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Why Chicago’s Gang Problem is White

 

In a recent op-ed about Chicago’s epidemic of gang-violence, former Fox News conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly wrote, “the criminals causing the destruction are largely comprised of Black street gang members who sell narcotics in poor, minority neighborhoods.” He describes Black youth caught up in Chicago’s gang warfares as, “callous, violent individuals who have no regard for human life.”   O’Reilly advocates prison as the only solution, “Those gang members killing innocents are evil and no social program will change that. They should be locked away for decades.”  

When many think of Chicago’s “gang problem”, they think of the Gangsta Disciples, Black Disciples, Four Corner Hustlers, Vice Lords, Black Stones and other street organizations that run Chicago’s impoverished Black communities. But anyone who really wants to solve a problem knows you have to get to the root of the matter to really solve a problem.  The roots of Chicago’s gang problem are deep, decades deep, almost a century deep. Long before Black street organizations ascended to prominence, Chicago’s streets were made bloody by white gangs who massacred the city’s Black population. Indeed, it is the white gang-violence inflicted on Chicago’s Black populations that laid the foundation for the socio economic conditions for the contemporary violence seen in the Black community.

As my people began migrating to north from the South, the Chicago Tribune began running sensationalist headlines, “Half a million darkies from Dixie swarm to the north to better themselves” suggesting that Blacks were ‘infecting” the city.  In response, white gangs began to bomb Black households in an effort to systematically drive them out of Chicago .

In 1917, Mrs. S. P. Motley’s house was bombed, the next year 25 more houses were bombed, whites would also send threatening messages to Black homes in other areas, “Look out; you’re next” and “We are going to blow these flats to hell and if you don’t want to go with them you had better move out.” Tragically,  in 1919, a six year old girl was killed in a bombing.

These bombings, shootings, and arsons of Black communities were ultimately linked to Irish gangs.  In Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919, historian William M. Tuttle writes “These gangs, composed of white teenagers and young men in their twenties, many of the roughest of whom were of Irish descent, had terrorized Black people for years.”

What is particularly troubling is that not only were these individuals who carried out massacres of black neighborhoods not prosecuted for their crimes, but they would later be actively recruited into Chicago’s Police Department.  Criminal Justice Professor, John M. Hagedorn writes that the very same Irish gang which was a “violent racist tool to enforce segregation,” would be “reinvented as the Chicago Police Department.”

Thus from its earliest days, Chicago’s police department had members with the blood of innocent Black people on their hands and they recruited from white gangs who terrorized Black communities.  The decision of the Chicago Police Department to recruit from among white racist gangs would instill an anti-black culture in the entire institution.

As someone of Irish heritage himself, O’reilly would do well to reflect on the differing reactions of the city in responses Irish gang violence and that of Black gang violence.

The Chicago Housing Authority as an Anti-Black Gang

A Gang is defined broadly as an organized body of criminals who engaged in criminal activities. When one considers the rampant structural violence that has sentenced Black chicagoans to slow deaths, the Chicago Housing Authority fits fairly within this definition of a gang.  In the 1950’s, the Chicago Housing Authority established a segregated residential area for Black people. They built the community on a landfill in a toxic area surrounded with chemical waste incinerators and abandoned dumps with poisonous waste.

According to Environmental Justice Atlas, “Altgeld gardens had the highest concentration of hazardous waste sites in the nation.”  As a result of these environmental conditions,  residents of this area have an extremely high rate of children born with brain tumor, rare birth defects, asthma, and  large number of fetuses of mothers in the area were aborted because of brains developing outside of the skull.

Though Altgeld Garden was originally built as amo segregated community, the passage of civil rights legislation did nothing to remove or enable black  people from this community to escape the segregated conditions they had been placed within.

In a study of the impact of the Fair Housing Act passed in Chicago to outlaw racial discrimination, sociologist Douglass S. Massey notes that, due to practices such as redlining, racial steering, and blockbusting that developed in the Post-Jim Crow era, “the level of black-white segregation has hardly changed.” In fact, if current trends continue, blacks in Chicago’s south and westside neighborhoods will still be de facto segregated groups for decades into the future.

Thus, contrary to the assertions of Bill  O’reilly, historically speaking the real criminals of Chicago have been of white ancestry. They have used their power to terrorize black people, inhibit their social mobility, and force them in neighborhoods unfit for human habitability. It is the wretched conditions that Blacks have been forced to live within that has forced so many oppressed black youth into gangs and the drug economy for pure survival. While one may look at Chicago’s gang problem as a black phenonoman, the reality is  its origins are white.

 

Lil Reese & The white origins of Chriaq’s gang wars.

I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage.

In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap.

Where I’m from? Chiraq……..

..300 Normal Spelled Backwards.—Lil Reese

Many people growing up in Chiraq have lost many friends and relatives from the ensuing gang wars. Lil Reese indicates that he too has been affected by this and states that this is reality, not ‘movie shit.’ He’s done this in efforts to distinguish himself from  your typical studio-gangsters who make idle threats and appear ‘thugish’ in rap videos only to go back to their fancy homes after the video shoot to a full refrigerator and comfortable couches in the suburbs.

His phrase ‘turned into a savage’ refers to the mentality that many people in his crew have developed from living in such appalling social conditions. A recent study indicates that black youth in Chiraq who are exposed to such violence develop post-traumatic stress disorders comparable to troops returning home from military combat. However, for these youth, this isn’t ‘post-traumatic’ because this violence is a continuous cycle that takes place in their neighborhood everyday. Further, unlike military troops, these youth never receive visits from psychologists to aid them. As Lil Reese stated, “A body getting dropped everyday – this shit is real.”

A body getting dropped refers to people dying from gunshots. The sad truth is that many youth have absolutely nothing to lose within the confides of the current social system. Indeed, when you watch a Lil Reese video, in his hood you’ll see many shirts displaying “R.I.P.” to the names of various friends and “Free”  to the names of various people locked away.

Both Chief Keef and Lil Reese grew up in Englewood. They would probably be surprised to hear that their now impoverished and violent community was once predominately white and affluent. Moreover, in addition to being mostly white, it was once a stronghold for the Ku Klux Klan. As America began to integrate and African-Americans entered deep into the Chicago areas—this once predominately white area began organizing violently against the African-American communities. They then formed a neighborhood associations with slogans like: “America for whites, Africa The Only Place for Niggers.”  They then went on to say “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages.” While these whites portrayed African-Americans as savages, all the behavior that whites partook in to defend against integration were of that very nature. After a rumor that a house in Englewood was going to be purchased by a black family, whites began to carry out bombings, physical assaults, and arson on black residents for simply trying to live their lives. After putting up posters saying “NEGROES INVADING” a bunch of white racists came together starting the “EngleWood Race Riots of 1949”. As African-Americans continued to move in, “a white plight” took place as whites moved to suburban areas, leaving the black community in absolute turmoil, chaos, and social decay.

Now, I’ve constantly heard the argument that goes something like this: “Lil Reese was born in 1993, those riots took place in 1949.” As if it had no effect on him.  White people had the benefit of passing wealth to their children who could then pass it on to their children; they also had the luxury of a stable home and other infrastructure. As a result of these race riots, blacks who were affected   were not given the same opportunities nor has the racist system that has been designed to disenfranchise blacks from employment been abolished. These riots and systemic obstacles left the black community in absolute economic turmoil. The poverty that resulted from it allowed the illegal economy to takeover as the number one employer for black youth. Similarly, when peaceful African-Americans first moved to Englewood, a racist of the white, anti-intergrationist stated that” I think they[Blacks] are savages.” Now, over 30 years later Lil Reese embraces this image, stating that “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage.”  The forces of white supremacy turns oppressed Black people into savages creating the conditions for gang warfare in black communities.

Chicago’s Gangs: A Product of Institutionalized Racism

 

            Chicago’s Gangs: A Product of Institutionalized Racism

Chicago is a city infamous for its ruthless gang violence. Even after much legislation attempting to solve the problem, gang warfare is still a destructive force in Chicago’s culture. It continues to squeeze the life out of black youth whose blood has been splattered all across Chicago’s streets. Many black youth grow up in abject poverty and see only two paths for their future: prison or death.Their mothers feel hopeless, as they stand unable to stretch their money for electricity, rent, insurance and food. Black communities endure subpar living conditions as seen through the decaying housing, substandard schools, drugs, and poverty. After examining these appalling social conditions, people often claim that the gangs that terrorize the community with violence are attributed to some “innate”delinquency or aggression amongst black youth. In reality, Chicago street gangs are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism, police brutality, and white vigilantism. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people and replaces it with a stone cold heart that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets.Blacks have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive, but because of economic conditions that have been imposed on us by  malicious outside forces.  The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place,  to halt black socioeconomic aspirations,  has resulted in black youth  acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray in the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism.

                         Chicago: A History of Racist Brutality

 African-Americans that previously resided in the Klan-run South came to Chicago during the great migration, lured in by the promises of jobs and political rights. However, these opportunities were systematically denied. Since blacks have entered this city they have been met with a level of bigotry so disgusting, and so pervasive, that it is a core aspect of Chicago’s culture. African-Americans seeking tocreate a better life would still face the very same racism and violence they found in the south. However, instead of it being by the Klan, it would be by the Chicago Housing authority and white mobgroups. [1]

When blacks first came to Chicago they competed with the Irish over a scarce labor and housing market. In 1919, racial animosity reached a boiling point when a white person hit a blackchild with a rock while he was swimming in Michigan Lake. The black child drowned to death, but the Chicago Police Department refused to arrest the white aggressor. Blacks led a peaceful protest demanding justice, and as a result of their efforts they were viciously attacked by white mob groups. Whites entered the predominately black area on the Southside, terrorizing the black population through arsons and assaults. [2] Nobody, not even children, were spared in the attacks. They even sought to enter a predominately black hospital to terrorize the black patients there. As whites continued to set fire to black neighborhoods, the Chicago Fire Department was not allowed to operate in these communities. [3] Hundreds of African Americans, including women and children, were left homeless on the streets after fires demolished their homes in these senseless attacks. Richard J. Daley was 17 years old at the time and one of the leaders of the Irish Hamburg Athletic Club that led this senseless attack on the black community.  Instead of being punished for these clearly racist attacks, he was made Mayor of Chicago, where he would continue to push and support racist legislation to disenfranchise the black community. [4] Indeed, the white-ran Chicago housing authority from its inception worked to ensure that blacks lived in segregated neighborhoods.

