A Boston suburb has decided that the best way to deal with an epidemic of racist and homophobic incidents is by sweeping it under the rug.
The Boston Globe reports that officials in Danvers, Mass., about 45 minutes north of Boston, have decided they won’t make a public statement the next time racist or homophobic graffiti pops up in a prominent public spot around town, which has been a lot lately.
Most recently it was homophobic tagging at a softball field. Before that, there were several other graffiti incidents, the Globe reported. That’s not including the part where officials hid some really ugly behavior by the Danvers high school boys varsity hockey team for more than a year. Define really ugly behavior you say? Think a bunch of white dudes holding another kid down and slapping him around with a dildo because he wasn’t down with something called “Hard R Fridays.”
That was actually a thing that happened in Danvers back in 2020. The local cops knew about it. The school knew about it. The town even did two investigations, the Globe reported, but they kept it hush-hush because it’d be a bad look for the school’s then head hockey coach, who was also a Danvers cop.
For reference, Danvers is about 45 minutes north of Boston. For all of Beantown’s bad rep on racism, its northern neighbor is drastically more white and insular. The city of Boston’s population has been officially majority non-white since the 2000 census. The city elected Michelle Wu, an Asian woman as its next mayor after a Black woman, Kim Janey, became the first non-white person and first woman to hold the position, taking over as acting mayor when Martin Walsh left early this year to join the Biden administration.
Danvers, population 28,087, is 91.7% white.
Now, the town is doing its best to address the same issue around town with the same tactic: pretending that the thing that everybody knows is happening isn’t actually happening.
From the Boston Globe
“On a moving forward basis, the town will no longer issue statement after statement every time a similar incident is discovered and/or reported,” town leaders said in a prepared statement. “Our fear is that the constant attention created by doing so is simply encouraging more of the same, which in some cases simply may be attention seeking and in others truly may be statements of hate intended to do harm.”
The statement was issued by Steve Bartha, the town manager; Gardner Trask, chair of the select board; Dutrochet Djoko, chair of the town human rights and inclusion committee; James Lovell, the police chief; Lisa Dana, the school superintendent; and Eric Crane, chair of the School Committee.
They did not say if or when they will stop withholding information about hate speech from the public.
And what, exactly, are these maybe attention-seeking, maybe harmful things that Danvers won’t be talking about every time they happen?
A couple of examples in addition to the graffiti and the whole racist, dildo thing:
From the Boston Globe
Last week, a swastika was found drawn in a bathroom at Danvers High School. Previously, swastikas were found on two separate occasions on a bathroom wall at the Holten Richmond Middle School.
In addition, the high school wrestling team was suspended indefinitely after a team member allegedly used racist language, triggering a fight with another student, and school officials discovered a team group Snapchat with “references to hazing and hateful and biased language.”
Nope, nothin’ to see here, folks.