Letters to the Boston editor, November 5, 2010
I wanted to thank you for your article on Blue Hill Avenue and for shedding light on the area and some major issues that we are facing in the city. However, I found myself repeatedly distracted. There seemed to be an insistence on using the word “black,” and I could not understand why you felt the need to repeatedly remind us of the area’s racial background. For example, you describe Blue Hill Avenue as a major street in areas where the majority of blacks and Latinos residents live. When you describe Mattapan, you say that the majority are from the Caribbean. I would assume that this would be sufficient, but, then again, you remind the readers that the residents are black.
I guess I could not understand why this was important, and I found myself frustrated, distracted, and pulled away from what is a solid piece. It made me wonder about how are issues of race are talked about at the Phoenix.
CHRIS FARAONE RESPONDS
Thanks for your note. I’m sorry that you were distracted by certain aspects, but it’s a matter of fact that black, Latino, and Caribbean folks live in those areas. Furthermore, it’s a fact that is central to the story, as the implication of many of my black and Latino sources is that these areas are deprived because of the race of people who live there. I would also argue that pertinent issues regarding race are addressed in the Phoenix more than they are in any of the other major papers around Boston.
Chris Faraone’s reporting on the crisis at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater and the larger Massachusetts prison system was dynamite. Identifying the union leadership as a major barrier to reform was particularly newsworthy, since most media and politicians tiptoe around them. Furthermore, reporting that digs below the surface and includes the perspectives of prisoners and their families has been sorely lacking in this state. I hope the Boston Phoenix will do more of this kind of research and reporting so we as a community can begin to develop a fair and effective justice system.
Nancy W. Ahmadifar