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Boston sports fans, huddle up and take a knee. We need to have a talk.

Just like you, I am sick and tired of having my city, our fucking city, and our fans be labeled as racist. After the incident with Adam Jones at Fenway Park last week, the fingers were pointed in our direction yet again, with accusations ranging from hurling inexcusable slurs to hurling inexcusable projectiles.

But you know what else I am getting fed up with? Us Bostonians whining about being called racists. About how our city is continuously slandered. About how outsiders are just repeating antiquated stereotypes about Boston.

I know, I know… You want to point out that the Celtics were the first NBA team with a black starting five and a black head coach. I know you want to tell them that Massachusetts was an abolitionist state as far back as 1783. But for every step forward in our history, there are two steps back. The busing crisis of the 70s and 80s or the fact that Fenway Park’s address is 4 Yawkey Way. As in Tom Yawkey, the owner of the last segregated team in baseball.

Because here’s the thing. Maybe Boston is racist and maybe it isn’t. It is certainly hard to lump a city of 650,000 and a metro area of over 4.5 million into a binary category: RACIST vs. NOT RACIST.

As an individual, maybe you are racist and maybe (hopefully) you aren’t. Just because someone who lives near you is something, doesn’t mean that you are too. For example, even though I now live in Washington D.C., I am not an orange-faced, tiny-handed, tantrum-throwing, power-hungry, dementia-ridden weasel.

Moreover, Bostonians, you know what is worse than being called a racist? Being called the N-word or any slur, for that matter. And having objects thrown at you. And living in a culture systematically organized to make things harder for you to succeed.

But the best way to prove you aren’t racist isn’t to complain or deflect, to cite Boston’s progressive values or remind your accusers that you have black friends. And it definitely isn’t to point out that it’s just as bad to insinuate something based on your location as it is about any other personal feature, like skin color.

You all need to do just one thing. When you bear witness to any type of locally-sourced racism (or any discrimination, for that matter), speak out against it. Do it because it’s the right thing to do, to let that racist person know that he or she is not welcome in our fair Boston. Do it because you do not want to be associated with vile behavior any longer.

Want to clean up Boston’s image? Then you have to be actively intolerant of intolerance.

If we all agreed to speak up against racism with the same passion and vigor that we decry suggestions that we are racist, we can be the last generation to be accused of being prejudiced. And even more importantly, we can actually shut it down.

Fenway and Boston’s problem isn’t solely the one or two racists in a crowd of 30,000. It’s the 30 people around said dingbats who aren’t emphatically deterring the behavior.

Now resist that urge you are feeling to roll your eyes. Resist the defense mechanism that has turned up your body temperature up a few degrees. Resist pointing out the macro level truth that our country is racist and our world is racist. You may be right, but that is not the point.

Complaining will not change our fate or our image, only further sully it. So call Sully, or Fitzy, or any of Matt Damon’s 12 brothers and sisters, and tell them to be so un-racist, that people may one day claim we are the most un-racist city. After all, us Bostonians love being the best at things.

If any city should understand how quickly a reputation can be flipped, it’s Boston. Formerly recognized by the Curse of the Bambino, Boston now is home to a gluttony of champions. We are a few titles short of having ourselves a damned Scrooge McDuck trophy pool to dive into.

So let’s get out there, champs! And become champions for others! Who’s with me??

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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