One day, two heartbreaking stories about racism in the Boston area

Two stories about racism in the news today show the heartbreaking reality of racism in the Boston area.

The first involves a 21-year-old Black woman in Groveland named Julia Santos, who was chased and harassed by a middle-aged white man in a BMW convertible as she was picking up food for her dog. Steve Annear and Maria Lovato report in The Boston Globe that the man only stopped berating her after a neighbor intervened.

It’s a sickening story, and it easily could have have escalated into something much worse. Fortunately, Santos reacted calmly and recorded the encounter on her phone.

By the way, the Globe didn’t identify the the man who stalked Santos because the reporters were unable to verify it. But she named him on Facebook, and it sounds like local police are all over the story. Let’s hope he gets what’s coming to him.

The second, by Globe reporter (and distinguished Northeastern journalism alum) Meghan Irons, concerns a Suffolk Law School study showing that Black renters are subjected to horrendous discrimination. Among other things, the undercover operation revealed that would-be renters who identified themselves by names such as Lakisha, Tyrone or Kareem were, more often than not, immediately shot down, whereas those who seemed to be white had no problems.

“In subtle and overt ways, Black renters experienced discrimination by real estate brokers and landlords in 71 percent of the cases tested,” Irons writes.

One of the first in-depth investigative reports I remember reading was in The Boston Phoenix or The Real Paper sometime in the early 1970s. The topic: landlords who discriminate against Black people looking for apartments. And here we are nearly 50 years later.

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