Dear Mr. President: Chicago isn’t ‘carnage’, it’s a beautiful, complex city
Often, President Donald Trump speaks of black communities as worse than third world countries, believing the moment black people step outside their front door, they get shot. As a black person, I can attest, I’ve never been shot, not ever.
Recently, President Trump tweeted:
“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”
If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
The controversy was the president’s intent, to garner support from his predominately white base that black people must be controlled, because when given freedom, they just don’t know how to act appropriately.
President Trump’s tweet reeks of the racist undertones likened to President Woodrow Wilson, who once said, “Negroes are excited by a freedom they don’t understand and are not equipped to handle the demands and privileges of citizenship.”
President Trump’s history is steeped in racist sentimentality against Black people. He views this community as irresponsible, willy-nilly, and unable to thrive as Americans, without the ruling of an iron fist. Considering his track record with minorities, none of this is surprising.
For instance, President Trump once faced a housing discrimination case for not renting to African-Americans, even though they apparently met the financial criteria to rent a space in the complex. Trump eventually settled the discrimination case.
President Trump also was vehement that the five black men and one Hispanic man accused in the Central Park rape case were guilty before they even faced the court of law. After serving thirteen years in prison, another man came forward and confessed, and DNA proved those originally charged were innocent. Yet, President Trump penned to the New York Daily News about his irritation with the city for settling with the innocent men for $40 million — because to some white men like President Trump, there’s no truth that black men can be falsely accused of a crime.
Thus, Chicago is nothing but “carnage” to the president.
The president’s threat to address violence in Chicago by sending federal troops reeks of apartheid state. Democrats and Republicans alike should demand President Trump not make good on this proposed plan, because not only does it reek of a big government militia intervention, but it’s bullying and promotes racism.
As Rick Wilson said on Twitter: “If Obama had announced he was going to ‘send in the Feds’ to some red state, Republicans would rightly be losing their collective minds.”
Indeed, Chicago must effectively confront the impact of violence that is unraveling in its community. In 2016, there was a 24 percent increase in shootings and killings cited by Five Thirty Eight, based on Chicago Police Department data. This news is an abhorrent and utter tragedy. Innocent people are dying in the streets and their homes, and it’s unacceptable. But the key to cracking down on violence isn’t to retreat to an oppressive ruling. No American should be made to feel like a refugee in their community. No American should feel like a stranger, or scared in their own backyard.
Chicago is a community of more good people than bad. I know this from firsthand experience. My paternal family is from Illinois and lives in Chicago. When I visited as a child, I met lovely, hardworking, peaceful people. The people I met were proud of their city’s heritage, and proud to raise their children in this community. They love Chicago despite many failed promises from their elected officials regarding jobs, economic prosperity, and safe communities.
Here’s my advice to you, President Trump: Get serious about addressing the violence in Chicago and stop with the punch-bag rhetoric.
That means, understanding the cause of the issues. First, start with addressing reports about the decline in policy activity, as reported by Five Thirty Eight. This is not acceptable. Police need to do their jobs despite the lack of trust of law enforcement in the community, and they must comply with due diligence and within the parameters of Constitutional law.
Although the intention is good, gun control hasn’t resolved the city’s chronic gun violence. The local government must work with the federal government to take down the black market and seize all illegal guns. Investment in undercover cops is a must to track the surge in underground brokers, because innocent lives are on the line.
The government and Chicago’s elected officials also need to address the racial employment gap in Chicago. The employment rate for black men in their twenties is 47 percent — the “lowest among the major cities” — based on data from the Brookings Institute.
Instead of building more prisons, build more schools, invest in labor training and provide tax incentives for companies to create jobs in these effected areas.
President Trump, I don’t doubt your sincerity to decrease violence, but you must do so not through the lens of an oppressive force but through community engagement. Remember, black people are Americans who want an end to violence too.
Quiana Fulton is a freelance writer and has a B.A. in Political Science from American Military University. Follow her on @BlackGrlPoli or www.theblackgrlpoli.com.