WBEZ | Race Out Loud http://www.wbez.org/tags/race-out-loud Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In Chicago, neighborhoods that are too black don't gentrify http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-neighborhoods-are-too-black-dont-gentrify-110622 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/4078294934_2075aa0ed5_o-1-_vert-818749762e22fbc8b4877fdbe97cc7058dbdddf8-s51.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>So here&#39;s one way folks tend to think about gentrification in big cities: poorer (therefore: browner) neighborhood becomes more attractive to folks of more means (therefore: whiter) who are in search of lower housing costs. As more and more better-off folks move in, new amenities and fresh investment follow. And that, in turn, brings more demand for the neighborhood among potential gentrifiers, which pushes up housing costs and drives out the people of color who lived there before.</p><p>A <a href="http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/08/a-new-view-of-gentrification/" target="_blank">new study by Harvard researchers</a> suggests that there&#39;s also a racial ceiling to how neighborhoods gentrify, at least in Chicago, the city they examined. Robert Sampson and Jackelyn Hwang found that neighborhoods that are too black tend to stay that way.</p><p>&quot;It used to be referred to as &#39;white flight,&#39;&quot; Sampson said, referring to the postwar years in which whites left big cities as more blacks moved into them. &quot;But we refer to it in the paper as &#39;white avoidance&#39; &mdash; [gentrifiers are] not moving into neighborhoods where there are lots of black people. In Chicago, the [neighborhoods] that are gentrifying are the ones where there was a white working class, or Latinos, but not many blacks.&quot;</p><p>The researchers started with earlier data showing neighborhoods that appeared to be undergoing gentrification. But when they looked at those same areas more recently, they found that in areas where the population was 40 percent black, that gentrification seemed to grind to a halt.</p><p>Indeed, Sampson said that many of the neighborhoods that have become synonymous with gentrification &mdash; like the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn &mdash; actually underscore their study&#39;s findings. That neighborhood <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/05/02/fashion/20130502-WBURG.html" target="_blank">has a reputation of being a hive of hipsters</a> who moved in and displaced all the black people who lived there before. But before it gentrified, the neighborhood actually boasted a sizable Polish-American working class and a large Latino population, while its black population had always been very small. (It was about 7 percent in 1990.) Sampson said the <a href="http://nymag.com/nymetro/realestate/neighborhoods/features/11775/index2.html" target="_blank">Bed-Stuys</a> and <a href="http://nymag.com/realestate/features/48328/index4.html" target="_blank">Harlems</a> of the world &mdash; heavily black urban neighborhoods that have seen lots of whites move in &mdash; are outliers, not the rule.</p><p>The researchers used a novel method of qualitative research to determine how much change a neighborhood had experienced &mdash; a mix of Census data, surveys of thousands of Chicago residents, and Google Street View:</p><blockquote><div><p>The new research builds on a 1995 study that examined gentrification trends in nearly two dozen cities across the country, including nearly half of the census tracts in Chicago. The earlier study categorized census tracts according to how gentrified they were based on how much visible reinvestment they were seeing.</p><p>To examine whether those trends had continued, Hwang and Sampson targeted areas that had earlier been identified as gentrified and adjacent census tracts, and began using Google Street View to examine them in painstaking detail.</p></div></blockquote><p>From Google Street View, the researchers gathered visual evidence of hundreds of blocks around Chicago. They tagged evidence of new construction, renovations of existing homes, public improvements, and signs of &quot;disorder&quot; like graffiti or litter.</p><p>&quot;While gentrifiers prefer a certain level of diversity &mdash; there&#39;s a sense that gentrifiers are hip, urban pioneers &mdash; there&#39;s a kind of diversity threshold wherein gentrification goes up, but then you get to a certain level [and it stops],&quot; Sampson told me. &quot;Really segregated, less-diverse neighborhoods tend to have less gentrification over time.&quot;</p><p>Hwang said that they controlled for things like poverty, the amount of public housing, and availability of public transit, which showed that race was a key factor in how much change a neighborhood saw. That&#39;s pretty consistent with other research on race and housing, she said.</p><p>&quot;In a lot of the literature on segregation and residential preferences, studies have found that people have preferred neighborhoods with more whites and least preferred neighborhoods with all blacks &mdash; and Asians and Latinos in the middle,&quot; Hwang said.</p><p><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/" target="_blank">As Ta-Nehisi Coates&#39; blockbuster story on reparations exhaustively outlined</a>, Chicago has a particularly sordid history when it comes to race and housing. The city&#39;s policies and their consequences have contributed to deep levels of residential segregation there, and Sampson said that history continues to shape the way Chicagoans think of different neighborhoods.</p><p>&quot;[There&#39;s a] perception that predominantly black neighborhoods are higher-crime, more disorderly,&quot; he said. &quot;And that&#39;s feeding into which neighborhoods &mdash; among poor neighborhoods &mdash; are being gentrified.&quot;</p><p>Hwang said that also means that the same neighborhoods that saw massive disinvestment when they became mostly black and poor are not benefiting from the waves of new construction and new businesses that gentrification necessarily brings along with it.</p><p>&quot;What&#39;s really happening is that the neighborhoods that could use some reinvestment and renewal aren&#39;t even being touched,&quot; she said.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/08/08/338831318/chicago-neighborhoods-that-are-too-black-resist-gentrification" target="_blank">via NPR&#39;s Code Switch blog</a></em></p></p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-neighborhoods-are-too-black-dont-gentrify-110622 Racial change in Pilsen: Mi casa? Tu casa? http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/racial-change-pilsen-mi-casa-tu-casa-102030 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lead%20photo_0.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F58155809&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Just as our region was becoming more Latino over the last decade, one of Chicago&rsquo;s most quintessentially Latino neighborhoods was becoming less so. </em></p><p><em>Pilsen has been known as a Mexican community for a half century. But more than 10,000 Mexicans left the neighborhood in the last decade&mdash;that&rsquo;s a quarter of the Hispanic population there. And non-Hispanics are moving in greater numbers. </em></p><p><em>As part of our series on race, we go beneath the surface of race relations in this gentrifying neighborhood.</em></p><p>For decades, Pilsen has worn its Mexican identity on its sleeve: the pushcarts, the painted walls, neon taqueria lights. Block parties and booming ranchera music. This hasn&rsquo;t been the biggest Mexican community in Chicago for a long time, but it&rsquo;s been the heart.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve lived here 19 years. I married a Mexican artist from this neighborhood.</p><p>I see the racial change.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a new mix of people on the streets, but there&rsquo;s also an awkward separation. It&rsquo;s like two communities in the same space.&nbsp; Together, but apart.</p><p>So I wanted to ask people in Pilsen what they think about each other: What it&rsquo;s like to live in a Mexican neighborhood if you&rsquo;re not Mexican. And what the Mexicans think about the arrival of all these white folks and others.</p><p>JANESSA: Introduce myself? Hi, my name is Janessa Lopez, and I live in Pilsen. I live on 18th and Laflin, and I&rsquo;ve been in this neighborhood for just about 17 years, my whole life.</p><p>Janessa is fun and funny, she grew up playing in the alley behind her building. She boasts that she knows everybody from 16th Street to 21st. Some of that comes from sitting on the stoop outside her family&rsquo;s apartment.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/13.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" />JANESSA: Well this is where basically everybody comes and hangs out. You just greet people. All my friends come, and if there&rsquo;s a car without lights we&rsquo;ll scream, &lsquo;Your lights! Your lights!&rsquo; And then if they don&rsquo;t&rsquo; hear us, you&rsquo;ll always hear Bobby down there too. &lsquo;Your lights!