Sifting through Senator Kirk’s “Chicago will become Detroit” threat

Last week Republican Senator Mark Kirk said that the citizens of Chicago should ““. Now the on the surface the comment seems to just imply that for whatever reason Senator Kirk believes that Rahm Emanuel will be more able to help with our city’s finances than his challenger Chuy Garcia. It is odd that Senator Kirk believes this, because since Mayor Emanuel took over our city’s bond rating has dropped . Clearly the mayor is great at raising money for his own re-election campaign, but raising money to help the city….not so much.

So lets go a little deeper into Mark Kirk’s comments threatening that if Garcia is elected Chicago will become like Detroit. My dad grew up in Detroit and like many white Detroiters in the 1950’s and 1960’s his family left the city during the time of “” and moved to the suburbs. This white flight was caused by real estate agents and banks using a lot of scare tactics to convince white 体彩官方app owners to sell their 体彩官方apps quickly and cheaply because the “blacks” were moving in. Then these same real estate agents and banks would jack up the housing costs and sell these same 体彩官方apps to black families. This tactic eventually was made but not before it radically altered the housing landscape in Detroit and elsewhere .

Detroit had it rough from the 1960’s onward and only until very recently are things slowly starting to turn around. There were riots in the 1960’s, job loss in the 1970’s by the Big 3 (Ford, Chrysler and GM) deciding to close factories to find cheaper work forces so they could maximize their profits, with no regard to the people they employed. Without a strong economic base the 1980’s-2000’s were tough. Detroit had issues with drugs, poverty, and crime. Crime became such an issue that every year the night before Halloween called , vacant 体彩官方apps would be light on fire and burned. The 1980’s movie was based on Detroit crime.

To many white people living in suburban Detroit, the name Detroit became synonymous with all of these societal issues. Many white people became afraid to go into the city at all or only go to certain parts.

This is the issue with Sentator Kirk’s comment. On the surface it seems like a just falsely mistaken economic threat, but under the surface lies a much more sinister comment. One that implies that if Garcia someone who is Latino is elected, Chicago will have big challenges, because he isn’t qualified for such complex things as improving the economy.

Implications that certain races aren’t qualified enough date back to the movement used in the U.S. to claim only certain groups of people (i.e. white) were intelligent enough for certain jobs or privileges. This idea of Eugenics also led to the creation of tests that we now call “” that are supposed to measure intelligence. This Eugenics idea was so wildly popular that Hitler himself and Nazi Germany picked up on this idea.

Republican Senator Kirk’s fear tactics shouldn’t come as a shock either, because Republicans have a history of these type of comments. In 2012 there were enough racist comments said by prominent Republicans that a three minute video compilation was made.  These comments were said by people like Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachman, Rick Santorium, Mitt Romney, and Tram Hudson. This video is titled “Sh*t Republicans Say About Black People” and you can watch it below.

In 2012 a group of TEAM Englewood High School poets coached by Missy Hughes and myself came across that video and were very upset about it. The students decided to write a poetic response to the Republicans in the video. They titled it “What Black Poets Say to Racist Republicans”. Have a look.

Clearly Senator Kirk and want Rahm in office and will use fear tactics to try to make this happen.

But now Chicago it is our turn to have a response to Senator Kirk and this new round of outdated racist comments, like how the TEAM Englewood poets responded to the Republican comments in 2012.

But how do we go about this?

The answer is much simpler than a choreographed and researched poetic response. We do this by going to the voting both on April 7th and voting Rahm out!

Posted on Gapers Block

The Chicago Teacher Residency Rule: One Thing CPS Gets Right

A former colleague of mine wrote recently that Chicago Public Schools should end the requirement that to work in CPS you must live in the city of Chicago limits.

There are a lot of things that CPS does that I strongly disagree with, from having mayoral control of the schools, to not having an elected school board and just the overall top down undemocratic way that CPS runs schools.

But the rule that to teach in CPS you must live in Chicago is one rule that CPS gets rights.

As teachers we have a moral obligation to helping make the lives of our students better.

One way to make our students lives better is to make the city that we all live in better. There at times is already a disconnect between the lived experiences of our students and the experiences that we teachers have. The thing is, even if we don’t live in the specific Chicago neighborhood in which our school is located we still are infinitely more aware of what life is like for our students than say if we were able to commute from surrounding suburbs. Yes, I could have my students share their experiences so I could attempt to understand and relate to them, but the disconnect between teachers and students will only be greater if they live in Englewood or South Chicago and I live in Orland Park, Oak Park, or Schaumburg.

We owe it to our students as voters, taxpayers, and parents to have a political, economic, and educational stake in this city.

The 40,0000 teachers who work for CPS are an important voice in the electoral process in Chicago, as we have seen with the most recent round of . The actions of the teachers who make up the Chicago Teachers Union are changing the way schools are run and the way this city is run. We would have significantly less tangible ways to exert positive change for our students if we had no voting privileges for our students.

We owe it to our students to pay taxes to this city to help improve it for everyone. Yes, the way the money is used or not used needs improvement, but the politicians need our revenue to fund improvements. These same politicians also need our voices to pressure them to use our revenue the way that it should be used.

We owe it to our students to be teachers who not only work in CPS but also send our kids to CPS. By having our children attend CPS, we obviously will have more at stake in wanting to improve the schools for all children in the city.

Teaching is about building connections with our students. We teachers may have differences between our students and us regarding race and/or economic status, but by living in the city, paying taxes, and sending our kids to CPS, our students can see that through our differences we also share many common bonds, most importantly the desire to improve the city that we all call 体彩官方app.

We teachers love and care about our students, which is why discussions about the teacher residency rule and any and everything else that impacts our careers as teachers are vital.

But to truly care about and fight for the schools our students deserve, we must also live in and fight for the city that we all deserve.

Published on Catalyst Chicago