Wicked identity politics come with the territory in Boston. The city exists because an exclusionary mood took hold of a group of Englishmen four centuries ago, and ever since Bostonians have been marking those they deem to truly belong here and those who don’t. But even by the standards of a city obsessed with the struggle against perceived outsiders, the bout of class and identity politics that’s been convulsing Jamaica Plain in recent years is an epic one.
The same impulses that had residents howling at the prospect of a Whole Foods Market opening in the neighborhood have been driving a spate of recent opposition to housing development projects. A vocal segment of the neighborhood has fought the new housing, decrying the high rents the housing complexes would attract. Of course, the rents have never been the real enemy.