WBEZ | segregation http://www.wbez.org/tags/segregation Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago developers shell out millions rather than build affordable housing http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-developers-shell-out-millions-rather-build-affordable-housing-113371 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/aro.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The roar of construction blares at the intersection of Chestnut and Orleans, not far from the former Cabrini-Green public housing development. A <a href="http://nextapts.com/">sleek glass apartment</a> building with 310 units is set for an area now home to tech businesses and diverse retail.</p><p dir="ltr">The luxury high-rise will be equipped with a yoga studio, private balconies, cabanas by the pool and a coffee bar. But one thing it won&rsquo;t have is affordable housing.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, the developer wrote a hefty $3.1 million check to the city of Chicago&rsquo;s affordable housing opportunity fund.</p><p dir="ltr">This is a common arrangement, and not just on the Near North Side.</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-developers-shell-out-millions-rather-build-affordable-housing-113371#map">Map of developments that opted to pay instead of build affordable housing</a></strong></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">When residential developers want to build on city-owned land or receive financial help, Chicago asks for something in return. The city requires them to provide 10 percent of units at affordable prices or have them to pay into a fund. For homeowners, the term affordable means a family of four earning $76,000 a year. For rentals, a family of four earning $45,000.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ obtained a list of payments to the city&rsquo;s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund. We found that from 2005-2015, developers have shelled out $77 million dollars to not include affordable housing in their buildings.&nbsp;The fees collected by the city were used, in the form of rent subsidies, to help underwrite affordable apartment units elsewhere.</p><p dir="ltr">The vast majority of properties that opted out are in trendy, expensive neighborhoods that are mostly white and have a dearth of affordable housing: River North, downtown, Wrigleyville.</p><p dir="ltr">That gave 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett pause.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It made me think that, man, I&rsquo;ve been allowing these guys to opt out into support other affordable developments on the West Side and other areas in the ward but not here,&rdquo; Burnett said.</p><p dir="ltr">By &ldquo;here&rdquo; he means the pricey West Loop, a former seedy area that now hosts the restaurant glitterati and luxury condos. Burnett&rsquo;s ward is a peculiar mix. It ranges from the gentrifying area that used to be Cabrini-Green, to parts of the West Side that are vacant and low income.</p><p dir="ltr">Burnett has negotiated with developers to pitch in money for other affordable housing in his ward. But those units end up getting built in the high poverty areas.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I allowed this to happen. I allowed for one type of group of people with a certain amount of money in the neighborhood, and it needs to be mixed. So I said from here on out people are going to have to do some affordable over here. I can&rsquo;t let them opt out anymore,&rdquo; Burnett said.</p><p>He pushed the city to create <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dcd/general/housing/ARO_Enhancement_Summary.pdf">changes in its affordable housing ordinance</a> that took effect this week. A developer who wants to build now at the very minimum has to provide one fourth of the 10 percent requirement for affordable units at the actual site. Or he could build those units off site within two miles -- or pay even more if it&rsquo;s outside of that radius.</p><p dir="ltr">In all of these scenarios, the developers would still pay a fee if they didn&rsquo;t meet the 10 percent goal. The new ordinance increases some of those fees from $100,000 to $225,000 thousand dollars per each unit not built.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re pushing in the right direction,&rdquo; Burnett said.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ called <a href="http://www.fifieldco.com/index.php">many</a> <a href="http://webstersquare.com/deveolper/">many</a> <a href="http://www.magellandevelopment.com/">local</a> <a href="http://centrumpartners.net/">developers</a> to find out why they write six- and seven-figure checks instead of including some affordable housing units. Either they didn&rsquo;t call back or refused to talk on the record.</p><p dir="ltr">But one developer group has turned the city&rsquo;s rule into a legal matter. In August, the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;[The city] still thinks that they have to punish people to get what they want instead of offering an incentive that gets results,&rdquo; said Paul Colgan, of the association.