Boston Has Changed, and it's Never Changing Back

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BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) --  The Boston Public Improvement Commission has postponed its vote on a controversial proposal to rename Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park because of complaints that the longtime owner of the Red Sox was a bigot, but only temporarily.

I understand the concerns of those who say the name serves as an ugly reminder of a past when people of color were often disrespected by Red Sox management.

And I’ve previously made my own position clear, that because the evidence of Tom Yawkey’s personal racism is sketchy and the evidence of his and his family’s philanthropy around the city is clear, a productive compromise might be to keep the Yawkey name but find a prominent spot on the street for an educational marker acknowledging the team’s and the city’s troubled racial past, perhaps combined in some way with the long overdue memorial to onetime Bostonian Martin Luther King Jr.

But I also had to laugh at the comment by a Boston Herald columnist in his appeal to Mayor Marty Walsh to keep the Yawkey Way name that “you were elected for times such as these when constituents could take comfort in knowing their mayor was one of their own. The son of Irish immigrants, raised on Savin Hill? That’s about as Boston as it gets.”

“As Boston as it gets”?

The Boston of 1948, or even 1978, maybe.

But not the Boston of today.

This particular commentator may need to get out more, because the city has changed quite a bit since the old days.

We are on the verge of becoming a majority non-white city.

Parts of the city that were once all white are now integrated by race, class and ethnicity.

These days, diversity, inclusion and forward thinking are as Boston as it gets.

And Yawkey Way or no Yawkey Way, we’re never going back.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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