As part of its series on racism, the Globe looks at looks at the development of the Whiteport, um, Seaport.
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I was going down Congress Street the other day and we had to pass through the checkpoint at the corner of D and Summer. There was a small kerfuffle up in front of us when the police told two people who weren’t apparently white that they could not pass. Strange days indeed. I’m kidding of course about checkpoints.
For all of the Globe’s pontification on the problems with race in this city and the greater metropolitan area they are not leading by example. There are problems with race and segregation in the city and not just Boston. The Leafy Burbs, especially those in MetroWest, are worse.
The Globe’s owner decided to go against housing on the Morrissey Boulevard site. They could have easily used covenants with the development team that would have ensured a larger percentage of the housing go towards groups that they see as benefiting from a good highway and transit location.
The Globe also just took over a massive new printing facility in Taunton. While yes Taunton is a maligned small city that is in need of a pick me up, the Globe is in the very successful Myles Standish Industrial Park. This park draws its employees from the Southwest I-495 belt, some of the whitest and also most conservative parts of the state. The Globe did not locate to Lawrence, where there are available buildings and excellent highway access, nor to Lynn, nor to Fall River. All cities where there is higher than average unemployment and a larger than typical minority population. Good middle class jobs could have been established there with the Globe practicing what it preaches.
The Globe is a great paper, certain business columnists, skew the curve towards the idiotic a bit, but for years I’ve seen the paper as a classic example of Do As I Say, Not Do As I Do. That’s why I take their reporting on this matter with a huge grain of salt. Get back to me when ownership and management doesn’t look like a photo of the Stowe Vermont town hall staff.
I know an individual that works in the Taunton facility, he is from poor Northeast CT, yes he also commuted to Morrisey Blvd. before they moved the printing facility to Taunton. Just because you put a plant in a specific area (i.e. Lawrence) doesn't mean the workers will be from the area.
One complaint is about the residential properties. I think I read that three mortgages were written for black property owners. That seems like a small number.
Another complaint is about who participated in the development as developer and builders whether it was public infrastructure or private development.
The millions or billions spent in the fastest growing business development and residential neighborhood-- the Seaport--hasn't been a great benefit to people of color in Boston. If true, and I have read o reason not to believe it, it's a valid complaint.
Saturday at his talk on racism, Walsh couldn't defend it not that he admitted he couldn't defend it.
While it's reassuring to know that you have compiled an impressive catalog of examples where the Globe may not have acted in a way that would benefit Massachusetts residents of color, none of that actually changes the facts that they have reported.
I am only pointing out that they too contribute to the problem.
Remember, they also left Dorchester, the most diverse neighborhood in Boston, where they had good jobs for the neighborhood, because they wanted something different.
What value is there in pointing all of those things out when the article's authors likely didn't contribute one bit to those things happening?
Well said indeed, all of it.
If one really wanted to do a study of race relations in Boston you would take hundreds of Bostonians of all ages, races, genders and economic status and lock them in a steel box with no heat and transport them to a tunnel where they would be stuck for a hour or so and see if they all get along. Oh wait we do that everyday on the MBTA.!
Will the Globe please stop using the term "by the white and the wealthy". They are not mutually exclusive. The seaport only cares about one color, green. It doesn't care if you are white, brown, green or purple. It only cares about money. Just because you are white doesn't mean you are automatically included.
I would love to see the Globe release some stats on it's subscriber base in terms of race, income and education level. They love to quote stats, but never their own.
What the Globe is trying to show is that, unlike other cities, Boston has very few black upper-middle-class residents. The implication, at least so far, is that this is because people who have made it in New York don't want to move to Boston (or stay here after college), rather than structural impediments to local folks moving up the ladder (recall how Tito Jackson made an issue in his campaign about all the out-of-state license plates at Boston construction sites), but whatever the reason, the net result is a new neighborhood that is almost entirely white.
Today's article actually is a good example of "structural racism." The Globe interviewed a number of white development executives who all seemed like well meaning people, who all said, yeah, ain't that a shame, and yet, nobody seemed to do anything about the problem, nobody seemed to do more than just bemoan the way things are. So individually, none of them might be racists, and, yet, again, the net result is the same: A new neighborhood that is almost entirely white.