</p><p dir="ltr">Colgan said developers would lose money on rentals and for-sale units if they included 10 percent affordable housing. He says a better way to get developers to comply would be to provide tax abatements or help them reduce building costs.</p><p>There is one change in the affordable requirements ordinance that Cogan said pleases developers. The chance to build off-site instead of at the development they are getting city assistance from.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;But the new ordinance, even though it has new incentives built into it, it&rsquo;s still has the same fundamental problem as the original ordinance had and that was it&rsquo;s taking under the law,&rdquo; Colgan said.</p><p dir="ltr">Taking property, Colgan argues, is unconstitutional. And his group is continuing the lawsuit.</p><p dir="ltr">Pouring millions of dollars into the city&rsquo;s coffers rather than deliver affordable housing units helps perpetuate racial and economic segregation in the city</p><p>A separate <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/maps/lihtc/">WBEZ analysis</a> found that was also true for apartment complexes funded by federal low income housing tax credits. LIHTC developments are clustered on the South and West Sides &mdash; where it&rsquo;s cheaper, and there&rsquo;s less resistance.</p><p>But Marisa Novara of the Metropolitan Planning Council said this doesn&rsquo;t give families access to better neighborhoods &mdash; otherwise known as &lsquo;opportunity areas.&rsquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What if some portion of those buyout fees were set aside specifically for low income housing tax credit developments in low-poverty areas to bridge the financing gap that only grows larger when the property is higher valued,&rdquo; Novara said.</p><p dir="ltr">She said there&rsquo;s precedent for this. In Boston, a minimum of half of the developers&rsquo; opt-out fees must be spent in areas with less affordable housing than the city&rsquo;s average.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one small example but you could look at really harnessing the market-rate activity that we have in high-value neighborhoods to do affordable development in the same type of neighborhoods,&rdquo; Novara said.</p><p dir="ltr">Because right now, at least under the old rules, that&rsquo;s not what Chicago is doing.</p><p dir="ltr">In the last two years, the city put money from the developer fund toward nine affordable housing developments.</p><p>Only one would probably be considered in an opportunity area &mdash; and it was for window replacement.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><a name="map"></a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="620" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/maps/aro/" style="float: right; clear: right;" width="620"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/maps/aro/">Click for fullscreen map</a></em></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 04:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-developers-shell-out-millions-rather-build-affordable-housing-113371 Black business' slow flight from Bronzeville http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/black-business-slow-flight-bronzeville-112524 <p><p>Bronzeville played a huge part in African-American history. When the Great Migration began a century ago, black Southerners flocked to the South Side neighborhood, which stretched between State Street and the lake, from 22nd Street to 63rd Street.</p><p>These migrants transformed the area into a black population center and a nexus of black culture. On the business side, a mass of black consumers supported black-owned restaurants, shops and other enterprises.</p><p>It&rsquo;s this commercial &nbsp;history that attracted the attention of Clare Butterfield, who lives on the north end of the neighborhood and sent along this question:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I wondered where those shops went. &hellip; There&rsquo;s just not a lot of businesses there. And they&rsquo;re not black-owned for the most part. So that was question: Where did they go? What happened to them?</em></p><p>We found several reasons behind the dispersal of Bronzeville&rsquo;s black commercial might, from demographics to a changing business climate. But Clare herself touched on a possible explanation, too, one that&rsquo;s both common and controversial: Perhaps legalized segregation had an upside for black Chicagoans otherwise hurt by discrimination and, when that segregation ended, the business climate took a hit.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Business in the heart of Bronzeville</span></p><p>The neighborhood&rsquo;s status as a vibrant commercial center is undeniable, according to <a href="http://www.thehistorymakers.com/sites/production/files/styles/bio_photo/public/Reed_Christopher_wm.png" target="_blank">Christopher Robert Reed</a>, an emeritus professor of history at Roosevelt University and one of <em>the</em>&nbsp;go-to scholars on black Chicago. (He also grew up in Bronzeville, his father owning a three-chair barber shop in the neighborhood until a fire destroyed it in the 1970s).