Boston: Election Day 2009
by Talia Whyte
The Boston’s mayoral and city council elections next week are possibly the most controversial in recent years. Mayor Thomas Menino’s 16-year reign is being challenged by City Council President Michael Flaherty, with the help of his “deputy mayoral candidate” City Councilor Sam Yoon. In the City Council race, eight candidates from all over the city are vying for four seats.
With all the political excitement, one would think that Boston’s black communities would want to have a say in the city’s political future. I was originally assigned to go out and interview random people in our community about the elections, but got some really interesting responses – or lack thereof.
During the week of October 26, I went out with my camera and talked to over 30 people in Dudley Square, Grove Hall, Mattapan Square and Downtown Crossing, but no one was interested in being interviewed on video for many reasons. Believe or not, about half of the people I spoke to weren’t following the election at all, either because they had no time or they didn’t think it was worth the time because politics are so corrupt.
Another reason being is that even if they had an opinion, many feared talking on video and questioned how the video would be used. Technology is still in its infancy, and there are still fears about appropriate use. Furthermore, it is one thing to interview someone for a print publication, which I have done for years with ease, but it is entirely another thing when you want to capture their quotes for online video.
Finally, many of my interviewees didn’t trust the “white media” like WGBH for disseminating information about what is going on in their community. Considering the history of how some major media outlets portray communities of color, this is not surprising.
But where is the voice of the black community supposed to be heard?