In the early 1990s, crime declined nationwide for reasons that scholars still debate. Chicago also benefited. Still, residents and journalists called Chicago “Chiraq” because of its relatively high crime, even though homicides in 2010 were far below what they were in the early 1990s. In 2010, blacks and Hispanics accounted for 96 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter arrests and about the same percentage of weapons-violation arrests. Blacks were 24 times more likely than whites (p. 5) to be arrested for murder, and 27 times more likely to be arrested for robbery.
In 2016, homicides suddenly spiked.
What happened? In 2015, a white police officer shot a black teenager, and Barack Obama’s Justice Department conducted a high-profile “racism” investigation. Police blamed the subsequent increase in crime on cops’ fears of becoming the subject of the next “viral video” if they went after crime aggressively. Later, President Trump said he would “send in the Feds” if Chicago did not “fix” the “carnage” in the city.
In 2019, in a conversation about white flight, Michelle Obama said to whites, “Y’all were running from us, and you’re still running.” They had good reason to, but whites are now moving back into Chicago, partially because the Obama Presidential Center will be located in Jackson Park, part of a larger effort to make the south side fashionable again. These aren’t white workers like those in The Jungle, but gentrifying liberals. From 2017 to 2019, gun violence declined for three straight years, and this coincided with a slight increase in the white share of the population. Chicago is better off than it was just a few years ago. However, like New York City, it’s declining, and gentrification may have stopped.
Even when it was almost entirely white, Chicago was the city of corruption and Al Capone. Still, ten times as many people were shot in Chicago last July 4th weekend than during the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” and 2019 was a relatively good year for the city. At the current rate, there will be more homicides and shootings in Chicago this year than last, even during what is supposed to be a coronavirus “lockdown.”
A century ago, many white socialists were race realists — like Jack London. No doubt they thought, like the Upton Sinclair character, that the city would be “OURS.” Now, a new form of socialism has come, along with gentrifying white liberals. Several “Democratic socialists” won power in recent local elections.
Unfortunately, Chicago is still “theirs.” It’s a white-minority city with the usual problems. Black progressive prosecutor Kim Foxx, who won election with help from George Soros, became a laughingstock after she dropped charges against Jussie Smollett for making up a hate crime. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, called a “historic” figure because she’s a black lesbian, also was the subject of mockery after she said she needed a lockdown-violating haircut during the virus outbreak because she was the “public face of the city.” The pandemic hasn’t stopped black gang violence. It hasn’t stopped blacks from hosting packed house parties. We should cite this video when people blame racism for the virus’s “disproportionate” impact on blacks. Here are celebrants crowding around a stripper at another “lockdown” house party.
Upton Sinclair’s plea for socialism in The Jungle inspired meat-packing regulation instead. Today, in black Chicago’s urban jungle, the worst pandemic in a century may be just an excuse to throw a party.
[Comment at Amren.com]