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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

But what did Jesse Jackson say?

"Jesse Rips Hub on Race" read the big front-page headline in the Herald today. The article, though, kicks off with people denouncing Jackson before they even get to what Jackson said. Bush supporter Eugene Rivers, one of the idiots behind the faith-based initiative, is one of Jackson's critics cited, along with a peeved Mayor Menino who doesn't want anyone saying anything remotely unflattering during his party. Jesse's words only appear in paragraphs 4-6:

"There is such a class gap between the haves and the have-nots," Jackson said. "If you look at inner-city Boston and the suburbs, it's like there is a doughnut and then there's the doughnut hole."

Jackson added that Boston falls short of being a model for urban democracy around the country.

"Boston must work even more diligently at being the academic center it is, at being the shining light on the hill," Jackson said. "This can be the city with an urban agenda that becomes the ideal for all of America. Boston ought to aspire to no less."

He's not "ripping" Boston but pointing out the obvious disparities that still exist between, say, Dorchester and Weston. While some progress has certainly been made, we shouldn't be smugly satisfied with ourselves either, attacking someone who dares point out that a good amount of inequality persists. What gall Jackson must have to suggest that we work to become an even better city in terms of racial equity!

This is a total non-story, yet the Herald's non-thinking approach has affected the TV coverage, as I saw a piece on channel 7 tonight echoing the same narrative. Sigh.