“Tradition” is how accidental bigots discriminate
Lisa Jackson said she was put in charge of arrangements for Bubba’s wedding, which Deen apparently said she wanted to have a “true Southern plantation-style theme.” What, pray tell, does that mean? “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n----rs to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts, and black bow-ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around,”
The Daily Beast on a portion of Paula Deen’s deposition regarding traditional plantation style weddings.
“To be sure (as the majority points out), the legislation is called the Defense of Marriage Act. But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions.”
US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
“What the veterans don’t want are groups marching with banners proclaiming their sexual preferences. That’s not what this parade is about. It’s about celebrating Irish traditions and culture.”
The late Boston City Councillor James Kelly to Irish Echo, 1995
“There’s something to be said for holding onto tradition,” said <a lifelong South Boston resident>, 72. “That breakfast is a South Boston tradition. Would it be Castle Island if you picked it up and moved it someplace else?”
Southie resident to Boston Globe last week regarding the St. Patrick’s Breakfast “miscommunication
Last week, the current D4 City Councillor, Bill Linehan, once again, had an opportunity to shake the cloak of tradition in South Boston. Not tradition itself, mind you, but the type of tradition that is code for bigotry.
The sitting state senator has traditionally hosted the annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, where local politicians join together for some good old-fashioned ribbing. This time, the sitting state senator is Linda Dorcena Forry. Dorcena Forry is Hatian American, and from Dorchester, of all places. She is also married to Irish American newspaper editor, Bill Forry, and has a gaggle, in true Irish tradition, of Irish-Hatian-American children.
Linehan believed the breakfast should be hosted by a Southie native, say, someone like himself. The backlash was immediate. Mayoral candidates, the governor, former State Senator and breakfast host William Bulger, and more, said Dorcena Forry should host. In a carefully worded joint statement from the Linehan and Dorcena Forry camps, Linehan’s power play was characterized as a “miscommunication”. They will work together, Forry will emcee.
But the damage was done. The nation was once again reminded of South Boston’s history as a racially divided neighborhood (the New York Times even reported it); Boston felt yet another punch in the gut in a year already full of them; the third and fourth generation of Southie natives rolled their eyes, yet again.
As several twitter commentators noted, the name of the news source South Boston Today should be renamed South Boston 1974. Or that the “miscommunication” was that Linehan thought it was 1974, not 2013.
Linehan could have graciously welcome State Senator Dorcena Forry as the emcee of the breakfast (I’m sure a “black Irish” joke would have been an icebreaker). He could have presented Southie as the wonderful, diverse and traditional gem of a neighborhood that it is. Instead, he clung to the clannish politics of exclusion that was the hallmark of the last century.
The danger to South Boston is not new people moving in, it’s the sons and daughters of Southie moving out. There is no doubt that the late City Councillor and lifelong South Boston resident Jimmy Kelly was on his way to recognizing that his district’s youth needed incentives to stay. Just before his death, he came out in support of civil unions for same-sex couples. He traveled a long way in ten years.
The traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade is happening again in March. The parade still excludes LGBT groups from marching. Last year, Linda Dorcena Forry and Maureen Dahill (who ran for the senate seat and publishes Seen in Southie) called on the organizers to open the doors to the parade. Linehan marched in the parade, covering himself in the first amendment rights of the parade organizers.
If reelected, Bill Linehan has a chance to redeem himself. He could work with parade organizers to include LGBT groups in the parade. If Linehan needs inspiration, he should take a roundtrip stroll across the James Kelly Bridge and see which direction, incoming to Southie or outgoing, is most beneficial to the future of South Boston.