Blacks were confined to the Southside and these areas were treated with inconceivable neglect by government agencies. The “Neighborhood Composition Rule” ordered that housing was to be segregated. This resulted in Black people being segregated in the Southside in what is known as “The Black Belt.”[5] Of course, all of the housing that the Chicago Housing Authority set aside for blacks was decrepit; many apartments lacked plumbing, were overcrowded, and far below requirements for healthy sanitation.[6] Even wealthy blacks were forced into substandard neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. As a direct result of these social conditions, the infant mortality rate for blacks sky-rocketed to well above the national average. Eventually, the neighborhood Composition rule was eventually struck down. This was met by complete outrage by white vigilante groups who, once again, terrorized the local black population with heartless violent confrontations. While blacks were portrayed as being “violent”, many times it was not the “delinquent” black youth attacking innocent peaceful white people but vice-versa. Indeed, during this time blacks lived under increased threats of violence and fear from whites. Blacks had no choice but to live in the ghetto because of the terrorism inflicted by whites against those would dared to live on the outskirts of their state created locus. [7 ]During these times, overt discrimination against blacks reigned supreme in every area of Chicago’s society, such as employment, housing, health care, and every other opportunity for upward social mobility.

Modern Day Disenfranchisement of Blacks in Chicago

In America, the common belief is that Civil Rights legislation ended discrimination against African-Americans. The fact of the matter is that blacks in Chicago are still discriminated against at unprecedented levels!

Health Care

Discrimination and apartheid-like conditions characterize Chicago’s health-care system. Despite there being high levels of violence and shootings on the Southside, there is no trauma center to operate on victims, leaving youth to die in the streets. Yet, there are plenty of hospitals and trauma centers in affluent white areas despite the low levels of violence. [8] Blacks that are exposed to this violence develop post-traumatic stress disorder, similar to troops returning from combat. For many it isn’t “post-trauma” but a continuous cycle[9]. In spite of this, Rahm Emmanuel has plans to close down mental health facilities in Chicago’s low income areas.[10]  In the current hospitals located in Chicago, blacks face rampant discrimination. Several studies have indicated that black patients receive excessive wait times and have been subject to expensive deposit requirements prior to treatment. [11] According to a study from UCLA, researchers found that racial discrimination is the key factor in explaining why blacks suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and strokes, more than any other population. [12]  However, this discrimination not only affects patients, but also workers. Jackson Park Hospital has recently been ordered to pay $80,000 after being exposed for racist practices against its black workers.[13]

Housing

Chicago is divided between affluent whites on the north-side and impoverished blacks on the South-side but even blacks with wealth find themselves unable to move out of the ghetto. Though it is illegal, housing discrimination continues to affect African-Americans in Chicago. All Civil-Rights legislation did was ban “No Colored” signs but racism in the housing market continues to disenfranchise blacks.  African-American borrowers were given higher-interest on subprime mortgages when compared to whites – even when they qualified for much better deals.[14] Even “blockbusting” referring to racist practices by real-estate agents, against blacks, was pioneered in Chicago![15] Today, Chicago stands as the most racially segregated city in America. [16]

Schools
Even after the Supreme Court’s Brown V.S Board of Education decision to desegregate schools, Chicago’s schools remain segregated. According, to the Progressive Labor Party “In 2000, 54% of black public school students in Chicago attended schools that did not have a single white student enrolled, 274 schools were 90% or more black, and 173 of those schools, 30% of all Chicago public schools, were 100% black.” [17]  Many whites attend schools with greater infrastructure and resources, located in suburban areas. Chicago Public Schools has nine elite selective enrollment schools that students must “test into” in order to get a quality education.  These culturally biased “selective-enrollment” tests give Chicago Public School the ability to keep schools segregated. Students unable to test into these schools are shipped into school-to-prison pipeline lacking libraries and adequate material needed to teach the classroom.   The Chicago Teachers union indicated that “Chicago Public Schools remains one of the urban school systems that[’s]“only a few percentage points from an experience of total apartheid.” [18]  These schools are fundamentally preparing black youth for a life of solitary confinement. Only 3 out of 100 Chicago Public School freshmen earn a Bachelor degree by the age of twenty-five. Education for black students is still not equal to that of whites.[19]

 Employment

Discrimination continues to be perpetuated against African-Americans in the job market.  Studies have found that applicants with more “Black-Sounding” names on resumes (i.e. Jamal, Lakeshia) were less likely to be called back for an interview than applicants with more “White-Sounding” names(I.E John, Emily) even when credentials were identical. [20] Even more troubling, a study found employers to be more likely to hire a white person with a criminal record than a black person without one, even when qualifications were exactly the same.[21]

Business/Loans
Foreigners, specifically Arab merchants, own the majority of stores in African-American communities within Chicago. These are pseudo-grocery stores that sell inflated unhealthy goods to the community and often collaborate with gangs in the illegal drug trade. The black community has a huge lack of black business ownership; so much so, when there is a store owned by blacks you often see the sign “black-owned business” in the window. The majority of the stores in the black community should be owned by blacks; the fact that we have signs saying “black-owned” business demonstrates the severity of our situation. The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of black entrepreneurs who seek to set-up business in the black community, but they face constant barriers through discriminatory loan practices by banks. Banks have consistently been found not to loan to blacks, or will charge themhigher interest rates (regardless of their credit!) than they dowhites and other minority entrepreneurs.[22]
Car loans
Auto-shop dealerships in Chicago consistently discriminate against African-Americans. A study in Chicago sent various races to car dealerships to purchase  a car. They discovered that  auto dealerships offered lower prices to white males than blacks, even in identical financial situations on interest rate loans. Black males on average were priced twice the amount of whites, and black females were ask to pay more than three times  the amount as white males.[23]These types of discriminatory practices are responsible for minorities depending upon public transportation such as the CTA(Chicago Transit Authority).  These buses are often extremely overcrowded, breeding hostilities between customers and causing unnecessary conflict from the congested environment.

The Origin of Gang Violence

Black street gangs do not come out of the sky. Their origins are undeniably rooted in state imposed substandard social conditions. Gangs result from the myriad ways in which this racist government has confined black youth in the most atrocious of social conditions. It is undeniably accredited to the denial of economic opportunities, denial of quality education, and racist violence inhumanely inflicted by covetous white vigilante groups. Discrimination against black youth runs rampant on the job market. And as  hip-hop Artist Nas once said “Anytime brothers can’t get jobs, they rob. A man would rather die than live on his knees and starve.”[24]Street gangs allow people to experience a bond that surrogates climbing up the socio-economic ladder, the same one that has systematically excluded blacks.

Unlike parasitic western capitalists that rob and kill the resources of entire countries out of pure greed, inner-city youth participate in these actions for pure survival. Gangs go to war with one another to protect their “turf”. As Freeway once said “Even though what we do is wrong… don’t you know a cops sole purpose is to lock us down and throw away the key. But without this drug shit your kids ain’t got no way to eat?”[26] The drugs that gangs sell act as a mechanism for historically impoverished and disenfranchised people to have a taste at what being wealthy feels like. Often times, the drug economy is sometimes the only way in which they can provide for their families. Indeed, between 1967 and 1982, nearly 50% of Chicago’s manufacturing jobs were eliminated.[27]   This devastated Chicago’s black community and gangs skyrocketed.  Of course, such an event is inevitable under capitalism which seeks to outsource to foreign countries for cheap labor to increase profits. John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods came to resemble impoverished Third World countries, and police harassment was ever-present.”[28] Also worth noting is that the Chicago government has also responded to white street gangs and black street gangs differently. Contrary to popular belief, the first gangs in Chicago were not black but white, specifically Irish. Unlike Black Street gangs that formed out of economic necessity, these gangs formed amongst white youth to terrorize black communities who dared to defy racist segregation  laws.[29]

Chicago’s government decided to take a rehabilitation approach with these white Irish gangs and transform them into “respectable” members of society. Indeed, the entire Irish gang that brutalized and decimated black communities was transformed into the Chicago Police Department. Richard D. Daley, who was a dedicated member of one of these gangs, later became Mayor. There has never been a serious attempt by the Chicago government to rehabilitate black gang members into society. Instead, the government has only responded through police occupation of black communities. [30]

Also, the black community has taken numerous steps to deal with gang-violence and all of them were foiled by the government.   Fred Hampton, the leader of the  Black Panther Party For Self Defense, attempted to form an alliance with Chicago’s black street gangs to turn them into an activist organization.[31] Instead of allowing this alliance to manifest, the FBI would instead forge letters between the two groups to breed hostility. The Chicago Police Department would eventually assassinate the Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton.[32] This alliance had the potential to unify black street gangs and end the violence that they were perpetrating against one another but the government would not allow for it to materialize. Today, gang violence continues to take the lives of black youth.

