Boston, Boston, Boston
In my mind, I have possessed the city of Boston since I was young. In reality, I have never possessed something so magnificent or grand.
Only a few days of my childhood were spent shopping for overpriced Christmas gifts for my mother and playing in the fountains near the Mother Church after Sunday school. Of course the airport and field trips to the Science and Children’s Museum were sprinkled in there as well. Yet these fleeting moments accumulated and allowed me to believe that I’ve known the city better than my peers. I don’t know street names, nor do I know what color T line connects South Station to Back Bay. How far away is TD Garden from Fenway? I couldn’t tell you. I have never known what the streets smell like in summer or how it differs from what they smell like in the winter. I’ve been misinformed about the history of the city and the injustices that have occurred on the same streets that smell of molasses on a warm summer’s day.
The Red Soxs were the last MLB team to desegregate. When I first heard this fact I thought I had hear them wrong. “You mean Austin, as in Austin, Texas?” No, Boston. I would continue to repeat “Boston, Boston, Boston” until the word sounded foreign on my tongue. The word sounded nearly as foreign as the possibility of Boston being a racist city. How could my cherished city be one that harbors a racist history?
My sister wrote her capstone about the desegregation of busses that occurred in Boston from 1974-1988. In history we read about the bussing problem and saw a picture of a white man trying to stab a black man with an American flag. An unexpected, and unwanted, surprise. How much do I really know about the city I claim to have grown up in? I can recognize the skyline, but I can’t recognize the continued displays of racism. The tradition of singing “Sweet Caroline’ at the bottom of the 8th inning must have made me deaf to the racial slurs chanted at the players on the other team. It makes me wonder to what other injustices I have been ignorant to.
Boston is a beautiful city with an ugly past. I loved walking on the streets with my cousins and siblings during hot summers, but I loved marching with my mother, sister, and little brother to stand for women’s’ rights even more.