Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – The citizens have to keep the peace. It’s not the cops that keep the peace in places where it’s peaceful; it’s the citizens practicing Christian humility and love toward one another that keep the peace. It is not the police. The police are there for the rare occasion when a law is broken and they must execute the law. If you have to rely on a police force in order to enforce a moral code of humility and community, it’s over. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Last caller said that Chicago, Illinois is the most segregated city in North America. I was remarking at how that’s impossible. This is the highest concentration in a major city of American liberals. These people would never cotton segregation. As I’m reading the story in The Atlantic by Noah Berlatsky, “Violence in Chicago: A Tale of Two Cities.” Apparently the white people that live in the northwestern part of Chicago don’t know that there is an entire other city in the southeastern part populated by almost 100 percent black people, nor do they care. How is this possible? Shouldn’t Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama and the Illinois Legislature, hell, let’s get California and Vermont and Connecticut and New Jersey and New York involved in this, too. Shouldn’t we send the 101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne and the 13th Mountain Corps into Chicago and start forcing people to move? We can’t have this segregation. We fought a civil war over this.
After hearing about the Chicago shooting last week in which 13 were injured in Cornell Square Park, including a three-year-old, I and writer Mikki Kendall, both Chicago residents, had very different reactions. It’s “not just the park incident,” Kendall told me by email. “20 people were shot this weekend. People are being shot almost daily. And I have a 14 year-old son who can’t go to the McDonald’s in Hyde Park at lunch because the school has noticed an uptick in crime at that location.”
I was depressed and horrified, too — but depressed and horrified in the way that you are when you hear about gun violence anywhere. Unlike Kendall, I wasn’t directly concerned about the safety of my family.
Based on our reactions, you’d think that Kendall lived much closer to the shooting than I do. But that’s not the case. In fact, we’re both in Hyde Park, about 4 miles away from where it occurred on the city’s South Side. I can walk to the McDonald’s she mentioned.
So why does Kendall feel personally targeted and I don’t? Well, Kendall is black and grew up here; I’m white, and didn’t.
In other words, welcome to Chicago, where segregation is almost a civic art form. Redlining has had a massive impact on the city, which despite improvements remains the most segregated in the nation. [Mike: The segregation claim is the result of a study, not Berlatsky editorializing. There’s a footnote on this.] Segregation is so ingrained, and so much taken for granted, that people, or at least white people, don’t even notice it. A couple months ago, for example, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote an editorial in which he argued that, based on murders by population, Chicago isn’t actually all that violent a city. And he’s sort of right. Chicago can be thought of as a bunch of different cities, and some of them are quite safe. Unfortunately, some of them aren’t. And a lot of effort goes into making sure that the folks who have to live in the less safe parts of Chicago don’t trouble the sleep of the folks in the safe areas.
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Hyde Park, the neighborhood around the University of Chicago where Kendall and I live, is a particularly instructive example. Way back in 1952, the wife of a University of Chicago faculty member was assaulted near campus. The university was stung into action, and began to invest heavily in a private security force. It also pushed for urban renewal, in some cases using private police officers to investigate criminal activity in given buildings in order to get the property foreclosed and torn down. Today, the UCPD is, as the university told me in a statement, “a highly professional police force,” and one of the largest private security forces in the country. Hyde Park “remains one of the safest neighborhoods in the city,” according to the statement sent to me by the University, and, “All of the neighborhoods patrolled by the University of Chicago benefit from the extra service.”
Nonetheless, the multiple police forces in Hyde Park don’t necessarily make Kendall feel safer. Instead, as she said to me, they seem to “give a false sense of security to white people, and act as a threat to POC [people of color] who live in the area.” Kendall was more distressed than me because she’s been in the neighborhood long enough to feel at a gut level that “the little bubble of gentrification that U of C is trying to create isn’t bullet-proof.” And she’s also more distressed because, despite CPD and UCPD insistence to the contrary, from her perspective as someone who’s lived all over the South Side, that bubble is in part constructed by policing 14-year-old black boys like her son.
Admittedly, Chicago has serious budget issues. But somehow the money always seems to come out of the hides of the same areas, while other, better-connected communities and institutions have funds shamelessly shovelled their way.
Mike: You know what I would say to you, Ms. Kendall, Mikki Kendall? You know what I would say to you madam? I mean this with all sincerity. I’m speaking from the heart here. If you wish to, and I believe you do and you’re sincere, if you wish to see a revival of your section of southeastern Chicago, and if you wish to see law and order and a comfortable, clean way of life restored, only citizens can do this. The government cannot do this. The citizens have to keep the peace. It’s not the cops that keep the peace in places where it’s peaceful; it’s the citizens practicing Christian humility and love toward one another that keep the peace. It is not the police. The police are there for the rare occasion when a law is broken and they must execute the law. If you have to rely on a police force in order to enforce a moral code of humility and community, it’s over. You’re going to live in the exact place I’m describing in Chicago. If you wish this restoration, you’re going to have to do it.
Furthermore, if you wish this restoration, you’re going to have to govern yourself. Why should that portion of southeastern Chicago have to go on its bended knees to the Chicago City Council or whatever it is that runs the government nearby and ask for their permission to do this or their help to do that? What you should do, you should figure out the area that you wish to call Hyde Park or you wish to call Hyde Park South and you should secede from the City of Chicago, form your own corporate entity, begin your elections, elect people from among yourselves that are concerned and actually have to live there, require they have to live in the district, and start the ancient art of self-governing. When you and you alone and your fellow citizens are responsible for your own wellbeing, then and only then will it get better. If you’re waiting for the cavalry to come in, it’s not the police force you should be beckoning, it should be a mission. Hope that a mission from some Christian entity out there will send hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers in there, not only to help you with your task, but to live there.
Those are your choices. Relying on Rahm Emanuel and the secular, wretched, corrupt government of Chicago is going to get you nowhere, madam, other than you will find yourself in a perpetual situation which, by your own writing, you abhor. I wish her well. I sincerely mean that. I don’t mean you need to wave a rebel flag or anything of that sort. Just claim what is yours and get about the process of fixing it yourself. Whining and carping and crying and complaining about it and hoping that someone else will come in, the City of Chicago doesn’t have any money. It’s more broke than Detroit is. I saw Mish Shedlock’s report the other day about this. I didn’t get to it but I have it in the Pile of Prep Monday. Chicago is the next one that’s going belly up. There is no money. The obligations that the City of Chicago owes out far exceeds any revenue they can possibly hope to get. They’re just delaying the inevitable. There is hope for these places, but the hope lies in community. What’s missing is community. Those kids that are running around shooting people, if they are part of a community, it’s part of a community of vagabonds. That part of it you have to deal with the law. For the future, the community is going to have to produce better citizens. Only you can do that, Ms. Kendall, you. Not Rahm Emanuel, not Barack Obama, only you and Jesus Christ.
End Mike Church Show Transcript