Re: RARA-AVIS: Boston: Pruett

From: Jeremiah Healy (
Date: 16 Nov 2001

A few observations about Boston:

        1) I've lived in the area, counting academic years during law school, since the fall of 1970. When I arrived, it was a very provincial city, with very few non-white faces ever seen outside the respective neighborhoods where given racial groups lived. Court-ordered busing in the 1970's tore the fabric of the city, and its public school system, which was run by an incompetent aggregation of political hacks. However, the image of black children ducking in school buses as white parents threw rocks at their windows has taken a long time to get over, and there still are pockets of blocks in some neighborhoods where the race of a visitor would be an issue.

        2) Today, though, many of the formerly "white-only" neighborhoods have racial mix beyond tokenism, and certainly the "desirable" neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, the Waterfront, Back Bay (where I live), etc. have become fully integrated, and not just by the influx of African-Americans. For all its other problems, Boston University may claim credit on this issue, as it has attracted many students of color from overseas to its undergraduate program.

        3) I also think the trick to writing crime novels about Boston is to focus on this transition and the ripple effect that "multiculture" is having on the traditions of the city. Frankly, it's now a very comfortable, and safe, European-like city in many ways for most citizens, but even more fertile ground for complex, hard-boiled antagonists [see my Latina street gang Las Hermanas in FOURSOME, the Amer-Asian loan sharks from Saigon in THE ONLY GOOD LAWYER, etc).



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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 16 Nov 2001 EST