Chicago has been undergoing a ward redistricting process, which happens after each census, to keep the ward sizes relatively equal in population. Yesterday, the final map was passed by city council. Naturally, the boundaries of the ward I work for changed and we received calls from folks not too happy about it.
“I’m at street and avenue, am I still in your ward?”
“No, I’m afraid not. You’re now in this ward.”
“WITH THE BLACKS? Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”
And another call.
“They’ve lost population and they need to understand.”
He is correct, the Black wards have lost a large population and they have motivation in keeping their political power by drawing a map to better serve them. Yet any politician would probably act in such a way, whether they were of a black, white, asian, or latino population that lost numbers. He continued.
“We’ve got money. I will not support any alderman who is willing to side or compromise with the Blacks.”
Last Memorial Day weekend in Chicago was hot and it drew immense crowds to the beach. People from all over the city were making their way to the cool water. Naturally, the following work day had its fair share of unhappy calls.
“I couldn’t believe all the black rats at the beach this weekend. I’d like to call them something else if you know what I mean.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m not sure you realize I’m black.”
“Oh, I’m not racist or anything, I mean I have black friends.”
He insisted on having a meeting at the office to discuss safety. I was later told that throughout the meeting he continued to say “no offense to the guy out there” before making a statement, referring to me working outside the conference room.
Another call revealed that “no white family would want to take their kids to the beach anymore” if the memorial day crowd made regular appearances.
I’m sorry Martin Luther King Jr., but we haven’t quite made it yet.