South Side writer speaks out against false dichotomies and thinly veiled racism

Posted on: September 25th, 2013

Photo by Brian Bochenek.

Why are you so mad about George Zimmerman, but not the violence going in Chicago? Why are we thinking about helping people we don’t even know in Syria when Chicago is a warzone?”

This is the question that Joshua Adams seeks to refute with his editorial. Highlighting the absurdity of claims that Chicago doesn’t care about gun violence (something obvious to anyone who lives in the city), he objects to the misuse of Black bodies and Black experiences to score political points.

“Conservatives will bring up violence in Chicago to fuel their narratives about the Black family being in shambles, but cut down any investigation into denied social, economic, or political opportunity for people of color—and are quick to accuse the Black community and our supporters making excuses and playing the victim. Liberals bring it up with the intention to give the Black community their version of ‘the hurtful truth. Yet this supposed counter-narrative (though often better intentioned and slightly more nuanced) gels with the idea that Black people are invested in blaming racism for 100% of their problems instead of solving them and also gives a pass to the impact that racism has had on the conditions in Chicago and beyond.

What’s missing in their analysis is any mention of the history of institutionalized attacks on Black people, such as the public housing practices of not allowing Black fathers to move in with their family (prevalent in the 1950s and 60s in cities like Chicago). There’s no call for accountability towards a prison industrial complex sending Black and Brown folks to jail with longer sentences for equal or lesser crimes than any other race. No statistics are presented to show the overreporting of Chicago crime or to combat the many misconceptions about Black on Black crime in general in America. And what’s sadder is if their analysis is that shallow, how could they even begin to discuss, let alone understand, the residuals effects from the sadistic, prolonged assault on our people that was chattel slavery?”

Read the full article at

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