 Shoutouts

1.Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

2 “Chicago Race Riot of 1919”.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/110488/Chicago-Race-Riot-of-1919

3.) Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

4)   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

5) Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

6) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960”, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

7 ) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960”, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

8)   Asraa MustufaFriday, June 17 2011 http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/chicago_activists_push_for_trauma_center_on_the_south_side.html Chicago Activists Push for Trauma Center on the South Side

9) “I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

10) Karen Jordan Activists rally against mental health clinic closures

Tuesday, April 17, 2012  http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8624017

11)  Race, Health Care and the Law Speaking Truth to Power!

Institutional Racism in US Health Care http://academic.udayton.edu/health/07humanrights/racial01c.htm

12)  Discrimination Contributes To African-American Health Disparitiea  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/55345.php 01 Nov 2006 – 3:00 PST

13)  Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital Settles Discrimination Charges

Written by Molly Gamble | November 22, 2011http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/chicagos-jackson-park-hospital-settles-discrimination-charges.html

14) Black Borrowers Face Higher Hurdles in Lending, Study ShowsBy Stefanos Chen  Feb 24th 2012 1:48PM

 http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2012/02/24/black-borrowers-face-higher-hurdles-in-lending-study-shows/

15)  A Requiem for Blockbusting: Law, Economics, and Race-Based Real Estate Speculation Dmitri Mehlhornhttp://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?articl The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012

e=3528&context=flr

16  Chicago Most Segregated City In America, Despite Significant Improvements In Last Decade

01/31/2012 12:49 pm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/chicago-most-segregated-c_n_1244098.html

17  http://www.plp.org/leaflets-pamphlets/pamphlets/Racism_pamphlet2.pdf PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY ON RACE AND RACISM

18) The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012 HTTP://WWW.CTUNET.COM/BLOG/TEXT/SCSD_REPORT-02-16-2012-1.PDF

19) Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago

20)  “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2003.

21) The Mark of a Criminal Record Devah Pager Northwestern Universityhttp://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

22) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~blnchflr/papers/finalrestat.pdf DISCRIMINATION IN THE SMALL  BUSINESS CREDIT MARKET

23)   Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining  for a New Car

By  IAN  AYRES  AND  PETER SIEGELMAN*http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres%20Siegelman%20Race%20and%20Gender%20Discrimination%20In%20Bargaining%20%20for%20a%20New%20Car.pdf

24)) NAS LYRICS “Hold Down The Block” (feat. Mark B. Mayfield) http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nas/holddowntheblock.html

26) Freeway, What We Do http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/freeway/whatwedo.html

27 )   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

28) Rates of of poverty, violence, and other indicators of social exclusion resemble Third world cities like Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, and Lagos more than they resemble lower-class European urban aieasofpoverty. JohnM.Hagedorn, “Youth in Organized Armed Violence in Chicago” in Neither War Nor Peace: International

 29) RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

30) Ibid.

31) Ibid.

32) Ibid. Also see The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas.

How racism created Chicago Gangs

chicago-ghetto African-Americans that previously resided in the Klan-run South came to Chicago during the great migration, lured in by the promises of jobs and political rights. However, these opportunities were systematically denied. Since blacks have entered this city they have been met with a level of bigotry so disgusting, and so pervasive, that it is a core aspect of Chicago’s culture. African-Americans seeking tocreate a better life would still face the very same racism and violence they found in the south. However, instead of it being by the Klan, it would be by the Chicago Housing authority and white mob groups. When blacks first came to Chicago they competed with the Irish over a scarce labor and housing market. In 1919, racial animosity reached a boiling point when a white person hit a blackchild with a rock while he was swimming in Michigan Lake. The black child drowned to death, but the Chicago Police Department refused to arrest the white aggressor. Blacks led a peaceful protest demanding justice, and as a result of their efforts they were viciously attacked by white mob groups. Whites entered the predominately black area on the Southside, terrorizing the black population through arsons and assaults.Nobody, not even children, were spared in the attacks. They even sought to enter a predominately black hospital to terrorize the black patients there. As whites continued to set fire to black neighborhoods, the Chicago Fire Department was not allowed to operate in these communities.

Hundreds of African Americans, including women and children, were left homeless on the streets after fires demolished their homes in these Chicago_Violence_Funeral-0e431-3658senseless attacks. Richard J. Daley was 17 years old at the time and one of the leaders of the Irish Hamburg Athletic Club that led this senseless attack on the black community.  Instead of being punished for these clearly racist attacks, he was made Mayor of Chicago, where he would continue to push and support racist legislation to disenfranchise the black community. Indeed, the white-ran Chicago housing authority from its inception worked to ensure that blacks lived in segregated neighborhoods. Blacks were confined to the Southside and these areas were treated with inconceivable neglect by government agencies. The “Neighborhood Composition Rule” ordered that housing was to be segregated. This resulted in Black people being segregated in the Southside in what is known as “The Black Belt.”Of course, all of the housing that the Chicago Housing Authority set aside for blacks was decrepit; many apartments lacked plumbing, were overcrowded, and far below requirements for healthy sanitation.

violencechicagoEven wealthy blacks were forced into substandard neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. As a direct result of these social conditions, the infant mortality rate for blacks sky-rocketed to well above the national average. Eventually, the neighborhood Composition rule was eventually struck down. This was met by complete outrage by white vigilante groups who, once again, terrorized the local black population with heartless violent confrontations. While blacks were portrayed as being “violent”, many times it was not the “delinquent” black youth attacking innocent peaceful white people but vice-versa. Indeed, during this time blacks lived under increased threats of violence and fear from whites. Blacks had no choice but to live in the ghetto because of the terrorism inflicted by whites against those would dared to live on the outskirts of their state created locus. During these times, overt discrimination against blacks reigned supreme in every area of Chicago’s society, such as employment, housing, health care, and every other opportunity for upward social mobility.

Black street gangs do not come out of the sky. Their origins are undeniably rooted in state imposed substandard social conditions. Gangs resultchicago4343 from the myriad ways in which this racist government has confined black youth in the most atrocious of social conditions. It is undeniably accredited to the denial of economic opportunities, denial of quality education, and racist violence inhumanely inflicted by covetous white vigilante groups. Discrimination against black youth runs rampant on the job market.  Often times, the drug economy is sometimes the only way in which they can provide for their families. Indeed, between 1967 and 1982, nearly 50% of Chicago’s manufacturing jobs were eliminated.   This devastated Chicago’s black community and gangs skyrocketed.  Of course, such an event is inevitable under capitalism which seeks to outsource to foreign countries for cheap labor to increase profits. John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods came to resemble impoverished Third World countries, and police harassment was ever-present.” Also worth noting is that the Chicago government has also responded to white street gangs and black street gangs differently. Contrary to popular belief, the first gangs in Chicago were not black but white, specifically Irish. Unlike Black Street gangs that formed out of economic necessity, these gangs formed amongst white youth to terrorize black communities who dared to defy racist segregation  laws.

Chicago’s government decided to take a rehabilitation approach with these white Irish gangs and transform them into “respectable” members of society. Indeed, the entire Irish gang that brutalized and decimated black communities was transformed into the Chicago Police Department. Richard D. Daley, who was a dedicated member of one of these gangs, later became Mayor. There has never been a serious attempt by the Chicago government to rehabilitate black gang members into society. Instead, the government has only responded through police occupation of black communities.  Also, the black community has taken numerous steps to deal with gang-violence and all of them were foiled by the government.   Fred Hampton, the leader of the  Black Panther Party For Self Defense, attempted to form an alliance with Chicago’s black street gangs to turn them into an activist organization Instead of allowing this alliance to manifest, the FBI would instead forge letters between the two groups to breed hostility. The Chicago Police Department would eventually assassinate the Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton. This alliance had the potential to unify black street gangs and end the violence that they were perpetrating against one another but the government would not allow for it to materialize. Today, gang violence continues to take the lives of black youth.

 

. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people and replaces it with a stone cold heart The Third World Inside of America: A Critical Look at the Southside of Chicago PT 1that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets.Blacks have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive, but because of economic conditions that have been imposed on us by  malicious outside forces.  The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place,  to halt black socioeconomic aspirations,  has resulted in black youth  acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray in the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism.

————————

1.Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

2 “Chicago Race Riot of 1919″.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/110488/Chicago-Race-Riot-of-1919

3.) Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

4)   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

5) Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

6) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

7 ) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

8)   Asraa MustufaFriday, June 17 2011 http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/chicago_activists_push_for_trauma_center_on_the_south_side.html Chicago Activists Push for Trauma Center on the South Side

9) “I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

10) Karen Jordan Activists rally against mental health clinic closures

Tuesday, April 17, 2012  http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8624017

11)  Race, Health Care and the Law Speaking Truth to Power!

Institutional Racism in US Health Care http://academic.udayton.edu/health/07humanrights/racial01c.htm

12)  Discrimination Contributes To African-American Health Disparitiea  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/55345.php 01 Nov 2006 – 3:00 PST

13)  Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital Settles Discrimination Charges

Written by Molly Gamble | November 22, 2011http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/chicagos-jackson-park-hospital-settles-discrimination-charges.html

14) Black Borrowers Face Higher Hurdles in Lending, Study ShowsBy Stefanos Chen  Feb 24th 2012 1:48PM

 http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2012/02/24/black-borrowers-face-higher-hurdles-in-lending-study-shows/

15)  A Requiem for Blockbusting: Law, Economics, and Race-Based Real Estate Speculation Dmitri Mehlhornhttp://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?articl The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012

e=3528&context=flr

16  Chicago Most Segregated City In America, Despite Significant Improvements In Last Decade

01/31/2012 12:49 pm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/chicago-most-segregated-c_n_1244098.html

17  http://www.plp.org/leaflets-pamphlets/pamphlets/Racism_pamphlet2.pdf PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY ON RACE AND RACISM

18) The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012 HTTP://WWW.CTUNET.COM/BLOG/TEXT/SCSD_REPORT-02-16-2012-1.PDF

19) Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago

20)  “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2003.

