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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.

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.

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 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.

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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.

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[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)

Chiraq: An American Colony

The vast disparities between the First World, which has vast wealth and technology, and the Third World, suffering from wretched poverty and poorblackmanunderdevelopment, is a product of the years of European colonization, exploitation, and genocide that built the current international order. The capitalist economic system is based upon the accumulation of capital; the gluttonous desire for more capital subsequently led to European nations invading other territories, gaining hegemonic control over their resources, establishing joint-stock companies, and utilizing the resources and wealth of other people for the exclusive economic benefit of Europeans.

 

 

cecilrhodes3The spiritually deficient materialistic nature of the capitalist economic system results in Europeans perpetually chasing “worldly gain,” which is characterized by endlessly chasing after material items. The current international order that runs on the dominance of the capitalist economic system continuously results in more and more wealth being hoarded by a tiny, rich and white elite. As a result, 2.7 billion people live on less than two dollars per day – which is not enough for basic needs. In 2011 alone, three million children died due to lack of access to food. There is an abundance of food in the world – enough to feed every human being on the planet – but the problem is in the distribution, The global system promotes deprivation and exploitation of the non-white Third World and hoarding by the white, western First World.

 

 

iraq32Iraq is among the most recent victims of American Imperialism. After George W. Bush claimed the nation had “weapons of mass destruction,” Iraq was invaded; 1.3 million innocent Iraqis were killed, but Shell, Exxon Mobil, Total, and Chevron profited greatly from oil resources that they lost access to after Saddam Hussein nationalized the commodity. The American invasion effectively turned Iraq into a colony that served U.S. interests. Much of U.S. foreign policy, far from being about National Defense, is actually driven by the need to secure strategic resources that are key to the success of their economies. Globalization is the continuation of Imperialism of the past. It’s based upon accumulating the world’s wealth for the benefits of Europeans, and this global capitalist system was kick-started by the enslavement of blacks. As a result, the tactics, techniques, and strategies the U.S. government uses to oppress foreign populations are first strategized,  practiced, and perfected at home against the internally colonized black community.

 

Within American inner-cities, blacks are colonized. The seemingly innocuous idiom ‘Chiraq’ used by black Chicagoans to refer their moneyforwar43communities is a linguistic combination of “Chicago” and “Iraq”; it demonstrates the colonized Third World status of blacks in America, showing the conditions of their communities have more in common with Iraq than mainstream America. The “Weapons of Mass Destruction” utilized to justify the invasion of Iraq were never found. If George W. Bush truly wanted to locate and destroy nuclear weapons, perhaps he should have looked at the National Laboratory and Boeing Corporations in Chicago (distinct from Chiraq), which are two leading companies that manufacture weapons such as the B-2 Stealth Bomber and F-16, both of which were utilized in the war on Iraq. Chicago contributed 2.5 billion to the Iraqi War; money that could have be utilized to revitalize the ghetto, provide social services, and employment opportunities was instead utilized to decimate the Iraqi people. An old saying by the organic intellectual Tupac Shakur rings true: ”They got money for wars, but can’t feed the poor.”

 

During the Iraq War, the Abu Ghraib Torture and Prison Abuse scandal took place when Iraqi prisoners of war were forcibly stacked upon eachjonburge other as animals, urinated upon by prison guards, sodomized, raped, dragged by their penises with ropes, had phosphoric acid poured upon them, and had fierce dogs attack them. This was often portrayed as an isolated incident, not representative of America, but these simply are torture techniques pioneered from the prison chambers of the colonized Chiraq; in a series of incidents, a Chicago Police Detective Jon Burge suffocated routinely suffocated black prisoners, used electric shock upon a prisoner’s genitals, held guns to prisoners’ heads, and burning them with radiators in an effort to get colonized black youth to confess to crimes they did not commit.

 

 

According to George W. Bush, the Americans brought the Iraqi people freedom and democracy. The existence of Iraqi politicians are held up assaudioil poor of Iraqi self-determination, despite George W. Bush effectively turning Iraq into a U.S colony, enabling western corporate control over oil. Similarly,  in the Post-Civil Rights era, the rise of black politicians is often held up as proof of black progress. However, even these black politicians are puppets in a neo-colonial situation. For Lil Bibby, the aldermen in his neighborhood was Sandi Jackson, yet the drug economy remained the dominant industry in the black community; Sandi Jackson used campaign money to decorate her home with lavish goods, and falsified tax returns for more wealth. In this way, the rise of black politicians in Chicago far from being evidence of black progress; it is actually a colonial tactic similar to the way the U.S. operates in foreign counties by throwing legitimate leaders, such as Patrice Lumumba, and replacing them with notoriously corrupt leaders, like Mobutu, who bought lavish material goods and allowed western corporate exploitation of Congo, all while his people starved.

The stores, businesses, and other enterprises in the black community are owned by foreigners who then take the wealth outside of the community, resulting in dilapidated and slum like conditions. For unemployed black youth, the dominant industry is the drug economy; the colonized youth Lil Bibby states:

“Remember back when I ain’t used to have a quarter? I started posting on blocks like ‘Place ya order.’ Now I’m riding in Coupes and I’m flipping Porches. All from spitting these bars to a couple courses. I been locked up, shot at and damn near died back when I was 16.”

bibby34Fundamentally, these colonized communities seek to set up political, economic, and social orders where repressed blacks are often lured into a life of crime that then makes them a object of the prison industrial complex. Thus, the name ‘Chiraq’ reveals the neo-colonial status of America, an area utilized by white elites to maintain a steady supply of cheap labor to fuel the prison industrial complex, despite the existence of black politicians all of which makes the presence of black politicians as nothing more than a tactic in the continuous colonial oppression of blacks.

