Boston Mayor Hosts ‘No-Whites’ Holiday Party

 December 14, 2023

In a move stirring debate across Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu hosted a holiday party exclusively for "electeds of color" this Wednesday, raising questions about inclusivity and division in city politics.

Boston's Mayor Michelle Wu is at the center of controversy for hosting a holiday party limited to "electeds of color," an event critics are calling racially divisive.

The gathering, held at the city-owned Parkman House, initially involved email invitations to all 13 members of the Boston City Council. However, within 15 minutes, these invites were rescinded by the seven white councilors, creating a wave of criticism and discussion about the nature of inclusivity and exclusivity in city events.

An Event Rooted in Tradition and Controversy

While defending the party, Mayor Wu pointed to longstanding traditions of race-based groups in politics, such as the Congressional Black Caucus, as examples of similar gatherings. She emphasized that the "electeds of color" group has been a fixture in Boston's political landscape for years, celebrating heritage and identity.

However, critics, including Councilor Frank Baker, have labeled the event as "divisive," arguing that such racial exclusivity only serves to deepen divides in a city grappling with its historical issues around race. "I find it unfortunate that with the temperature the way it is, that we would further that division," Baker remarked.

Amidst the backlash, Mayor Wu apologized for the email error but stood firm on her decision to host the party, insisting that it was not meant to exclude but to celebrate a specific community within Boston's diverse political landscape.

Contextualizing the Party in Boston's Political History

Former Councilor Michael McCormack offered historical context, noting that past mayors likely would not have hosted such an exclusive event. This perspective highlights the evolving dynamics of race and politics in Boston, a city with a complex history concerning racial issues.

Mayor Wu, the first woman and first Asian American elected as Boston's mayor, found support from MA State Rep. Russell Holmes. Holmes redirected the controversy towards celebrating Wu's historic election, stating, "The controversy really should be that this is the first time we’ve had a woman mayor and a person of color and Asian elected here in the city."

Yet, the event's exclusivity remains a sticking point for many, as it seems to contradict a broader push towards inclusivity and unity in city events and politics.

Reactions from the Political Spectrum

The party's defense by Mayor Wu and Rep. Holmes was not enough to quell the concerns of some of their colleagues and constituents. The nature of the event, its execution, and the subsequent defense have opened a larger conversation about the role of race in city governance and community events.

Mayor Wu explained:

"I can understand someone might be confused or worried if certain people weren’t being invited at all or were being left out of any type of celebration. There are multiple ways that we celebrate with everyone."

This statement from Mayor Wu highlights the delicate balance of honoring specific communities while ensuring broader inclusivity, a challenge that is particularly poignant in a city like Boston.

A Reflection of Broader Societal Debates

The incident at the Parkman House reflects ongoing debates in American society about the intersection of race, politics, and community. While such events aim to celebrate specific groups' achievements and identities, they also risk creating feelings of exclusion and division among others.

This tension is not unique to Boston but is indicative of larger national conversations about how best to recognize and honor diversity while fostering a sense of unity and shared community.

Mayor Wu's decision and the subsequent reactions underscore the complexity of these issues, particularly in a city with Boston's history and demographic makeup.


Boston's Mayor Michelle Wu's decision to host a holiday party exclusively for "electeds of color" has sparked a city-wide discussion on inclusivity, tradition, and the evolving nature of political and social gatherings. The controversy reflects deeper societal questions about recognizing and celebrating diversity while maintaining a cohesive and inclusive community spirit.

  • Boston Mayor Michelle Wu hosts exclusive holiday party for "electeds of color."
  • Initial invites were sent to all council members but were quickly rescinded by white councilors.
  • Mayor Wu and supporters defend the event, citing tradition and the need to celebrate diversity.
  • Critics argue the party fosters division and contradicts broader inclusivity efforts.
  • The event reflects ongoing national debates on race, inclusion, and political representation.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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