</p><p>&ldquo;The State Street corridor was a commercial center for black Chicago,&rdquo; Reed says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been likened to a black Wall Street.&rdquo;</p><p>This activity happened in the context of persistent racial segregation in Chicago. The primary instruments that kept blacks in Bronzeville and the rest of Chicago&rsquo;s &ldquo;Black Belt&rdquo; were restrictive covenants, private legal agreements that barred whites from selling their homes to blacks. Until the covenants were ruled unconstitutional in 1948, discrimination crowded black families of all economic stripes into too few residential units. This created a critical density of black consumers and, the theory goes, one that kept black-owned businesses viable.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s danger in presenting life or business in Bronzeville as a happy Jim Crow fest: Segregation did breed business ingenuity, but it also bred discriminatory practices. That led to some surprises in the neighborhood&rsquo;s composition. For one, Chicago&rsquo;s whites kept blacks out of white neighborhoods, but that didn&rsquo;t stop whites from operating their own businesses within Bronzeville. <a>In</a>&nbsp;the seminal book <em><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3638645.html" target="_blank">Black Metropolis: </a><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3638645.html">A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City</a></em>&nbsp;authors St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton found that, in 1938, Bronzeville blacks owned and operated 2,600 businesses while whites had 2,800.</p><p>And, there&rsquo;s more. The area&rsquo;s black businesses were smaller and older than their white counterparts, and they only received less than a tenth of all the money spent by black consumers within the area.</p><p>Business cycles, too, were unkind. Reed says from the 1920s on, blacks did own businesses on 35th Street, but these operations &ldquo;were hurt tremendously by the Great Depression that started in 1930.&rdquo;</p><p>Even after the worst of the Depression passed, segregation had put the black business community on unsure footing, as black owners couldn&rsquo;t compete with whites when it came to securing capital. Steven Rogers, who teaches black entrepreneurship at Harvard University, says there&rsquo;s always been a dearth of support by mainstream financial institutions.</p><p>&ldquo;In the 1940s when we saw blacks in the business world, the only support that black-owned businesses had was through guerrilla financing, that&rsquo;s self-financing, or family,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t see that institutional support that we saw with white-owned companies. And the reality is when that happens, when that&rsquo;s in existence, you won&rsquo;t see the prosperous businesses as we see in the white communities.&rdquo;</p><p>And that left black businesses of the past last century much more vulnerable.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Spread far and wide</span></p><p>There are no data that show clear pre- and post-1948 numbers of black-owned businesses, but it&rsquo;s clear that blacks began to disperse in the 1950s because of the lifting of covenants. At the same time &ldquo;urban renewal&rdquo; (often derided as &ldquo;Negro removal&rdquo;) was underway.</p><p>&ldquo;The expansion of Lake Meadows, Prairie Shores, Michael Reese Hospital, Mercy Hospital and the Illinois Institute of Technology led to the displacement of thousands of black families from State Street east over to the Lake from 26th Street south to about 35th,&rdquo; says Reed. &ldquo;This was a devastating blow to black demographic unity and it affected businesses operations adversely on 35th Street.&rdquo;</p><p>The bottom line, Reed says, is that &ldquo;the customers had moved away.&rdquo;</p><p>The erosion of a concentrated customer base plays into changes that took place in Scott&rsquo;s Blue <a>Book</a>, a black business directory that contained an array of listings &mdash; everything from sausage-makers to dentists. As desegregation continued, the tone of the books shifted from unabashedly pro-black to more race-neutral in the 1960s.<a name="presentation"></a></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://wbez.is/1LRR1t5" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Blue%20Book%20Comparison%20presentation%20THUMB.png" style="width: 100%;" title="" /></a></div><p>And there was another transformation, one that gets to Clare&rsquo;s observation about Bronzeville&rsquo;s present-day businesses not being black-owned.</p><p>&ldquo;What happened to the businesses happened to a lot of businesses in America, once the economy was transformed by the global economy&rsquo;s dominance,&rdquo; Reed says.</p><p>35th Street faced competitive trends similar to those faced by other commercial strips in Chicago, to the point where, today, 35th Street includes multinational companies: McDonald&rsquo;s, Chase Bank, Subway and Popeye&rsquo;s, to name a few. (<a href="http://popeyes.com/franchise/international/areas-available.php" target="_blank">Yes, Popeye&rsquo;s is international!