Race and Your Community

My community is seven miles outside of Boston, Massachusetts. I live in a town, which can technically be classified as a city, due to the size of it. My town still tries to hold on to very old-school,

traditional ways. The community tends to the elderly, does not have a liquor store, nor, are restaurants allowed to sell alcohol, other than a select few. All gas stations in the town are full-service and everything closes at 10:00 p.m.. The old-school mentality of my community still attributes to racism; although, in today’s world the racism goes un-heard and un-seen. Racism is not just the belief that one race is superior to others, but the act of negatively identifying individuals based on the color of their skin.

An outsider looking into my community; one could classify it as a very cookie-cutter town. For being so close to the city, you would think it would have a more diverse feel. It is considered a liberal town. Mothers are mainly stay-at-home moms; there are three elite, private secondary schools in my town, and a Starbucks on every corner. So, as for as looks goes, it is a mainly white town, with a suburban feel.

The members of my town that are in the 25-35 age bracket all look the same. Walking into the center of my town, you would notice there is not a tremendous difference among people. The girls all shop at the same stores and look very similar. The clothes are trendy, yet liberal. The girls are mainly petite, or tall, and thin. I feel that because Boston is so close, it attributes to the girls in my town to be stylish and body conscious. Unfortunately, those that look different are usually due to them not “looking the part.” Whether that be over-weight, looks, or the way they dress. It is actually sad but not entirely unexpected when Boston is a young, well-educated city.

I notice that the leaders are just as cookie-cutter as the people that live in the town. They leaders are people that have lived in the town for all of their life. The ones that work in town hall have been working there for 20+ years. The leaders are very much involved in town safety and after school curricular activities for students. Having attended some town activities and met a few town leaders they seem to welcome everyone. I do not really buy into town politics all that much, so I have an inability to really believe them whole-heartedly. I feel the leaders like how the town has a reputation for keeping a lot of old-school traditions and want to make sure that it stays that way.

As a member of the town, I can not really say how I have noticed them treating people who are different. There really is not an over-abundance of other cultures in my town. I feel the leaders appreciate the money that their restaurant brings into the town. My town has any type of ethnic restaurant available. I feel that this is the leader’s way of seeming like the welcome anyone with open arms.

I feel that the members of my community treat others that fit the norm respectfully. I notice it when I conduct my personal business in the center of town. You can walk down the street and people say “hi” to you as you pass by. I have never really put much thought into how people of my town treat people are like me. When conducting the research for this paper I noticed how the clothing stores in the town would treat me and others in their store. They are overly nice and gracious. I guess it should not come to any shock as they knew we’re probably going to be spending some money in their store. I took notice though that at any one particular time the majority of the visitors happened to be white.

There is no real blatant disrespect that takes place in my town towards people that are different. I feel that people in my town just think of people of different nationalities and/or cultures as a minority. The people of the town do not really have a concern about “blacks” coming in and taking over the town. There is no real concern of Asians, Mexicans, or Latino groups coming into the town and ruining the shiny image the town upholds to the neighboring towns. So for that reason, the very few minorities that do live in the town are treated with mutual respect.

After taking some time to observe my local media stations to see what the people looked, I came to the realization that they are really not that different from me. The media stations in Boston seem to represent what I had early said. The residents of Boston are predominately young, so, the media portrays that of a younger culture. All the woman are very nicely dressed but in a trendy way. I feel they try to grab the attention of the young woman in the area. All of the media woman are no older than 40, if that. The men are also around the same age bracket. They are handsome, athletic, humorous, and intelligent.
The media in Boston is funny. Each station tries to seem hip to what is going on in the town. They have various segments about food, cultural things that are going on in the town, and the all important, sports. Boston media knows that in order to represent people like myself they need to be at Red Sox games, Patriot games, and other various college sporting events around the city. Each media person speaks of their own account of the game. That is their way of making someone like me have a common similarity with them. It is quite charming considering half of Boston media did not even grow up in the area.

Some similarities among people who are in leadership positions in my community mainly come from the same nationalities as I do. It is interesting to find out that most leaders in my community are either Italian or Irish. That is not entirely a far stretch considering that Boston has a huge Irish/Italian population. The leaders in my community are Irish old-timers that still follow strict customs. Among the customs that are most important is family.

Coming from an Irish/Italian background I can relate to the leaders in that regard. Although, having grown up that way, I also know there is huge underlining discrimination against those of other nationalities. I just so happens I forced myself to look outside of my culture and take the time to learn about others. Perhaps it was acceptable to be racist back when my parents were in their early 20’s but I never wanted to carry around distain towards someone just because of their skin color. I feel that the leaders in my community have some of that underlining distain; the same that my parents had.

Minority group interests are represented within my community. I feel that it is mainly done to keep up this façade that Boston is such a well-rounded community. Boston is seen as a liberal city and the leaders want more than anything to keep up that persona. Boston has a large gay population, African-American, Hispanic, Middle-East, and South-East Asian community. Unfortunately, you do not notice that the city is so diverse unless you visit there areas in which those “groups” congregate and hang out in. Boston has various parades for nationalities but only “their” community. The gay pride parade only travels through a few blocks that are frequently traveled by gay people in the area.

I feel that because I am such an open-minded person, I would like to change the inequities among gay people in my area. I feel that gays have the hardest time living a healthy, normal life. I have plenty of gay friends that are normal people. They are limited to number of gay bars that are in the area. If you visit San Francisco that would not be the case at all; but because Boston just wants to be seen a well educated city, they are limited to the number of bars were there would be people just like them. If I could change anything, I would increase the number of gay bars in the area and make them feel more welcome in the community. Instead of having the Gay Pride Parade travel through a limited area; I would have it travel throughout more parts of the city.

Basically, anyone that does not fit into what is considered “mainstream” is going to have a hard time, compared to those that do. It is unfortunate and it should not have to be that way. I fall into the category of fitting in. I do not know what it is like to walk down the street and have people look at me because I am black or that I wear a turban. I can only imagine that the feeling is not that good and quite upsetting. Hopefully, at some point in my lifetime no one is going to care what color skin you have, or, that you are gay. Racism though is something that is imbedded in you at a young age. It is when you become an adult that you have the choice to want to expand your mind to other cultures. Little do some people know that it can be an interesting journey.