There's an old saying in Boston regarding the attitude of whites toward blacks: "In the North, it's not how high they get, it's how close they get. But in the South, it's not how close they get, it's how high they get."
In other words, Northerners, especially those in Massachusetts, are happy to have minorities in positions of influence—just as long as they don't move into the neighborhood. In contrast, Southerners often don't mind living in close proximity to blacks—but they are usually uncomfortable with having blacks in positions of power.
This helps to explain how duplicitous Massachusetts liberals can be on the subject of race.
In Massachusetts there has always been an enormous social distance between the races, far greater than that in the South, and far greater among the elites than among ordinary citizens. NBA legend Bill Russell had great difficulty purchasing a home in the Boston area when he played for the Boston Celtics during the 1960s, a time when they dominated professional basketball.
Russell, who was hypersensitive toward any perceived personal slight, hated Boston and famously called the city a "flea market of racism." Granted, Russell did little to endear himself to Boston Celtic fans, and even refused to sign autographs for white children.
However in my opinion, the most interesting insight Bill Russell had into the Boston area that he said he initially distrusted Martin Luther King, Jr.—because "the white people in Boston liked him, and so I knew something must be wrong."
Actually, I suspect the average Bostonian was never too interested in Martin Luther King, whose Southern preacher style would never sell well here. But the elites of the Boston area loved King, because by supporting him, and the civil rights causes he championed, it gave them status over other whites.
They thought Rev. King was wonderful, as long as he stayed in Georgia and didn't buy a home on their street. Massachusetts liberals, like pro-busing Judge Arthur Garrity and Sen. Ted Kennedy, have always loved to hold blacks over their heads like trophies, just as long as they are able to put them back in the trophy case and return to their homogenous private worlds.
So now, you might better understand the appeal Gov. Deval Patrick has had for Massachusetts elites. It wasn't that they actually believed he could govern; they just wanted to parade a black governor around for four years to show how broad-minded they are.
Now those four years are up. The novelty has worn off. And Deval Patrick is poised for defeat in November. Taxes and unemployment have increased—and so too have the number of immigrants, which has become a big issue in the Bay State.
Some 15% of the Massachusetts population is now foreign-born, including an estimated 250,000 illegal aliens, although the real number is probably much higher.
To paraphrase the old saying: it's not how high the immigrants get, it's how close they get. And immigrants are no long confined to the shabby sections of Boston, Springfield, and Worcester. They are moving everywhere—even into the more exclusive locations like Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
Whenever you bring up immigration in Massachusetts, people tend to talk about Brazilians. An estimated 200,000 Brazilians live here, but they play less into the national debate over immigration because they are not Spanish-speakers, and tend not to indulge in Hispanic identity politics.
But it's become a harder sell for local immigration enthusiasts to held the Brazilians up as a model immigrant group.
During the recent World Cup, before and after each game Brazil played, the city of Framingham had to virtually close off its downtown because of all the Brazilians making mayhem in the streets. Adorned in Brazilian flags, they shouted in Portuguese and blew annoying plastic trumpets at pedestrians and passing motorists.
Brazilian drivers have also become a menace on the roadways. In June, Brazilian illegal alien Alejandro Serra was driving his car through Boston's South End with Latin music blaring out the window. When an elderly man walking along with his two year old grandson asked him to turn the music down, Serra became incensed and tried to run them both over.
Serra then led police on a 20 mile high speed chase toward Framingham before he crashed into several police cruisers. Police had to chase a shirtless Serra along the highway on foot before finally subduing him. The headline: Wild chase on Pike ends in Framingham man's arrest.[ By John M. Guilfoil and John R. Ellement, Boston Globe, June 29, 2010]
Only ten days later, Jennifer Nalon's Honda sedan was blindsided by a Brazilian driver in Framingham. Nalon's car folded up like an accordion and she nearly died. But the driver didn't even bother to check to see if Nalon was dead or alive. Instead, she took her two year old son, threw him over her shoulder, and ran off into some nearby woods—she remains at large. [Framingham hit-and-run victim: 'She could have killed me', By Norman Miller, The MetroWest Daily News, July 8, 2010] [VDARE.com note: The Brazilian women named in the linked story has been cleared. (Brasileira é inocentada de acidente de carro em Massachusetts, Brasilian Voice.com, July 15, 2010) We confidently expect the new suspect, when found, also to be Brazilian, and are also confident that she won't be reported as such except in the Brazilian media.]