21) The Mark of a Criminal Record Devah Pager Northwestern Universityhttp://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

22) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~blnchflr/papers/finalrestat.pdf DISCRIMINATION IN THE SMALL  BUSINESS CREDIT MARKET

23)   Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining  for a New Car

By  IAN  AYRES  AND  PETER SIEGELMAN*http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres%20Siegelman%20Race%20and%20Gender%20Discrimination%20In%20Bargaining%20%20for%20a%20New%20Car.pdf

24)) NAS LYRICS “Hold Down The Block” (feat. Mark B. Mayfield) http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nas/holddowntheblock.html

26) Freeway, What We Do http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/freeway/whatwedo.html

27 )   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

28) Rates of of poverty, violence, and other indicators of social exclusion resemble Third world cities like Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, and Lagos more than they resemble lower-class European urban aieasofpoverty. JohnM.Hagedorn, “Youth in Organized Armed Violence in Chicago” in Neither War Nor Peace: International

 29) RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

30) Ibid.

31) Ibid.

32) Ibid. Also see The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas.

A critical look at the South-Side of Chicago

Nearly everyone in Chiraq has friends who are now imprisoned, have been shot, or are now six feet in the ground.  This is a place where people shoot bullets with no regard for life, as if it is some type of video game. The brilliant thing about hip-hop is that it has allows for people at the absolute bottom of the socio-economic ladder, those who resort to selling drugs, violent robberies, and gang-banging to provide food, clothing, and shelter to gain riches and notoriety almost overnight through luxurious record contracts and it has also allowed their stories to be told via album releases and, more recently, YouTube. ‘The Third World Inside of America: A critical Look at the Southside of Chicago’ series will examine the social conditions in Chicago using primarily rapper-created lyrics and images coming, rappers in this area who expose the government’s role in maintaining poverty that in turn allows gang-violence to flourish.

Lil JOJO in the Field

First up is now deceased Rapper Lil JOJO who in his ’Shit Is Real’ song stated that “This shit is real in the field. So I keep the steel. You throw up a L you see how it feel.” Lil JOJO belonged to ‘BRICKSQUAD,’ a faction of the Gangsta Disciples. When he discussed being ‘in the field’ he is referring to selling drugs, being in enemy territory and partaking in the various activities typical of street organizations.  ‘To keep the steel” is to have a gun on you at all times, ready to preform hits if you are confronted by rival gang bangers.

The last line is very interesting, as Chief Keef and Lil Reese often begin their songs stating “Ls up.” This is them vocalizing their gang sign which represents the Lamron Faction of the Black Disciples. Both Black Disciples and Gangsta Disciples go to war over drug territory, but many of the recent shootings have been retaliatory.  In this song, Lil JOJO threatens those who put up Ls, saying that those who dare to put up this sign up will be shot.

In JOJO’s “Put In Work’ track, he further describes his life on a day to day basis, stating that, “I’m counting so much money my fingers hurt. Shooting all these guns now my fingers hurt. You better duck ‘cause these shells hurt… Gang-BANG doing hits.” Indeed, the picture to the left shows LIL JOJO with a wad of cash and the other shows him with automatic weapons. As a participant in the illegal economy, black youth often bring in fast money – but that money comes at a price; through violence gangs must use to defend their enterprise. If anyone attempts to encroach on their territory, they are forced to carry out ‘hits’. To do a hit means to shoot and kill rival streets organizations.  As black youth becomes accustomed to the street market, competition is not carried out in the form of price cuts and ad campaigns. Gang members compete over territory to sell their products and services. With no other source of income, protecting ones block or corner becomes a matter of life and death.

The Root Cause of JOJO’s violent Lyrics

There is no doubt that Lil JOJO’s lyrics were outright violent. Yet, we must examine the structural conditions that contributed to these social conditions. JOJO was from Altgeld Gardens, a predominantly African-American housing project that has the majority of its residents living under the poverty-line. This community was originally built for African-American World War II veterans—the Chicago Housing Authority did not want them to reside in whites areas and thus from its inception ‘Altgeld Gardens’ was designed to be a segregated community. Currently, it is among the lowest income communities in America. [1]

 jojoripeAdditionally, The Chicago Housing Authority constructed the housing without adequate plumbing technology and would not even give this community the benefit of regular garbage disposable services.  This community was essentially neglected. Perhaps more appalling and disgusting is the place that the Chicago Housing Authority decided to build this housing project. [2]

Lil Jojo’s community was built in an area surrounded by 53 toxic waste facilities and 90% of the Chicago’s landfills. It was filled with toxins such as ammonia gas, lead, heavy metals, and xylene and stood surrounded by a chemical waste incinerator. The residents of this area have an extremely high rate of children born with brain tumors; an abnormal number of fetuses in the area were aborted because of brains developing outside of the skull. These social conditions the government is directly responsible for lead to the infant mortality rate sky-rocketing, but children fortunate enough to make it teenage years are disproportionately affected by asthma as a direct result of this toxic waste.[3]

Moreover, since the community was essentially neglected, you can rest assured that any opportunities for employment are slim to none.  The majority of these households were female headed and lived below the poverty line with many of these mothers turning to drugs to help ease the pain that they faced every day.  Many mothers work very hard and seek employment but simply cannot provide for their children which in turn lures black youth to the drug economy to be given a chance to have the things that most other elasticities are given at birth—things such as food and clothing.  Black women also face numerous institutional hurdles- Recent studies indicate that Black women only make 63 cents for every dollar that white males make for equal work[4]. Moreover, as a result of indoctrination from the capitalist media, many youth are very materialistic and want the latest clothes (I.E Jordan’s, POLO, etc.). These are all things that lure black youth into the drug economy which in turn leads to vicious gang wars. These drugs wars are all rooted in poverty and gang members feel like “men” when they defend their turf-because they have no real power over the larger social and political system of America.

The older brother of JOJO had this to say “It was a character and just an image that he was giving, because that image is hot. We’re not from the North Side. We’re not from the nice community. We’re from the ’hood. We’re from where mothafuckas are hungry and ain’t got shit and it’s a matter of whether you’re a nigga that do eat or don’t. The nigga that eat do negative things to get it.”[5]

Indeed, his older brother was correct Jimmy Lovine, the CEO of Interscope whom signed Chief Keef to a multi-million dollar contract (JOJO was seeking the same thing), currently owns stocks in various prison corporations. This means he profits off the imprisonment of black youth. The more black youth in jail, the fatter his pockets get.  In jail, many blacks are forced to work for cheap labor—this is essentially a modern form of slavery.

The sad truth is, many blacks live in social conditions where crime is the only way to have the basic necessities of life– thus, these record labels are able to bring talented black youth from rags to riches almost overnight – but the violent nature of their lyrics and their widespread popularity can only contribute to furthering the prison system  as more black youth begin to act our these images.

Lil Reese

Next is Lil Reese, a Chiraq rapper, who is the right hand man of the now imprisoned rapper Chief Keef. He states that:

I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage.

In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap.

Where I’m from? Chiraq……..

..300 Normal Spelled Backwards.—Lil Reese

 As stated earlier, many people growing up in Chiraq have lost many friends and relatives from the ensuing gang wars. Lil Reese indicates that he too has been affected by this and states that this is reality, not ‘movie shit.’ He’s done this in efforts to distinguish himself from  your typical studio-gangsters who make idle threats and appear ‘thugish’ in rap videos only to go back to their fancy homes after the video shoot to a full refrigerator and comfortable couches in the suburbs. His phrase ‘turned into a savage’ refers to the mentality that many people in his crew have developed from living in such appalling social conditions. A recent study indicates that black youth in Chiraq who are exposed to such violence develop post-traumatic stress disorders comparable to troops returning home from military combat[7]. However, for these youth, this isn’t ‘post-traumatic’ because this violence is a continuous cycle that takes place in their neighborhood everyday. Further, unlike military troops, these youth never receive visits from psychologists to aid them. As Lil Reese stated, “A body getting dropped everyday – this shit is real.”

A body getting dropped refers to people dying from gunshots. The sad truth is that many youth have absolutely nothing to lose within the confides of the current social system. Indeed, when you watch a Lil Reese video, in his hood you’ll see many shirts displaying “R.I.P.” to the names of various friends and “Free”  to the names of various people locked away. Living in such violent social conditions has a profound impact on the psychology of black youth, this is precisely why after Lil JOJO was shot, Chief Keef responded by saying,“HahahahahhahahahahahahahaahhAAHAHAHAHA” #RichNiggaShit “Its Sad Cuz Dat Nigga Jojo Wanted To Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.”

    The Root Cause of Lil Reese’s Violent Lyrics

Both Chief Keef and Lil Reese grew up in Englewood. They would probably be surprised to hear that their now impoverished and violent community was once predominately white and affluent. Moreover, in addition to being mostly white, it was once a stronghold for the Ku Klux Klan. As America began to integrate and African-Americans entered deep into the Chicago areas—this once predominately white area began organizing violently against the African-American communities. They then formed a neighborhood associations with slogans like: “America for whites, Africa The Only Place for Niggers.”  They then went on to say “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages.” While these whites portrayed African-Americans as savages, all the behavior that whites partook in to defend against integration were of that very nature. After a rumor that a house in Englewood was going to be purchased by a black family, whites began to carry out bombings, physical assaults, and arson on black residents for simply trying to live their lives. After putting up posters saying “NEGROES INVADING” a bunch of white racists came together starting the “EngleWood Race Riots of 1949”. As African-Americans continued to move in, “a white plight” took place as whites moved to suburban areas, leaving the black community in absolute turmoil, chaos, and social decay[8].

