NPR is being accused of racism for calling Boston’s groundbreaking election of its first woman and first Asian American mayor a “disappointment” because she’s not black.
An online article and now-deleted tweet promoting the story both noted that Michelle Wu made history as “the first woman and first person of color elected to lead” the Massachusetts city — before then suggesting her victory wasn’t enough.
“While many are hailing it as a major turning point, others see it as more of a disappointment that the three Black candidates in the race couldn’t even come close,” the story still reads early Wednesday.
The radio station apologized for “causing harm” — but the story still leads with the same details as the tweet, which was deleted.
“We realize we don’t always get things right the first time,” the national broadcaster said of the now-deleted tweet.
In its apology, the network claimed the initial “tweet/headline misrepresented the story” — even though it was almost exactly word-for-word as the intro to the story still online.
An updated tweet to promote the story now says that “many were hopeful Boston would finally elect its first Black mayor,” with “Black activists and political strategists” left having to “reflect on what they can learn from the 2021 campaign season.”
But outraged followers spread screenshots of the initial tweet, with one angrily saying the follow-up was not “an apology” for “saying racist s–t about Asian Americans.”
“The story is still Asians vs. Blacks for some unknown reason. The ‘tweet/headline’ was hardly the issue,” one person tweeted in reply.
“No, that was literally your article,” someone else said of the apology. “Basically saying it’s a disappointment b/c the ‘wrong minority’ won.”
Another wrote, “The previous tweet didn’t misrepresent the story at all. You just realized you said the quiet part out loud.“
Some loyal NPR listeners said it was the final straw for their support.
“I’ve listened and donated to NPR for a few decades,” Mike Grant wrote.
“I’ve lost all respect for NPR in recent years as it drifted from center left to hard left – and now to racial/identity division. This tweet is not an exception, and hopefully opens eyes,” he wrote.
Others called it “abhorrent” and told the broadcaster to “do better.”
NPR’s story had quoted civil rights activist Danny Rivera as saying he wept at Wu’s victory, despite her being Boston’s first mayor who is not a white man.
“I cried my eyes out because I don’t know the next time we’ll see a Black mayor in our city,” Rivera said.
Much lower, NPR quoted black community leader Rev. Eugene Rivers warning that “we can only play [the] race card for so many occasions.”
“I mean Black leadership failed to produce success even with an incumbent. We failed. Now that’s not on white people,” Rivers stressed.