Yes, they are getting closer.
Indeed, as I've written before, immigration was a big reason why Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat earlier this year. The Democratic candidate, Attorney General Martha Coakley, supported amnesty for illegal aliens and famously stuck her foot in her mouth by insisting that that "It is not illegal to be illegal in Massachusetts."
Massachusetts voters supported Scott Brown because, even though he didn't run any ads on immigration, he wasn't afraid to discuss the subject during campaign appearances, and his staff used the issue in their push-polling. Even many liberal Democrats ended up voting for Brown because of his strong pro-enforcement position.
Other Bay State politicians are starting to get the message too. Thus in May, the Boston City Council passed a measure condemning the Arizona law and calling for a boycott of Arizona businesses. However, city councilors are already regretting the action because so many of their constituents have expressed outrage over the boycott and support for the Arizona law. [On Second Thought: Boston City Councilors Backtrack on Arizona Boycott, Boston Herald, By Jessica Van Slack, July 12 2010]
In fact, polls show that most Bay State citizens support the Arizona law. A Suffolk University poll found that 84% of Massachusetts residents support a citizenship requirement for public benefits.
Right now, it appears that both Cahill and Baker are advocating something like what Gov. Don Carcieri did in Rhode Island, where state and local law enforcement work with ICE to screen the legal status of all arrested persons.
Rhode Island's policy has successfully encouraged many immigrants to self-deport out of state. The problem is that many of them have been self-deporting to Massachusetts, and people are starting to notice.
Yes, they are getting closer.
Another headache for Deval Patrick: the three state ballot initiatives, the most interesting among them being the possible repeal of Chapter 40B.
Chapter 40B is a state law that allows real estate developers to bypass many local zonings laws if they develop a property with a certain number of units set aside for low-income residents.
Towns with the money and influence have been able to keep such developments out, or have been able to restrict the low-income units to the elderly only. Others towns have not been so fortunate.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney once supported the idea of repealing 40B, but quickly backtracked after the real estate industry began to complain. "Without 40B nothing would ever get built in this state," one of Boston's biggest developers complained at the time.
Actually, that's the entire point of repealing 40B. People are tired of being bullied by state-backed developers who are importing diversity into their neighborhoods for a profit.
Indeed, when given the actual chance to vote on diversity, people almost always vote it down.
The second ballot question reduces the state sales tax, and the third ballot question eliminates the state alcohol tax—both taxes imposed by that Gov. Patrick.
Deval Patrick, therefore, has no choice but to oppose all of these ballot initiatives, and therefore his candidacy will be closely tied to them. But they will all surely pass.
Republican candidate Charlie Baker has been raising boatloads of money in the governor's race. Independent Tim Cahill is struggling to raise funds, which is what often happens to independent candidates. I would be very surprised if Cahill lasted until November. (Cahill, originally a Democrat, is the State Treasurer, running largely on fiscal responsibility issues.)
Nevertheless, no candidate is struggling to raise money more than Deval Patrick. In fact, Patrick is raising less money now as an incumbent governor than he did four years ago as a virtual unknown.
Is it any surprise, then, that Gov. Patrick has begun to back down from his pro-immigration positions? There is very little talk of drivers licenses or in-state tuition for illegals these days. In fact, Patrick recently claimed in a televised interview that, in fact, "It is illegal to be illegal in Massachusetts."
To paraphrase Bill Russell: In 2006, I knew something was wrong with Deval Patrick because the white liberals liked him so much.
However, they don't like him nearly as much now as they did then. Deval Patrick was virtually handed the highest government position in the commonwealth. But the immigrants on whose behalf he worked so hard, have become too great in number and too great a burden.
Matthew Richer (email him) is a writer living in Massachusetts. He is the former American Editor of Right NOW magazine.