The uproar over whether Haitian American state senator Linda Dorcena-Forry should host the annual Southie St, Patrick’s Day breakfast in Boston has made media headlines.
There are few more legendary Irish events than the Southie breakfast, which has achieved iconic status from its historic cast of characters from the Kennedys to Billy Bulger to every Irish pol North of Providence.
The battle lines are drawn already with local Irish pol Bill Linehan stating he should host and that Forry has no real roots in the area.
Forry responds that she is the State Senator for the area and has won the right to host.
I can see Linehan’s point –one could not imagine an Irish American ever hosting a Martin Luther King Day celebration in Harlem—but Linda Dorcena-Forry is not just another black politician.
She is actually married into one of the leading families in the Irish American community the Forrys who own the Boston Irish Reporter among other publications.
As Linda has pointed out her four sons are half Irish-half Haitian and she has been to Ireland several times with them.
“I have four bi-racial children -- Irish-American and black,” she told the Globe.
“I’ve been to Ireland four times. We celebrate the culture in my house. My two oldest sons were baptized in St. Augustine’s chapel in South Boston. I’m not just a random black woman who has this seat.”
If that’s not Irish enough for the Southie breakfast then I think it is a sad day.
I think it will speak volumes of how far Southie and the Irish have come if there is a black woman hosting the breakfast, cracking the jokes and leading the long green celebration on St.Pat’s Day 2014.
I hope the innate good sense of the Southie Irish will bring about that outcome. It would speak volumes about how this is a far better era for race relations in Boston.