IFFBoston: ‘A Reckoning in Boston’ examines racial inequalities



James Rutenbeck’s “A Reckoning in Boston” was shown at this year’s virtual Independent Film Festival of Boston.

James Rutenbeck’s eye-opening documentary “A Reckoning in Boston” is something that makes the young people of today want to wake up and fight for what is right. Showcased during Independent Film Festival of Boston, the film displayed imagery of people in Boston during the 1970s busing era and how people looked down on young Black children as a threat. Rutenbeck also reevaluated his own life of growing up in a suburban area while coming to terms with how being white is somewhat of an easy privilege. 

This documentary made me think about and look back on my own life as a young woman of color living in Boston, as a way of struggling with housing and trying to find my place in the world. This film showcases the different walks of life for people of color and how their stories could resonate with others who are going through something similar.

The viewers learned about people living on the streets and how many of them are still trying to get an education during tough times. But it still shows how corporations and our society are more willing to build condos and luxury apartments than focusing on the people who are living in poverty or experiencing homelessness.  

Rutenbeck projects this through interviews with employees from Boston City Hall and the housing department in Boston. Kafi Dixon is one of the main people featured in the film. She was hoping to buy a lot in Roxbury to turn it into a garden, which is now called The Common Good Co-op. Not only does this show people of color achieving knowledge and trying to better one’s life, but it also shows the fight on how displaced people in Boston are being pushed out and separated from their communities. 

This type of issue is something that is not just happening in Boston but across the nation. Especially in urban underdeveloped neighborhoods. This documentary is heartbreaking but eye-opening. It was brilliant and gave the viewers a sense of hope and encouragement to find a way to help their neighbors out. Rutenbeck’s remarkable documentary might just be a big talking point of IFFBoston. 

Follow the movie on IG @reckoningdoc.