Is Boston the Most Racist City in America?

Gawker and Deadspin writer aims to rank the country's most racist cities—and Boston is at the top of his list.

Earlier this month, a writer at Deadspin named Boston as the second-most racist city in the United States.

As evidence, writer Drew Magary noted only that he knew a handful of people from Quincy, one of whom “referred to black people as ‘colored’ people.” 

But our fair city could get bumped out of the top five. Magary, posting on Gawker, has asked the public to help him rank the country’s most racist cities.

Each city in question get a miniature profile, and Boston’s—which posted Tuesday—includes some damning anecdotes.

Among them, the busing crisis of 1974, the fact that the Red Sox were the last integrated team in baseball and the racist taunts slung by Bruins fans at a black NHL player, Joel Ward, earlier this year.

On the other hand, Boston was a hotbed for the abolitionist movement of the 1800's. It's the same city that worked with James Brown to prevent rioting in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination.

More recently, we saw a glimmer of tolerance in Charlestown. After a vandal wrote “Islam sucks” on a sign, another vandal marked the sign with “”

What do you think? Should Boston be in the running for most racist city in America? Is it growing out of its racist ways? Was Boston ever really racist?

joe pesha September 28, 2012 at 04:40 AM
wow and racist blacks hate the white friday the 13 teenths
Justin September 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM
People get robbed because of color all the time!!! I doubt that 1 person in this chat has robbed anyone, or been to jail... The 60s weren't that long ago. Takes more than 40-50 years to wash away centuries of inequalities. Let's face it, America was built on wiping out the Indians.... It is getting better as generations of tolerance are growing. By reading this page I realize that their is still much racism left in the world, and most of you sheltered people still do not get it. Just because you say your not racist, does not mean it is true. Most of you have no problem having Brazilians make your Nike shoes for $2 an hour slave labor, or Mexicans make your food at McDonald's for crap wages, or Asian's giving you a massage, and cleaning your feet!!! This message is not intended for everyone, Just you pretenders. I live in Mass, and have been and lived all over the U.S., and I'll tell you this..... Every project, slum, or getto, has racism, and the rich 1%ers are even more racist and removed from the real world. I am a poor man stuck in between the homeless, and the millionaires. You know me... I'm lower middle class, living in apartment buildings, and sharing walls with you........
Kathryn September 28, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Mr. Chameleon and others, Racism is not the same thing as prejudice, stereotypes or hate crimes, though there are certainly connections between all of them. But I do appreciate how, instead of having a debate or discussion, several of you simply attacked me and my intelligence. I am an extremely well educated and thoughtful person. How will our city, state and country grow stronger if we simply hurl insults at those we disagree with in an effort make them feel small? When that's all you've got, you've already lost the argument.
Dave September 28, 2012 at 07:52 PM
The only thing I am against is dirty people walking their dog and messing everywhere. Disgusting!!!
Valerie May Smith September 29, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I'm a transplant here as well and have observed the same. I'm a white female executive and am not looking for a "big hug" as one of the male commenters suggested must be the case if one notes the general Boston disregard for ethnic minorities. It is really interesting to hear the claim of this observation of Boston's covert and subtle racism as racist in itself.
Bob from JP September 29, 2012 at 03:25 PM
" I am an extremely well educated and thoughtful person." Sorry, but extremely well educated and thoughtful people don't have to convince themselves of that fact via online message boards. Your perspective is a classic liberal viewpoint which takes neither education nor thoughtfulness to adopt, so drop the holier than though schtick and get over yourself.
Bob from JP September 29, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Chameleon, well said. I suppose the educated and thoughtful Kathryn would claim that the KKK in today's society is not racist because they are roundly dismissed as white trash hillbilly idiots.
Cruise September 29, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I guess some people on the comments never heard of white privilege
TJ September 29, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I moved from the south (Va/Ga) to MA 14 years ago, and Boston is LIGHT years ahead of them in terms of racial and ethnic tolerance. Boston is not racist...it's just Boston. Everyone calls Boston racist because of the busing issue. I've lived in the burbs (Newton), Roxbury and Southie and have had no issues at all. If Boston (and Ma as a whole) is so racist, why is it we are the ONLY state with an African-American governor? I'd much rather live here than the south.
Maura September 29, 2012 at 07:18 PM
it's a sad that you confuse customer service with assumptions of shoplifting.
Nicholas Bodley September 30, 2012 at 03:17 AM
It seems to me that to call somebody "racist" can be a serious insult, but to /act/ racist is still relatively acceptable. I could be wrong, though. I try to respect all people (three years in the Pacific Fleet helped). Nevertheless, a while back, I did something racist (but not really bad) with no conscious intent. Thinking about what I'd done, I realized that there was still unconscious racism lurking in my mind. More work to do.
Juan September 30, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Listening to some of these comments it appears we've gone nowhere in the 47 years since my school district in Northern California went to busing. That was '65 and as an 8 year old it was scary but you had to deal with it, confront your fears, get along, and focus on learning. The kids who stayed grew up fast, maybe too fast, but at least got real-life experience. I had many friends whose parents were overcome with fear and left for the suburbs and the promise of a more sanitized life-style. Racism was rampant in the US at this time and it still exists but to suggest that Boston is a racist city reveals the state of our collective cultural amnesia. I've lived in Boston now for 30 years and have high-school children in the BPS and I can tell you we have come a long way. These kids and their friends of all colors and backgrounds are so inspiring in their progressive views, so worldly in their ambitions, so involved in their community it makes discussions like these seem regressive and pointless. Its OK to grow old people but please stay young.