&rsquo;</div><p>She told me what nearly everybody told me: that the güeros coming in is a good thing. Fewer gangs, they say. But Janessa also said this:&nbsp;</p><p>JANESSA: And I would say it&rsquo;s a not-so-good thing, because all these rents are coming up, they&rsquo;re seeing more güeros, and all of our Latino friends are leaving. I have some friends&nbsp; that recently, they moved. They lived here their whole lives, like me. But they just couldn&rsquo;t keep up with rent. And they have white people that are willing to pay more.<br /><br />Janessa&rsquo;s landlord is Mexican&mdash;it&rsquo;s her uncle, actually. These days, three college students live upstairs.</p><p>JANESSA: It&rsquo;s really different with them up there. We don&rsquo;t talk to them. They just do their thing&mdash;go to school, come back, go to school, come back. In the building we try to make a cook out, invite everybody from there&mdash;everybody else comes but them. I don&rsquo;t know if it&rsquo;s personal, or race or whatever. I keep insisting.&nbsp;</p><p>It&rsquo;s like Janessa&rsquo;s trying to knit the newcomers into a community that for her is unraveling.</p><p>CHARLIE: Oh, our neighbors have been great. They&rsquo;ve been really welcoming.</p><p>Charlie is one of Janessa&rsquo;s new upstairs neighbors. He says he loves living here. His mom used to be a teacher here, and he remembers the neighborhood from when he was a kid. He likes how people sit out in the evenings, in front of the houses. But he says that culture is not easy to join.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450Pilsen Hispanic Non Hispanic Population Graph.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(LISC/MetroEdge analysis of U.S. Decennial Census 1990-2010, Nielsen Pop-Facts 2012.1)" />I ask what it&rsquo;s like being a minority in this Mexican community.</div><p>CHARLIE: Well in this part of Pilsen I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;m a minority by much.</p><p>That&rsquo;s kind of an amazing statement. This is the very heart of Pilsen.</p><p>I told Charlie what Janessa told me. That her friends had to move out of the apartment he now lives in. They couldn&rsquo;t afford the rent he and his roommates pay.</p><p>CHARLIE: Oof. I feel bad about that. Yeah.<br />LUTTON: You probably didn&rsquo;t know that.<br />CHARLIE: Yeah, I had no idea who lived there before.</p><p>Charlie says he thinks for many newcomers, Pilsen is just a place to live while they&rsquo;re in school.</p><p>CHARLIE: I guess that&rsquo;s sort of a debate I&rsquo;ve had in my head. So is it like unfair for me to live there, if I&rsquo;m not a part of the community in that way. Does me being here sort of change the community because I don&rsquo;t have that connection? Is it bad for the community? I don&rsquo;t know. I wonder about this sometimes, you know?</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/psen.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />I keep asking Charlie about race, but his answers aren&rsquo;t about skin color or language, they&rsquo;re about community.</div><p>Questions of race are really questions of community for Janessa and her friends too. One of them told me she gets angry just seeing white people on the streets in Pilsen. She talks about Pilsen like it&rsquo;s a person, not a place. Like a family member. Pilsen has influenced me, she says.</p><p>***************</p><p>&quot;Mexicans have this great ability to make everybody feel at home. You know, mi casa es tu casa&hellip;Come on in!&quot;</p><p>That is artist Gabriel Villa. He&rsquo;s lived in Pilsen for 14 years, about a block away from Janessa. He&rsquo;s a friend of mine.</p><p>(Maybe I shouldn&rsquo;t be interviewing my friends. But maybe a stranger wouldn&rsquo;t have been as candid.) With the neighborhood changing, Gabriel says he thinks about race a lot.</p><p>&quot;I think (there) is a tension that I notice in Pilsen. And I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s about racism. I think it&rsquo;s about territory. It&rsquo;s about Mexicans not wanting to lose the Mexican culture, which people have worked really hard to create.&quot;</p><p>Lately, Pilsen feels&hellip;well, less Mexican. You hear less Spanish. Taquerias and supermarkets have closed. Vintage clothing stores, Chinese restaurants, and a Subway sandwich shop have opened up. The Mexican families that used to pack the streets have disappeared.</p><p>VILLA: I love Asian culture. I love Chinatown. But I wouldn&rsquo;t move there. Because by me moving in, I would just change the dynamics. I think it&rsquo;s OK for cultures sometimes to group themselves. Maybe that&rsquo;s really old school. I think it&rsquo;s human nature.</p><p>Gabriel is genuinely grappling with all these questions. He says he has thoughts about race that he doesn&rsquo;t even like having. He tells me about a new neighbor. She&rsquo;s lived on the block for a few months, he says. White, 20-something. She was planting flowers under the tree near Gabriel&rsquo;s apartment.</p><p>VILLA: There&rsquo;s a part of me that thinks, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s really beautiful. That&rsquo;s really beautiful. I mean, &lsquo;cause they&rsquo;re flowers!&rsquo; And then there&rsquo;s another part of me that thinks, &lsquo;Man, white people feel really comfortable anywhere.</p><p>Gabriel says that some years ago a friend visited him in Pilsen.</p><p>&quot;She said, &lsquo;You know what? When I see Mexicans here? They walk really proud.&rsquo; I knew what she was talking about. Because I think sometimes when Mexicans are the minority they kind of go inside themselves. That pride is kind of put on hold.&quot;</p><p>&quot;And that&rsquo;s, I think, back to why people, why Mexicans are territorial. It&rsquo;s because they don&rsquo;t want to lose that. They want to have a place where you&rsquo;re proud.&quot;</p><p>Gabriel says he understands why young white people are attracted to Pilsen. It&rsquo;s ethnic, artistic, different.</p><p>&quot;But what I don&rsquo;t understand is like, why don&rsquo;t you connect more with people? But I think the reason they don&rsquo;t connect is I think a lot of Mexicans don&rsquo;t connect with them either. &#39;Cause I see it in the street. I see it when Mexican families are on the sidewalk, and then white people pass by, I see them both kind of tilt their heads away from each other and avoid this kind of contact.&quot;</p><p>Two worlds in the same space.</p><p>About six houses away from Gabriel is a woman I&rsquo;ll call Katie.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8small.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />KATIE: I don&rsquo;t think it really matters that we have people who are Hispanic and people who are white. I make an effort to make friends with everyone. And I definitely noticed that when I first moved in here, people were not entirely open to me because I definitely stuck out, because I am white.&nbsp;Then, you know, they started befriending me. I would play in the hydrant with the kids, and it just doesn&rsquo;t matter.</div></div><p>KATIE: Wow, you guys are really tough!</p><p>RICKY: I could do it more higher!</p><p>It was Katie who planted the flowers outside Gabriel&rsquo;s apartment. I asked her how she thinks the neighbors on the block perceived that.</p><p>KATIE: Oh, they love it! I talked to the people whose house is in front of that little land plot, and I chose it &lsquo;cause it&rsquo;s super sunny. And they were happy to beautify it.</p><p>Katie says she loves Pilsen for its culture&hellip;<br /><br />KATIE: I would honestly be disappointed if we lost, like, the culture. And I think we would lose the culture if we lost the population density of Hispanic people in the neighborhood. It&rsquo;s ironic to say, as someone who&rsquo;s not, but I really hope it retains that.<br /><br />Of course it&rsquo;s also ironic that Katie and Gabriel want the same thing&mdash;to preserve the Mexican-ness of this neighborhood. Katie says ethnic enclaves are important, they&rsquo;re a home away from home for people, she says. But she is not conflicted about living here.</p><p>KATIE: I intend to stay here, because I really like it here. At least if it is to be gentrified, the people who are not Hispanic that do move here have respect for it and try to learn, like you know those little candies that they have in those little plastic (boxes), I know the names of all of them, and like I know my favorite is jalea. Obviously, I can&rsquo;t change the color of my skin, and I can&rsquo;t change where I come from, but I can certainly try to have pride in something that I think is really cool.</p><p>Pilsen is still around 80 percent Hispanic.</p><p>And a group of white college girls clutching purses and shopping bags still looks pretty out of place here on 19th Street.</p><p>&quot;Everybody keeps telling us to go to Lollapalooza&mdash;they don&rsquo;t understand that we&rsquo;re not here for that,&quot; one girl says.&nbsp;&quot;We&rsquo;re visiting her, she just moved in like two days ago. We&rsquo;re in Pilsen,&quot; the other says.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mbox.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Even the maillboxes tell a story in Pilsen. (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" />I suggest there might have been something racial in the Lollapalooza comments. The girl says she&rsquo;s excited about living here and &ldquo;mixing cultures.&rdquo;</div><p>&quot;I don&rsquo;t see why there should be a problem. This is America. Like, it&rsquo;s supposed to be integrated. We&rsquo;re supposed to be united. It&rsquo;s not supposed to be separated.