7:37pm April 26, 2012

Bruins vs. Caps = Boston Racism vs. Chocolate City


You have to love this time of year if you’re a sports fan. Baseball is getting into full swing, NBA playoffs are starting this weekend, and Hockey playoffs are finishing up the first round.

Of course, with all sports you have wonderful exposure to angry fans, hostile local press and increasingly insane and not-even-thinly-veiled racism popping up on every Facebook page and Twitter feed from here to the Great White North.

In this case, the Great White North is Boston, where the Bruins, who won the Stanley Cup finals last year were eliminated in a tense overtime game 2-1 by the Washington Capitals. To make matters worse? The game winner was scored by Joel Ward, an Afro-Canadian player.

First, you have to see the demographic and, somewhat, political irony in this.  You have a city that is no stranger to sports championships in recent history facing off against another one that keeps firing its football coaches and quarterbacks.  But, Boston is also one of the most virulently old school White male cities in America (the opening lines by Jack Nicholson in The Departed give you a clue).  It’s known for a tough anti-“busing” attitude and a reputation for making it an uncomfortable place to live for its Black residents, who comprise 22% of the city’s population.  Interestingly enough, the Governor of Massachusetts is Black, Deval Patrick, in a state that’s barely 6% his color.

Basically, this Stanley Cup quarterfinal was the Vanilla City vs. Chocolate City – otherwise known as Washington, D.C.  And, even though the vast majority of Caps fans are White, the city is still able to fashion itself as a sort of Black economic, cultural and political center (just barely managing to be a hair above 50% African American).  It has a Black mayor, nearly half its City Council is Black and the city government is – you guessed it – pretty much run by Black people … although that’s been changing dramatically as of the last Census (and thanks to a bull-run one-term by former Mayor Adrian Fenty in which he “cleaned” out the agencies).   Plus: this is the city once run by the all-too-infamous Marion Barry.

To have Ward score the winning shot was, apparently, a bridge too far for many Boston Bruins fans.  That released a torrent of racist N-word laced tweets the likes of which won’t be seen again until Obama gets re-elected. Some of the most offensive tweets are collected here.  Once I got to “The fact that a nigger scored the winning goal only made it worse … ” I pretty much got the point.

Yes, yes, we all know that this isn’t reflective of all Bostonians … of course not.  Nor is it reflective of all Hockey fans.  But let’s be honest: Boston’s worst kept secret is the overt racism that is still reflected in much of its sports journalism, fandom and even management.  Even the best Boston bred sports columnist out there, Bill Simmons, has been caught from time to time re-enforcing and then critiquing that aspect of Boston Sports fandom.

Much as I liked Cheers, a downtown Boston bar in the 1980’s would NOT have always been glad I came, and apparently very little has changed in the 21st century.

DR. JASON JOHNSONPolitic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at www.drjasonjohnson.com or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson

Managing Editor Charles D. Ellison contributed to this report

About the Author

Jason Johnson
Jason Johnson



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  1. Hockey Fan DC


    You had an opportunity here to write an informed article, but instead chose to stoop to the same level as the ignorant “so-called" Bruins fans. Hope you get the page views you seek.

  2. [...] article originally appeared online at Politic365.com. Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. from → [...]

  3. And how exactly is pointing out the racial component to a sports competition "stooping"? Those who were tweeting racial expletives were certainly actual Bruins fans, I don't think anyone outside of Hockey fandom would've cared about last night's game. More importantly, these "fans' do not represent all of Boston but to pretend that they are not representative of a vocal segment of the city is just naive.

  4. Tony

    All I have to say is this article just shows your true colors. You should be ashamed to call yourself a doctor. Two tweets doesn't give you the right to judge an amazing city. You should be ashamed in writing this article. This country is full of racism and its beyond disgusting that it still exist. You are a prime example. Your anger got in the way of writing this article and you should rethink what you have said here.

    • Dr. Jason Johnson

      You seem to be taking this very personally. The fact is, for a certain segment of the population in Boston overt negative racial attitudes towars African Americans exist. I am not judging an entire city, but simply pointing out that hostile atittudes can be made manifest very quickly and easily as soon as bigots don't get thier way. I'm not the least bit angry, if anything I found the behavior on the part of some Bruins fans to be amusing. Perhaps your anger has gotten the best of you.

  5. Joe

    How can a "worst kept secret" be "overt" at the same time?

    • Dr. Jason Johnson

      Easy, much of the racism in Boston is overt. The city has one of the worst word of mouth reputations for day to day prejudice of any American city, including most Southern cities. But many people from Boston claim that this behavior is on the wane, or is kept under wraps or is isolated to a few 'Southies' when it is much more wide-spread than that. So, the apologists are trying to keep these attitudes secret, but the behavior is overt.

  6. Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY White country and ONLY into White countries.
    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY White country and ONLY White countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-Whites.
    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?
    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?
    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?
    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the White race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.
    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-White.
    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

  7. Goal G

    Blackman Knocks Bruins out of playoffs = AMAZING

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