Shorter ‘Guardian’ Article: “Waaaaaaaaah!”

Black residents of Chicago are also suffering from more than just police violence. As Joao Vargas writes: “Police brutality is just one aspect of a constellation unendingly generating anti-black forces.” Black communities have been and continue to suffer from overall divestment and neglect. Our politicians seem content to leave black people to die.

This was the conclusion reached by Anna Jones. This summer, the 36-year-old mother, took part in a 34-day hunger strike to protest against the closing of Dyett high school. Dyett was the last open-enrollment public high school in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville community. After the first 18 days of the strike, Chicago Public Schools announced that Dyett would reopen as an arts-based school rather than as the green technology one demanded by the hunger strikers.

Jones told the Chicago Reader: “I hated to end the strike because I didn’t want the mayor or the aldermen to feel like we were giving up. But we had to end it because we knew that the mayor would leave us out there to die.”

You didn’t get what you demanded, so it must be ‘racism’ and ‘discrimination’, rather than what you demanded being commercially unviable?

To protect the lives and futures of black Chicagoans we need more than just changes in policing. We need to address structural and systemic oppression; that involves securing a living wage and guaranteed jobs; keeping our schools public and stopping closures and speeding up decarceration by ending things like cash bail.

Or you could just not do the sorts of things that mean you need bail in the first place?

We understand that all of these solutions are interconnected; that they are essential to living lives free from violence and are critical to our liberation.

Pretty sure your ‘liberation’ has already come and gone.And what have you done with it?

6 comments for “Shorter ‘Guardian’ Article: “Waaaaaaaaah!”

  1. The Jannie
    January 10, 2016 at 10:59 am

    They’ve got a “black” “Chicagoan” in the White House; what more do they want?

    • January 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      With so much happening these past several months in Chicago, perhaps it’s time the President went back to visit his hometown (of sorts) and talk to concerned residents.

  2. Mrs Raft
    January 10, 2016 at 11:48 am

    “Public Schools announced that Dyett would reopen as an arts-based school rather than as the green technology one demanded by the hunger strikers. ”

    I don’t know what a green technology school is, but the protestors have at least half a good point: children would benefit from a school focusing on technology which equipped them with marketable skills. What they probably do not need is a cheaper liberal arts school which produces rappers and mime artists, for whom only limited job opportunities exist at the best of times.

    I don’t really understand what they were trying to achieve but if it was ‘give my child a proper education’ that seems like a reasonable thing to make a fuss about.

    • Lord T
      January 10, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      Green Technology is all about tilting at windmills. 🙂

      To be honest with the wheels falling off the green agenda there is probably more mileage in the arts centre and as we all know how useless that is you get the picture on the green technology.

  3. Ed P
    January 10, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Guaranteed jobs? Are there such things anywhere anymore?

  4. January 10, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Dyett was founded in 1972 as a middle school then became a high school in 1999. Its full name was Walter Henri Dyett Academic Center.

    Dyett (1901-1969) was an American violinist and music educator. A black American, he served as assistant music director and music director at Chicago high schools with a high proportion of black students. Phillips and DuSable were two of the main schools. He started in vaudeville, then directed a US Army band. Many of his pupils went on to become musicians. (Sources: Wikipedia — Dyett Academic Center, Walter Henri Dyett)

    One can see that parents are upset about Dyett’s closure, however, its low attendance and poor academic performance contributed to the decision. In its last academic year, 2014-2015, only 13 seniors graduated.

    The neighbourhood it served, Bronzeville, is part of Douglas, Illinois, which was known as Chicago’s ‘black metropolis’ in the early 20th century. Douglas is named after Stephen A Douglas, the Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1860, when he opposed Abraham Lincoln. We all know that outcome. However, earlier in 1858, he debated Lincoln (Republican) on slavery. Douglas’s main claim regarding slavery was that each territory make its own decision. He also did not think black people qualified for protection under the Declaration of Independence. Because he vacillated on some issues, opinion on Douglas was as mixed at the time as it is now.

    In any event, he died of typhoid in Chicago in 1861 and was buried on the shore of Lake Michigan.

    Given this, it is rather incredible that Douglas is still named after him. One would have thought the name would have been changed by now. The reason it was named for him in the first place is that he owned that tract of land. When he died, he had given it to the Old University of Chicago. Later, it became a Civil War training and prison camp run by Union forces.

    There are two other neighbourhoods in Douglas: Prairie Shores, which started out as council housing and is now a middle class area, and Groveland Park, which Stephen Douglas himself developed into homes built around an oval-shaped park. (Wikipedia sources: Stephen A Douglas; Douglas, Illinois)

    Thanks, Julia, I learned something today.

    I also hadn’t realised that the infamous Robert Taylor Homes — high-rise council flats — were in Bronzeville. The Bronzeville entry on the Douglas, Illinois, page reveals many famous American blacks from the past who lived there, not only Louis Armstrong and Lou Rawls, but also the first black female pilot Bessie Coleman (1892-1926). If you ever rent a car at Chicago O’Hare, you will exit and enter on Bessie Coleman Drive.

    Thanks again. Have a good week!

Comments are closed.