&quot;</p><p>Lots of people would say what&rsquo;s happening in Pilsen doesn&rsquo;t feel like integration exactly. It feels like dual communities in a single space.&nbsp;</p><p>When I turn around, I realize there&rsquo;s a big audience watching &hellip; a Mexican American guy on the sidewalk, his dad relaxing under a tree on the patio, mom and sister watching from a second-floor stair. The neighbors from the back apartment are hanging around too.<br /><br />I cross the street and Rafa, who&rsquo;s about 25, points out all the houses on the block where white people live.</p><p>RAFA: Ah, starting with the red one, then this one, then this one, this one here, then the one next door, next door, next door<br />LUTTON: Noooh!<br />RAFA: I swear to God!</p><p>His dad echoes him, pointing to the houses and saying güeros, güeros, güeros.</p><p>RAFA: Yeah, look. There&rsquo;s the owner right there. You should ask him&mdash;what do you think about living with a bunch of Mexicans? (laughter) He&rsquo;s gonna say I never come outside. You never see any white people coming outside, never. But as soon as we have a block party&mdash;everybody wants to eat at someone&rsquo;s BBQ. &lsquo;How&rsquo;s it going, neighbor?&rsquo; Like, what the f---? I don&rsquo;t know you! Right? Yeah, I&rsquo;m serious!</p><p>Oh wow. I have found the Richard Pryor of Pilsen. What follows is a barrage of biting jokes, all built around race and class.</p><p>Rafa points at a white neighbor out on the sidewalk. (I&rsquo;m thinking, is this really happening??)<br /><br />RAFA: Look, he&rsquo;s gonna go inside and look out the window. Weirdo! See? Yeah, you&rsquo;re never gonna see him outside no more. Yeah! Right?<br />SHONTAY: When they do come out they come out in a group.</p><p>But seriously, I say to Rafa. What do you think of white people moving in? I&rsquo;m totally fine with it, he says. He says white people have brought a lot of positives to the neighborhood.</p><p>RAFA: All the pavement used to be cracked. The park&rsquo;s getting turf now. There was no bank right there. So, like I guess we&rsquo;ve gotta say thanks to you guys, you know? No, I&rsquo;m being serious. Like all these abandoned buildings would have still been abandoned if you guys didn&rsquo;t have good credit.<br />LUTTON: You mean me, white people?<br />RAFA: No, I&rsquo;m just saying in general! You know?</p><p>But seriously, I say. What do you really think? Your neighbors are leaving. Your new neighbors aren&rsquo;t Mexican. Rafa says he&rsquo;s not leaving, and he has no issues with anyone.</p><p>RAFA: Like I&rsquo;ve never yelled at anybody that comes in here that&rsquo;s white or said, you white this, you white that. But I&rsquo;m sure if we were to go and take a drive down there and move into a house, they would just be seeing out of the blinds. That white guy? That white guy has been living there for five years&mdash;I don&rsquo;t know his name. Como se llama? He don&rsquo;t even say hi. And walking with a Starbucks while we walk with our Dunkin&rsquo; Donuts coffee!! F--- him! Yeah! Serious, dude! That should be your question. Go knock on his door.</p><p>As we&rsquo;re talking, Rafa has said hi to just about everyone who walks by. He knows who to greet in English, who to greet in Spanish. Some kids come by, and he pulls them over. Jean is 14.</p><p>RAFA: What do you think of white people moving into Pilsen?<br />JEAN: I don&rsquo;t really have a problem with them. Good. Sure. No problem with it. I don&rsquo;t&rsquo; think anybody&rsquo;s gonna have a problem with it.</p><p>Jean says there are white people in Pilsen, they just don&rsquo;t come out much, he says.</p><p>LUTTON: Why is that, do you think?<br />JEAN: I don&rsquo;t know, maybe some stereotypical thoughts that they might have. Since, you know, we&rsquo;re Latinos. Yeah, see like&mdash;supposedly we&rsquo;re Latinos, we&rsquo;re gonna steal their stuff and stuff like that.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Part of race relations has to do with how you perceive people from other races. But another part has to do with how you think others perceive you.</div><p>As we&rsquo;ve been talking, the occasional white person rides by on a bike. &quot;That&rsquo;s who you should be interviewing!&quot; Rafa tells me. And that&rsquo;s when everyone decides to pull over the next güero.</p><p>Jean makes a prediction: the guy is gonna be scared. I stand out of the way, up on the sidewalk.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2_0.jpg" style="float: right;" title="A mural in Pilsen (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />JEAN: Hey, hey, hey bro! Hey, on the bike! Come here! We&rsquo;re gonna do an interview.</div><p>BIKER: (from a half block away) What do you want?<br />RAFA: Come here!<br />BIKER: What for?</p><p>The biker stops What do you want? He shouts from halfway down the block.</p><p>JEAN: Just come here. Hey, can we interview you?<br />BIKER: What for?<br />JEAN: Oh, my God. See? See?<br />RAFA: We&rsquo;re gonna ask the questions. You do the answering.<br />BIKER: All right then, no interview then.<br />JEAN: This is what we&rsquo;re talking about, see?</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s scared of us!&rdquo; Jean shouts.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not scared,&rdquo; the biker says. His arm is shaking.</p><p>I tell him I&rsquo;m doing a story about race relations in Pilsen. I ask some questions, but then Jean jumps in:</p><p>JEAN: How do you think about us Hispanics?<br />BIKER: I don&rsquo;t know&mdash;they&rsquo;re just like every other people. You got an awesome heritage. I mean, Mesoamerica was dope.</p><p>Jean tells the biker he thinks he would have reacted differently if the people pulling him over had been white.</p><p>BIKER: You have some assumptions about me now.<br />JEAN: It seems like you were kind of like thinking we were gonna do something to you.<br />BIKER: Maybe I&rsquo;m just a paranoid person in general. Do you think I have friends that are Mexican or Hispanic?<br />JEAN: I don&rsquo;t think so.<br />BIKER: Why not?<br />JEAN: &#39;Cause if you did, I don&rsquo;t think you would have answered the way you did to us. And we&rsquo;re just kids. Come on.</p><p>Jean and the biker are talking, but I&rsquo;m not sure they&rsquo;re getting to any sort of understanding. Jean is just a kid. Just out of 8th grade. The way he sees it, his assumptions about white people have just been confirmed.</p><p>I talk to the biker for a while by myself. He says he&rsquo;s lived in Pilsen for seven years. He started out on the more gentrified side and has moved further and further west.</p><p>LUTTON: Do you feel any tension here?</p><p>BIKER: Well, yeah, I mean. Of course I feel tension. A lot of people I think have gentrification on their mind. So, there&rsquo;s always like that stigma&hellip;.</p><p>The biker says he notices the increase in white people here. He calls it a drag. He says Mexicans have built up the neighborhood and given it an identity.</p><p>BIKER: &nbsp;And now we&rsquo;re slowly going to have more people come in and maybe&mdash;I don&rsquo;t know&mdash;take that down. And granted, I&rsquo;m one of them, but um&hellip; it&rsquo;s mixed feelings, &lsquo;cause Pilsen&rsquo;s an awesome place, and you don&rsquo;t want to see it change.</p><p>Oddly, people of every race told me that.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9.1.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 30 Aug 2012 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/racial-change-pilsen-mi-casa-tu-casa-102030 Afro Fusion at The Shrine http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/afro-fusion-shrine-101516 <p><p><span itemprop="description">All summer WBEZ and vocalo have been talking about race&mdash;out loud, and on the air, in frank conversations and stories, and in lively public events.<br /><br />We figure it&#39;s now time to have a party!<br /><br />One of our stories focused on nightlife segregation. In August, there will be an on-air conversation about the relationship between Chicago Africans and Chicago African Americans.</span><br /><br /><span itemprop="description">From those stories, we see an opening.<br /><br />WBEZ and Vocalo are media sponsor of The Shrine&rsquo;s &ldquo;Afro Fusion&rdquo; featuring Nigerian DJs Dee Money and 3K. This is an opportunity for folks in the region to step out of their comfort zone...onto the dance floor.<br /><br />Check out our Race: Out Loud content here -- <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud" rel="nofollow nofollow" target="_blank"><span>http://www.wbez.org/</span><wbr />series/race-out-loud</a></span></p><div class="text_exposed_root text_exposed" id="id_50217481678cf5961186221">&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/afro-fusion-shrine-101516 Race and construction: Who gets the jobs? http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/race-and-construction-who-gets-jobs-101415 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LEADP2.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div></div><p>One of the most serious opportunity gaps when it comes to race is around who gets jobs. The unemployment rate for African Americans in the Chicago area is more than 17 percent--nearly twice the rate for whites. For Latinos, it&#39;s around 13 percent. With numbers like that, most governments around here still have programs to get more minority contractors into the hiring pool.