</a>)</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Survivors of segregation and then integration, too</span></p><p>The Depression, a global economy and urban renewal played their roles in undercutting or dispersing Bronzeville&rsquo;s black-owned businesses. As we&rsquo;re answering Clare&rsquo;s question about what happened to them, it&rsquo;s fair to point a brighter side: Some of these businesses stayed put.</p><p>Among the survivors are black-owned Seaway Bank and <a href="http://www.isfbank.com/">Illinois Service Federal</a>, a savings and loan that&rsquo;s been around since 1934. The latter issued home loans when commercial banks shunned black customers.</p><p>Illinois Service Federal chairman Norman Williams also happens to be president of <a href="http://www.unityfuneralparlors.com/" target="_blank">Unity Funeral Parlors</a>, a black-owned South Side business that started in 1937.</p><p>&ldquo;My father came to Chicago as an insurance executive,&rdquo; Williams says. &ldquo;This was an entrepreneurial idea that came to him that he hoped his family would be able to continue.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams&rsquo; father turned out to be right. For decades, few white funeral homes served blacks, and many of the funeral homes survived a more integrated era.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Continuing legacy</span></p><p>Black businesses are no longer clustered in an area like the Black Belt, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean they don&rsquo;t exist. The basic pattern was that black businesses moved into the neighborhoods that black people moved into.</p><p>&ldquo;Black Chicago has always been recognized as the crown jewel of black-owned businesses throughout the country,&rdquo; says Harvard&rsquo;s Steven Rogers. &ldquo;The black business community in Chicago is responsible for some historic events in our country.&rdquo;</p><p>Historic events like &hellip; helping finance the elections of the city&rsquo;s first black mayor and the country&rsquo;s first black president.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">More about our questioner</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/preferredheadshot3.png" style="float: right; height: 322px; width: 290px; margin: 5px;" title="(Photo courtesy of Clare Butterfield)" />Clare Butterfield grew up in Central Illinois but has been in Chicago for 30 years, having lived on the North, West and South sides.</p><p>She&rsquo;s called Bronzeville home for the past 10 years, and, following our reporting, appreciates a reminder that urban renewal programs deeply affected her neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;I&#39;ve seen the memorial marker on State Street north of 35th that mentions that IIT displaced a row of black businesses there,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Some of the businesses got swept out along with the housing, and that should have been more obvious to me.&rdquo;</p><p>Clare is just one of many questioners who&rsquo;ve asked about some of the least comfortable parts of Chicago history.</p><p>&ldquo;It&#39;s hard for white people to ask these questions,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;partly because we don&#39;t want to be interpreted as critical, when we mean to be sympathetic (however imperfectly), and partly because we&#39;re probably not going to like what we learn: more examples of injustice and the use of power by people like us, first to force people into a neighborhood and then to force them out of it.&rdquo;</p><p>The only way out, she says, is affirm that these things happened and, when we can, show, too, how &ldquo;some entrepreneurs persisted and thrived in spite of everything they had to navigate.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>.&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/black-business-slow-flight-bronzeville-112524 At 73, man finally gets diploma denied for defying segregation http://www.wbez.org/news/73-man-finally-gets-diploma-denied-defying-segregation-110630 <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/alva_earley-a17bdc9d17e8995d9664441c77e10fe34ab01d8f-s40-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Alva Earley shows off his diploma after receiving it from Galesburg Superintendent Bart Arthur. (Evan Temchin/Knox College)" /></div><p>There was no pomp and circumstance, no procession with classmates, but on Friday a school district in Illinois finally handed Alva Early his high school diploma &mdash; more than five decades after he attended Galesburg High School.</p><p>In 1959, Galesburg banned Earley from graduating and denied him a diploma after he and other African-Americans had a picnic in a park that was unofficially off-limits to blacks.</p><p>Earley, now a retired attorney, says he never thought the day would come, but as the Galesburg class of &#39;59 gathered for a reunion this weekend, the school superintendent called Earley forward, dressed in his college gown, to accept his diploma.</p><p>A school counselor had warned him in 1959 there could be a price to pay for challenging the city&#39;s entrenched segregation &mdash; but Earley went anyway.</p><p>&quot;We were just trying to send a message that we are people, too,&quot; Earley says. &quot;We just had lunch. For that, I didn&#39;t graduate.