I read Sunday's piece, I went through column after column waiting for the examples of racism, and the only thing I could find was that landlords ignored emails from black-sounding names 43% of the time instead of 36% of the time for white-sounding names.
So the racism is that black people do not feel comfortable in the city, and do not see "people who look like me" on the social scene and in places of power. If this is structural racism then the term is contradictory. It was demanded of white people that they should NOT want to be around people who looked like them, however black people (maybe naturally, and definitely encouraged by postmodernist liberalism) are supposed to want to be around other black people.
There are plenty of racist people in Boston, but it's a lot worse in Atlanta, and one of the surveys the Globe cites says that black people feel much more welcome there. But black people don't feel welcome in Boston? Doesn't that mean that racism is not really as big a problem for black people as white liberals would like us to believe? Doesn't that point to the conclusion that human beings naturally like being around and dating and marrying people who look and sound like their parents? And that white progressive anti-racism is not helping black people so much as it's helping white people hate the lower classes?
Modernist white liberals wanted us to have a social policy based on a colorblind idea of humanity, that race was a social construct that must be eliminated through various positive and negative reinforcement. Maybe it hasn't worked (as the Globe piece proves) because it tries and fails to alter some natural biological tendency. Then the Globe's obsession with finding racism has another purpose.
Why don't you ask your black friends whether they care about racism or not?
There are plenty of racist people in Boston, but it's a lot worse in Atlanta
One of the most thoroughly integrated, largely middle-class communities in Georgia - for all that it has a (long ago KKK-funded) monument to Confederate generals.
The new Southie is from Connecticut. Everyone's parents seem to live in Connecticut and their kids are getting jobs in the Seaport, at all the corporate headquarters that are leaving Connecticut and relocating here. Even though Connecticut is losing jobs, if their parents are in their 50s-60s, they probably have enough to retire and help their kid pay rent or buy a place in Seaport or Southie. The Seaport is mostly white, because most well off people in Connecticut are white, and that's where the new folks are coming from.
I've never seen you write anything about particular Roxbury groups trying to maintain the "Blackness" of their neighborhood.
How white is your street?
You're starting to lose it buddy!
Let's see: Our immediate neighbors to the left are Filipino. Next to them is a Haitian family and then an African-American family. On our immediate right: A Dominican family. Next to them, a Korean woman. On her other side is another Dominican family. The people directly across the street are white, but next to them on one side are more Dominican folks.
Next question, buddy boy?
As for "blackness," the fact that you're a white guy (you are, aren't you?) suggests you don't know from racism or why it might be important when you're a part of a minority to have folks like you around (obviously, I'm a white guy, too, but I, you know, talk to people sometimes; and I remember what it was like to be one of three Jews in a school where that was not considered a positive). In fact, my one criticism of the Globe series so far is that it's really focusing on what we can do to attract upper-middle-class black people from places like Atlanta and New York, rather than dealing with the issues that people who already live in places like Roxbury (and whose families have lived there for generations) are dealing with.
You'll censor this comment Adam because of your editorial bias.
You didn't live here or go to school here at the height of busing.
You believe the only rocks thrown at buses were by "racist white kids from Sputhie or Charlestown"
Trust and believe rocks were thrown and beatings were given to we white kids that were bused to black neighborhoods.
Talk to some of the white kids that were bused. You'll get similar stories from them.
Google the name Richard Poleet. Read what happened to him and why.
Racism in Boston is a two way street.
If you want to continue to soak in your hatred from 40 years ago, go right ahead. No, I didn't live here in 1974. But not all that long after that, I did go to college with one of the first black people to move into a South Boston housing project. She lived there for a couple weeks until her car was firebombed. She left before something worse happened to her. Darryl Williams wasn't so lucky.
And yes, I am very grateful the era of Louise Day Hicks and Dapper O'Neil has passed.
Don't be so defensive Adam. Or assuming.
I don't soak in any hatred from 40 years ago.
You're assuming I had a hatred.
All I stated were facts. And the fact is people think of Southie and they immediately conclude you're a racist and threw rocks at black kids in buses 40years ago. No one assumes that rocks were thrown by blacks at white school kids being bussed to black neighborhoods. But they were.
These facts are conveniently ignored by the Globe. And by you. I've commented on similar articles and they were never posted.
