Crime News Service, Michael Bargo: Spokespersons for the Democratic Party were all voicing their objection to the state of South Carolina flying a Confederate flag. The Confederacy, they argue, was a collection of states devoted to the oppression of African-Americans. The flag itself is a symbol of anti-black racism.
The City of Chicago has such a horrendous history of racist policies against those of African-American descent that it too should take down its flag and replace it with a new, more inclusive and sensitive design. In fact, Chicago’s city flag has a bar with stars on it, similar to that of the Confederate Flag.
Chicago’s racist policies echoed those of the Confederacy. For example, since 1900, Chicago’s mayors, all of whom have been Democrats since 1932, segregated black residents into black-only communities. This practice was so well-executed that by the late 1950s the Urban League called Chicago the most segregated city in America. During the 1960s, Mayor Daley I continued to segregate African-Americans into low-income housing developments. This was financed through federal money brought to Chicago by the Model Cities program, which Mayor Daley I helped develop.
Its schools were highly segregated. Its congressional districts were segregated so that Daley and his cronies could ensure that black voters had no choice but to vote for Democrats. Black single mothers who lived in these high-rise buildings would receive visits by local precinct captains before every election. Their party preference would be asked, and they would be reminded that if they did not vote for Democrats, their family would be put out on the street.
In the mid-1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, called Daley’s segregation of black voters “plantation politics” since it reminded him so much of the poverty-stricken black areas of the old South. What is most disturbing about the way African-Americans were treated is that even though Chicago never had slaves, its white residents were highly racist in their attitudes. In fact, MLK commented that Southern rednecks should come to Chicago “to learn how to hate.” To this day its newspapers and especially the daily local news television reports are nothing but reports on black crime, reinforcing the false impression that violence is rampant among African-Americans and that Chicagoans would not want African-Americans to live in their neighborhoods.
This was all created by the great Chicago Democratic Machine under Mayor Daley I so the black residents could be counted on for their votes. This embarrassing legacy of racism continues to this day. The 2000 Census found that for Chicago to be truly integrated, 90% of the black residents would have to move. And it’s the same today. Chicago has been such a terrible example of institutionalized racism that its flag, which is a symbol of how a great northern city can practice the most inhumane kind of racism, should be changed.