Does Boston make you more racist?

Over on, Fatshionista's Lesley Kinzel compares her native Florida with her current home, Boston, and writes: "[Boston] is a racist city."

It's not that the people are racist, she goes on to explain; "the city itself is a racist space . . . the most strictly segregated place I've ever known." And after a while, she writes, segregation takes its toll:

"I was walking out of a store today when I noticed a black dude looking at me. He wore the archetypal baggy pants, a white A-shirt, and a sideways ballcap. Ashamedly, for a split second I felt fear. I felt fear because I’ve absorbed the idea that black dudes in baggy pants are threatening, even against my will, and after a decade of living in Boston, I now have precious little personal experience to the contrary, which might kick in and combat those assumptions."

I'm inclined to agree with her. I was born here, and when I headed down to Florida to work for the paper formerly known as the St. Petersburg Times,  I was all set to encounter the kind of stereotypical Southern racism I'd heard so much about. I found it, of course. But I also found a place that was so much more integrated than anywhere I'd ever been. There were all kinds of black people: rich, poor, upper class, middle class, blue-collar. (There were even black journalists at the Times - and I mean more than one). The contrast to home was pretty stark.

Folks in the comments section are diving in and bashing Lesley for deigning to judge Boston while living up in the North Shore - for shame! - but I think she's right. We're just wicked racist.


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