Night after night, images of raging, white Irish Catholic South Boston and Charlestown adults pitched and yawed across the screen. Heaving rocks and other debris at screaming black children trapped inside yellow school buses, swarming white faces full of fury attacked black faces full of terror, everyone frozen in televised flashes, sparked by “forced busing.”
"Elite, Effete, Entitled" [excerpt]
When I was growing up in NC, “up the road” was what Southerners called points north and by that we meant places as far south, geographically and politically, as Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC, and as far north as the Canadian border. Anywhere beyond the Confederacy was Freedom Land to us.
I associated Northern accents and higher education with racially progressive, open minds and higher order thinking. I had also trained myself to seek affinity among white women wherever they and I were significantly outnumbered by white men. My first trek from the law school through Harvard yard and into Harvard Square had snatched the thread that rapidly unraveled all those notions.
The ease with which I expected to navigate Cambridge and Boston, the allegedly racially progressive north, was not something I just pulled from thin air. Northerners have spent centuries creating and maintaining the myth of how Southern they ain’t. Until Boston slapped some sense into me, I was part of the bamboozled masses.