June 13, 2011
Chicago's Violent Flash MobsBy Robert Klein Engler
Stories about violent "flash mobs" roaming Chicago's North Side neighborhoods have been in the news the past 2 weeks. People are worried about the impact these mobs will have on tourism and the city's economy. Some are asking why this social unrest is happening, now, so soon after Mayor Daley left office.
Kevin O'Neil writes in the CTA Tattler, "Chicago police and Streeterville universities are warning residents and passersby to be aware of traveling mobs of teenagers who use the CTA and cell phones to meet up in the Near North Side area and commit crimes..."
O'Neil continues, "Police arrested seven young men in their mid-to-late teen Saturday night on "mob action" charges after about two dozen men attacked a person parking his scooter in the 300 block of E. Chicago Avenue...according to a Tribune news report."
Other flash mob incidents this year include: "A group of 70 youths storming a McDonald's at Chicago and State and creating a disturbance that forced the restaurant to close for three hours."
There were also "'Flash mob offenders' exiting the Chicago/State Red Line station and shoplifting at area stores. This behavior prompted Loyola University to warn students and staff at its Water Tower campus."
These incidents can be added to a flash mobs contributing to the closing of Chicago's North Avenue Beach and to other muggings in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood.
Most of these flash mob incidents involved African-American youths who use social websites and cell phones to coordinate their activity. According to Jack Marshall, "The Chicago media has adopted an odd policy in reporting the incidents: it has not reported the fact that the mobs were made up of African-American youths."
Flash mobs of African-American youths are not the only reporting about race that is ignored in the Chicago media. For too long the media has ignored the hypersegregation in the city, as well.
The Huffington Post reports, "Chicago is known as the most segregated city in the United States -- so much so, in fact, that the term "hypersegregation" was coined to describe the ghettoized separation of blacks on the South Side and whites on the North. According to data released by the Census Bureau this week, that trend isn't getting any better."
The Chicago 77, a comprehensive real estate site also exposes the fact of segregation in Chicago. "Chicago, the city that gave the country its first African American president, has been crowned the most segregated city in the United States."
Some say that segregation is so common in Chicago that apartheid exists and the public schools prove it. Janet E. Sawyer writes, "National and local experts on education say that funding inequities in Chicago Public Schools reinforce racial segregation. As a result, the majority of the city's African American and Hispanic students are trapped in academically underperforming schools in impoverished neighborhoods."
Steve Bogira who writes for the Chicago Reader newspaper claims, "Racial segregation remains Chicago's most fundamental problem." Bogira has not yet linked this racial segregation to the "flash mob" incidents in Chicago affluent and white neighborhoods, but he does understand that, "Segregation didn't happen by accident..."
The flash mobs that now terrorize Chicago residents are no accident, either. They are a direct result of segregated schools and Democratic Party policies.
The Chicago Democrats have controlled the city for more than fifty years. The mayors Daley instituted policies that not only segregated the city and the schools, but also insured the survival of the Democratic Party at the expense of many neighborhoods.
The Chicago Defender newspaper documented how Democrat politicians in Chicago set up physical barriers to integration. The Chicago Defender claims, "The Dan Ryan Expressway was conceived in clout and racism and born into a pattern of racial segregation that's earned it the reputation as world-famous symbol of how Chicago's politicians used to create ghettos."
The connection between government jobs and votes for the Democratic Party has a long history in Chicago. Unfortunately, many voters in Chicago vote for segregation.
Glenn H. Ray writes, "Chicago is the prime example of the 2011 inner city version of pre-Civil War Negro plantation culture....one Party bossman ruling the enslaved, providing a degree of security and perpetual changelessness with payoffs, deals, and lessons in hate, to secure "the people's vote" at the ballot box."
For some Chicagoans, the best example of how politics and segregation come together under Democratic Party rule is the Chicago Housing Authority. After damaging countless lives, the Housing Authority proved so corrupt, many of the high-rise buildings they put up were pulled down.
In his review of American Pharaoh, Clinton Stockwell confirms what the authors Cohen and Taylor maintain in their book, "Massive public housing developments have served only to isolate and contain the poor, rather than finding ways to integrate them into the larger society. Chicago has remained a rigidly segregated city..."
The official motto for Chicago is "Urbs in Horto," Latin for "City in a Garden." It doesn't take much imagination to extend the metaphor to current events. The seeds for violent flash mobs were stored in a Bridgeport basement, only to be scattered and take root a generation later on Chicago's South and West Side.
It will be interesting to see how the new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, will deal with the problems of segregation and flash mobs. Emanuel is a product of Chicago Democrat politics. He is a member of the political party that caused the problems of segregation in the first place.
Because of past policies, future events may be out of Mayor Emanuel's control. It's hard to see how Mayor Emanuel can solve a problem his party perpetuated for the sake of votes. If Emanuel is like the mayor's before him, he will put the survival of the Democrat Party over that of Chicago.
How ironic, that in this city about to burst into flames, Obama's team has located his reelection campaign here. Maybe a "beer summit" with Chicago's West Side gangs will erase two generations of bad Democrat policies in time for the 2012 elections.
Before that, the summer of 2011 may expose the contradiction of segregation that fifty years of Democrat rule have covered up in Chicago. Time will tell if "Never let a crisis go to waste," remains a viable policy. Violent flash mobs just may be the flash point that ignites another Chicago fire.
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