Dahleen Glanton's racist Tribune column about the Obama Center

“Racism” is a word that’s too often tossed around these days, used primarily as a cudgel against anyone who doesn’t bow in subservience to far left dictates. Lord knows, it’s been applied to me often enough.

So it was with some thought before I applied the label to a column by Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton, The one unspoken issue at the heart of Obama center opposition — race.”

Turning a legitimate debate over the advisability and legality of a government that is entrusted to protect public land from take-over by private interests, Glanton has turned a disagreement over policy  into an assault by elite white people on African Americans.

She wrote:

On this issue [over building the center in Jackson Park] black people have to stand together or risk losing everything. It would also be nice if white people stopped acting like they know what’s best for black people and start treating African-Americans like they’re an important part of this city, too.

Obama Presidential Center. Former President Barack Obama explains some of the renderings of the new library. (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)

Obama Presidential Center. Former President Barack Obama explains some of the renderings of the new library. (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)

And so she goes after a “white North Side lawyer” who is telling blacks what’s good for them; “… people who don’t even live in Chicago who are part of a lawsuit that, in essence, is holding a knife to the project’s throat;” “…some of our liberal white friends next door in Hyde Park,” and so on. 

It isn’t that they don’t want to see African-Americans thrive. It’s just that they’ve convinced themselves that they know what’s best for black people, much better than black people know themselves. And in this case, black people would be better off if the Obama Center were built farther north [sic] in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Washington Park…

This overt opposition to the Jackson Park site isn’t surprising, though. White people in Chicago, like the rest of America, have a long history of telling black people what is best for black people. They are, in fact, rationalizing what is best for them.

No one should have to explain why it’s racist, but it appears to be required. Glanton is trying to read minds, “white minds” at that, imputing motives that are malevolent and  untrue.

Glanton, a native of Georgia, pitches aside respect for local  culture and laws proclaiming that the precious and beautiful lakefront must be left “open, free and clear.” She ridicules people who hold the law sacred and purposeful. She suggests that suburbanites should get lost even though a federal judge says that they have standing to sue.  She insists that the disagreement over the center’s location is essentially a class war between the haves (whites) and have-nots (blacks).

With out the sly racism in the column, we could have a good policy discussion. We could weigh the merits of locating the center where it would do the most good–in the neighborhood itself, where vacant land and decaying infrastructure are crying for development. Where the center would have a more proximate impact on restaurants and all the other enterprises that would be mothered by the center. Where accessibly by public transit would be easier. Where the neighborhood and the center wouldn’t be separated a wall–the Metra electric line.

But, she asserts, the center shouldn’t go in the neighborhood because people will be afraid to go there. You know how white people are, based, I supposed, on the premiss that they’re terrified of black neighborhoods.

A menhir

A menhir

The soaring and ugly center is completely out of human scale, totally out of place in the park, rising like a monstrous menhir.

I guess I have to say it again. The objections to center would completely disappear if Obama and his supporters would recognize the superior location outside of  Jackson Park.

So far, most of the disagreement over the center’s location has been reasonable and calm. But the uncivil tone that now is showing up in the form of a race card suggests just how desperate the center’s backers are getting to plant their flag in Jackson Park.



My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812


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  • fb_avatar

    Being built in a black area and considering how Obama is more popular than Jesus around here, I thought that place would have been built and open for business before Trump's inauguration. I don't understand it at all.

  • I wonder if Dahleen Glantons has considered the overlap of people opposed to the Obama center with those who voted for him twice?

  • fb_avatar

    Glanston--Zorn---Huppke----Schmich---Four reasons I no longer subscribe to the Tribune.

  • fb_avatar

    Have you seen her latest article calling our President "bigot-in-chief" and those who voted for him bigots as well?


    If anyone should be issuing an apology it's her. A Bigot is a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions. By definition, her article means she is a bigot. What she's probably not smart enough to realize is by painting a broad stroke on people based on the color of their skin or their voting preferences, does nothing to end racism. The name calling that she so easily reverts to is part of the foundation of racism. She needs to take a long look in the mirror when she throws out terms like "bigot". I'm sure she's just repeating what her radicalized friends are telling her. It surely doesn't belong in a publication that was established to report facts.

  • Well done, Dennis. Thank you for pointing out how all of us -- not "us" and "them" -- could benefit from polls and (gasp!) talking to people, not making such generalizations.

  • fb_avatar

    Duhleen Glanton - Chicago Tribune House Negro. I avoid her crap like the plauge.

  • This has not been an encouraging Black History Month, we all can do much better.
    Although I seldom agree with Ms. Glanton if she's calling the spy in the WH a bigot she is being too kind. If you claim it as your president, you'll deserve EVERYTHING he's gonna do to you.

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