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(58,179 posts)
Sat Apr 11, 2015, 10:54 AM Apr 2015

The day I got the living shit beaten out of me. [View all]

Her name was Heather, I was 13, she was Black, and she was my first real girlfriend. We were together for two weeks when the Boston Marathon came along. I grew up on the Newton/Brighton line, right by Boston College at the top of Heartbreak Hill. Heather had never been to the Marathon for real before - cheering the runners as they defeated Heartbreak Hill while the BC keg parties howled and cheered - so I showed her the show.

While I was walking her back to my house for some lunch, a car filled with upperclassmen from my school passed us. The car windows were stuffed with astonished faces that, as they faded from view, became twisted in palpable rage.

And person after person after person after person looked daggers at us as we walked arm in arm down Commonwealth Avenue in unabashedly liberal Boston, Massachusetts. I rode the Green Line with her to the Orange Line - the metropolitan version of walking your girl home - and five older men in the traincar stared at us with open loathing as we held hands.

The next day, I went to school, and the upperclassmen from the car that had passed us - joined by several of their friends because apparently word of my racial heresy had spread - waylaid me in a hallway. "What are you doing with that n****r!" they screamed, and I mean SCREAMED, utterly unhinged. "Did you dip your wick with that n****r? DID YOU FUCK THAT N****R? DID YOU?"

And then they beat the shit out of me, right then and there, for the crime of squiring a Black girl to the Marathon.

It was a formative experience on a variety of levels...so all of you husbanding this idea that the North is superior to the South on issues of racism can go pound sand. You're wrong, and once upon a time, I had the bruises to prove it.

