April 10, 2010: Ain’t Necessarily So

In Way Opens, I talk about a much-needed history lesson on the back of a segregated bus in 1961. But, like everyone else, these Oh-My-Goodness/You-Mean-What-I’ve-Always-Thought-To-Be-True-Ain’t-Necessarily-So? lessons have continued. In an American History class in college a couple of years later, for example, I first learned how, in the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Quakers had been brutally persecuted by the Puritans.

Really? Who knew?

These lessons have taught me, like the bumper sticker advises, to “Question Authority.” Much as I fight it, however, like many white Americans, I frequently lapse into a blind acceptance of what the mainstream media, dominated by other white Americans, tell me.

But when The Boston Globe reported this week that Manny “Junior” daVeiga shot himself in the head while struggling with Boston police, even I, so often clueless, muttered, “Yeah, right.”

The Globe’s unequivocal support of the police and the Suffolk County district attorney’s version of what happened continues: In a classic blame-the-victim piece, the 19-year-old DaVeiga’s mental health history and his association with a Cape Verdean gang made the front page of the “Metro” section the day after his death; an ominous photo of a tanked-up Hummer  now being used by the police in that neighborhood appeared the following day.

My dear friend Lynn Lazar is asking white people to stand in solidarity with the Cape Verdean community—bless her.

This blog’s my way to do so.

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