</p><p>As part of our Race: Out Loud series, we ask: Are opportunities for construction work equal among different races and who monitors these programs to ensure fairness?</p><p>Next time you&rsquo;re stuck in traffic because of road construction, check out how diverse the workers are. Or look at who&rsquo;s on the scaffoldings when you pass a new building being built.</p><p>On Chicago&rsquo;s South Side commuters are bracing for next year when the Chicago Transit Authority&rsquo;s Red Line shuts down for reconstruction, But for all the anger or annoyance commuters might have, others see it as an opportunity to get in on some big money.</p><p>Earlier this week he CTA and the Urban League put together a and greet for minority contractors so they could get face time with representatives of some of the construction giants &ndash; the ones who get a lot of the major jobs.</p><p>Well over a hundred people came out. Some were just looking for a job &ndash; even though it wasn&rsquo;t a job fair. Others were subcontractors with a special skill.</p><p>Almost everyone was African American.</p><p>DEREK ANTHONY: What I&rsquo;m looking to get is either a business opportunity or a job on the project. To be included on this South Side big money project.</p><p>GALE BROWN: A lot of minority contractors have been left out. Ok? And it&rsquo;s a known fact and it&rsquo;s very sad about that.</p><p>MELVIN CLARK: It&rsquo;s also important that we also hire people to make sure our workforce looks like the ridership.</p><p>MICHAEL EVANS: You have to network and get out to functions like this to find out about different projects.<br />&nbsp;<br />Michael Evans does electrical work and runs Evans Electric. He says he&rsquo;s worked with the CTA before&hellip;on security cameras at El stops.<br />&nbsp;<br />Minority contract goals are nothing new.<br />&nbsp;<br />Chicago&rsquo;s program was created in 1985 to spread out the work and to give people who have historically been discriminated against a fighting chance for contracts. But after decades there are still questions as to whether the programs are doing what they&rsquo;re supposed to do.<br />&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CONSTRUCTION%20SITE.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />Evans says for minority-owned firms like his, the minority participation goals, &quot;They get you to the table. But ultimately it comes down to what you do once you get there.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/redsouth/">The CTA expects that the Red Line project will cost about $425 million dollars.</a> And of that, it wants 25-to-30 percent of the value to go to minorities. That&rsquo;s about average for government contracts around Chicago.</div></div><p>&nbsp;<br />But three African-American Congressmen recently accused Metra of being racially insensitive for not setting higher local goals on a bridge and rail repair project running through Englewood.</p><p>U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush led the charge.&nbsp; &quot;That was shameful and disgraceful on its face. And therefore, we went into action,&quot; he said.<br />&nbsp;<br /><a href="http://metrarail.com/content/dam/metra/documents/Board_Information/2012/July2012/Construction%20Services%20for%20the%20CREATE%20Project%20Item%201.pdf">When Metra awarded the $93 million dollar contract to Elgin-based IHC Construction</a>, Rush held a news conference with the president of IHC, David Rock.<br />&nbsp;<br />It was an event made for the media but hardly any reporters attended. ABC 7&rsquo;s Charles Thomas was there and asked Rock&hellip;<br />&nbsp;<br />THOMAS: On the bottom line, are there going to be people from Englewood, African-American people from Englewood, actually out there working on this job?</p><p>ROCK: Yeah, I do believe there will be.<br />&nbsp;<br />Still, Rush and other organizers seemed skeptical. Several times they said that they&rsquo;d be tracking Metra and IHC Construction to make sure they&rsquo;re following through on promises. That level of distrust is also common from minority business owners. And they aren&rsquo;t the only ones who wonder if the execution is even close to the intent.<br />&nbsp;<br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />&quot;The answer is, don&rsquo;t know if it&rsquo;s working,&quot; said Joe Ferguson, the city&#39;s inspector general <a href="http://chicagoinspectorgeneral.org/major-initiatives/mwbe-oversight/">who has spent the last few years investigating the City of Chicago&rsquo;s minority contracting system</a>. In two harshly worded reports &ndash; <a href="http://chicagoinspectorgeneral.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Report_MWBE-ProgramReview.pdf">one in 2010 </a>and <a href="http://chicagoinspectorgeneral.org/publications-and-press/public-reports/pbc-response-to-igo-report-on-mwbe-participation-on-pbc-projects/">another in 2011</a> &ndash; Ferguson detailed fraud and mismanagement. He says most of his time and staff could be aimed at just this issue.<br />&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">Ferguson&rsquo;s reports zeroed in on the fact that Chicago wasn&rsquo;t tracking how many women or minorities actually got contracts. It was tracking just the goals set at the beginning of projects. So if a contract said it would have 25 percent minority participation, Ferguson couldn&rsquo;t say whether that number actually panned out.</div></div><p>He also found that goals for minority participation were unrealistically high. And he found that not enough was being done to crack down on front companies &ndash; firms that said they were minority-owned, but didn&rsquo;t do any work.<br />&nbsp;<br />These reports come as unemployment rates for African-Americans and Latinos remain far above those of whites. And Ferguson says all those flaws have consequences.</p><p>&quot;What we&rsquo;re talking about on some level is a program that involves the expenditure of billions of dollars in taxpayer money on the one hand and maybe one of the two or three most important socio-economic and social justice issues that exist for any major city. And yet we&rsquo;ve never examined whether or not it&rsquo;s actually doing what it&rsquo;s supposed to do,&quot; Ferguson said.<br />&nbsp;<br />Ferguson says in the last year and a half, since Rahm Emanuel became mayor, some new efforts could help turn things around.</p><p>Jamie Rhee heads <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dps.html">the city&rsquo;s Department of Procurement</a>. She says Ferguson&rsquo;s critical reports have been signposts for improvement. Rhee says since most minority contractors run small shops, a new city program will block large firms from bidding on smaller contracts. Another gives incentives to companies that use products assembled in the city.<br />&nbsp;<br />&quot;What we have to make sure is that everybody has equal access to government. Again, that it&rsquo;s fair. It&rsquo;s open, transparent,&quot; Rhee said. Rhee also says her department has visited more than 60 construction sites this year to make sure the rules of the contract are being followed.</p><p>&quot;I think we can always do more and the mayor is committed to that. We will never stop improving this program,&quot; she said.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">But Inspector General Ferguson says the responsibility to get minority contractors a fair share of the work doesn&rsquo;t stop with Rhee, or even the mayor&rsquo;s office. He says the City Council should be doing more to see if people from their wards are getting an equal crack at jobs from <a href="http://www.pbcchicago.com/">public building projects</a>.</div><p>&quot;When our office, for example, issues a report that says there is pervasive fraud and when you have indictment after indictment by the U.S. Attorney&rsquo;s office of crooked contractors based on investigations done by our office, there should be hearings held. There should be questions asked,&quot; he said.<br />&nbsp;<br />But Ferguson says Chicago aldermen haven&rsquo;t held one public hearing looking into the fraud he&rsquo;s documented.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6_1.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><br />&nbsp;<br />One alderman said they bring up issues at annual budget hearings and minority participation comes up on individual contracts at some council meetings. Alderman Walter Burnett says the City Council has tried to make improvements. But he says pressure to legislate tighter rules sometimes hurts legit minority contractors because then they have more red tape to work through.<br />&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;It makes us push legislation that makes it even harder for minorities to even be certified &lsquo;cause of the guys who did the fraud,&quot; Burnett said.</div></div><p>&nbsp;Jorge Perez, who runs <a href="http://http://www.haciaworks.org/">an organization that helps mostly Hispanic contractors</a>, say fraud or no fraud, minority contracting programs get work to people who might not otherwise be employed. Because when it comes down to it, the attitude of most every black or Latino contractor interviewed for this story said that without minority requirements, they would not get the jobs.