While the example I’m about to give didn’t happen within the Plymouth community, I felt that it related to our class, so I decided to go ahead and share it anyways. Last weekend, I went back home to celebrate Easter with my family. For the past four years, my family has gone to Vinoteca di Monica, located down at the North End of Boston to celebrate Easter; this year was no exception. If you haven’t been, I seriously recommend going. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is really nice to be in. I also recommend getting the four-cheese ravioli and getting a tiramisu because they were delicious and extremely filling but that’s beside the point.
After our lunch-dinner, my mom and aunt went to go by cannolis at Modern Pastry. When we got over to Modern Pastry, the line was out the door and my dad and I did not want to wait in that long of a line. We decided to go take a walk over to St. Leonard’s Church to see the cherry blossom trees and then walk over to see the Old North Church, while my mom and aunt bought pastries. As my dad and I took our time walking around the North End, I couldn’t help to overhear several conversations about the North End from tourists. The sky was clear for the time being and many tourists were out shopping, eating and sightseeing around Boston, so it was easy to pick up on a few of the conversations that were taking place. Although there were a couple of conversations that were easy to forget about, there were quite a few that caught my attention. One such conversation was from a group of tourists who just described the North End as “exotic.”
This made me immediately think of secondary colonialism and colonialism. In Situating Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, written by Ania Loomba, the term colonialism isn’t as simple as it may seem. Loomba describes colonialism as something that’s “…not just something that happens from outside a country or people, not just something that operates with the collision of forces inside, but a version of it can be duplicated from within” (1106.) Although the North End is just a small part of Boston, it’s viewed as something that is separate from the “regular” parts of the city by the tourists.
Another example I saw was when my dad and I went into the St. Leonard’s Church. I was never a religious person to begin with, so my dad and I didn’t stay very long. The church was beautiful to look at and I silently admired the murals along with the stained-glass windows. While I did spot a few churchgoers in the benches, I saw a lot more tourists inside the church. The few churchgoers I did see were praying and I didn’t want to interrupt them by talking. The tourists, however, didn’t take the hint and began to talk loudly about how “unique” the church was. There was a donation basket outside of the church and from what I saw, no one donated any money to help the church. This again caused me to think of secondary colonialism. A group of wealthy individuals walked into the place that holds a special value to a certain group of people, for their own entertainment and leave without giving that place a second thought.
Despite these surprising encounters of colonialism and secondary colonialism, I really did enjoy my trip to the North End. The North End is filled to the brim of Italian culture and it was created by proud Italians who wanted to celebrate their home. It’s something that should be celebrated and seen as that, not something that’s considered “exotic” to tourists.