I am white. I was born that way and I have white friends and relatives who would never accept that they were in anyway racist. They’re good people. They have black and brown friends and they aren’t filled with hate.
The problem is that we tend to limit racism to slavery, the KKK and the American South before 1964. That’s why it’s so easier for white reporters to be confused and flummoxed by what they see as overblown charges of racism in the school closing debacle inflicting CPS.
When black students were stuffed into Willis Wagons in the early 1960s, it was easy to say it wasn’t racism. It was simply where schools were overcrowded. Now, as we close these schools, again we can proclaim that it’s not racism because that’s where the underutilized schools are.
When the first Mayor Daley decided to build the Dan Ryan as a dividing line between whites and blacks on the South Side of Chicago, it was easy to overlook the racism, at least until Martin Luther King came to town.
Most people in Chicago are painfully unaware of the Chicago race riots of 1919 or the city’s many attempts to build a buffer between downtown and the South Side “Black Belt” that first led to the construction of University of Illinois-Chicago.
Just because you don’t see the racism inherent in the school closings from your neighborhood doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The percentage of African-American teachers in Chicago has dropped 20 percent since school closings began under Daley. Ask yourself about the way we consider closing the schools where African-American children attend acceptable, but asking bankers to renegotiate toxic swaps or putting the TIF money back in the schools are unacceptable.
This is not plantation owners whipping slaves racism or even angry mob burning down black neighborhood racism, but make no mistake, racism exists and it is front and center in this closings.
“One activist on the bus said, “The key people who should be involved in the beginning aren’t. We have to play catch-up to a game that’s created by people on the Fifth Floor in a corrupt city like Chicago.”
“If Barbara Byrd Bennett were a Chicago teacher today, she would be another exhibit in the annual report of the Inspector General. The IGs energies are largely devoted to persecuting Chicago teachers and other school workers for violations of the CPS residency rule. Chicago teachers must live in Chicago, and investigators from the IG’s office routinely are tracking down miscreants who really live outside the city.”
“Much of Democrat Rahm Emanuel’s electoral war chest came from the coasts, including $1.5 million total from Hollywood (where Rahm’s brother Ari is a fancy shmancy talent agent) as well as from east coast tycoons like Donald Trump — a Republican — who threw $50,000 at the Chicago race.”