 

 

Though blacks now live in an era in which overt legal racism has ended and public appearances of racism are largely condemned, racial justice in the “Post-Civil Rights” era is illusory, as the state has taken on other efforts to maintain the white over black hierarchy through the discriminatory ‘war on drugs’ launched against blacks, the ever-expanding prison industry which re-enslaved blacks, and by the fundamental reality that anti-blackness has been so solidified in society that it was able to maintain itself despite the removal of overt discriminatory legislation. While the tactics utilized to maintain black oppression has changed over time, the anti-black reality of all American social institutions has not.

 

 

—-

 

Sources Use:

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

 

The Creation of Lil Reese

Lil Reese

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. 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 whites 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.

One may says: “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.

 

 

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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

Lil Bibby: The Third World Inside of America

Lil Bibby is the next up-and-coming rapper from Chicago. NBA star Kevin Durant just showed that he enjoyed Lil Bibby’s music by mentioning him in a tweet, and he recently was interviewed by the classic rap interviewer Sway.

Lil Bibby states, ”On Essex wit’ the No Limits“

What makes writing this article interesting for me is that Lil Bibby and I grew up on the same block; I used to live on Essex which he discusses in his song. It gives me joy to see my fellow peers making it into the rap industry. In an interview concerning his upbringing Lil Bibby States,”  “Where I am from, that’s probably one of the craziest places in Chicago. I had seen and did a lot of stuff…I don’t like talking about that type of shit though.”

 In ‘How I Was Raised up,’ Lil Bibby discusses the various trials and tribulations related to being a black man in the hood. Over the hard beat, Lil Bibby states,  ”We some savages, that’s what the hood made us. Bodies droppin’ everyday, they try to blame. I said, that’s just how I was raised up.” Every day, black people find themselves born into violent neighborhoods on the absolute lowest end of the economic ladder. The neighborhoods are divided by various warring gang factions and many youth out of economic necessity partake in the drug economy. And through programming, black youth become trained to perform ‘hits’ on one another.

Lil Bibby states that the hood made him and his peers savages due to the tumultuous nature of their environments; he makes it clear that they were not simply born this way and, hence, cannot be blamed.  Chicago street gangs and the violence are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people, replacing it with a stone cold heart that is necessary to survive on the careless streets. The constant discussion of “carrying hits” in rap music originating in Chicago is indicative of the low value that human life has in these areas. For people growing up in these violent neighborhoods, they become accustomed to killings; taking a human life is no different than killing a character in a video game. But from whence did this violence come? African-Americans came to Chicago in mass numbers during the ‘Great Migration’ in search of job opportunities.

Instead, they would be segregated from white society, forced into decrepit houses in the ‘black-belt,’ and become the victim of regular attacks of the Ku Klux Klan and other white vigilantes. When black people sought justice after white locals intentionally drowned a black child, the race riots of 1919 took place where whites would bomb and set fire to black neighborhoods. In this environment, blacks were denied opportunities for social advancement. All of this laid the foundation for the drug economy and the formation of gangs.

His line, “They try to blame us,” is an obvious jab at people like conservative news media outlets who feign concern for the plight of black youth while simultaneously marginalizing them as deviants who are lacking in morals who simply need to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” One conservative news commentator, Bill O’Reilly, who often presents himself as the expert of ‘black-on black crime,’ states the solution was, ”…what they need to do is ‘the surge strategy’ like Iraq…” The fact that this was actually seen as a viable solution to the problem of gang violence in Chicago is further proof that blacks are outside of mainstream America and live in internal colonies. In his neighborhood, Lil Bibby states, ”Its kill or be killed where I came from.” To blame individual people for their participation in violence without a larger critique of the socio-economic system which creates the conditions for that violence only serves to marginalize black youth while keeping the same unequal exchange between whites and blacks intact. Lil Bibby states:

 run up on you, shoot ya face off

Tryna wipe them niggas out like Adolf

The system of white supremacy has created conditions in which gangs of the same color and socio-economic ladder fight one another over crumbs. Having Klan Members come together to wipe out black people became a tiresome efforts, so instead the white supremacist system would create a structural system in which black people themselves would perpetuate a genocide with whites benefiting socially and economically from the conditions of the ghetto. 60 years ago you would have expected to hear statements like ”tryna wipe them niggers out like Adolf” from Neo-Nazis, but the capitalistic system has created conditions where blacks inflict this violence on each other.

 Moreover, black youth live a life under constant police surveillance. Lil Bibby states, ” Operation lookin’ sloppy. The feds tryna watch me. ” He boasts about his ability to outsmart and duck the feds as he carries out his job in the underground sectors I where the drug economy is the only viable way to social mobility. 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 on 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. This has created conditions in which, as Lil Bibby states:

It’s kill or be killed where I came from.

Tales of Chiraq

by Hakeem Muhammad.

by Hakeem Muhammad.

                            Preorder your copy today

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                                                                                                         Release Date: March 25th

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