</p></p> Thu, 02 Aug 2012 12:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/race-and-construction-who-gets-jobs-101415 A decade on, coaches try to bridge racial divide http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/decade-coaches-try-bridge-racial-divide-101330 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/stcover.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75050192&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>When it comes to race relations, something as simple as a handshake can become a flashpoint. That&rsquo;s what happened about 10 years ago on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. Two youth basketball coaches &mdash; one white, the other black &mdash; were supposed to shake hands after their teams played. But, when one extended his hand, the other refused. The incident fueled tensions that had the black coach&rsquo;s school withdrawing from the league. For more than a decade, the men held hard feelings about each other. For our series, &ldquo;Race: Out Loud,&rdquo; we invited them to sit down to see if they could reach any sort of reconciliation. But, first, WBEZ&rsquo;s Chip Mitchell spoke with each separately to hear what led to that moment on the court.</p><p>MITCHELL: The African American coach is a guy named Christopher Mallette. In 2001, he headed athletics at St. Sabina in Chicago&rsquo;s Auburn Gresham neighborhood. Mallette wanted to give his flag-football players some tackle experience. And he wanted to give something to St. Sabina players of every sport.</p><p>MALLETTE: Exposure.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;The parish had been mostly black since the 1960s.</p><p>MALLETTE: We just thought, broaden the horizon of players, also the families involved.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;So Mallette proposed that the school join the Southside Catholic Conference. That was a multisport league for grades five through eight. The league&rsquo;s schools &mdash; there were 21 &mdash; they were on the South Side and in a few suburbs nearby. Most of the league&rsquo;s players were white. But Mallette says he didn&rsquo;t expect much resistance to St. Sabina joining.</p><p>MALLETTE: We had every indication that it was a no-brainer. We were a big parish. No issue paying fees and dues and fielding teams and equipment. We&rsquo;re ready to roll.</p><p>FITZGERALD: There was a pride, saying, &lsquo;Hey, St. Sabina wants to join our league.&rsquo;</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;Tom Fitzgerald is the white coach. He headed athletics at St. Linus in Oak Lawn, a suburb 15 miles away. That parish included some families who lived near St. Sabina before the neighborhood turned black.</p><p>FITZGERALD: People were saying, &lsquo;Oh, that&rsquo;s great.&rsquo; You felt like, &lsquo;This was the parish that we lived in when we were kids.&rsquo; I thought it was kind of contagious.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;But it wasn&rsquo;t.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SABINA%20BLDG_0.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Mallette headed athletics at the Faith Community of St Sabina in Chicago's Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>FITZGERALD: I can&rsquo;t identify the source. I can tell you that I did see some unofficial police reports of the crime rate over there in the St. Sabina neighborhood. And they showed some numbers &mdash; between assaults, robberies &mdash; and people are getting nervous now, saying, &lsquo;Well, we&rsquo;re not sending our wives and kids over there&rsquo; &mdash; really concerned for their safety.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;League officials voted 11 to 9 against allowing St. Sabina to join. Fitzgerald cast one of the votes to keep the parish out.</p><p>FITZGERALD: My explanation and rationale behind my vote was that I would not tell people that we would go over to St. Sabina and play and then not show up. To me, that&rsquo;s wrong. And when the vote came in for no the floodgates opened. I could not believe the amount media attention that this received.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TRIBUNE.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette says too much of the attention sided with the white parishes.</div><p>MALLETTE: If your real concern was crime, the crime that was occurring was black-on-black crime. There were no people waiting in their lair here, to jump out of their lair, and rob the families that were coming to play a basketball game.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">MITCHELL:&nbsp;League officials offered compromises. Fitzgerald says he wanted St. Sabina to play at a neutral site for a year or two before hosting games.</div><p><br />FITZGERALD: I honestly felt people would go over there, once the ice was broken. I know how good the people from this neighborhood are &mdash; how genuine and sincere they are. We could have weaned ourselves into a very healthy relationship. But when you force people to go over there, you&rsquo;re going to get resistance.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;St. Sabina rejected the compromise offers. Here&rsquo;s Mallette.<br /><br />MALLETTE: I actually had coaches and athletic directors from other SCC schools, point blank, say, &lsquo;This is about race.&rsquo; And they saw our entrance into the Southside Catholic Conference as an invasion, if you will, of their feeder program to the schools they traditionally went to. I had a coach tell me, &lsquo;I think you&rsquo;re a good guy but you got to understand, at the end of the day, we would rather have Jimmy playing quarterback &mdash; at St. Lawrence or Brother Rice or Marist or wherever &mdash; than Jermaine.&rsquo;<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I said the only way I would consider changing our vote after we had talked about it is if the cardinal called me &mdash; jokingly I said that. Next day, the cardinal calls me at home. I have really put myself in a predicament there.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;The league reversed itself and let St. Sabina in. Many schools gave a warm welcome. But there were flare-ups. At one game, some white parents had it out with St. Sabina&rsquo;s pastor. He&rsquo;s an outspoken white priest named Michael Pfleger. After another game, a St. Sabina player accused a kid on the other team of calling him the N-word. And there was the handshake incident. Fitzgerald says Mallette had refused to shake his hand after a league meeting months earlier.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I&rsquo;m just there, like, &lsquo;You know Chris? Two can play this game.&rsquo;<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Fitzgerald waited until the two faced off as basketball coaches and the game ended.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">FITZGERALD: The players line up first, then the coaches.</div><br /><br /><p>MALLETTE: You greet the opposite coach.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: A handshake is just a sign of respect.<br /><br />MALLETTE: You joke back and forth a little bit.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: It&rsquo;s just truly about sportsmanship.<br /><br />MALLETTE: It&rsquo;s just part of the fraternity of coaches and part of what you do.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I was the last one in line. I shook all the kids&rsquo; hands. I shook his assistant coach&rsquo;s hand. And he extended his hand. I just went up to him, kind of got close, put my hand on his shoulder. I congratulated him about a good game but I refused to shake his hand.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And I called, &lsquo;Coach! Coach!&rsquo; I think he looked over his shoulder and kept going.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I made sure that I did not make a spectacle out of it.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LINUS.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MALLETTE: The kids from St. Sabina saw that. You know what? I&rsquo;m sure the kids from St. Linus saw that also. I know the parents from St. Sabina saw it and they were sitting in the stands right next to the parents from St. Linus.</div><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;The St. Sabina parents eventually decided they&rsquo;d had enough. Just before the playoffs, they voted to pull their school out of the league. They said it was a matter of protecting their integrity. But the whole experience left Fitzgerald feeling burned.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I&rsquo;ll tell you, the people who know me and the people I represented backed me up. And that meant more to me than anything else.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;He dabs his eyes.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: You know, I&rsquo;m not a racist. And I&rsquo;m just like, &lsquo;God, that&rsquo;s just mean.&rsquo; Discrimination is not right. Being a racist isn&rsquo;t right. But I&rsquo;m being accused of something that I&rsquo;m furthest from being. And that bothered me.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Despite the feelings, the coaches never saw fit to speak with each other about why they didn&rsquo;t shake hands &mdash; and about why the effort to put St. Sabina in the Southside Catholic Conference failed. More than 10 years passed. This summer we invited them to sit down together.