Sunday, July 15, 2012

City of the Big Shoulders – in denial of sundry things

**  Our nation’s third largest city has almost 3 million people.  Recently George Will described one aspect of it:
"In Chicago, 84 percent of African American children... are born to unmarried women."

Many, many boys running wild – with no fathers… That was the environment Barack Obama worked in as a community organizer on the South Side from 1984-88 (before heading off to law school in Boston).

The best writer on today’s urban problems – and the patriarchy needed to restore things – is Heather MacDonald.
[With an educational resume to match President Obama’s, the only thing that dampens her message is her proud atheism].
In a fascinating 2010 essay on the fatherless boys terrorizing Chicago, MacDonald makes this comment on Dreams from My Father:
"Most tellingly, Obama’s narrative is almost devoid of men. With the exception of the local ministers and the occasional semi-crazed black nationalist, Obama inhabits a female world. His organizing targets are almost all single mothers. He never wonders where and who the fathers of their children are. When Obama sees a group of boys vandalizing a building, he asks rhetorically: ‘Who will take care of them: the alderman, the social workers? The gangs?’ The most appropriate candidate—‘their fathers’—never occurs to him."
Later in the article, MacDonald states that blacks, “at least 35 percent of the [Chicago] population, commit 76 percent of all homicides; whites, about 28 percent of the population, commit 4 percent; and Hispanics, 30 percent of the population, commit 19 percent.”


**  Back in 1995, the city suffered through a July heat wave that took the lives of more than 700 residents.

[Here is an interview with the author of a book detailing the tragedy, including why the greatest percentage of victims were older black men.]

To get some perspective on the extent of the heat wave casualties:
In the great Chicago Fire (October 1871), almost a third of all residents were left homeless; but fatalities were probably less than 300.

For a high-side marker, consider Hurricane Katrina – which, seven years ago, killed 1500 people in Louisiana.
Notwithstanding the partial culpability of the city’s political leaders, Richie Daley would stick around as mayor for another decade and a half!

                                   

There were more than 40 unclaimed victims of the heat disaster [here's a photo of a father and young son praying after tossing flowers on the coffins; click on "full-size"].


**  From an essay discussing urban trends of 2000-10:
"That was a tough decade all over the United States, of course, but the Chicago region lost 7.1 percent of its jobs—the worst performance of any of the country’s ten largest metro areas. Chicago’s vaunted Loop, the second-largest central business district in the nation, did even worse, losing 18.6 percent of its private-sector jobs…"
In addition, Chicago has long had a reputation for being one of the most racist and segregated cities in America… and this article touches on the lasting effects of that sorry legacy [see Table 1].

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