Systemic Racism,
Chicago-Style

The country, even the larger world, has heard a lot about “systemic racism” in America lately. It seems to be the flavor of the year and goes on and on, unabated. The White House preaches it and Biden’s U.N. ambassador tells us, “Racism was and continues to be a daily challenge wherever we are. And for millions, it’s more than a challenge. It’s deadly.”

Deadly, indeed!

According to its own tourist literature, Chicago, on Lake Michigan in Illinois, is among the largest cities in the United States. Famed for its bold architecture and deep-dish pizza, it has a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers such as the iconic John Hancock Center, 1,451-foot Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower. The city is also renowned for its museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago with its noted Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. 

The “Windy City” has a black population of just over 30 percent and is deadly dangerous. Chicago and Illinois both have some of the strongest gun control laws in the country, with more on the way—do you think it’s possible that the criminals might not be obeying those laws?

Well, let’s take an indicative deep dive and look closely into one of America’s largest cities, the city made famous by poet Carl Sandberg, who called it, “a city of broad shoulders . . . and hog butcher of the world.” Apparently, that’s not all that gets butchered in Chicago, these days. 

The facts are most illuminating, if not staggering.

In Chicago, there were 2,240 shootings and 440 homicides from January through July 2020. The numbers are way up again in 2021. Back in 2015, Chicago’s homicide rate had already risen to 18.6 per 100,000. By 2016, Chicago had recorded more homicides and shooting victims than New York City and Los Angeles combined. Chicago’s biggest criminal justice challenges have changed little over the last 50 years, and statistically reside with homicide, armed robbery, gang violence, and aggravated battery. Chicago is considered one of the most gang-infested cities in the United States, with an estimated population of over 100,000 active members from nearly 60 different factions. Gang warfare and retaliation are quite common in Chicago. It is estimated that gangs are responsible for 60 percent of the homicides in Chicago.

One thing stands out—almost every shooter and homicide victim (97.7 percent) are black. But Black Lives Matter and Chicago’s Democratic politicians continue to blame “police and systemic racism.”

Yet:

  • The mayor is black.
  • The superintendent of police is black.
  • The Cook County state’s attorney is black.
  • The chief judge of Cook County circuit courts is black.
  • The Illinois attorney general is black.
  • The fire department commissioner is black.
  • The Cook County board president is black.
  • The state senate majority leader is black.
  • The lieutenant governor is black.
  • The secretary of state is black.
  • The clerk of the circuit court of Cook County is black.
  • The Cook County clerk is black.
  • The city treasurer is black.
  • The Chicago Police Board president is black.
  • The Chicago Transit Authority president is black.
  • The CEO of Chicago public schools is black.
  • The commissioner of the Department of Water Management is black.
  • Forty percent of the City Council belongs to the black caucus. Nine aldermen are socialists.
  • Their average pay is $122,304 annually each, plus $122,000 per year in expenses. Their pension for life is 80 percent of final pay. 
  • There are zero Republicans on the Chicago City Council.
  • William Hale Thompson was the last Republican mayor of Chicago long ago, in 1931.
  • For 89 years, Democrats have completely controlled the mayor’s office.
  • The fiscal deficit in Chicago is more than $838.2 million and counting. 

Can someone please explain how it’s possible for Republicans—Donald Trump in particular, or white people in general—to be responsible for Chicago’s horrendously dismal and unsafe conditions?

Truthfully, there can’t be a rational explanation because Chicago’s plague of urban warfare itself isn’t logical; it’s nothing less than horrifically cruel and self-destructive. 

A recent University of Chicago Crime Lab study was able to quantify how much of the city’s gunfire victimizes residents of struggling neighborhoods: Five South and Westside communities with nine percent of Chicago’s population (Austin, Englewood, New City, West Englewood, and Greater Grand Crossing) accounted for half the city’s increase in homicides. African American men ages 15-34 make up over 70 percent of the city’s total homicide victims, while accounting for just 4 percent of the city’s population. Almost 40 percent of victims had prior violent crime arrests.

Needless to say, Chicago is not working, and the statistics show it. It only gets worse year by year. It is certainly not because of any systemic racism, unless you wanted to argue that Chicago’s Democratic Party black elite officialdom doesn’t give a damn about Chicago’s black population. 

The long-term solution lies in substantial and deep cultural change: shoring up the mediating structures in society, from the family (two parents, with the father at home) to the church, to charter schools and school choice to robust civic associations. This effort takes decades to yield results but is nonetheless imperative.

The short-term answer may be to help and encourage the movement of the endangered black male population in the affected age group—from Chicago to other locations. By moving to smaller towns, to farms, and to states, like Vermont or the Dakotas, with much lower homicide rates—their lives would be spared.

Perhaps, it is time to try something else besides Chicago’s status quo—because yes, black lives do matter, even in Chicago.

About Theodore Roosevelt Malloch

Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, scholar-diplomat-strategist, is CEO of the thought leadership firm The Roosevelt Group. He is the author of 18 books, including The Plot to Destroy Trump and appears regularly in the media, as a keynote speaker, and on television around the world. 

Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

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