&quot;</p><p>Universities, including Northwestern and the University of Chicago, withdrew their acceptance letters. The president of Knox College in Galesburg later allowed Earley to enroll after learning about the park incident.</p><p>Earley went on to graduate from the University of Illinois, and earn a law degree and a doctorate of divinity. The lack of a high school diploma always haunted him, though. Growing up with an abusive father, Earley says, high school was both his home and a refuge.</p><p>&quot;The fact that I could not get a cap and gown on and march down the aisle with my classmates &mdash; it meant the world to me,&quot; he says. &quot;It hurt so bad.&quot;</p><p>He kept it a secret until a Knox College reunion last year, when he told some of those former high school classmates, including Owen Muelder.</p><p>&quot;Well, we were thunderstruck,&quot; says Muelder, a Knox College historian who runs the Underground Railroad museum on campus.</p><p>&quot;Here&#39;s this community and college founded before the Civil War, that was a leader in the anti-slavery movement,&quot; he says, &quot;and here it was that a little over 100 years later something so outrageous could have occurred in our community.&quot;</p><p>Muelder and another classmate, Lowell Peterson, turned to Galesburg school officials for help. Superintendent Bart Arthur says after a search, the district found Earley&#39;s transcript, which showed he had enough credits and was even marked with the word &quot;graduate.&quot;</p><p>&quot;He had A&#39;s and B&#39;s on his report card,&quot; Arthur says. &quot;I guess he did have a couple C&#39;s. One of them was in typewriting, and I can sure understand that.&quot;</p><p>In a sometimes-emotional speech during the ceremony, Earley thanked his former classmates.</p><p>&quot;The important thing was not that I got the diploma,&quot; he said. &quot;It was that they tried to get me a diploma. They succeeded. They cared about me.&quot;</p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">&mdash;</em>&nbsp;<i><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/08/10/339212827/at-73-man-finally-gets-diploma-denied-for-defying-segregation">via NRP&#39;s Code Switch blog</a></i></p></p> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/73-man-finally-gets-diploma-denied-defying-segregation-110630 Morning Shift: Leadership likability and the CEO gender gap http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-07/morning-shift-leadership-likability-and-ceo-gender <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/by Kumar Appaiah.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We explore what makes a well-liked boss - and whether people prefer male or female CEOs. Plus, we take a look at the complicated question of why segregation in Chicago Public Schools continues.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-leadership-likability-and-the-ceo-ge/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-leadership-likability-and-the-ceo-ge.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-leadership-likability-and-the-ceo-ge" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Leadership likability and the CEO gender gap" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-07/morning-shift-leadership-likability-and-ceo-gender In Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, integration is no accident http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-beverly-neighborhood-integration-no-accident-109922 <p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="375" scrolling="no" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wDl-MDSpfrk?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/146164257&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note:&nbsp;We&rsquo;ll be continuing this conversation at an event at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.beverlyartcenter.org/">Beverly Arts Center</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday, June 17. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/beyond-mic/2014-05/what-makes-beverly-unique-110246">Here are details.</a>&nbsp;</em></p><p>Erin McDuffie is from Ohio. Her husband grew up in Champaign, Ill. A mixed-race household with a toddler, they wanted to buy a house in a stable integrated South Side community. Their search led them to Beverly about three years ago. Beverly still has strong ties to its white ethnic roots, but also has a sizable number of African-Americans. Erin wondered what happened to make this South Side neighborhood different than Roseland or Englewood, which long ago became predominantly black.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/erin snow FOR WEB.jpg" style="height: 137px; width: 220px; float: right;" title="Erin McDuffie, left, asked how Chicago's Beverly neighborhood maintained racial integration. (Photo courtesy Erin McDuffie)" /></p><p>Erin asked Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>How has Beverly managed to maintain racial integration while the majority of other South Side neighborhoods experienced white flight?