Mayor Marty Walsh is anticipating “difficult feelings and difficult conversations” at the kickoff of a year-long series of talks on race relations in Boston. “We’ve tackled a lot of issues, but we really have never tackled the race issue,” Walsh said in an interview with Boston Public Radio Friday. “We have a divided country, and a lot of it is over race.”
Some white people in our city need to understand what people are feeling and what they went through.
Walsh’s administration held a couple of “test case” dialogues, which gave some indication of how future conversations might unfold. “Some of them are going to be hard,” Walsh said. According to Walsh, everyone begins with the same, base-line understanding: “There are race issues in Boston, and then everyone says, okay, we agree with that,” he said. “Then we talk about white privilege, and that throws a whole curveball into things. ‘What do you mean by white privilege?!’”
A huge part of these race conversations, Walsh says, will be centered on getting the privileged to listen to the less-privileged. “Some of the white people in our city need to understand what people are feeling and what they went through,” Wash said. “You dig into what white privilege is all about, you dig into what systemic racism is all about… those are tough conversations to have, but they are needed conversations.”