• Alene Bouranova

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    Alene Bouranova is a Pacific Northwest native and a BU alum (COM’16). After earning a BS in journalism, she spent four years at Boston magazine writing, copyediting, and managing production for all Boston publications. These days, she covers campus happenings, student life, and more for BU Today. Fun fact: she’s still using her Terrier card from 2013. When she’s not writing about campus, she’s working on losing her Terrier card so BU will give her a new one. She lives in Brighton with her plants. Profile

    Alene Bouranova can be reached at abour@bu.edu

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There are 7 comments on Trustee and Alum Endows New Antiracism Professorship at the School of Law

  1. What a spectacular gift from Ryan Roth Gallo and Ernest Gallo, and such an impressive initial recipient of the professorship. As a BU community member and “Regular Reader” of BU Today, I’d also like to say how much I appreciate seeing periodic comments on on articles, very often in support of our talented students, from Trustee Gallo.

  2. As a lawyer, my life is devoted to equal treatment under law. Without it, we will render hollow our founding principle that all people are created equal and endowed by their creator with the inalienable right to be treated equally by our government and public accommodations. However, I am curious to know how, in practice, the concepts of “inclusion” and “anti-racism” differ, if at all, from “equality”. If we strive diligently for equality, do we not also pursue the goals of inclusion and anti-racism? If not, what more, or different, goal is embodied by these concepts? I am hopeful that BU continues to bear the banner raised by its immortal alumnus MLK, Jr. that the content of one’s character is of greater value than the color of one’s skin.

    1. In response to OVERCOME, anyone who is truly curious about the meaning of antiracism should read the excellent book by BU professor Ibram Kendi “How to Be an Antiracist” which clearly delineates what it means to actively pursue antiracist policies. As just one example, the February 6, 2021 Boston Globe lead story documents their analysis of 47,801 Boston city contracts from 2014 through 2019 which together totaled $2.1 billion. The author found that only 1.2 percent of the money went to black and Latino-owned firms, despite the fact that these groups together make up 37% of the city’s population. This inequity is the result of racist policies. No doubt many of these contracts include criteria that favor firms previously having received large government contracts, which, while understandable and perfectly reasonable, disadvantage minority-owned firms without a history of such opportunity. It will take active legal leadership, enabled by actions such as this wonderful new endowed chair, to change this obvious inequity. Otherwise, we might have to wait another 150 years for the minority share of Boston contracts to merely double to 2.4 percent of the total.

      1. In response to Randy’s thoughtful comment regarding the meaning of anti-racism: Let’s assume, for purposes of argument, that the City of Boston uses racist policies to administer city contracts. This is already expressly illegal. To the extent there is overt racism in awarding public contracts, there is recourse to seek civil and criminal penalties for such behavior. However, if the only evidence of racism is the existence of an unequal outcome, how do we know that racism contributed to the outcome? The implied suggestion is that anti-racism requires benefits to be administered based on race. But if benefits are not awarded based on objective criteria applied equally to all applicants, how do we assure that a outcome, predetermined to be just, is achieved by a means that is fair to all applicants? If we are abandoning fairness to fix past wrongs, that is not just. For example, how does giving preference in college admission to the black son of a multimillionaire with a low ACT score over the white daughter of a poor grocery clerk testing in the 90+% serve the cause of anti-racism. Isn’t this just victimizing an innocent person to make up for past wrongs? True equality must be based on fair and equal opportunity, not a mandated outcome based on immutable characteristics such as skin color.

        1. Overcome – The factor that your comment overlooks is an unequal opportunity that is the result of past discrimination that has been institutionalized — the opportunity itself is blocked by historical racism that is not always immediately apparent. Your example about college admissions is a red herring and is not representative of real world situations. More likely is a very smart black student whose school is underperforming and who lives in a poor neighborhood because his family was redlined into those neighborhood and did not build family wealth at the same rate as a white family in the same area, or whose ACT or SAT score is not reflective of his abilities, perhaps because he couldn’t afford the same test prep course as a nearby wealthier white girl. It will take overt actions to change this world into one where opportunities (writ large) are truly equal. By all of us.

          1. Thank you for your reasoned response to my comment. The question is, if policies are race neutral, what action is justified to address disparate outcomes? You did not specify the action you would support. However, if the action involves limiting opportunity for one person today based on their race in order to make up for past harm done to someone else based on their race, how is this just? Won’t we forever be monitoring outcomes based on race and trying to hold back some races to try to even things out for other races? To me, this is the personification of institutional racism. I agree with MLK, Jr.: a color blind society should guarantee equal opportunity, not equal outcome. That is the only just way forward.

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