Thursday, August 27, 2020

Black People Do Live in Boston: From the Lens of A Black Girl From Mattapan

When I tell people I am from Boston, people usually look puzzled because I am a Black Woman from a predominantly Irish and immigrant city. When people think about Boston, they usually think about the Kennedys (who are actually from Brookline, a city outside of Boston), Irish people, eccentric but strong accents, The Boston Tea Party, Cold and Harsh Winters, Crazy and Wickah (Boston accent) Sports fans, and racism and liberalism.  Many are unfamiliar with Black Bostonians' beautiful, ugly, dark history and ongoing struggles. 

Here are some truth bombs about Boston:

Since we live in perilous times in which people are trying to wrap their minds around racism, systemic racism, and policies. I decided to share a glimpse of my reality as a Black Bostonian and my journey to why it is important to share your reality and story to educate, advocate, and liberate others to do the same. 

As I look back on this photo above, I realized how White flight and racism was alive in the 80s but in a covert way. Growing up in Mattapan, a neighborhood occupied by Jewish folks that slowly transitioned to Southern Blacks and Caribbeans occupying the neighborhood. I got to experience firsthand White Flight within my neighborhood and Elementary School.  I remember the three White students I attended elementary school who participated in White flight by relocating to White areas in Massachusetts or attending exclusive private schools.

As a child/grandchild/great-granddaughter of sharecroppers and slaves from Atmore, Alabama. My parents migrated to Boston, MA, for “better” opportunities, escaping lynching, racism, redlining, and oppression. Come to find out, they faced covert racism, job discrimination, and a slew of other systemic and institutionalized racist policies. Being Native/ADOS (indigenous to America due to slavery) Black in America whose ancestors built this country for free, no one should be telling us how to feel, grieve, and navigate this interesting and surreal experience. From Slavery to Sharecropping to Jim Crow to Covert Racism to Social Worker to Professorship, my duty and life mission are to continue to educate, enlighten, and advocate for Native Black women, men, and children. Why have all this knowledge and not done anything collective with it?

I don’t understand why people are shocked about the system of White Supremacy, segregated schools in 2020, lack of accessibility of resources to the Black Community, redlining, the vicious cycle of poverty, food, and medical apartheid, violence, broken political system, and more. Nothing truly changed since my parents graduated from Escambia Training High School in 1969 and 1970. Things are progressively turning for the worse for Black people. This pandemic truly showed us how it can devastate an entire community collectively due to our ongoing mental, physical, and spiritual stress—lack of wealth, quality of health care, and the infant mortality birth rate. If we collectively sit back and allow individualist gatekeepers to hoard all the resources and dictate our faith, we are truly doomed. 

Share your thoughts on how we can advocate for tangible results? What resources do we need to access or create? Share your thoughts, experiences, and opinions in the comment section. 

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