As far as Daryl Williams goes you're really reaching. He was hit by a bullet fired blindly from the roof of a building. It could have hit someone's grandmother sitting on their stairs.
Again I'll ask you to read about Richard Poleet circa 1974-75.
As I said racism is a two way street in Boston.
That Southie is long gone. Nowadays, I bet you most people who think of Southie think of either million-dollar condos or crime movies. It's time to come into the present and ask what is going on now, which the Globe is doing.
THAT Southie may be long gone but when you tell people you've lived in Southie forever there is the assumption that "you must be one of those people"
Believe me I've dealt with it,from the questions about Whitey to bussing to stupid jokes about space savers.
And the Globe isn't doing anything but selective journalism. Look at their staff,not one black face among that crowd.
How many people of color at the Herald? Besides poor Kimberley Atkins. She couldn't answer me when I asked he she could possibly miss her byline appearing in the same rag as Howie Carr. She deserves better.
Remember Howie Carr? The guy who calls blacks "40oz drinking layabouts"? Anybody like that at the Globe? I ask because I know lot of old basos from back in the day in Southie who still call blacks niggers.
I did live there. I was on Bunker Hill Street when those kids were being beaten by my neighbors, were you? Then during the day I used to work as the only white kid in a record store on Washington Street where the black guys beat the shit out of me constantly for being a white kid with a smart mouth.
You can sit there and try and excoriate Gaffin here for being what you seem to feel is his being a clueless carpetbagger, but he certainly practices more journalism than any of those goofs over at the Globe who are only using this town as a stepping stone to their first books.Or their Politico gig. Or their first appearance kissing Joe Scarborough's ass like that plagiarist Mike Barnicle.
So I think he's earned the right to say anything he wants about stupid townies like us.
Brian,consider yourself a stupid townie. Don't speak for me. I'm not excoriating anyone. Look up the meaning of that word.
And to answer your question,yes I was here during bussing. If I weren't I wouldn't have written "we white kids had rocks thrown at us and beatings given"
And I never used the word carpetbagger in reference to Adam.
As for the Globe, I wouldn't line a birdcage with it.
You didn't live here or go to school here at the height of busing.
That sounds like someone calling someone a carpetbagger, maybe it's me?
As far as excoriating, you said he would delete your comment when you knew he wouldn't, so why condemn him initially for something he didn't do?
And he didn't have to talk to white kids that were there, I piped in.
So where's the beef here, yo?
Is this an opinion piece? It reads like an opinion piece. Especially when it calls out certain companies which I know from personal experience to be much more diverse than the author suggests.
The sad whataboutery taking place in this comments section is unbecoming of this city.
How many POC are on staff at the Globe?
Their org chart looks like the cast of Happy Days.
I don't know if it got that way by cynical design or laziness, but to me the Seaport is a colossal disappointment -- a brand new neighborhood that feels soulless and completely disconnected from the rest of the city.
With the Pike/Alston/West Station project, they could learn from the mistakes or they could just let the same awful thing happen. I don't know the odds of which way it will break.
If the Globe was so concerned about racism in this city, then why did they back Walsh for Mayor over Tito? More useless drivel written by a paper where half the staff couldn't find Morton and Blue without Uber.
The best part is the falling over each other to pat each other on the back by every Globie on Twitter. Though when asked why they feel that they should be heralding an impotent piece from a paper owned by a billionaire and his trophy wife, they were all remarkably silent. A paper whose writers kiss the ass of anyone with CEO in their name.
To what end will this series serve? Other than an insincere tsk-tsk from people in Dover who don't care.
What end does it serve? Well at least someone, with a large megaphone, is saying, "There's a problem". That's an improvement over saying nothing.
Back in May? Adam Jones? Black guy? At John Henry's Fenway?
That was kind of swept under the rug long before his own paper decided they were going to tackle a problem that is not only systemic, but rampant in this city.
That's why I ask: to what end?
I can't really figure out what these articles are about except to establish some vague sense of injustice. If you suggested segregated bars and segregated neighborhoods the Globe would go bananas. But doesn't the series suggest just those solutions? But the Globe can't take it all the way. If Louis Farrakhan has a meeting of black men the Globe reports it as a way to exclude women and LGBTx.