MSgt Hernandez September 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM
My brother,cousins and myself have served in the Armed Forces: 7th Special Force, 82nd Airborne, Marines, and U.S Air Force. We are all first generation Americans, I personally have experienced racism in both fronts military and back home in Boston Mass., being sons of Guatemalan parents that came to JP in late 60's. I have lived and experienced many cities and towns: Mountain Home, Idaho pop. 8,000. San Diego, CA., Fayetteville, NC. Salt Lake City, Utah. Bay Saint Louis, Miss. and yet I have said that Boston Ma. Is by far one of the most racially divided states. Other than ole Miss. The country of France would fall third if it were a state of U.S.
Kay v October 01, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Kathryn, You are incorrect. People of color can be racist as well. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to people of color. Hanging out with a bunch of girlfriends (half of whom are black), I got a lesson in being black. African American and Haitian American are not the same "black" and apparently, without telling you which of the two my friends are, there is a hatred and feeling of superiority between the two. And, after I made my own "rasict" comment ("I thought black was black - I can't tell the difference between Haitian American and African American"), I was told there IS a difference and they can tell in an instant. It was an eye opener.
Dan Flapjacks October 01, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Anyone else find it stupid that the example of Boston being racist -- "a guy I know from Quincy" -- uses someone who's not from Boston?
ruger9 October 01, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I can't say where I would rank Boston in terms of being "most racist" but two things come to mind regarding any movie filmed in Boston: 1) No black leading actor/actress (probably no Asian or Latino either) 2) any women "from Boston" is portrayed as a "broad" as opposed to any girl that is classy in a Boston based movie is generally from some place else...
Ajax October 01, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I'm white and I have been asked what I "was doing here" in the past. People have approached me in Boston and tried to sell me drugs when I wore my hooded sweatshirt.
ruger9 October 01, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Kathryn you need to get yourself a dictionary. You obviously don't understand the term.
Jeff October 02, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Without a doubt Boston is the most racist city I have ever visited or lived in. I would not recommend and ethnicity other than white to live here. If you do, then say bye bye to your social life as there are mostly whites here and they aint friendly towards ppl of color.
Laura October 02, 2012 at 06:55 PM
People like Jake put Boston (rightfully) on the list. Ignorance is blissful I guess. Equal to their peers?
Girl October 02, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Well there is racism everywhere no matter where you go so Boston shouldn't be singled out, or any city for that matter.
Girl October 02, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Oh and why are black people referred to as colored people when everyone has some sort of pigment! Nobody is SUPER white unless you are an albino.
Karen October 02, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Natives may not wish to admit the prejudice, but those of us who are newcomers talk about the "Balkanization of Boston." It is shocking how segregated this city is! In general, Boston is a major metropolitan area whose citizens are as (or more) xenophobic than those in a small, Midwestern town. Historically? Even when Boston was abolitionist in the 19th century, all the white people removed their children from Bronson Alcott's school when he admitted a black child.
musuffa October 21, 2012 at 02:41 AM
boston never wanted black people to live thier since day one
Don Twizzle December 06, 2012 at 11:10 AM
yes boston is rascist and belongs on the top three! Boston has found a way to abolish slavery but turn it into a mentility! im born and raised and decided i dont want to be buried here!
j December 06, 2012 at 05:07 PM
If my peers are people who do not know the difference between there and their, then I don't want to be THEIR peers.
mplo February 13, 2013 at 08:49 PM
I have to disagree with you somewhat, Kathryn. Racism means prejudice against someone due to their race and/or ethnicity. First of all, many of the poor and powerless whites are racist, which means that racism doesn't have to have power behind it to be what it is. Secondly, there is racism between the various non-white groups, as well as the whites and non-whites here in the United States, which became very obvious at around the time of 9/11, and at the time of the riots in South Central L. A., when that area exploded, and nasty attacks against Korean-Americans, both property and their persons occurred. When people who have little or nothing to begin with are under great pressure, racial, cultural and ethnic differences all too often and too easily flare up, making relations between people extraordinarily difficult.
Matthew February 13, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Uh...NAACP (CP stands for "COLORED PEOPLE"). Ugh...liberals and their obsession with racism.
Sally March 20, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Well, Virginia had an African American governor in 1989. Not sure that's a great litmus test. If you look at the distribution of real estate, professional level jobs, and political positions, Boston is light years BEHIND Atlanta and Northern VA.
Sally March 20, 2013 at 10:15 PM
I grew up in Boston, but have lived in the DC area for most of my adult life. I have traveled to Atlanta a lot for business. I have also traveled for personal reasons to more than 20 countries, and to many states. Everytime I return to Boston to visit I am amazed at the obvious segregation that still exisits. Even more disturbing is the attitudes that are so unchanged. Just walking down the street there is such a negative vibe between people. JP is SLIGHTLY better than other neighborhoods, but not great. My colleagues who are minorities say they wouldn't move to Boston for a job. They don't want to live in a place where they would have to think so hard about where to live or where to spend their free time. Boston is better at race relations than it was 25 years ago, but it has a long way to go, and denial of the problem continues to impede progress.


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