Post-Colonial Moment: Unity Convention in Boston

Boston is a finalist to host the 2008 Unity, a convention for journalists of color. But an obscure state law might hinder the city's chances. Recently a law written in 1675 that says Native Americans are to be arrested upon entering the city was revealed. Although the outdated law is no longer enforced, representatives from Unity would like the city to repeal the state law, stating that it contributes to Boston's reputation as being racist. In an effort to promote the "New Boston," Boston Mayor Menino and the Massachusetts Convention Authority leaders met with the Executive Director of Unity to look into getting rid of the law. The convention could potentially bring in over 8,000 African American, Asian, Hispanic and Native American media professionals and millions of dollars to the city.

This bring light to the fact that there are many obscure laws on the books all around the country that are simply out of touch with modern realities. Like the above mentioned law, some of these them had prejudicial intentions when they were originally written.

However, this move inadvertantly enters the Unity Convention into the gay marriage debate in Massachusetts.

When I first heard about this news, at first I thought it was absurd from Unity to dig out an old law that is no longer used to make a point. But I thought about it a little longer and came to an abrupt change of heart when I thought about the actions of the current occupants in the Massachusetts state house. State attorney general Tom Reily dusted off another obscure law from the books. The law brought forth is one created in 1913 to bar interracial couple not from Massachusetts from marrying in this state if it is not legal for them to do so in their home state. The Commonwealth has now brought it back to life and has replaced interracial couples for gay couples. Reily says that the law is keeping with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which 38 states have on the books. Anyone can pull out some aged law to push their own personal agenda without regards to others. Gay rights activists would like to see the 1913 law abolished.

With this said, are the Unity organizers going to take on the 1913 law too? I don't have a legal background, but from what I have read about the two laws, they both seem to be similar in regards to their racist intentions. I find it hard to believe that the organizers of a convention for journalists who are looking at Massachusetts to be a host state didn't think this question would be asked. This especially because the gay community and communities of color have been clashing on this divisive issue of marriage in this state for the last year or so.


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