Even a goal formerly thought of as laudable, such as more black people at higher levels in the professions, now seems, by the standards set out in this series, to increase the sense of isolation. The Globe calls that racism or structural racism, and uses the tools of civil rights to attack statistical realities. They are not unusual in this but the series reveals the poor match those tools make. It's shoddy thinking.
Try "strong sense of injustice" being watered down by losers like you who deny that it exists.
Please, Tito would not make things better. He exuberantly wants to give the neighborhood associations more power. The same associations that, in Dorchester, have very few neighbors of color participate. And when developments come up in the areas with more POC, (DotBlock, 233 Hancock St.) they are approved unanimously but when you propose 17 units within the same neighborhood where it's mostly white, the pitchforks come out. Not to mention the veiled discrimination against gays everytime those opposed to the project said they want a "family neighborhood".
Institutional racism is alive and well in the neighborhood groups.
I was looking forward to reading this piece, as I think it is an important question to explore why Boston has apparently developed this reputation. I was a little dissapointed to see that the article interviewed (or at least quoted from) very few black people to pose the question of why they feel that Boston is unwelcoming, as the "why" is the question. Furthermore, more than anything, this was an article about development, that can best be summed up by the quote (from the article) “A lot of cities like Boston that consider themselves global cities are competing for the global 1 percent,” said Penn Loh of Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. “Boston could lose its soul as a place for regular, working people of all colors.” This too is an interesting, and troubling, phenomenon, but again it lacks the first person perspective I was hoping to see.
In an article about what is essentially a giant construction project, it would've been interesting to hear some thoughts from somebody at the Cruz Companies - one of Boston's few black-owned construction companies (they're the ones who've proposed a mixed-use tower in Roxbury) - especially given the comments from one of the Seaport developers about how it's nothing personal, they just didn't want to spend the time to train people.
I moved to South Boston about 4 years ago from S. End. I noticed right away how white everyone was, both the younger kids on the bus and the beach that the older residents hate, down to the sketching, skinny dudes in sweatshirts and no teeth swaying on the side walk. A friend of mine who is black was at my house the other day and was telling me how she never comes to Southie, because she just figures it still pretty racist. To some extent, people of color who grew up in Boston or the Boston area probably have that idea that they will find racism here, even as much as the neighborhood has changed. Meanwhile, there's a black guy who lives in my building and moved here ~5 years ago, a lawyer who works downtown, and he loves it here, but he grew up on the west coast, so nothing made him think he shouldn't move to Southie. To some extent, the old reputation, the lame bar scene and the fact that it all caters to a certain taste, ensures the Seaport will always be 75% full of girls from Connecticut trying to find boyfriends also from Connecticut.
Every new development in Boston seems to be marketed with amenities that are predominantly white, higher income niche tastes. Which tends to create this public perception that the mainstream is in want of yoga studios, electric car charging stations, and easy access to craft beer options. But these kind of things are not the desires of a majority of Boston residents, they are by-and-large niche interests of a subset of mostly white, mostly young, and mostly high income people.
The implicit message in these new developments is, if you are POC or working-class, you can go pound sand. (Name 1 local development or tech company that provides a barber shop/nail salon for its residents/employees, along with their fitness center.)
There are companies that provide barbers?
like yoga, electric vehicle technology, and craft beer? What do you know about "POC" that makes you think because of their melanin, they wouldn't be interested in the above interests?
I admittedly haven't had a chance to read this article yet (going to do that on the T this afternoon), but the first article in this series was really troubling. Making this city more diverse and inclusive would only make it better. Boston still has a terrible reputation when it comes to race relations. I spent a year living in Atlanta about 10 years ago and I can vividly remember one of my black coworkers telling me that he had multiple friends who warned him to never go to Boston. How can we change this? As a white man, I benefit from white privilege. How can I use my white privilege to eliminate my white privilege? I sincerely want to help enact change, but I don't know how. I suppose I can reach out to the mayor and other local government officials (which I plan on doing), but what else can I do on an individual level? And that is not a rhetorical question, I would really like to know.
The Seaport wasn't built to be an equal opportunity employer/housing opportunity. It was built to be an expensive attachment to downtown by being as close to downtown as possible but fresh and new at the same time.
Their first article in the series detailed how the black community in Boston barely has two pennies to rub together. So, where was the Seaport development project supposed to find black entrepreneurs and residents? Would it have mattered one iota if the ads for the condos had affluent, middle-aged, black people enjoying the new digs on the advertising?
