On August 6th, the media reported that 72 people were shot with 13 killed over the weekend in Chicago. This is nothing new in that city’s poor Black communities that have become known for its weekend shootouts that shatter one record of carnage after another. The bloodshed has become the subject of local hip-hop lyrics.
In Red Snow, rap artist G-Herbo vividly describes the wretched social conditions impacting Black people in Chicago. G-Herbo raps “I was born in the slums through the drugs and the bums. Lookin’ up to thugs with the guns.”
Though the city is notorious for its harsh blizzards, G-Hebro states in his part of town,“we got red snow.” Red snow comes from the unnecessary blood loss of Black youth that has mixed with snow.
The number of homicides in Chicago has outpaced the number of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Which means in some sense, it was safer for a Black man to have been in Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Chicago.
G-Herbo’s rap video contains imagery of stabbings, shootouts, armed robberies and a whole host of violence that resulted in Black neighborhoods being called Chiraq, a term used by Black Chicagoans to highlight how their community has more in common with war torn countries like Iraq than mainstream America.
As Chicago’s weekend violence became another one for the books, white news reporters and political leaders, made a plethora of statements that demonstrate how totally ignorant they are about race based inequality and the violence it breeds. They proved over and over again that they were totally clueless about the oppression at the root of Chicago’s violence.
The White Lies of Rahm Emanuel
Attempting to provide an explanation for the origins of the Chicago violence, Chicago’s white mayor, Rahm Emanuel argued that there are “too many people with guns on the streets, too many people with criminal records on the street, and there is a shortage of values about what is right and what is wrong.”
Let’s talk about values Mayor Emanuel. Chicago has an entire history of creating the conditions of poverty and segregation at the root of the contemporary violence in Chicago today. Chicago Housing Authority(CHA) from its inception imposed the neighborhood composition rule mandating that Black migrants to Chicago live in a segregated neighborhood. The housing that were set aside for Blacks was decrepit; many apartments lacked plumbing and far below the requirements for healthy sanitation. CHA would even neglect to give some Black communities the benefits of regular garbage disposals.
In Chicago’s Wall: Race, Segregation and the Chicago Housing Authority, researcher Woosester researcher David Greetham concluded the entire Chicago Housing Authority became a white tool to segregate, confine, and conceal Chicago’s burgeoning African American population.” Additionally, as a result of this history of discriminatory policies, in a study by sociologist Douglas Massey, in American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, he concluded that Blacks in Chicago at current trends will still be in a segregated state far off into the future in 2042.
In 2016 a report, Young, Black and Out of Work by the University of Illinois Chicago Great Cities Initiative shows the value your city has for its young Black men. The report concluded there is a crisis facing young Black men in the Windy City. Here are the facts.
Almost half – 47 percent – of young black men from the ages of 20 and 24 were out of school and unemployed in 2014. For both men and women, age 20 to 24, 41 percent were unemployed and out of school.
Meanwhile, only 7 percent of white men and women in that age group were jobless and out of school. For Latinos, the rate was 19 percent. Let’s look at what the United States did for Iraq. The U.S. spent an estimated three trillion dollars on blowing up and then “rebuilding” Iraq. Right in Chicago, the National Laboratory and Boeing Corporation manufactured lethal weapons such as the B-2 stealth bomber and f-16, both of which are utilized in the war of Iraq. What does that say about the values of Chicago?
Instead of moralizing about the lack of values in Chicago’s black neighborhoods, Emanuel should be focused on unraveling the structures of white supremacy that created the violent conditions in the ghetto in the first place.
CBS inept questioning of Oppressed Black Youth
In another display of complete ineptitude, Chicago news station, CBS, interviewed several gang members from the Englewood community on resolving the city’s violence. CBS sent white reporters completely disconnected from the reality of structural racism to ask oppressed Black youth questions like “What makes you guys tick?”. The young Chicagoan responded, “We’ve got to eat…We want to. We want money. Rob, steal and kill. That’s the only way. We didn’t grow up in Beverly Hills. We don’t get it handed to us.” When asked about the solution to the violence, one oppressed Black youth responded “There’s no solution to the violence. Killing, killing is the solution.”
Another oppressed Black youth declared, “The police hate us….Every time they ride past us, they shoot us down and do all that..We’re not scare of you all. I laugh at the police. They’re a joke to me.”
What the CBS report failed to mention is that though Englewood today is predominately Black and among the poorest Black communities in the world, it was once predominately white and affluent. When integration took place and Blacks began to move in Englewood, whites formed a neighborhood associations with slogans like: “America for whites, Africa The Only Place for Niggers.” In order to keep Black people out, whites organized mass anti-integration protests, with one protestor stating in 1949, “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages.”
After a mere rumor that a house in Englewood was going to be purchased by a Black family, whites began to carry out arsons, physical assaults and even bombings of Black residents for simply trying to live their lives. After putting up posters saying “NEGROES INVADING” a bunch of white racists came together initiating what has become known as the “Englewood Race Riots of 1949”.
And what did the police do as the Black community was being attacked by white racists? Nothing, plain and simple. What they did do was encourage white rioters to be more belligerent. What does this say about your city’s values?
This should come as no surprise when one considers that as Irish gangs began carrying out massacres against Black people as early as 1919, the Chicago Police Department instead of arresting them, recruited them en-masse into the department. Criminal justice professor, John M. Hagedorn wrote “the Irish gang, in effect, was reinvented as the Chicago Police Department.” Again, Emanuel what does this say about your city’s values?
Chicago Police: Setting Up Oppressed Black Youth to Commit Crime
Instead of working to atone for this shameful history of racism, instead of helping to find jobs for the unemployed, instead of helping to get the young men back in school, the Chicago Police Department as recently as August 2nd decided to park a “bait truck” filled with Nike shoes outside of Englewood’s basketball court with hopes of entrapping oppressed Black youth with the temptation to steal so they could be arrested.
Thus is it any wonder why oppressed Black youth have no respect for the Chicago police, and hate the Chicago police?
While white bourgeoisie news reporters and white politicians feign cluelessness to the root causes of the epidemic of Chicago’s gang violence, it it high time that whites start examining their own history of violence, both physical and structural, directed towards Chicago’s black communities which is the violence which produced the violence. In other words, we are witnessing the hate, that hate produced. The number one problem facing Black Chicagoans is the value system of white supremacy enforced by the government, city agencies, and all