A conversation with my mother about what’s going on with Bill Cosby reminded me about another star who now desperately trying to duck his past.
Boston native Mark Wahlberg has turned himself into a decent actor after trying his hand at music for a few years. What many won’t remember is the Mark Wahlberg many Boston residents remember.
Growing up in Boston, racism was kind of a understood thing. South Boston, Savin Hill, that was for working-class a.k.a poor, Whites. Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury was for working class a.k.a poor, everybody else. Both sides were always careful of where they went and when because of what was understood racism.
Example, I had a friend named Warren who lived in South Boston. He was my best friend at the time. He was White and I’m Black. No big deal to a couple of kids who had a shared admiration of video games, basketball and girls. One day, Warren asked me to sleep over his house. I was down! My mother and father wasn’t. They were so scared of me going into South Boston over-night made them so nervous, that my mom called his father every hour to make sure I was ok.
See, Southie at the time was home to a gang called, N.D. (niggers die). They would harass, beat and chase Blacks on any other minorities who wandered in the area. I still remember when Billy Bulger, brother of gangster and legendary snitch, White Bulger, saw some Vietnamese people trying to shake his hand and he said, “get them their welfare checks so they can get away from me.” Did I mention Billy, brother of a know mobster was President of the University of Massachusetts system at the time,
How the time hanged changed. Now Boston neighborhoods are more diverse to a point. Some old feelings still linger though.
And that brings me to the point of this piece.
Savin Hill native Mark Wahlberg is petitioning the Massachusetts Board of Parole pardon him for his past so he would no longer have to have something’s hang over his head. Those some things are racist actions against minorities when he was a teen who couldn’t make the final cut for New Kids of the Block.
There’s one incident where Wahlberg and his friends threw rocks, injuring many, at a group of Blacks who were in his neighborhood, calling them a number of expletives.
The story that more people know, and the one he really wants to put behind him happened to an Asian man.
Thoughtcatalog.com reminds people that:
When Marky Mark was fifteen, he had civil actions placed against him for hurling rocks a
t black people while screaming racial slurs at them. One year later, in a single day, he knocked Thahn Lam—a middle-aged man of Vietnamese descent—unconscious with a stick while calling him “Vietnam fucking shit” (assumedly he brushed up his wordplay skills in the Funky Bunch) and, on that same evening, punched Hoa Trinh—again several years his senior—in the eye, permanently blinding him. After being brought to the scene on the first charge, Wahlberg told officers, “You don’t have to let him identify me, I’ll tell you now that’s the motherfucker whose head I split open” and apparently made several remarks regarding “gooks” and “slant-eyed gooks” during police proceedings. For his crimes he spent 45 days in a correctional facility.
That man is still disfigured to this day.
Is it right that Wahlberg, who has been actively trying to change his narrative since his Funky Bunch days, is rightfully asking for a pardon now that he’s in his forties.
The problem with that is, the victims don’t get one. Like the Bill Cosby situation, an apology is cool, but what have you done for the victims?
Wahlberg deserves a second chance like we all do, but doesn’t he, like Cosby, have to take these issues head on? Shouldn’t he have to address his victims personally?
Owning up to a mistake and moving on would be very Boston of him. Trying to duck his victims and brush his past under the rug so he can continue his new cushy life would be very Hollywood of him.
You can research for yourself. Does he deserve a chance to put this in the past? Yes. Do his victims have to live with the scars and memories for life? Also yes.