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I have black friends from the South murielm99 Apr 2015 #1
Profiling in Chicago is real Dan de Lyons Apr 2015 #27
and yes, he is a person of color... Dan de Lyons Apr 2015 #28
A lot about housing, the segregated neighborhoods, brick throwing that MLK knew I think- appalachiablue Apr 2015 #40
MLK said he encountered the worst racism in Skokie, IL, if I remember correctly. I think this was KingCharlemagne Apr 2015 #59
The plural of anecdote is not data MaggieD Apr 2015 #2
"much more prevalent in the South"> No, just different. I have been around more than 60 years, jtuck004 Apr 2015 #30
I have had the privilege of living (NOT "vacationing" but "living") in most parts of the country. bvar22 Apr 2015 #46
Sorry, that rings totally false to me MaggieD Apr 2015 #95
Since there are few if any black folk up here, it's tough to prove or disprove your jtuck004 Apr 2015 #96
There you go again MaggieD Apr 2015 #97
Northwest Indiana. phylny Apr 2015 #54
Post removed Post removed Apr 2015 #3
Now there is some data! MaggieD Apr 2015 #5
Depending on time, place, and particular measurements, the North may not be as racist, overall. Orsino Apr 2015 #11
No, no. Don't you understand that the South is INFERIOR, to the North, West (& everyone)? appalachiablue Apr 2015 #41
Globalizing it really provides context-- fits my observations of India, Europe, Mexico carolinayellowdog Apr 2015 #55
You nailed it - as usual JustAnotherGen Apr 2015 #83
My Marine dad was stationed in NC, 1957 and 58. mountain grammy Apr 2015 #90
the resistance to busing/desegregation was pretty bad there too IIRR treestar Apr 2015 #4
Boston is the most segregated city on the Eastern seaboard. WilliamPitt Apr 2015 #6
That is very rarely if ever heard from people in the North, unfortunately. Spent most of my life appalachiablue Apr 2015 #43
And, by far, the Northern states were more resistent to change ... 1StrongBlackMan Apr 2015 #85
I remember watching the news about the Bosting busing controversy Art_from_Ark Apr 2015 #99
I grew up near Midway Airport on the SW edge of Chicago Martin Eden Apr 2015 #7
have attitudes changed any or are ppl just better at hiding their racism? redruddyred Apr 2015 #32
I moved out of that hood 30 years ago Martin Eden Apr 2015 #44
I'm noticing a strong correlation between bill o'reilly fandom and casual use of the n-word redruddyred Apr 2015 #71
Powerful account of a formative experience, Will. I too was beat up, but by some black kids in FailureToCommunicate Apr 2015 #8
My husband and I never experienced anything like you and Will. notadmblnd Apr 2015 #22
I imagine Will's experience was worse. I always sorta thought those boys were jealous of me dating FailureToCommunicate Apr 2015 #42
I'm not surprised, to be honest. LiberalEsto Apr 2015 #9
So I moved to Malden in 1992 -- just two doors down from Ed Markey's "residence" aikoaiko Apr 2015 #10
"and once upon a time, I had the bruises to prove it." The bruises never really go away. nm rhett o rick Apr 2015 #12
Man. That's awful. C Moon Apr 2015 #13
It is very mixed. alphafemale Apr 2015 #14
And not so many years ago in the south mountain grammy Apr 2015 #15
Slavery in the South not only had to be forcibly abolished NuclearDem Apr 2015 #16
Time to get off the moral High Horse. bvar22 Apr 2015 #48
And this what exactly to do with the Confederacy's defiance in the face of abolition? NuclearDem Apr 2015 #50
Yes, I agree. mountain grammy Apr 2015 #49
In the US... NancyDL Apr 2015 #17
Onslow County line Billboard sign read: Welcome to KKK Country! 2banon Apr 2015 #18
In the North, we don't put up billboards. WilliamPitt Apr 2015 #20
Boston was the flashpoint for rioting over busing in the 70s.... Spitfire of ATJ Apr 2015 #19
That second photo won the Pulitzer. WilliamPitt Apr 2015 #21
and still a repulsive horrid act & image irisblue Apr 2015 #29
We need to let go of the notion Duval Apr 2015 #23
My story kjones Apr 2015 #24
Your parents are just glad you aren't gay. Enthusiast Apr 2015 #72
Video, PLEASE! LOL Stellar Apr 2015 #88
Yeah, I certainly believe so kjones Apr 2015 #94
American culture, north heaven05 Apr 2015 #25
" once upon a time, I had the bruises to prove it." < You still do. Lots of us do. But jtuck004 Apr 2015 #26
Walking around NY city last year shedevil69taz Apr 2015 #31
Last year, our son visited us in downstate Illinois from Chicago WCIL Apr 2015 #33
That's horrible. Enthusiast Apr 2015 #73
Not sure about that last sentence. Damansarajaya Apr 2015 #34
Are you Emmett Till? Medgar? WilliamPitt Apr 2015 #37
You said that the north is just as bad as the south. Damansarajaya Apr 2015 #62
Stupidity Aerows Apr 2015 #35
Me too. Enthusiast Apr 2015 #74
Boston lost its claim to color blindness when they implemented busing in the early '70s. 1monster Apr 2015 #36
I remember the attacks on the buses carrying the kids. Yep, Boston - especially South Boston was 24601 Apr 2015 #67
Watch out, you are challenging some people's "holier than thou" attitude FLPanhandle Apr 2015 #38
I experienced something similar in Cleveland awoke_in_2003 Apr 2015 #39
Geez. Enthusiast Apr 2015 #75
... awoke_in_2003 Apr 2015 #92
I'm sorry that happened to you kcr Apr 2015 #45
It shows in your character Will Generic Other Apr 2015 #47
Did they call you a POSUCS? nt msanthrope Apr 2015 #51
I've lived in the North and South and both have an outcropping of racists. Yes indeed they do. Rex Apr 2015 #52
My anecdote supports yours carolinayellowdog Apr 2015 #53
The I have a black friend thread HipChick Apr 2015 #56
I think you are being mighty unfair to Mr. Pitt. This is not a "I have a KingCharlemagne Apr 2015 #60
I could never get what was so bad about saying, Damansarajaya Apr 2015 #63
Just the opposite...folks often try to justify their racism HipChick Apr 2015 #65
Was the OP trying to say he understood the what black people have to experience? tkmorris Apr 2015 #68
+1 Enthusiast Apr 2015 #76
Epic Sad Fail WilliamPitt Apr 2015 #80
Having black friends is racist Throd Apr 2015 #93
It is not a North v. South thing.... the_sly_pig Apr 2015 #57
I frequently "got the living shit beaten out of me" because I was "queer bait." hunter Apr 2015 #58
Thank you for telling us this irisblue Apr 2015 #70
This is why I always say that no one would choose to be gay. Enthusiast Apr 2015 #77
Thank you, William Pitt, for sharing a powerful, powerful story. Faryn Balyncd Apr 2015 #61
That episode helped make you the man you are today Depaysement Apr 2015 #64
Thanks Will... WillyT Apr 2015 #66
So, there is racism throughout America. graegoyle Apr 2015 #69
Kicked and recommended a whole bunch! Enthusiast Apr 2015 #78
My own girlfriend is black. sakabatou Apr 2015 #79
The US is full of bigots and racists. It cuts across all states, cities and towns! n/t RKP5637 Apr 2015 #81
Cairo, Illinois is a notorious "sundown town" flyingfysh Apr 2015 #82
I am married to a man donnasgirl Apr 2015 #84
Former Michigander here... Triana Apr 2015 #86
The 1st time I was called the N-word ... 1StrongBlackMan Apr 2015 #87
Sorry, but this and other similar threads over the last couple of days.... blackspade Apr 2015 #89
As an old hippie from NYC RoccoR5955 Apr 2015 #91
I'm sorry, but you're wrong maxrandb Apr 2015 #98
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