Why Would You Think Anyone Would Want To Live With Violence? Debunking The Myth of The Bad Neighborhood

The armchair racists think they have all of the answers when it comes to crime ridden neighborhoods.

And to be clear, when I say crime ridden I mean black neighborhoods.

Because when the armchair crowd speaks, they usually do so in code.  Knowing this, it’s important that we all be on the same page for what I’m about to say.

When I read the message boards after a crime story on the Tribune or the Sun Times, the flood of racist comments are staggering.

We’re in Chicago so that shouldn’t come as a complete surprise.

What confounds me is the number of commenters who believe that people in high crime areas actually want to live this way; that south side & west side residents---your fellow Chicagoans---revel in violence and victimization.

Let me share something with you:  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Frankly, it wasn’t too long ago that I didn’t understand how it works either.

For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why people who had been born and raised in our wonderful city would put up with some of the most outrageous treatment since the Jim Crow south.

Marginalization in overcrowded conditions, shoddy over priced housing, restrictive covenants determining where you lived; that seems like the good old days compared to what’s happening now.

Open drug dealing, crumbling infrastructure,  a liquor store on every corner, undesirables skulking everywhere and indifferent politicians.

Why would anyone put up with that type of outrageous treatment?

It was a head scratcher.

At least it was until I had my “a-ha” moment.

It’s not that the people in the neighborhoods don’t care; it’s just that their self appointment leaders had sold them out.

Sold out their constituency and sold out their neighborhoods for a metaphorical 30 pieces of silver.

And of course the perception of being “decision makers.”

Which when you think about it is laughable.

Anyone with half a brain knows that the big decisions in this city are made so far away from committee meetings and neighborhood forums.

The fix is in long before the public is asked to give their two cents.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called plantation politics and in my opinion it has ruined a vast majority of this city.


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  • Lot of truth in this indictment. And yet a lot of half truths and slated conclusions. Usually in any news report, once you have all the facts you have only half the truth! The missing half here is that much of ghetto thinking often becomes self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating. There are those leaders -- like Bill Cosby, Jesse Jackson, Clarence Thomas, candidate Caine -- who tell us this. So deferring to their expertise, I modestly ask: how do YOU react to their counter-indictment?

  • Jack,

    A few things:

    1. Wait for part two. I usually have so much to say that to fit it in one post is lengthy.

    2. You may see it as half truths & slated conclusions, I see it as my opinion. It is a blog post and not a news story after all. I guess I'm just an op-ed woman at heart.

    Stick around for the next installment.

  • You are spot on. Also the people on the northside have a mentality that south side = slum. They treat the south side as if its one big neighborhood, when the south side just as the norths side is composed of many different neighborhoods. This is what happens when u get most of your info from the news or don't travel out of your north/downtown bubble. There is also a lil underlying racism in that
    mentality too. The southside is heavily black which is bad, the northside is heavily white which is good. Its class that matters not race.

  • Carmel,

    That mentality feeds & sustains plantation politics. I'm just trying to clue some people in. Wait for the next installment.

  • I agree the comments on the Sun Times and the Trib show that racism is alive and well despite all the progress.

    But I think it is self-defeating to blame community leaders. What decisions are being made that impact crime in these areas?

  • 100% truth, I used to live in West Pullman and just felt like no one cared what happened to us. I wrote letters, emailed every politican and got a few canned responses. I finally got out of there but the people who live there are simply misrepresented. Politicans just see them as a vote every for years and not the people that they are supposed to represent.

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