Seth wrote ----
"My observation is that there are (at least) two Bostons.
There is Boston Central, which caters to students and professionals. Then there is Outlying Boston, neighborhoods like Roxbury, Dorchester, and Chelsea, previously "dangerous" neighborhoods which have been revitalized by working-class families, an influx of immigrants, and those seeking refuge from Central Boston's outrageous rents. Central Bostonians rarely venture out to Outlying Boston (they think that it's too dangerous), where, from what I've read and to a lesser extent experienced, is where you'll find authentic ethnic restaurants"
Seth - A widely based artists' collaborative has created an image of Dorchester focused on Upham's Corner; an area near where I live. It's a sort of combination of history, found art, and a happening. They have been doing it on the first Saturday of the month 3 PM afternoons at the Maxwell Flea Market site on East Cottage St. There is even a bit of ethnic food involved. I helped with the oral history. The theme is pretty spiritually dark - much pain in the taped voices. The director told me last Saturday that they were having a lot of trouble getting people who support this sort of activity to come to Dorchester. The history that created this situation is fascinating.
When I have walked in to some of the storefront ethnic restaurants in Dorchester I have felt as welcomed as the prodigal son. The island people are proud of their cooking and culture but they don't see many white faces. There is richness and imagination in these ethnic cuisines. Right now they are totally aimed at the local island people, so what you get is what they like to eat. And - it's generally pretty inexpensive.
On the other side of the coin - I don't see many ethnic faces at Dorchester events focused on history. We had about five hundred people out on the street for the unveiling of the Savin Hill mural depicting the Indians on Dorchester's Meeting House Hill looking out to the harbor - before the white man came. The only black faces I saw were people who came with the mayor from City Hall. Few people of color from this racially mixed neighborhood evidenced any interest - though everyone depicted in the mural is of color :-)
Race is all a vast mystery that probably goes back to our billion year old genes. Perhaps we can solve it by eating our way out.
Meanwhile - don't eat the green monkeys!