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene):&nbsp;Thanks so much to both of you for agreeing to talk.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;The conversation lasted almost two hours. Christopher Mallette said his players &mdash; the St. Sabina kids &mdash; he said they learned something from playing the white teams that season.<br /><br />MALLETTE: None of our kids could sincerely say they could brand the South Side Irish as racist because they met so many good coaches, so many good parents, principals, nuns, priests. There was an exposure there. You can&rsquo;t stereotype any longer.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: There had to have been a way to make this work .<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Tom Fitzgerald said race was never the issue for his Oak Lawn parish.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LINUS%20BLDG_0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Fitzgerald headed athletics at St. Linus Parish in Oak Lawn, a suburb just southwest of Chicago. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />FITZGERALD: I wish the test of time would have had an opportunity to allow St. Sabina to stay in. Unfortunately, some walls were built, intentionally or unintentionally, that prevented us all from trying to get that done.</div><br /><br /><p>MALLETTE: I think what hurt St. Sabina most deeply was that so few, if any, or no people from other parishes who stood up and said, &lsquo;You know what? We&rsquo;re standing with you here.&rsquo; And there&rsquo;s also a sense of nostalgia, I think.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: My parents, I mean, there are people my age who had their first few years of grade school at St. Sabina.<br /><br />MALLETTE: Yeah.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That whole area over there.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And, if you even look at where the South Side Irish Parade began, it began at St. Sabina.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Over on 79th Street.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And it went down 79th Street. But you also look at white flight. And when white flight took place and a lot of the South Side folks moved out of those parish communities and moved a little bit further south, a little bit further west. And, at that time, the adults and coaches were kids. They were the kids around the table.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That&rsquo;s where I was born.<br /><br />MALLETTE: Yeah, &lsquo;Why are we moving?&rsquo; And you&rsquo;re told, &lsquo;Crime.&rsquo; And the only thing that you see is black people moving in so, psychologically, you equate black people with crime.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Generically I will agree with that comment but it depends upon how you were brought up too.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette told Fitzgerald the white schools weren&rsquo;t the only ones worried about safety.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SABINA.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MALLETTE: I received letters telling us that someone was going to put a bullet into a kid&rsquo;s back when they show up from the Aryan Nation. We were getting all types of things. We were getting phone calls.</div><br /><br /><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette also talked about what it was like for St. Sabina people to travel to a white parish.</p><p>MALLETTE: We actually got pulled over, we actually got racially profiled, going to a meeting with the athletic board. And that was the one thing I had mentioned and everyone had laughed and shrugged off, &lsquo;That will never happen.&rsquo; And it was a meeting to talk about our kid being called the N-word at a basketball game. And here you get pulled over and you have citizens come out of their homes, cheering the police on. While myself, the father, the mother and the 13-year-old kid are spread eagle with their hands on the trunk of a car, trying to find this meeting place.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That&rsquo;s wrong. I didn&rsquo;t walk in your shoes. For everything that you went through that year, those were shoes that were probably very difficult to walk in.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;I brought up what happened between the two men on that basketball court &mdash; the handshake that didn&rsquo;t happen. Fitzgerald pointed to Mallette&rsquo;s slight from months earlier. Mallette said he didn&rsquo;t remember it.<br /><br />MALLETTE: If I did shun you there, Tom, I apologize. That shouldn&rsquo;t have happened.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BASKETBALL_1.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><br /><br />FITZGERALD: Nor should I have shunned you back. That&rsquo;s not what I want to teach my sons.<br /><br />MALLETTE: That&rsquo;s really the most important thing is that our kids get better and do better than we do.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Absolutely.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And I think a large part of that is to see not just all of our successes and all of our trophies and diplomas on the wall but to have honest conversations with our children about where we fell short.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: And maybe shame on some people for not standing by you and saying, &lsquo;Hey, let&rsquo;s try to understand really what&rsquo;s going on here.&rsquo;<br /><br />MALLETTE: Right.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: We missed that opportunity.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">MITCHELL:&nbsp;After talking &mdash; seeing each other for the first time since that basketball season a decade ago &mdash; Tom Fitzgerald and Christopher Mallette got up to leave. They shook hands and said goodbye.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 10:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/decade-coaches-try-bridge-racial-divide-101330 Chicago's segregated nightlife: Why don't we play together? http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/chicagos-segregated-nightlife-why-dont-we-play-together-101272 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2%20Nightlife%20Segregation%20-%20Bill%20Healy.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>When we think of segregation in Chicago, schools and housing are the most obvious examples. But racial divisions also are apparent when it comes to partying in the greater downtown area.</p><p>On a recent Friday night, women in stilettos and groups of men enjoying a guy&rsquo;s night out jam Rush Street. Bars and nightclubs overflow with patrons. This strip is hot for locals and tourists alike.&nbsp;But there&rsquo;s just a sprinkling of black and brown faces. Those faces certainly belie Chicago&rsquo;s diverse population. Then again, given that Chicagoans live so separately, this segregation probably shouldn&rsquo;t be a surprise.</p><p>But we&rsquo;re not talking neighborhoods. I&rsquo;m in the thick of one of the most vibrant nightclub scenes in the city. &nbsp;And the separation has led to sparks, complaints and lawsuits.</p><p>I stop in front of the club Proof.&nbsp;Earlier this year the owner here fired a bartender for her racist Facebook rants against black customers. Race-tinged incidents are hard to quantify - but they are hardly isolated. Last summer a white general manager was fired from Fuze in Lincoln Park. She sued the owner in federal court, claiming the club used illegal tactics to limit the number of black male customers. According to the attorney for that manager, the lawsuit was settled. The agreement doesn&rsquo;t allow either party to comment.</p><p>GILMORE: When that went public, I was like, I&rsquo;ve been telling you all that for years. It just takes somebody in the inside to say it.</p><p>Teddy Gilmore is a black party promoter who caters to the African-American, under 30, college-educated set. He cheekily refers to himself as the expert in race and nightlife in Chicago.</p><p>GILMORE: The black male has the toughest time. I see a lot of people go to a place called Underground here. I watch them outside. They can&rsquo;t get in and they don&rsquo;t understand why. But other people are walking straight in. I&rsquo;ve been in the nightlife for 17 years for me. Doesn&rsquo;t matter if I&rsquo;m in the industry, doesn&rsquo;t matter. It&rsquo;s not a racial thing, but they have a ratio of how many black people they actually want to come in the club.</p><p>I can&rsquo;t tell you what club owners like Billy Dec of the Underground and others think. They never returned my phone calls. In fact, it&rsquo;s a sensitive subject for anyone in the industry.</p><p><strong>Chicagoans can tell you about discrimination....so can visitors.</strong></p><p>In 2009, the owners of Original Mother&#39;s nightclub reached a settlement with six out-of-town black college students. The students said the club used a dress code against baggy pants to racially profile them -- when they switched pants with their white friends, the white guys--in those same baggy pants--got in.