Now, I’ve constantly heard the argument that goes something like this: “Lil Reese was born in 1993, those riots took place in 1949.” As if it had no effect on him.  White people had the benefit of passing wealth to their children who could then pass it on to their children; they also had the luxury of a stable home and other infrastructure. As a result of these race riots, blacks who were affected   were not given the same opportunities nor has the racist system that has been designed to disenfranchise blacks from employment been abolished. These riots and systemic obstacles left the black community in absolute economic turmoil. The poverty that resulted from it allowed the illegal economy to takeover as the number one employer for black youth. Similarly, when peaceful African-Americans first moved to Englewood, a racist of the white, anti-intergrationist stated that” I think they[Blacks] are savages.” Now, over 30 years later Lil Reese embraces this image, stating that “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage.” Why  else would Lil JOJO, Chief Keef, and Lil Reese all have lyrics basically equating to “gonna get these guns, and I’mma kill these niggas”? The lyrics resemble the rhetoric of white racists of the past. This is all a result of blacks internalizing hatred and racial stereotypes of the society they live in.

1)http://www.plp.org/challenge/2009/11/13/derrion-albert-is-not-racist-capitalisms-first-or-last-victi.html, Derrion Albert Is Not Racist Capitalism’s First or Last Victim

2) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

3)Working Party on Environmental Performance,  http://www.oecd.org/environment/country-reviews/33848718.pdf#page=27

4) http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-affirmative-action, 11 Facts About Affirmative Action

5) Chief Keef and Lil Joj0 http://www.suntimes.com/news/crime/15007423-418/chief-keef-and-lil-jojo-a-rap-feud-straight-outta-englewood.html

6)http://www.sohh.com/2013/01/i_aint_dissing_chief_keef_im_dissing_jim.html,  “I Ain’t Dissing Chief Keef, I’m Dissing Jimmy Iovine”

7)I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

8)Black Literature of Revolutionary Protest from Chicago’s South Side: A Local …

By Michelle Yvonne Gordon,http://books.google.com/books?id=nMwuX6wKz40C&pg=PA199&dq=chicago+englewood&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nqgOUdXxDoH89QTAgIHwCQ&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=chicago%20englewood&f=false

Rahm’s Re-Election? Does Rahm care about black people?

Rahm Emanuel’s Re-election

rahmemanuel

I met Rahm Emanuel while I was in high-school along with the other mayoral candidates.   I told them that I wanted to be a social activist and they subsequently encouraged me to enter Law-School. Of course, Rahm Emanuel ended up winning the election but the critical question after his term is: does Rahm Emanuel care about black people?

Rahm Emanuel  speeches and policies have demonstrated a gross ignorance of the on-going plight of black youth chicagoin the the South-Side of Chicago.  In the face of gang violence that has been terrorizing Chicago, he had this to say,“Our streets are for our children and for our law-abiding parents. Our streets do not belong to gang-bangers.”

Yet, Rahm Emanuel never asks himself,”What created the gang-bangers?” Indeed, what about the children who are gang bangers such as Robert Sandifer who at only nine years old,  had already been in and out of jail multiple times, deeply involved in the South Chicago street life, committing a series of armed robberies and arson. Yummy, hadn’t even reached his teenage years before he began carrying out murders for his local gangs. Worse yet, he didn’t even live to reach his teenage years before he was shot and killed himself.

Chicago Gangs & Their Origins

chicagoChicago street gangs are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism, police brutality, and white vigilantism. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people, replacing it with a stone cold heart that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets. The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place to halt black socioeconomic aspirations has resulted in black youth acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets.

The White Circle League, formed with the mission of “keeping white neighborhoods free from negroes,” regularly chicagoraceriotsterrorized African-Americans in Chicago.  Between 1917 and 1921, the bombing of African-American homes occurred once every twenty days on average. In 1919, an African-American boy who was swimming was killed as a result of whites throwing heavy rocks at him. When blacks sought to report the incident to police, they themselves were arrested while the white individuals who had killed this young man went unpunished.   As African-Americans began peacefully protesting, whites began to violently assault them, forming mobs that eventually sought to harm African-Americans through various avenues, from attacking patients in black hospitals to setting fire to the homes of blacks. The Irish Hamburg Athletic Club was among the groups who made an effort to kill many blacks; a man who would eventually become mayor decades later – Richard J. Daley – was an active member of this group. These violent attacks left many African-Americans homeless, causing them to lose the relatively small amount of wealth that they had come up north to accumulate. Furthermore, the Irish gangs who carried out these brutal attacks would in mass numbers be recruited to the Chicago Police Department.

The Chicago Housing Authority also implemented the “Neighborhood Composition Rule,” which ensured that blacks would be segregated and confined to housing in the black belt. The housing for black Americans lacked plumbing and was routinely neglected; the neighborhoods did not even receive the benefit of regular garbage disposal services. In addition to being near toxic waste dumps, the decrepit housing set aside for blacks drastically increased the levels of infant mortality.  Even after the neighborhood composition rule ended, whites would take to violence to ensure segregation.

In Englewood, the  birthplace of rappers Chief Keef & Lil Reese, was once a bastion of white supremacy. After lilrees2African-Americans had   merely visited the neighborhood, due to fears that a home was going to be “sold to niggers,” neighborhood associations campaigned with slogans like “America for whites, Africa is the onl y place for niggers.” One white person being interviewed argued that, “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages. ” With protest signs stating, ”Negroes Invading,” whites began the ‘Englewood Race Riots of 1949,’ not only carrying brutal acts of violence against African-American citizens, but also finding black residential homes to arson, which left many blacks dead, homeless, and losing all of their property. All of this set the precedence of the creation of the ghettos within the city due to the huge wealth loss that black families had struggled to gain. White Flight  took place and years later Lil reese would rap,”I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage. In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap. Where I’m from? Chiraq.”

The linguistic choice to dub their areas of the city “Chiraq” by Chicago’s youth conveys a fundamental reality about the status of black Americans; it reveals that they constitute a segregated space in  the United states, effectively challenging the commonly held belief in the post-Civil Rights era of America in which  institutional racism is said to be gradually fading as we move towards a  more progressive society, heading more towards  accomplishing  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream with every passing year. After the death of Chicago public school student Hadiya Pendleton, President Barack Obama made the tragic death a mere issue of “gun-violence” and utilized it to advocate tougher gun control legislation, without acknowledging the oppression that went into creating the violent conditions in her community.

The name Chiraq, which is frequently employed the black Chicagoans, has attracted much criticism, wjojoripeith some arguing that its utilization glorifies an urban culture of violence. Lil Reese, who grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, describes his upbringing by forcefully testifying, “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage […] Where I’m from? This Chiraq.” In numerous rap videos, these self-proclaimed savages residing within the enclave of Chiraq appear brandished with weapons that are suitable for military combat. Their T-shirts often have insignia that reads ”R.I.P______,” with the blank filled by the names of deceased peers.

  What has Rahm Emanuel done to address institutional racism?

He has not addressed institutional racism but only continued it. Rahm Emanuel  closed down numerous Chicago Public Schools with aims of pursuing his “neoliberal” school policies. The problem with that is the redistricting of the school zones will cause students to cross rival gang territory on their way to their new school. This means that for those whom have been lured into gangs through an oppressive economic system, and even for those not in gangs, traveling to school every day will be a life or death gamble as the gang members protect their territory and children abstinent of the gangs are caught in the crossfire.

These gang members have been systematically disenfranchised and instead of working to rehabilitate gang members into society, they have only responded through increased police occupation of black neighborhoods and have failed to implement policies of social justice that confront the legacy of past and systemic racism.  Rahm Emanuel’srahmmmmmhakeem decision to close and redistrict schools despite overwhelming evidence that it will increase violence  raises any interesting question. Does  he want to see black kids die? The continued segregated status of black Americans, which separates them from white America,  protects white Americans from the social problems, drugs, gang wars, and violence, which are a result of an unjust social order. The complicity and perpetration of this racial segregation includes both conservative right wing forces, many of whom deny racism is even a viable factor in the social mobility of blacks, often blaming “immoral black culture.” Also complicit are  liberal left wing forces seeking to liberalize America while  reinforcing the violence against African-American  by spreading the narrative of “steady progress” for blacks and thus obfuscating their true plight and the desperate living conditions they live within.

—————————————————————–

 References

Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A living Black in Chicago by Paul Street.

American Apartheid, Segregation and the making of the Underclass by Douglass S. Massey A. Denton

Making of the Second Ghetto, Race * Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 by Arnold R. Hirsch

Black Literature of Revolutionary Protest from Chicago’s South Side: A Local …By Michelle Yvonne Gordon

The Folly of Chief Keef

Chief Keef is America’s Nightmare.  When I say America’s nightmare I’m talking about white and Black America.   This guy is a livechiefkeef
and breathing  monster stereotype that absolutely scares  anyone who catches a glimpse of him and his GBE crew on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.  Did I mention that Chief Keef doesn’t care?  Ask Hip Hop’s bad boy 50 Cent, recently at a planned Las Vegas video shoot with 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa,   Chief Keef blew off the video shoot and never showed up.  Ask socially conscious rapper Lupe Fiasco, he and Chief Keef got into a verbal war and the results went something like this,  “Lupe Fiasco is a H– O—E—, When I see him I’ma smack him like da lil b-tch he is”, responded Chief Keef.   His record label Interscope Records is betting millions that Chief Keef’s “I Don’t give a Sh*t”  attitude pays off big time in digital sales, concert fee’s, cd sales, etc.

