jr. earned his doctorate in theology from Boston University in 1955, while his future wife Coretta Scott King was studying at Boston’s New England Conservative. Coretta described her years in Boston as “happy” ones and, in fact, wanted to stay in Boston after their marriage.
    So, you can tell many positive stories about Boston being a welcoming city, too.

    1. From Boston Herald, May 18, 2017: “At more than 90,000, the average salary of BPS teachers is among the highest in the nation.”

  5. Matt:
    1. We agree: The press peddles caricatures and stereotypes; and the Media falsely portrayed South Boston during “forced busing.”

    2. As said, bigotry is learned. It can be unlearned: case in point George Wallace. Most folks are fair-minded, neighborly. I met a guy in Washington D.C.; he told me flat out: “I hate Catholics.” He didn’t explain. I met another guy who said, “I hate liberals.” I understood. I don’t hate liberals. Some of my closest friends are liberals; I’ve enjoyed the views of many liberals: Christopher Hitchens, Noam Chomsky, Bob Beckel, Geraldo Rivera, Juan Williams. I prefer the views of conservatives: Justice Scalia, Bill Buckley, Pat Buchanan, Thomas Sowell, Wall St. Journal, Washington Times, Breitbart, Townhall, the Federalist Papers and the American Spectator. The editors and columnists of the NYT and WaPo are leftist wacos, in my humble opinion!

    As for racism, the good news is threefold: (1) in a nation of 310,000,000, there are only 5,000 members of the KKK, (2) “discrimination” is against the law in America, (3) the wealthiest group (per capita) with highest education is Asian Americans.

    We’re making progress! In time more hearts and minds will change and all folks will be judged by the content of their character, their actions and their ideas.

    You know where I stand: On my two feet, thank God, and against the Mainstream Media, big-government liberals, leftists, and neocons.

    P.S. Did you see the average pay of a school teacher in Boston Public Schools is $92,000? Imagine the benefits! (9 months work) The Teachers Union wants more! Big government liberalism in action. I read that in Boston the top 10 cops (sergeants and below) made between $310,000 and $410,000 last year. Remember when Boston Police officers raising big families used to live in Housing Projects?

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