</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>A little background</strong></p><p>In hyper-segregated Chicago, Beverly is often regarded as a South Side oasis of integration. Unlike integrated Hyde Park or Rogers Park on the North Side, there&rsquo;s<a href="http://www.uchicago.edu/"> no</a> university<a href="http://www.luc.edu/"> to anchor</a> Beverly or play a significant role in real estate.</p><p>The neighborhood is home to arguably the<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/top-notch-beefburgers/Location?oid=1024342"> best cheap burger</a> and fries in the city. Beverly&rsquo;s beauty is visible in its hilly streets and oversized lots, with homes designed by this <a href="http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM73DF_Raymond_W_Evans_Residence_Chicago_IL">legendary architect</a> among others. Mansions snake along Longwood Drive and the neighborhood&rsquo;s interior boasts an array of architectural styles, from Tudor to Italianate to Queen Anne to Spanish Colonial. Buoyed by its commitment to supporting local businesses, there&rsquo;s<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-01-09/classified/chi-beverly-profile_chomes_0109jan09_1_houses-landmark-districts-neighborhoods"> a quaintness</a> to Beverly.</p><p>According to the Woodstock Institute, today the neighborhood is 62 percent white and 34 percent black. But it wasn&rsquo;t always that way.</p><p>For the first half of the 20th century, Chicago&rsquo;s black families were confined to a chain of neighborhoods on the South Side known as the Black Belt &ndash; often in<a href="http://museum.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/bronzeville/bronzeville1.htm"> cramped kitchenettes</a>. But after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case<a href="http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/334/1/case.html"> Shelley v. Kraemer</a> struck down <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1067.html">racially restrictive real estate covenants</a> in 1948, Chicago&rsquo;s neighborhood racial composition changed dramatically.</p><p>With new housing options, blacks moved farther south to neighborhoods with attractive single-family homes such as Chatham, Englewood, Avalon Park and Calumet Heights. White families couldn&rsquo;t pack their bags fast enough, at times even moving during the middle of the night. From 1950 to 1960, Englewood&rsquo;s white population dropped from 89 percent to 31 percent. The story of<a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/11/mapping-60-years-white-flight-brain-drain-and-american-migration/7449/"> White Flight</a> played out similarly in other neighborhoods. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-beverly-neighborhood-integration-no-accident-109922#censusdata2">(see Census chart.)</a></p><p>Beverly, however, was an exception.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/for%20web%20houses.jpg" style="float: right; height: 214px; width: 320px;" title="Single-family houses on a residential Beverly street, 1974. (Photo courtesy UIC Digital Collections)" /></p><p>Black families didn&rsquo;t immediately move to Beverly, which was almost as far south as one could get before leaving the city and included more expensive housing stock. Some of the white Beverly families had already fled places like South Shore and Roseland once blacks starting buying homes there in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1970, Beverly was 99 percent white. Some community leaders and real estate agents warned the neighborhood would devolve into a &ldquo;black ghetto&rdquo; if blacks started moving in. But a band of determined neighborhood planners helped Beverly push past the early opposition.</p><p>My search for an answer to Erin&rsquo;s Curious City question led me to <a href="http://chicagohistory.org/research">Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s Research Center</a> and the<a href="http://www.ridgehistoricalsociety.org/commun_hist02.html"> Ridge Historical Society</a> in Beverly. Combing through documents and original source material, I discovered that the<a href="http://www.bapa.org/content.asp?contentid=25"> Beverly Area Planning Association</a> (BAPA) stepped in to quell white fears, welcome its new black neighbors, battle the real estate industry and craft a new mission statement that celebrated diversity. The nonprofit community organization changed its direction in 1971 from a group concerned with zoning and parking to one working toward stabilized integration. BAPA&rsquo;s service area includes the sister community Morgan Park.</p><p><strong>&ldquo;Integration is inevitable&rdquo;</strong></p><p>That line comes from a flip chart called<a href="http://www.bapa.org/article.asp?articleid=1544"> &ldquo;Beverly Now&rdquo;</a> by future BAPA member L. Patrick Stanton. In 1971, Stanton toured the neighborhood to give presentations about integration. I found the original sheets penned in magic marker when Erin and I visited the Ridge Historical Society. (Stanton still lives in Beverly, as do six of his nine children and three grandchildren.)