In his gritty low budget video’s, you see a young black man , half-naked, dreadlocked hair, frequently surrounded by a mob of look-a-likes, smoking blunts and brandishing weapons.  His single “Love Sosa” is another urban tale that’s not only playing across the country in heavy rotation on American radio stations , but the video has been seen by over 14 million viewers since the time of this writing.  Born Keith Cozart, and raised in the South Side of Chicago, he was constantly surrounded by horrifying homicides that rival war-town Iraq.

“Fucking with those O boys, you gon’ get fucked over, Rari’s and Rovers, these hoes love Chief Sosa, hit him with that cobra, now that boy slumped over, they do it all for Sosa” are the words of Chief Keef, a Chicago based

rapper allegedly affiliated with the Black Disciples gang and who has already faced incarceration for brandishing a gun at a Chicago Police Officer during his teenage years.   Lt. John Andrews, a veteran of the Chicago Police Department, writes that, “Chicago’s homicide rate this year currently stands toe-to-toe with the total number of military forces killed in both Afghanistan and Iraq.” This rising epidemic has resulted in Chicago being the nicknamed, ‘Chiraq’ by urban youth.  Chief Keef and many others like him has embraced this image, taking pride in representing the strength of his block and crew by stating very clearly and plainly,  You wanna call the cops? You gonna get a cop dropped.” The Chicago Police Department should have heeded this black man’s words. Lt John Andrew further writes that, “Chicago has lost 3 of its police officers, killed by gunfire as victims of robberies.  It seems no one is safe in our city anymore.” This Chicago based rapper like so many hip hop stars, embrace the Italian and Latin gangsters influence on American culture

 Chief Keef  AKA Sosa,  represents the mentality that many gang-bangers uphold in the Southside of Chicago; a mentality that has no regard for human life, no respect for authority, little aspirations beyond the nearest street corner. And because of this, Chief Keef’ is absolutely necessary in the rap-game. Album’s like ‘KRS-One’s Criminal Minded and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying’ all represent the mentalities born and bred from a life of oppression. This mentality has thrived and even grown due to state-sanctioned institutionalized racism, inequalities, and poverty that continue to be passed on through particular ethnic groups. Watch a Chief Keef music video; view members of his crew. Look past all of the macho-posturing and you will see people who are profoundly oppressed, faces that are downtrodden, faces that rarely smile and people whom have lived life in utter poverty, violence, and hardships. The South Side of Chicago is home to some of the lowest income communities in America. The area is, and has been, facing chronic unemployment, run-down schools, substandard housing, and a whole host of related social problems. Chicago Gang researcher, John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods resemble impoverished Third World countries.” These are the social conditions that Chief Keef to no fault of his own was born in and his mentality and lyrics are simply a response to this. Chief Keef, represents this ostracized generation, his music represents this mentality and as long as oppression exists so too will Chief Keef and others like him.

“300 bitch don’t make me bring them killers out. Real shit, free all my hitters out.”

When Chief Keef calls for the freeing of all of his ‘hitters,’ he is referring to members of his crew that are incarcerated, victims of the prison-industrial complex. Chicago Gangs primarily consist of black youth who have been systematically excluded from the legal economy and have been forced to sell drugs, pimp, and steal as the only mechanisms to survive and aspire towards life goals. Many manufacturing jobs that were once located in black communities have now been outsourced to China. Indeed, African-Americans without criminal records are less likely to be hired than whites with criminal records. African Americans with “black sounding” names are less likely to be called back for job interviews.  than those with “white sounding” names, even when the qualifications are identical.  As black youth becomes accustomed to the street market, competition is not carried out in the form of price cuts and ad campaigns.  Gang members compete over territory to sell their products and services. With no other source of income, protecting ones block or corner becomes a matter of life and death. When Chief Keef states “don’t make me bring those killers out,” he is issuing a warning to rival gangs to not set up shop on his block. Of course, the conservative argument is for one to simply “pull up their boot straps.”
A commonly held belief by those untouched by the issues that blacks deal with from birth is that “just because someone is born into poverty does not mean one has resort to the drug trade.” And this is true.  However, using common sense, how likely is it for a white man raised in middle to upper class, whose peers are largely composed of other whites raised in the same socioeconomic environment, to set up shop on a street corner ready to begin selling crack cocaine? How likely is it for an impoverished black man to make it a primary goal to impress his school teachers or job supervisor when the strongest influences around him are those who’ve already been shunned by white society? Indeed, the black community has routinely overcome overwhelming odds to create prosperous communities.  African-Americans seeking to escape southern racism came to Chicago during the “Great Migration.” Blacks were forced to live mostly in the Southside of Chicago and a legislation known as the “Neighborhood Composition Rule” mandated housing segregation for Blacks. The housing that the Chicago Housing Authority created for blacks in these Southside neighborhoods lacked basic plumbing and would not even receive the benefits of garbage disposable services.  Despite the overwhelming odds, black people were able to establish their own businesses and create flourishing community centers. However, after the Neighborhood Composition Act legally enforcing residential segregation was struck down due to the Civil Rights Movements, white vigilantes responded with savage violence.

Mobs of whites invaded the South Side of Chicago, setting fire to houses and businesses, finding and beating innocent black citizens and other brutal, barbaric acts. Even as the South Side of Chicago was being set ablaze, the Chicago Fire Department refused to put out the flames and the Chicago Police Department put in no effort in to protect these innocent people who were being terrorized. Many African-Americans in the South Side subsequently became homeless and lost all that they had—from these ashes and social conditions are what gave birth to Chief Keef and his peers. The Irish terrorists that attacked the black community were rewarded by Chicago’s governmental system by recruiting the young energetic whites into the Chicago Police Department; it should be no great surprise that future Mayor, Richard Daley, participated in these attacks on the black community.

“Bang, Bang, Bang” is Chief Keef’s catch phrase, his mantra in the rap game. It’s an onomonopia representing gunshots.  Chicago’s babies do not fall asleep to lullabies; rather to gunshots.  Day by day, it is a never-ending cycle all rooted in economic deprivation and oppression.  Hip Hop’s culture historically have identified with youth that have been systematically excluded from the legal economy, the explicit and often times provocative lyrics of Chief Keef results.  His lyrics,  his words, and the images of his videos represent an ostracized generation of America- a generation bearing the brunt of years of racial apartheid and economic discrimination in which all opportunities for social-economic advancement were blocked, halted, and destroyed by whites. American capitalism and the inequalities it produces are responsible for the content, as vulgar as it may be, in his lyrics, “I’mma make bullets rain all on your block, your bitch all on my cock”.

Chief Keef represents hip hop, from the bodacious, self-assured, get money to big pimping mentality.  However before one judge and castes “Chief Keef” as a misfit, hoodlum or savage, recognize that faces like Chief Keef don’t die, they multiply and he is simply a by-product of his environment, just like you.

——

Third World America, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janet-tavakoli/third-world-america-2012_b_1653745.html

http://scholar.harvard.edu/mullainathan/files/emilygreg.pdf

Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?

http://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

http://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdfid=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

Watching Your Back: Black Life in Chicago (The Hood Series)

The Hood Series

                The Hood Series will comprehensively analyze, dissect, and convey the social plight of black youth throughout ghettoes in America. It comptongang4will investigate the on-going institutionalized racism ubiquitous in city-planning, resource allocation, development strategies and a wide variety of methods that are strategically utilized to create, maintain, and exploit the hood. Furthermore, to keep it authentic, the local Hip Hop scene will be juxtaposed with the latest statistics and research related to the status of black America. In each article, we will tackle common myths that are widespread in America that serve as proof of black progress in the Post-Civil Rights era, such as black politicians , elite/upper class blacks, and classism being a more pervasive oppressive structure in America than race. These myths in Post-Civil Rights America, that serve to obfuscate the plight of black America. In the Hood Series, the following regional areas will be examined:

  • Chicago (Chiraq)
  • New-Orleans (Chopper City)
  • Philadelphia (Killadelphia )
  • Baltimore
  • Compton
  • Detroit
  • Atlanta
  • Harlem
  • New Jersey

Hood Series: The True Meaning of Chiraq p1

mlkrock1In 1949, a mob of 2000 irate whites galvanized in Park Manor to scorch crosses as they passionately chanted, “We Want Fire, We Want Blood” as they organized their next move. In their eyes, they faced a catastrophic social problem which justified violence: a black family had the audacity to ‘step out of their place’ by infesting this all-white neighborhood with their presence.[i] In an effort to prevent this from happening, this group of whites set out to destroy their home.   Dr. Martin Luther King came to Chicago in 1965, seeking to make a change. His goals were to protest the segregated public school system, along with the discrimination in housing, which resulted in dilapidated black slums. During his march, white protesters gathered around him, one with a sign that boldly stated, “King would look good with a knife in his back,” while another protester threw a heavy rock at him which caused him to fall to the ground. [ii]

King stated the racist violence he endured in Chicago was more hostile than anything he experienced in the south. In order to show his chicagopolice3solidarity to black ghetto inhabitants, he stayed in an apartment on the west side. Eventually, Mayor Daley, annoyed by the protests in Chicago, came to a compromise with King by promising to provide fair housing if he would cease marching. Though the Fair Housing Act was passed, whites would resort to redlining, blockbusting, and other mechanisms to maintain segregation that rendered the legislation useless. Douglas S. Massey concluded in his study on housing discrimination: “Since the passing of the Fair Housing Act, the level of black-white segregation has hardly changed.” [iii]Indeed, if Dr. Martin Luther Martin came to visit Chicago today, he would find blacks living in the same appalling social conditions that he came to protest against; he would come to black areas of Chicago still living in slums with cameras on poles utilized to monitor high drug trafficking areas.

