CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Public Schools’ plan to close 53 schools and 61 buildings, mostly in black neighborhoods, has some West Side residents vowing to fight the Emanuel administration until the end.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, to hear some tell it on the West Side, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a racist liar who doesn’t care about the kids. And they’re just getting started.
“I don’t see any Caucasians being moved, bussed, or murdered in the streets as they travel along gang lines, or stand on the steps of a CPS school,” said activist Wendy Matil Pearson as opponents of the school closing plans protested outside Horatio May Elementary Community Academy in the Austin neighborhood.
... Valerie Leonard, co-founder of the Lawndale Alliance, accused the mayor of trying to drive African Americans out of the city.
“He says that he wants to turn around the city of Chicago, make a new Chicago. Does that new Chicago mean no black folks?” she said. “Where are people going to go? They’re not going to stay around in the community if there are no schools!” ...
The protesters weren’t the first to accuse Emanuel of racism in his school-closing effort. The Chicago Teachers Union has repeatedly said the school closing plans are racist, as most of the schools that would be closed are in African-American communities.
On Thursday, CTU President Karen Lewis said the plan was both “racist” and “classist,” ...
I'm not up to date on Chicago, but none of this speculation about the Mayor's motivations sounds hugely implausible to me.
Mayor Emanuel is a worldly man. He's not some dweeb from Lake Forest. His family likes to emphasize how his mother was a civil rights activist for blacks in the American South, but they don't talk as much about his father. Dr. Benjamin Emanuel is an Israeli and belonged to the right-wing terrorist organization Irgun. Those are the the guys who blew up the British headquarters in the King David Hotel and committed the Deir Yassin massacre of an Arab village that did so much to improve Israel's long-term demographic position by terrifying many Palestinians into fleeing.
I'm not saying Rahm's dad was personally involved in either, but he was, by all accounts, a member of Irgun. And Irgun played a crucial role in Israeli history in the 1940s. Irgun was a predecessor of today's highly successful Likud Party. I presume that Rahm Emanuel is personally closer to Israel's non-Likud parties, but he definitely knows where Netanyahu is coming from.
The son remains so emotionally close to Israel that he served as a volunteer in Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. He's vacationed countless times in Israel, from summer camp as a child to recently vacationing there to hold his son's bar mitzvah at the Wailing Wall.
Presumably, the Mayor of Chicago knows a lot about Israeli politics, and the #1 lesson that all parties in Israel understand deep in their bones, much more intensely than American politicians understand, is: Demographics Matter. The basic lesson is: You want more of your kind of people and fewer of the other kind of people. The Israeli statesman's duty is to make that happen.
The basic logic of Israeli politics is that the Palestinians are Arabs and that, while Israel is a small place, the Arab World is a huge place, so there are lots of other places for the local Arabs to move to, away from Israel.
If you are an African-American in Chicago, the suspicion that Dr. Emanuel's son might view Chicago as a small place and view you as somebody who has a big place to move somewhere else in (namely, the rest of America), would be uncharitable but not unreasonable. Deep down, perhaps Rahm feels: "We're not racist: we've got Barack! And Oprah and Michael Jordan are welcome back any time. The rest of you ..."
A reader writes:
I'm wondering if you could do a blogpost in the near future on any future possibility on the next Detroit(or several new Detroits), what time frame and for what sociological reasons.
As you've written about before, there's a quiet quest by white liberals to chase out blacks. This is happening in NYC, D.C. and perhaps now in Chicago too.
Personally, I think St Louis is a good candidate [to become another Detroit], as is Memphis. Milwaukee is also right there on the list. Basically cities that are 2nd and 3rd tier, often populated by naïve and communitarian Germanics in the Midwest or abandoned by devil-may-care Southern whites like Memphis. Birmingham is another candidate in the latter category.
1st tier cities like Chicago or NYC understand that they could go down that path, which is why they're pricing out, or in the case of Chicago, just zoning people out from their homes.
I'm not an expert on cities these days. It would seem like a fascinating subject to statistically model as a way of predicting real estate prices. The problem is that a big chunk of the model would involve using Census Bureau race statistics. Somebody would have to come up with a way to launder the racial aspect so that corporations could pay you lots of money for your insights without getting them into trouble.
Another aspect would seem to be airports. Winner cities tend to have airports with direct connections to lots of other cities, while loser cities don't. The arrow of causation points both ways, obviously, but some of it is that frequent fliers want to live near direct connection airports, such as Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, and, perhaps, Denver. You can have an inadequate airport if you are San Francisco, but don't risk it otherwise.
But it's not really a build it and they will come situation either. I used to fly in to Cincinnati a lot, and the airport was halfway across Kentucky. Presumably, they put it there so it would have a lot of room for expansion, but nobody seemed to be expanding, perhaps because the airport was way the hell out in Kentucky.
Also, it helps to have two airports, one for the masses (e.g., LAX or Dulles) and one for the elites (e.g., Reagan or Burbank, which is turning into a high-priced convenience for the entertainment industry. LAX is full of tattooed proles, while Burbank is full of successful-looking middle-aged couples picking up their lovely daughter flying in from Georgetown U., via Reagan).