</p><p>Baggy attire was also a problem for a black male customer at the upscale sports bar Market in the West Loop. He said he wasn&rsquo;t admitted because his pants were too baggy. He protested that bouncers allowed white patrons with the same attire in without pause.&nbsp;He took his grievance to the city.&nbsp;According to documents from the Commission on Human Relations obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, there was enough evidence to proceed with a case.</p><p>But the patron and Market settled this year and, again, neither party can comment.</p><p>Kenneth Gunn is first deputy commissioner with the city human relations commission.</p><p>GUNN: &nbsp;If it looks like the rules are targeting one group of people, then that&rsquo;s what we have trouble with.</p><p>He says he&rsquo;s noticed an uptick in club complaints over race matters. Six cases between 2009-10. More than ever before, and those are just the ones with a resolution.&nbsp;</p><p>GUNN: One of the complainants was denied entry because he had braids. The way the hearing officer looked at the case and our board ultimately decided, who&rsquo;s going to have braids? Who wears their hair in that style? Primarily African Americans. By having a no-braid rule, you&rsquo;re going to exclude a group of people. So it has a disparate impact on African Americans.</p><p>The commission does have the authority to fine establishments if they&rsquo;re found to discriminate. &nbsp;But Gunn says the commission decided to hand out a flier to nightclubs, reminding them that things like dress codes and admittance policies must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner.</p><p>***</p><p>A waiter at NoMi, a rooftop bar on Michigan Avenue explains the summer craft cocktail list. I&rsquo;m with Audarshia Townsend, known as the 312 Dining Diva. She covers nightlife and hears many complaints.&nbsp;</p><p>TOWNSEND: Mostly African American, Latin and even Indian promoters have the biggest complaints. They cannot get their own groups into these places, these mainstream places, especially when they&rsquo;re hot and they&rsquo;re fresh and they&rsquo;re brand new. Say five, six years down the line when the club isn&rsquo;t the hottest thing in the city anymore, that&rsquo;s when they&rsquo;ll let them in, basically when the club is on its way out.</p><p>Townsend insists a downtown club that embraces diversity--is possible and it happened here.&nbsp;</p><p>TOWNSEND: One of the best places, it was at the forefront of trying to change the diversity and nightlife in Chicago was Funky Buddha Lounge and that was in the late 90s.<br />RUSSO: It was bliss really. I had this idea of creating an upscale environment and being able to play music that was before Funky Buddha was being played in underground spots.</p><p>Joe Russo, who is white, owned Funky Buddha until 1998. Today he owns The Shrine, a club and live music venue in the South Loop. Its name is homage to late Afro-pop superstar Fela&rsquo;s Nigerian club. On this Tuesday afternoon, Shrine employees move furniture to prepare for hip-hop group Dead Prez.</p><p>On many nights, The Shrine boasts a diverse crowd. Russo says other nightclub owners don&rsquo;t always see the value of diversity.</p><p>RUSSO: The biggest obstacle in creating a diverse venue is conquering the fears that have been sort of set up in society to keep people divided. A lot of times people, if they don&rsquo;t know what something&rsquo;s like, they go on the typical stereotypical opinion of what things should be.</p><p>Fortunately, again, with The Shrine live music helps conquer those fears.</p><p>Across town, Joel Barnes is the general manager of Lumen, a nightclub off of west Fulton Street. It&rsquo;s the middle of the day, lights on, slate-colored couches in full view. They&rsquo;ll be danced on later. Barnes has worked in the club scene in Chicago for years and says there&rsquo;s a troubling undercurrent to the racial profiling he&rsquo;s seen.</p><p>BARNES: I know that there are racist owners. I know there are racist managers, racist bartenders, racist servers, racist people in Chicago period. But that&rsquo;s just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately. Unfortunately, what people don&rsquo;t understand is that people that are put into the power in these businesses sometimes are just doing what the population of people want.</p><p>Barnes says he works hard to maintain a coolness factor at Lumen and that brings diversity.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20Nightlife%20Segregation%20-%20Bill%20Healy.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>Teddy Gilmore, the longtime black promoter, has had his share of run-ins with law enforcement and skittish venue owners.&nbsp;He once picketed a downtown Chicago hotel that reneged on a contract because he says management feared so-called gang activity.</p><p>Gilmore says he has an easier time when he throws parties across the country and overseas.</p><p>GILMORE: I&rsquo;d be a millionaire ten times over if Chicago wasn&rsquo;t the way it was.</p><p>But the issue is bigger than money for Gilmore.</p><p>GILMORE: People say &lsquo;oh, it&rsquo;s just a party.&rsquo; And while that may well be true, there&rsquo;s more to it than that. Because you have to also be able to see the different things that are going on. How the people are actually looking at you, how people are judging you.</p><p>Gilmore says some club owners really believe their business will be undermined by having too many African Americans inside. &nbsp;That, he says, is a messed up state of mind.</p></p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 17:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/chicagos-segregated-nightlife-why-dont-we-play-together-101272 How one blind woman sees race http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/how-one-blind-woman-sees-race-101281 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/beth%20finke%20and%20her%20seeing%20eye%20dog%20whitney.jpg" title="Writer Beth Finke and her seeing eye dog. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>I lost my sight when I was 26 years old. I didn&#39;t see the planes go into the Twin Towers. I have never seen Barack Obama. Mitt Romney, either, come to think of it.</p><p>Blindness doesn&rsquo;t bring a whole lot of advantages. So I relish the ones I have.</p><p>I walk arm in arm with people all the time. My dog goes with me everywhere. And when friends drive me somewhere? We park in handicapped parking!</p><p>Best of all, I can&rsquo;t judge people by the way they look. Fat, skinny, beautiful, homely, young, old, white, black &ndash; it&rsquo;s all the same to me.</p><p>Without being able to see them, I&#39;m left to judge people &ldquo;not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.&rdquo;</p><p>From what I&rsquo;m told, my friends these days have many different skin colors. I don&rsquo;t always realize this when I first meet them.</p><p>When we were living in Champaign, in central Illinois, it could be hard to get out of the bubble. A friend invited us to a party there once and insisted that if we knew anyone new, we better bring them along to give the party some punch. We&#39;d known David and Audrey for a year by then, and when I suggested we invite them to come, my husband agreed and said, &quot;They&#39;d be happy to have some black people there.&quot;</p><p>I was stunned. &quot;David and Audrey are black?&quot; By then I&#39;d met David&#39;s mom, gone to book readings with the two of them, had dinner at their house. It never occurred to me to think about what color their skin was.</p><p>We moved to Chicago in 2003. More people, more backgrounds, more colors. I clung to my naïveté. A friend invited me to join her book club, and I participated for months before discovering I was the only one who wasn&#39;t Jewish.</p><p>In those early months in Chicago I would show up at the health club, say hi to Rich behind the desk, grab my locker key.</p><p>A year passed before I found out there were two different men named Rich working there. I thought it was always the same guy.&nbsp;</p><p>Baseball season cleared this up. Rich would walk me over to the lap pool and we&rsquo;d talk about his favorite team, the Twins. The next day he&rsquo;d settle my seeing eye dog behind the desk and marvel about the pitching staff on his favorite team, the White Sox. They both laughed when I confessed my confusion. Baseball wasn&rsquo;t the only thing differentiating these two. The Twins fan was single and in his 20s. The Sox fan was married, had a few kids, and was in his thirties. Twins fan was white, Sox fan was black.</p><p>Twin fan Rich left years ago for a job in the theatre. Sox fan Rich stayed on at the club.</p><p>None of us knew that Sox fan Rich had been one of the thousands of African-Americans who had taken the Chicago Fire Department&#39;s entrance exam in 1995. He passed all the requirements, but because of the way the exam was scored, he and most of the other African-Americans were passed over for the fire department jobs. Now, thanks to a court ruling on a massive class action lawsuit, Rich has left the health club to train to become a firefighter. As much as we all miss him at the club, it sure feels good to know that someone as fit, caring, kind and smart as Rich will soon be someone we can count on at the Chicago Fire Department.</p><p>I don&rsquo;t hear people discussing race when I eavesdrop at coffee shops. I don&rsquo;t feel racism in the streets I&rsquo;m on. Even when people tell me what color they are, it can be hard to remember. I lose track.