So there’s a clip from The Daily Show going around, a Roy Wood Jr segment on Boston’s racist reputation. In the video, Wood goes around asking white Bostonians if they feel Boston’s racist and of course they all responded no only for him to ask black Bostonians and get the real. What also stood out in the clip, was this one black woman’s answer where she said black Bostonians know where to go and not go around the city, which is something I’ve articulated on this here blog. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference and to me that encapsulates the Boston experience. Boston racism is not overt Confederate flag waving “you in the wrong town, boy” racism; it’s a downtown bar with little to no desire to diversify it’s happy hour crowd. It’s me having to tell someone that “yes, I’m in line” or having to check some dudebro at the gym because he’s working out right in front of me like he didn’t see me in the mirror. It’s a conversation I had with a friend about how uncomfortable she felt with a bunch of white people saying nigga at a Childish Gambino show. Yes, white people aren’t beating minorities blind with a 2×4 like Mark Wahlberg (anymore), yes they tend to vote very liberal but they’ve also ran out of any fucks to be more inclusive and like that video showed, they are ready to argue the hell out of any black person who tries to point out any sort of racial inequality. It’s a special brand of gaslighting, I shall call it “gaswhiting”. Merriam Webster, holla at me.
How do you make someone fix something they don’t even think they’re doing wrong? A few years ago we had a black Governor and a black President at the same damn time; you couldn’t tell a white person shit about racism. Their acknowledgment of racism is blackface and n*gger and you still might get Bill who “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” complaining about how we say it and it’s just a Halloween costume. Tell a gaswhiter that they have white privilege and they’ll tell you how they too grew up in a single parent home in the ghetto without recognizing that how easily they equate blackness to struggle. Challenge a gaswhiter too much and they’ll turn heel faster than a “nice guy” who gets turned down after a 3rd date. Gaswhiters love to compare and contrast, especially to extremes because that absolves them. Trump, nazis, the south, slavery, those are easy things to point to and say Boston isn’t THAT. Then you look at the numbers that say black families have a median net worth of $8 and it’s, well the whole economy is failing us, OCCUPY WALL STREET again pointing out an extreme and not what’s right in front of them.
I don’t necessarily feel unsafe in Boston, but I surely don’t feel welcome. As I’ve alluded to in a recent post it feels more and more likely that if I want to own a home in a black middle class community it’s probably not going to be here. I meet new people all the time who echo that same sentiment. That harsh reality of you can’t grow here is as glaring as a whites only sign but to gaswhiters they don’t/won’t understand that. It’s not like the mobs are bombing businesses (anymore). Gaswhiters see Boston as a liberal utopia, far removed from it’s really racist past, at worst it’s no more racist than any other major city in America, and ain’t like it’s Mississippi. To them, it’s not broke so why fix it? To acknowledge racism is to be divisive, we need to come together at times like this. Gaswhiters are tired of everything being about race, they just want to watch the game and the ensuing highlights on Sportscenter without being reminded of it all the time. It must be nice to live in such a bubble. Meanwhile, what’s actually more annoying than discussing racial inequality all the damn time? Living it.