"Growing up in this home, I was ensconced in blackness — and as an adult, I now see and appreciate the ways that affirmed my identity. I finally saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when I was 24, and I was shocked that it was lauded as a 'staple of teen comedy.' I had always thought that the classic tale of Chicago youth skipping class was Cooley High. I didn’t learn whiteness as a default, or the limitations placed on those who exist outside of it, until I was much, much older." Jasmine Sanders (@ToniAliceZora) writes for Buzzfeed on growing up in one of Chicago's poorest black neighborhoods. [more inside]
"The playing field needs to be aggressively leveled - possibly razed." Chicago theatre artists respond to an open letter to the Marriott Theatre regarding the casting of Evita, which only included one actor of Latin heritage.
For the first time in 35 years, an Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality, in this case, that of 17 year old Laquan McDonald. Last night, the city of Chicago released the dash-cam footage that had been kept out of the public eye for more than a year, showing Mr. McDonald being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer. A second video, which was taken by a security camera at a nearby Burger King, was allegedly deleted by the police. [more inside]
No-man's Land. (Fear, Racism, and the Historically Troubling Attitude of America's Pioneers)
DISCUSSED: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Kansas, Bonnets, “A Great Many Colored People,” Copper Gutters, Martin Luther King Jr., People Who Know Nothing about Gangs, Scalping, South Africa, Unprovoked Stabbing Sprees, Alarming Mass Pathologies, Chicago, Haunted Hot Dog Factories, Gangrene, Creatures from the Black Lagoon, Tree Saws, Headless Torsos, Quilts, Cheerleaders, Pet Grooming Stores, God
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic:The Effects of Housing Segregation on Black Wealth. As the wealth gap widens between whites and blacks in America, and after reading this list and this list, he concludes The Ghetto Is Public Policy. [more inside]
Third-grader Asean Johnson schools Rahm Emmanuel on the mayor's plan for Chicago's public schools. (YT) [more inside]
The Chicago Public School system has announced it will close 54 elementary and middle schools before next year. [more inside]
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
Chicago's WBEZ has created an interactive map of the city and where its various gangs operate, using data provided by the Chicago Police Department. Chicagoist considers the map and its implications while Progress Illinois discusses the changing nature of gang violence.
This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it. In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman. According to a review in The Nation, a new book tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [more inside]
"In Chicago, we think such racial segregation is normal, but it's not." Why segregation isn't an issue in the mayoral contest in one of the most segregated cities in the US. [more inside]
"In my next conscious moment, I was dimly aware that I was facedown on the pavement. There was blood in my mouth."
"A Mugging on Lake Street" : John Conroy -- author and former staff writer of the Chicago Reader best known for his articles on police torture finds himself a victim of a "senseless" crime and is forced by circumstance to examine his own opinions about race, hate crimes, and violence. (last link is referenced in original article)
Are you a young middle-class creative type (probably white) who has chosen to live in an urban neighborhood that your parents would have shunned? Have the families that formerly lived in your neighborhood (probably not white) been pushed out by soaring rents and real-estate prices to the city fringes or suburbs? The New Republic on demographic inversion.
Palestinian comic booted from Jackie Mason's comedy show Ray Hanania, a Palestinian comic in Chicago, was set to open for headlining act Jackie Mason. A few hours before the show, Mason had him booted. "It's not exactly like he's just an Arab-American. This guy's a Palestinian," said Jyll Rosenfeld, Mason's manager. "Jackie does not feel comfortable having a Palestinian open for him." Ouch. (Imagine if the tables were turned: "Ray does not feel comfortable having a Jew open for him") Too bad, really. If there's one thing the I/P conflict needs, it's more humor. Like this Muslim-Jewish Comedy Night.
And I thought Florida only had this problem. The Chicago Tribune reports that nearly 8% of votes in Illinois' 1st Congressional District went uncounted in the 2000 presidential election. It also adds: voters in low-income, high-minority districts nationwide were more likely to have undercounted ballots than were those in affluent, predominantly white districts, the study showed. Is there a nation-wide epidemic of undercounting? Or is it a problem limited to few localized areas? Or is it an underhanded way to deny the underprivileged of their vote? From the looks of it, at least additional investigation needs to be done.