</p><p>Blindness did not leave me thoughtless, though. I listen to the radio. My talking computer reads newspapers out loud. I know about that boy who was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida. But unless something happens to someone near me, like Rich, I don&rsquo;t always, well, see it.</p><p>People work a lifetime to overcome visual prejudices, and while I&rsquo;m not always sure blindness has given me an advantage, I try to use it as&nbsp; a handicap. I like to think I&rsquo;m ahead of the race.</p><p><em>Beth Finke is a Chicago writer &nbsp;and the author of the memoir </em>Long Time, No See<em> and the children&#39;s book </em>Safe and Sound<em>.</em></p></p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/how-one-blind-woman-sees-race-101281 Worldview 7.24.12 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/worldview-72412-101135 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img about="" africa.="" alt="" ap="" believes="" blood="" bros.="" class="image-original_image" common="" exemplifies="" film="" films="" higgins="" hollywood="" jaap="" maryellen="" modern="" photo="" professor="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/blood%20diamond_1.jpg" the="" title="A farmer (Djimon Hounsou), a smuggler (Leonardo DiCaprio) match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond in the film " to="" warner="" western="" /></div><p>For nearly a century, Hollywood portrayed Africa and Africans through the lens of overt racism. As part of <em>Worldview</em>&rsquo;s occasional series, <em>Images, Movies and Race, </em>produced&nbsp;in conjunction with WBEZ&rsquo;s <em>Race: Out Loud</em> series, film contributor&nbsp;Milos Stehlik sits in for Jerome McDonnell and&nbsp;hosts a series of discussions about how modern Hollywood films on Africa hide racist overtones within heroic, feel-good stories.</p><p>First, we talk with MaryEllen Higgins, author of the forthcoming book <em>Hollywood&rsquo;s Africa after 1994</em>.</p><p>Then, we look at the Eurocentric treatment of genocide through the popular film <em>Hotel Rwanda,</em> with Joyce Ashuntantang, an actress and professor at the University of Hartford.</p><p>And, we take a big-picture look at representation in cinema with renowned professor and filmmaker Jill Godmilow.</p></p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 08:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/worldview-72412-101135 Louder Than a Bomb: 'What Black People Say to Racist Republicans' http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/louder-bomb-what-black-people-say-racist-republicans-101030 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/LTAB2012_TEAMEnglewoodTEAM.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Poets Keith Warfield, Jeremy Johnson, Myara Robinson, and Melana Bass were all seniors at TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School when they competed in the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival in the Spring of 2012 representing their high school.<br /><br />They wrote &#39;What Black People Say to Racist Republicans&#39; as a response to then recent comments by several Republican candidates involved in the 2012 Presidential race.<br /><br /><br /><em>&quot;I understand that blacks aren&#39;t the best swimmers,<br />or may not even know how to swim.&quot; - Tramm Hudson<br /><br />I can remember a time when my ancestors<br />would wade in the waters.<br />When flesh exposed to salty H2O<br />Oh, no you didn&#39;t think my kind couldn&#39;t swim!?<br /><br />Jumpin&#39; the Amistad ship,<br />we swam.<br /><br />Through the buoyancy of poverty.<br />We swim.<br /><br />Think that nigger can&#39;t swim?<br />He can.<br />His cousin Katrina taught him valuable lessons.<br /><br />Republicans,<br />you are drowning in a pool of statistics<br />so we will be your lifeguards.<br /><br />Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation<br />as we hold the patience to<br />prevent the fall of a nation<br />by preventing your suffocation.</em><br /><br /><br />***<br /><br />Each week, WBEZ features a poem from the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/ltab">Louder Than a Bomb</a> collection that explores the issue of race. We offer the poems as part of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/raceoutloud"><em>Race: Out Loud</em></a>, a collaborative production of WBEZ and vocalo, which aims to get us talking to each other about race. Louder Than A Bomb is Chicago&rsquo;s teen poetry festival. It brings teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines in a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral story-telling and hip-hop spoken word.&nbsp; Each year, Chicago Public Media invites festival finalists to record their work.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.wbez.org/ltab">Click here</a> to hear nearly 200 Louder Than a Bomb finalist pieces recorded over the past eight years.</p></p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 10:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/louder-bomb-what-black-people-say-racist-republicans-101030 Studs Terkel’s Race: Where are they now? Timuel Black http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/studs-terkel%E2%80%99s-race-where-are-they-now-timuel-black-100824 <p><p><em>Each week this summer we&rsquo;re profiling a character from Studs Terkel&rsquo;s 1992 oral history,</em> Race. <em>Twenty years after Studs&rsquo; book was published, we want to see how these characters&#39; thoughts and feelings on race have changed&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;&nbsp;</em><em>or not changed.</em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TIMUEL%20BLACK%20portrait%20by%20Shawn%20Allee.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" /></div><p>There are a few names that are synonymous with Chicago &ndash; Studs Terkel is one. Timuel Black is another.</p><p>Terkel and Black were friends for more than five decades. When they spoke in the 1990s for the book <em>Race</em>, Black had already retired from a long career as a Chicago Public Schools teacher. For many years, he taught in Chicago&#39;s city colleges as well.</p><p>Teaching is one part of Black&#39;s legacy. But Black also has a long and distinguished history as a labor and civil rights activist.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TBlack2620.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div></div><p>Today, Timuel Black is a spry 93 years old. In January, he donated his archive to the Chicago Public Library&rsquo;s Woodson Branch at 95<sup>th</sup> and Halsted. <a href="http://www.chipublib.org/cplbooksmovies/cplarchive/archivalcoll/black.php">The archive, which is open to the public, weaves a tapestry of black life in Chicago from the first waves of black migration through to the present day.</a></p><p>When Black came by our studios for the kickoff event in our <em>Race: Out Loud</em> series, he spoke with us about how he wound up in Chicago.</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1342104067-5" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Tim%20Black%201.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The friendship between Studs Terkel and Timuel Black goes way back. Studs recorded his prize-winning <em>This Train</em> documentary on a train of Chicagoans that Black helped organize to the 1963 March on Washington. And over the years they spoke often about race. Here Black describes a bit about his relationship with Studs.</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1342104067-6" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Tim%20Black%202.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>When it came time to write the book <em>Race</em>, Studs turned to his friend Tim as a trusted source of information.</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1342104067-7" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Tim%20Black%203.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Twenty years on from the book&#39;s publication, Black says class issues have become central to the issue of race in Chicago.</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1342104067-8" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Tim%20Black%205.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Richard Steele has known Timuel Black since the 1970s and said that what strikes him most is how totally committed Timuel Black is to advancing civil rights for African-Americans in Chicago and keeping an archive for history. After the <em>Race: Out Loud</em> kickoff event, Richard sat down with Timuel for a short (11 minute) interview to discuss the changes they&#39;ve seen in terms of Race in Chicago.</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1342104067-9" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Tim%20Black%20with%20Richard%20Steele.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TBlack620.jpg" title="Timuel Black donated his papers to the Chicago Public Library in January. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div></div><p><em>**Eilee Heikenin-Weiss contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Jul 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/studs-terkel%E2%80%99s-race-where-are-they-now-timuel-black-100824