The first day's article already outlined the general affairs of how decades of history, wrong-headed policies, non-supportive mechanisms, and built-in racism have decimated what little black community the city has to begin with. So, we build the biggest, newest, part of downtown and how is it supposed to both thrive and support them? There's no way you could design the Seaport to be the solution to any of the problems in the first article. Acting like hiring more minorities or putting them on the ads or bringing in a bar or restaurant majority owned by a black owner would change anything is simplistic and dumb.
The Seaport wasn't the opportunity to raise up the black community...BUT its tax dollars are. Invest in Dorchester, Mattapan, etc. Don't gentrify and replace the communities there, but make those neighborhoods better for the residents that are already there. Use the newfound public wealth from a successful Seaport to write the future where the successes of tomorrow's black community are on a more even-footing for participating in the "Seaport project" of tomorrow. THEN, the black-owned companies will be there to move into that new project together. THEN, the black residents will live alongside the white residents and others.
If we wanted the Seaport to be about fairness and breaking institutional racism, then we had to start well before the Seaport. The Seaport being nearly all-white is a failure of our past, not our present.
is alive in the Seaport.
For Mayor of the Seaport!!! Who is with me???!!!
Typical. When the white people at the Globe talk about white people, they're referring to someone else. You know - THOSE white people. We're all post-racial here in Concord/Lexington.
Full disclosure, I have recently moved into an apartment in the Seaport and have worked in the area for over 12+ years. Our intentions are to live above our means for a year or two, taking advantage of the newest of everything this area has to offer (and also a little bit of a midlife crisis thing).
What really got me was the Globe attributing $18+ billion in tax payer money being invested to create the Seaport area. They calculated the $18+ billion by included the total costs to clean up the harbor and to build the Ted Williams tunnel? So does that mean as a resident of the neighborhood I should have exclusive rights to swim in the harbor and drive to the airport with no traffic?
I applaud the Globe for taking on this topic, and they started off on the right foot on Sunday, but today's section was a shot way into left field.
who is white lives in an affordable unit in the Sesport that he was picked in a lottery and he doesn't feel welcomed there. Says his neighbors live well above his lifestyle and treat him like a second class citizen. Until the City puts a trailer park and methadone clinic in the Seaport these bigots will continue the race and class division. And the City is complicent in this social fiasco.
I have heard other stories from people in affordable units in new 'luxury' developments around town being treated like pariahs by their neighbors and the property management.
In one case, I saw a low-income lottery tenant in Housing Court being evicted by Avalon from one of their high-end properties for being only 1 month behind in her rent after she lost her job. In tears, she told a story of constant harassment by the on-site management, from the time she moved in, that she felt was designed to make her and her special needs child leave. Including not allowing them to use the property's fitness room. And how the other market-rate parents didn't want their kid playing with hers. She explained how when when she got chosen for an affordable unit, she thought that it was like a dream come true. But after she got there, the way she was treated by everyone made her want to leave as soon as she could afford something else.
And like your co-worker, she was white. So imagine a low-income black resident in an environment soaked in that mentality . .
Wow, that's awful. I live in a newish building in the W. Broadway area, ok, not seaport, but new residents are paying ~1 mil. for the larger units here. We have low income residents, one an older Chinese lady that every body knows and everybody is quite nice to (helps her with the door, packages, etc., talk a lot about getting her a new bench to wait on when we redid the lobby recently). Another friend of mine won a lottery for a "low income" studio in the North End, also a newish ~10 year old building. Her neighbors are also quite friendly. Low income still means she pays ~1600/mo, which she is super grateful for, but honestly, you can live for much less with roommates in the North End or even Southie, Dorchester or Brighton, so not everyone can even afford the newer "low income" apartments.
Maybe they should use some of the still underdeveloped, under development parcels in the seaport and require one of these jackass developers build in a homeless shelter or safe injection site. Part of the ongoing problems in this city is a lot of these "undesirable" but absolutely necessary public-good services are placed in predominantly POC neighborhoods, forcing them to bear the brunt of supporting them. The South End is an exception, but only because it's gentrified around the existing services.
What'd I miss?
Give us your four cents on this.
The Seaport looks like Houston.
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