bibby34Growing up in one of these segregated areas, Chicago rapper Lil Bibby states, “Came a long way from duckin’ shots in the field.” The Hip Hop industry is often viewed by black youth in war-torn inner-cities as the quickest route to transitioning from rags to riches. Lil Bibby, in particular, through his lyrics explains to his listeners that his life growing up in Chicago consisted of having to continuously dodge bullets, but now he seeks comfort in the Hip Hop industry. The field that he calls attention to is the same place where wars occur; being involved in the drug trade comes at a hefty price. Discrimination in pervasive in employment, and is a huge factor that lures black youth into the underground drug trade. Even in the Post-Civil Rights era, black children living within Chicago’s ghettoes are isolated within peripheral enclaves and, as a result, they have minimum access the language, businesses, and activities of the rest of society. Blacks constitute a segregated group that is Third World Status, which is why the average black male youth throughout disadvantage neighborhoods of Chicago have a lower life expectancy than adult males in Bangladesh.  The now destroyed  Rockwell Garden housing projects, once had  infant mortality rates that rivaled that of third world nations.[iv]

A study by the NAACP found that Chicago Public Schools are still in a de facto state of segregation[v]; four of every five black students wouldchicagowearareyou have to transfer schools in order to be adequately integrated in Chicago’s school system. Within these black schools, the majority of students are low income; the schools suffer from unequal resources when compared to majority white schools. In an interview with Sway, Lil Bibby is asked what is it like being in Chicago to which Lil Bibby responds, ”You always have to watch your back.”[vi] In contrast to when Dr. Martin Luther King visited Chicago and was threatened to be stabbed in the back by whites, blacks must now watch their backs to defend themselves from other blacks in these violent neighborhoods. It was an exhausting effort for whites to continuously bomb, terrorize, and keep blacks separated, thus the consciousness of blacks would be manipulated, and exploitative social conditions would be imposed upon them so that they would carry out acts of violence against themselves.

essexBlack deaths resulting from race riots and lynchings (which were often made to be an entertaining family event for whites to attend), and bombings of black churches are replete throughout the history of America. The overt acts of racist violence in the modern era are continuously condemned and seen as a thing of the past. Yet, what is not properly analyzed and condemned is institutional racism. Black babies in Chicago have infant mortality rates rivaling third world countries, and they continue to die due to racial disparities in health care services; they are continually subjected to poor housing, real estate agents who partake in racially discriminatory practices, and oppressive economic conditions that laid the foundation for today’s gang violence. Despite the high levels of food insufficiency, poverty, and inadequate social services in the black community in Chicago, millions of dollars were spent to build and renovate  Millennium Park, Soldier Field, McCormick Place, and other touroist  attractions. Moreover, Chicago spent $2.5 billion for their share in the cost in the imperialistic Iraq war – money which could have been utilized to provide basic needs for black families. [vii]This is the institutionalized racism which is often more deadly than personal acts of racial violence because it is invisible and ignored.

In the next article, we will look at the on-going instances of institutionalized racism in Chicago which maintains the ghettos within the city.

——————————————————-

[i] Racial Oppression In The Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History by Paul L. Street. (pg 103)

[ii] King Brings His Protest to Chicago, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-09-16/news/9709160108_1_king-marquette-park-demonstrations

[iii] American Apartheid, Segregation and the making of the Underclass by Douglass S. Massey A. Denton

 

[iv] Racial Oppression In The Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History by Paul L. Street. (pg 140)

[v] Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History  By Paul Louis Street (PG 91)

 

[vi] Lil Bibby, And Sway, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Vn-myn-FY

[vii] Racial Oppression In The Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History by Paul L. Street (pg 8)

The Making of Chiraq

herb43The name Chiraq, which is frequently employed the black Chicagoans, has attracted much criticism, with some arguing that its utilization glorifies an urban culture of violence. Lil Reese, who grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, describes his upbringing by forcefully testifying, “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage […] Where I’m from? This Chiraq.” In numerous rap videos, these self-proclaimed savages residing within the enclave of Chiraq appear brandished with weapons that are suitable for military combat. Their T-shirts often have insignia that reads ”R.I.P______,” with the blank filled by the names of deceased peers. “Chiraq” is just one of many of these ghettos; the same lifestyle can be found in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and other urban communities. In Lil Bibby’s pivotal track entitled “Raised Up,”  he asserts, ”We some savages, that’s what the hood made us.” Lil Bibby and Lil Herb describe the dominant mode of life in inner-city ghettoes, which is one of pure survival where youth must  bear the brunt of a chaotic environment that consists of coping  with the stress that comes with living in and out of jail, violently protecting ones stake in the drug market, and dealing with potentially lethal run-ins with law enforcement.

In the public’s imagination, these ghettoes are home to black welfare queens who are leeches on the economic system, as well as a remberinghadiya“black criminal deviant underclass” who carry out horrific acts of violence in the form of drive-by-shootings, car jackings, and burglaries. The linguistic choice to dub their areas of the city “Chiraq” by Chicago’s youth conveys a fundamental reality about the status of black Americans; it reveals that they constitute a segregated space in  the United states, effectively challenging the commonly held belief in the post-Civil Rights era of America in which  institutional racism is said to be gradually fading as we move towards a  more progressive society, heading more towards  accomplishing  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream with every passing year. After the death of Chicago public school student Hadiya Pendleton, President Barack Obama made the tragic death a mere issue of “gun-violence” and utilized it to advocate tougher gun control legislation, without acknowledging the oppression that went into creating the violent conditions in her community.

The Violence that Created the Violence

chicagogreatmigrationThe ghetto and all of the sporadic anti-social behavior, which is a product of perpetual violence (both physical and institutional), continues to create the social conditions needed for gang conflicts. In 1870, after legal plantation slavery was abolished, 80% of black Americans resided in the rural south; these families were forced to endure an oppressive sharecropping system which had largely replaced slavery. They were marred in poverty with a lack of education while having to cope with a series of repressive black code laws which were the precursor to Jim Crow. During the great migration, African-Americans began moving to Chicago in search of better opportunities, but would instead be met with violence.

 

The White Circle League, formed with the mission of “keeping white neighborhoods free from negroes,” regularly terrorized Africanchicagoraceriots-Americans in Chicago.  Between 1917 and 1921, the bombing of African-American homes occurred once every twenty days on average. In 1919, an African-American boy who was swimming was killed as a result of whites throwing heavy rocks at him. When blacks sought to report the incident to police, they themselves were arrested while the white individuals who had killed this young man went unpunished.   As African-Americans began peacefully protesting, whites began to violently assault them, forming mobs that eventually sought to harm African-Americans through various avenues, from attacking patients in black hospitals to setting fire to the homes of blacks. The Irish Hamburg Athletic Club was among the groups who made an effort to kill many blacks; a man who would eventually become mayor decades later – Richard J. Daley – was an active member of this group. These violent attacks left many African-Americans homeless, causing them to lose the relatively small amount of wealth that they had come up north to accumulate. Furthermore, the Irish gangs who carried out these brutal attacks would in mass numbers be recruited to the Chicago Police Department.

 

cjocagpb;aclbe;tThe Chicago Housing Authority also implemented the “Neighborhood Composition Rule,” which ensured that blacks would be segregated and confined to housing in the black belt. The housing for black Americans lacked plumbing and was routinely neglected; the neighborhoods did not even receive the benefit of regular garbage disposal services. In addition to being near toxic waste dumps, the decrepit housing set aside for blacks drastically increased the levels of infant mortality.  Even after the neighborhood composition rule ended, whites would take to violence to ensure segregation.

 

In Englewood, the  birthplace of rappers Chief Keef & Lil Reese, was once a bastion of white supremacy. After African-Americans had
nnegroes
 merely visited the neighborhood, due to fears that a home was going to be “sold to niggers,” neighborhood associations campaigned with slogans like “America for whites, Africa is the onl y place for niggers.” One white person being interviewed argued that, “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages. ” With protest signs stating, ”Negroes Invading,” whites began the ‘Englewood Race Riots of 1949,’ not only carrying brutal acts of violence against African-American citizens, but also finding black residential homes to arson, which left many blacks dead, homeless, and losing all of their property. All of this set the precedence of the creation of the ghettos within the city due to the huge wealth loss that black families had struggled to gain. White Flight  took place and years later Lil reese would rap,”I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage. In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap. Where I’m from? Chiraq.”

The Failure of Civil Rights

tenants A week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Richard J. Daley, who was part of an Irish Club which routinely terrorized blacks, would become the Mayor, and his racism would be backed with institutional support. Daley ordered his police force and U.S. army troops to cripple and maim outraged black citizens. Nonetheless, African-Americans won some concessions; the Fair Housing Act was passed, allegedly attempting to address housing discrimination.Under the Fair Housing Act, African-Americans could sue if they were subjected to housing discrimination. However, such legislation did nothing on a practical level to restructure American society. Indeed, think about the capitol, time, and effort that the average African-American single parent would have to expend to pursue such a case in ‘job discrimination’ or ‘housing discrimination,’ all while struggling with what comes from living in the ghetto.

 

While the “No Niggers” signs and overt visible signs of racism declined, the act could do nothing to change the everyday racially discriminatory practices of realtors and city planners who would routinely blackhousign4operate along radicalized lines. Douglas S. Massey points out that realtors had unspoken assumptions in their clients’ interest which kept “unwanted” elements (blacks) out of affluent neighborhoods, fearing the professional repercussions from their clientele. This confirms that, despite legislative changes ending overt signs of racism, such legislation would have no effect in transforming the cultural attitudes and daily practices of institutions of city planning and realtors who would continue to operate along racist lines; in summation, relators were found to, and have continued to, keep African-Americans away from white neighborhoods despite the passing of the Fair Housing Act. The sociologist Douglas S. Massey concluded, “Since the passing of the Fair Housing Act, the level of black-white segregation has hardly changed.”

