Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On Race Relations in Boston

I’ve heard that Boston is still one of the most segregated cities in the country, and I can believe it. I notice all the time on the T there are these miniature ghettos that just spring up spontaneously on the back of the train, where a bunch of black kids get on and suddenly all the white people flee to the front, like blackness might be contagious. Sometimes all it takes is one black kid to set this in motion. The other day there was one black teenager sitting on the back of the T, positively exuding a very pure kind of retro 1970’s style blackness as he sat there sprawled over about four seats, even bouncing a basketball to drive the point home, and just his presence alone was enough to create the ghetto effect. There wasn’t a white person within twenty feet of him – they were standing up at the front of the T rather than sit down anywhere near this kid. In fact it finally took one Rosa Parks-like white person sitting herself down somewhere in the vicinity to re-gentrify the back of the T. You could see this critical mass of whiteness building up and finally overpowering the blackness of the ghetto kid, making the back of the T safe for whites again.

No comments: