November 15, 2007 — Vol. 43, No. 14
Send this page to a friend!


Is Puerto Rican e-mail scuffle much ado about nada?

I read the Banner’s article on the disagreement over a recent e-mail sent by former Boston School Committee member Angel Amy Moreno (“Hub Puerto Rican activists livid at racial e-mail gaffe,” Nov. 8, 2007) with great interest, as this controversy is being discussed extensively in Boston’s Puerto Rican community. Not everyone agrees with José Massó or Jaime Rodriguez on this issue. As a matter of fact, one can conclude that the community is divided on this issue.

Even those that consider the expression in question insensitive do not consider it racist. I agree with many in our community that the expression “el negrito del batey” is almost impossible to translate into English. For example, the word “batey” is adapted from the indigenous Taino population that lived in the Caribbean islands. A “batey,” loosely translated, is a ceremonial park. There is no literal translation in Spanish or English.

José Massó’s self-serving translation is not only factually wrong, but also inflammatory. In the many years that Mr. Moreno has taught at Roxbury Community College, he has never been accused of being a racist by students, staff or the administration. His record speaks for itself. I believe this ”tempest in a teapot” should be settled between these gentlemen — in private. With the recent election resulting in Felix Arroyo’s defeat, we have too many important issues in our community to be dragged down by this controversy.

Carlos Saavedra

Low turnout a sign that greater involvement a must

I want to thank all those who took the time to vote on Nov. 6. Although this was a quiet election, it was an important one.

The low voter turnout, however, signifies that we need to intensify our outreach efforts to all residents and get them involved in discussions about making Boston a place we are all proud to call home. It’s time we get people excited to be a part of a movement where we stand together and dedicate ourselves to building a better Boston — and a united Boston.

While this election cycle has ended, our campaign to make Boston a better place has only started. In part, that’s because crime and violence will continue to go on. Students will continue to drop out and families will continue to move out. That is, unless we take serious steps to eradicate the violence in our neighborhoods and create better access to stable employment, strong performing schools and affordable housing.

Michael Flaherty

Click here to send a letter to the editor

Back to Top