In fact, according to the current trend, blacks in Chicago will still compromise a segregated group as far into the future as 2042. Douglas Massey, states, ”Ironically, within a large, diverse, and highly mobile post-industrial society such as the United States, blacks living in the heart of the ghetto are among the most isolated people on earth.” Born witlilreesehout a silver spoon, in the ghetto, the typical lifestyle of a resident consists of languishing in run down areas, being pressured to hustle on the streets, carrying out “hits” to protect their block as a result of the lethal underground drug economy, all resulting in a continuous cycle of going in and out of jail; many individuals born in these areas know they may  face an early death, and they do not expect to live past eighteen.

 

 

The segregated status of black Americans, which separates them from white America, protects white Americans from the social violenceLeondore Draperproblems, drugs, gang wars, and violence, which are a result of an unjust social order. Meanwhile, innocent  African-American women, such as Chicago Public School Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot down by stray bullets on her way home from school, and Leondore Draper, who was shot coming back home from an anti-violence  campaign that she helped to organize, bear the brunt of a racially segregated society. The complicity and perpetration of this racial segregation includes both conservative right wing forces, many of whom deny racism is even a viable factor in the social mobility of blacks, often blaming “immoral black culture.” Also complicit are  liberal left wing forces seeking to liberalize America while  reinforcing the violence against African-American  by spreading the narrative of “steady progress” for blacks and thus obfuscating their true plight and the desperate living conditions they live within.

—————————————————————–

 

American Apartheid, Segregation and the making of the Underclass by Douglass S. Massey A. Denton

Making of the Second Ghetto, Race * Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 by Arnold R. Hirsch

 

 

All Hail Chief Keef, Public Enemy #1

 

Chief Keef is America’s Nightmare.  When I say America’s nightmare I’m talking about white and Black America.   This guy is a live and breathing  monster stereotype that absolutely scares  anyone who catches a glimpse of him and his GBE crew on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.  Did I say that Chief Keef don’t has no care?  Ask Hip Hop’s bad boy 50 Cent, recently at a planned Las Vegas video shoot with 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa,   Chief Keef blew off the video shoot and never showed up.  Ask socially conscious rapper Lupe Fiasco, he and Chief Keef got into a verbal war and the results went something like this,  “Lupe Fiasco is a H– O—E—, When I see him I’ma smack him like da lil b-tch he is”, responded Chief Keef.   His record label Interscope Records is betting millions that Chief Keef’s “I Don’t give a CARE attitude pays off big time in digital sales, concert fee’s, cd sales, etc.  Chief Keef is set to release his debut CD, “Finally Rich” on December 18.   In his gritty low budget video’s, you see a young black man , half-naked, dreadlocked hair, frequently surrounded by a mob of look-a-likes, smoking blunts and brandishing weapons.  His current single “Love Sosa” is another urban tale that’s not only playing across the country in heavy rotation on American radio stations , but the video has been seen by over 14 million viewers since the time of this writing.  Born Keith Cozart, and raised in the South Side of Chicago, he was constantly surrounded by horrifying homicides that rival war-town Iraq.
“Fucking with those O boys, you gon’ get fucked over, Rari’s and Rovers, these hoes love Chief Sosa, hit him with that cobra, now that boy slumped over, they do it all for Sosa” are the words of Chief Keef, a Chicago based

rapper allegedly affiliated with the Black Disciples gang and who has already faced incarceration for brandishing a gun at a Chicago Police Officer during his teenage years.   Lt. John Andrews, a veteran of the Chicago Police Department, writes that, “Chicago’s homicide rate this year currently stands toe-to-toe with the total number of military forces killed in both Afghanistan and Iraq.” This rising epidemic has resulted in Chicago being the nicknamed, ‘Chiraq’ by urban youth.  Chief Keef and many others like him has embraced this image, taking pride in representing the strength of his block and crew by stating very clearly and plainly,  You wanna call the cops? You gonna get a cop dropped.” The Chicago Police Department should have heeded this black man’s words. Lt John Andrew further writes that, “Chicago has lost 3 of its police officers, killed by gunfire as victims of robberies.  It seems no one is safe in our city anymore.” This Chicago based rapper like so many hip hop stars, embrace the Italian and Latin gangsters influence on American culture

 Chief Keef  AKA Sosa,  represents the mentality that many gang-bangers uphold in the Southside of Chicago; a mentality that has no regard for human life, no respect for authority, little aspirations beyond the nearest street corner. And because of this, Chief Keef’ is absolutely necessary in the rap-game. Album’s like ‘KRS-One’s Criminal Minded and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying’ all represent the mentalities born and bred from a life of oppression. This mentality has thrived and even grown due to state-sanctioned institutionalized racism, inequalities, and poverty that continue to be passed on through particular ethnic groups. Watch a Chief Keef music video; view members of his crew. Look past all of the macho-posturing and you will see people who are profoundly oppressed, faces that are downtrodden, faces that rarely smile and people whom have lived life in utter poverty, violence, and hardships. The South Side of Chicago is home to some of the lowest income communities in America. The area is, and has been, facing chronic unemployment, run-down schools, substandard housing, and a whole host of related social problems. Chicago Gang researcher, John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods resemble impoverished Third World countries.” These are the social conditions that Chief Keef to no fault of his own was born in and his mentality and lyrics are simply a response to this. Chief Keef, represents this ostracized generation, his music represents this mentality and as long as oppression exists so too will Chief Keef and others like him.

“300 bitch don’t make me bring them killers out. Real shit, free all my hitters out.”

When Chief Keef calls for the freeing of all of his ‘hitters,’ he is referring to members of his crew that are incarcerated, victims of the prison-industrial complex. Chicago Gangs primarily consist of black youth who have been systematically excluded from the legal economy and have been forced to sell drugs, pimp, and steal as the only mechanisms to survive and aspire towards life goals. Many manufacturing jobs that were once located in black communities have now been outsourced to China. Indeed, African-Americans without criminal records are less likely to be hired than whites with criminal records. African Americans with “black sounding” names are less likely to be called back for job interviews.  than those with “white sounding” names, even when the qualifications are identical.  As black youth becomes accustomed to the street market, competition is not carried out in the form of price cuts and ad campaigns.  Gang members compete over territory to sell their products and services. With no other source of income, protecting ones block or corner becomes a matter of life and death. When Chief Keef states “don’t make me bring those killers out,” he is issuing a warning to rival gangs to not set up shop on his block. Of course, the conservative argument is for one to simply “pull up their boot straps.”
A commonly held belief by those untouched by the issues that blacks deal with from birth is that “just because someone is born into poverty does not mean one has resort to the drug trade.” And this is true.  However, using common sense, how likely is it for a white man raised in middle to upper class, whose peers are largely composed of other whites raised in the same socioeconomic environment, to set up shop on a street corner ready to begin selling crack cocaine? How likely is it for an impoverished black man to make it a primary goal to impress his school teachers or job supervisor when the strongest influences around him are those who’ve already been shunned by white society? Indeed, the black community has routinely overcome overwhelming odds to create prosperous communities.  African-Americans seeking to escape southern racism came to Chicago during the “Great Migration.” Blacks were forced to live mostly in the Southside of Chicago and a legislation known as the “Neighborhood Composition Rule” mandated housing segregation for Blacks. The housing that the Chicago Housing Authority created for blacks in these Southside neighborhoods lacked basic plumbing and would not even receive the benefits of garbage disposable services.  Despite the overwhelming odds, black people were able to establish their own businesses and create flourishing community centers. However, after the Neighborhood Composition Act legally enforcing residential segregation was struck down due to the Civil Rights Movements, white vigilantes responded with savage violence.

Mobs of whites invaded the South Side of Chicago, setting fire to houses and businesses, finding and beating innocent black citizens and other brutal, barbaric acts. Even as the South Side of Chicago was being set ablaze, the Chicago Fire Department refused to put out the flames and the Chicago Police Department put in no effort in to protect these innocent people who were being terrorized. Many African-Americans in the South Side subsequently became homeless and lost all that they had—from these ashes and social conditions are what gave birth to Chief Keef and his peers. The Irish terrorists that attacked the black community were rewarded by Chicago’s governmental system by recruiting the young energetic whites into the Chicago Police Department; it should be no great surprise that future Mayor, Richard Daley, participated in these attacks on the black community.

“Bang, Bang, Bang” is Chief Keef’s catch phrase, his mantra in the rap game. It’s an onomonopia representing gunshots.  Chicago’s babies do not fall asleep to lullabies; rather to gunshots.  Day by day, it is a never-ending cycle all rooted in economic deprivation and oppression.  Hip Hop’s culture historically have identified with youth that have been systematically excluded from the legal economy, the explicit and often times provocative lyrics of Chief Keef results.  His lyrics,  his words, and the images of his videos represent an ostracized generation of America- a generation bearing the brunt of years of racial apartheid and economic discrimination in which all opportunities for social-economic advancement were blocked, halted, and destroyed by whites. American capitalism and the inequalities it produces are responsible for the content, as vulgar as it may be, in his lyrics, “I’mma make bullets rain all on your block, your bitch all on my cock”.  He is describing what it takes fo hisr crew and himself to eat, to be clothed and have shelter.

Chief Keef represents hip hop, from the bodacious, self-assured, get money to big pimping mentality.  However before one judge and castes “Chief Keef” as a misfit, hoodlum or savage, recognize that faces like Chief Keef don’t die, they multiply and he is simply a by-product of his environment, just like you.

Sources

Third World America, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janet-tavakoli/third-world-america-2012_b_1653745.html

http://scholar.harvard.edu/mullainathan/files/emilygreg.pdf

Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?

http://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

http://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdfid=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf