NPR slammed for expressing disappointment over Boston electing an Asian mayor instead of a black one


Social media users are criticizing NPR for tweeting that the choice of Michelle Wu as Boston’s new mayor is ‘more of a disappointment’ because Wu, who is Asian, beat out three black candidates.

The nonprofit media outlet tweeted the comments on Tuesday, along with a link to a story featuring quotes from people who believe Wu’s election is just another example of, ‘What else is new?’

Wu, a former city council member, became the first woman and the first person of color to be elected mayor of Boston on November 2. She assumed office Tuesday. 

NPR has since deleted the original tweet, saying that it ‘misrepresented the story,’ though the overall parameters and gripes in the original article remain the same.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, left, beat out acting mayor Kim Janey, right, and two other black candidates earlier this month, becoming the first woman and Asian elected mayor

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, left, beat out acting mayor Kim Janey, right, and two other black candidates earlier this month, becoming the first woman and Asian elected mayor

As Wu assumed office on Tuesday, NPR tweeted a story suggesting her election was a 'disappointment' because 'three black candidates couldn't even come close'

As Wu assumed office on Tuesday, NPR tweeted a story suggesting her election was a ‘disappointment’ because ‘three black candidates couldn’t even come close’ 

The publicly funded outlet later deleted the tweet, saying it 'misrepresented' the story

The publicly funded outlet later deleted the tweet, saying it ‘misrepresented’ the story

The story, titled, ‘Why Boston will need to wait longer for its 1st elected black mayor,’ features quotes from Boston residents unhappy with Wu’s election because of her race.

Wu, 36, ran against three black candidates who didn’t make the cut in the preliminary election on September 14.

They are former city economic development chief John Barros, city council member Andrea Campbell and Boston acting mayor Kim Janey, who assumed office in March after former mayor Marty Walsh joined Joe Biden’s administration as secretary of labor.

Janey’s officially stepped down Tuesday, when Wu, a Democrat, took office.

‘I got home, and I cried,’ Danny Rivera, an artist and civil rights activist, told NPR.

‘I cried my eyes out because I don’t know the next time we’ll see a Black mayor in our city.’

A 20-year-old college student said: ‘It’s just one of those things where it feels like what else is new?’ 

The radio station’s website cited data showing that that the three black candidates got three-quarters of the vote in parts of the city with the highest concentrations of people of color, but only one-fourth in the whitest areas.  

‘I mean the data speaks for itself, and it’s troubling,’ said former Massachusetts State Rep. Marie St. Fleur. 

Wu, a Harvard Law graduate and former city council member, was sworn in as mayor on Tuesday alongside her husband and her sons Blaise and Cass

Wu, a Harvard Law graduate and former city council member, was sworn in as mayor on Tuesday alongside her husband and her sons Blaise and Cass

‘For those of us born or raised in Boston, and who lived through some of the darker days, the fact that we blinked at this moment is sadness,’ she says. ‘At what point in the city of Boston will we be able to vote — and I’m going to be very clear here — for a Black person in that corner office?’

Social media users reacted swiftly to NPR’s tweet, arguing that Wu’s election is momentous in of itself. 

‘Kim Janey became Boston’s first black, first female mayor, but she finished 4th in the preliminary among 5 mayoral candidates of color. (Janey even endorsed Michelle Wu.)’ wrote journalist Mia Cathell of the Post Millennial, a conservative Canadian outlet.

‘NPR had applauded the diversity of the contenders. What changed? Why downplay an Asian American woman’s win?’

Wu, above after winning the general election on November 2, was born in Chicago to Taiwanese parents

Wu, above after winning the general election on November 2, was born in Chicago to Taiwanese parents

Reporter Mary Chao wrote: ‘Tsk, tsk @NPR. Driving a wedge between People of Color, keeping underrepresented groups fighting each other for scraps.’

Wu was born in Chicago to Taiwanese parents.  

She was elected on Nov. 2 with 64 percent of the vote, beating out Annissa Essaibi George, the other candidate who had moved on from the preliminary election. 

On Tuesday, Wu was sworn in alongside her husband Conor Pewarski and her sons Blaise and Cass.

She went to Harvard and worked as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group after graduation, according to the Harvard Crimson.  

She moved back to Chicago to take care of her ailing mother. She opened a tea house there before accepting an offer to attend Harvard Law School, where she studied under Sen. Elizabeth Warren and graduated in 2012.

She was elected to city council in November 2013.

In her mayoral campaign manifesto, Wu called for defunding school policing, a stance that she hasn’t changed even after a 61-year-old high school principal was knocked unconscious by a 16-year-old female student following her election.

Wu wrote: ‘Metal detectors have been found to negatively impact students’ sense of safety at school, while school resource officers (SROs) disproportionately criminalize Black and Latinx students, perpetuating the school-to-prison pipeline.

‘We must immediately move to dismantle these punitive measures and reinvest in restorative justice practices employed by trusted, adult school community members.’

Patricia Lampron - the principal of Henderson Upper Campus school - was knocked unconscious in an attack at the school earlier this month. A 16-year-old student has been arrested and charged with assault and battery

Patricia Lampron – the principal of Henderson Upper Campus school – was knocked unconscious in an attack at the school earlier this month. A 16-year-old student has been arrested and charged with assault and battery

On Wednesday, November 3, an unnamed teenage girl was arrested after Patricia Lampron – the principal of Dr. William W. Henderson Upper Campus school – was taken to the hospital to treat a head injury and broken ribs. 

Wu, 36, was later asked if the  attack had made her reconsider her policing policy in schools.

‘No,’ she replied, calling the attack on Lampron ‘an incredibly horrific, tragic situation.’

But she insisted that having police officers in schools was not the answer.

‘All throughout the system we need – particularly in this moment coming out of the pandemic when there’s been such stress, anxiety, trauma on our families – to be putting more resources into social and emotional supports, into the wraparound services that our schools should be providing,’ Wu said.





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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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