</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bapa%20pat%20stanton.jpg" style="float: left; width: 190px; height: 400px;" title="Patrick Stanton gave presentations about positive racial integration in Beverly throughout the 1970s. " />During this 1970s period, Beverly was a mostly Irish-Catholic neighborhood. BAPA hired Phillip Dolan, a former city administrator from Columbus, Ohio, as its new executive director. He set up a hotline for rumor control to relay accurate information in the wake of buzz about blacks buying in the neighborhood. BAPA staff members visited certain blocks to encourage people to stay in Beverly.</p><p>Residents also chafed against<a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/147.html"> &ldquo;blockbusting,&rdquo;</a> efforts by real estate agents to trigger the turnover of white-owned homes to blacks. Also known as &ldquo;panic peddling,&rdquo; this practice urged whites to sell before it was &ldquo;too late&rdquo; and &ldquo;the blacks&rdquo; lowered their property values. Agents might hire black subagents to walk or drive through a changing neighborhood to solicit business or behave in such a way to exaggerate white fears. In these scenarios, worried whites would sell their home cheaply and a panic peddler would inflate the price to, in turn, sell the home to a black family.</p><p>At the Chicago History Museum, I unearthed original BAPA newsletters from the 1970s. BAPA implored homeowners to sign &ldquo;letters of agency&rdquo; to prevent unauthorized solicitation from real estate agents. These letters asserted homeowners had no intention to sell. BAPA kept the letters on file and served &ldquo;uncooperative&rdquo; real estate firms with a notice to cease solicitation. Homeowners also refrained from putting for-sale signs in their yard.</p><p>Dolan told the Tribune in 1976: &ldquo;White families in urban areas must realize they can&rsquo;t run away from blacks. And they must realize that middle-class blacks and whites both want the same things &ndash; good schools, good services, low crime rate. At the same time, blacks are realizing that a neighborhood that is all one race increases the process of deterioration.&rdquo;</p><p>Between 1970 and 1980, the black population in Beverly grew from .1 percent to almost 14 percent. My aunt Joyce Bristow, a retired Chicago Public Schools administrator, was among the wave of those first black families.</p><p>She and her husband had been living in Little Italy and wanted to put down roots on the South Side near family. They felt Hyde Park was too congested and the houses in Chatham too old. In 1977, the couple fell in love with a tri-level house in Beverly.</p><p>&ldquo;It was a neighborhood that was always fascinating,&rdquo; Aunt Joyce said. &ldquo;I wanted diversity but that wasn&rsquo;t the main selling point. The house was the main selling point.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m always proud to say I&rsquo;ve lived in Beverly for 35 years. People are always taken aback by that.&rdquo;</p><p>Financially, it has been a good decision; her property value is up 300 percent. But that first year someone threw rocks in the big picture window off of the living room. My aunt said she assumed it was racially motivated.</p><p>&ldquo;We knew people weren&rsquo;t happy about blacks in Beverly. It made me nervous. A lot of times I closed the drapes. It made my parents very nervous.&rdquo;</p><p>Only one other black family resided on the well-manicured block when my aunt moved in. (Today there are at least 10.) Back then, apparently, that made the lone black owner nervous. Aunt Joyce said he filed a complaint against her black real estate agent for selling to another black on the block.<a name="censusdata2"></a></p><hr /><p><i>Chart: Racial makeup of South Side neighborhoods (1950-2013)</i><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0Am-AbC8HDbXMdGhITU9jTkt1YTNxd1NhN2hPaUV5U2c&transpose=0&headers=1&range=A1%3AC56&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"titleTextStyle":{"fontSize":16},"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Left vertical axis title","minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"sortColumn":null,"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Chart title","showRowNumber":false,"annotations":{"domain":{"style":"line"}},"alternatingRowStyle":true,"hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Horizontal axis title","minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},"width":600,"height":371},"state":{},"view":{"columns":[0,{"label":"WHITE","properties":{"role":"annotation"},"sourceColumn":1},{"label":"BLACK","properties":{"role":"annotationText"},"sourceColumn":2}]},"isDefaultVisualization":true,"chartType":"Table","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script></p><p><i>Sources: Local Community Fact Book of Chicago, Woodstock Institute</i></p><p><strong>Racial steering</strong></p><p>Presumably, my aunt&rsquo;s neighbor feared so-called &ldquo;racial steering&rdquo; on his block. BAPA publicly worried about re-segregation in Beverly, too. They didn&rsquo;t want real estate agents selling homes consecutively, say three or more, to blacks on any given block.</p><p>Charles Shanabruch, who&rsquo;s white, led BAPA in the 1980s. I met up with him at a downtown Chicago coffee shop. He moved to Beverly in the late 1970s with his wife and two sons.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/historic%20society%20embed%20photo%20FOR%20WEB.png" style="float: right; height: 192px; width: 300px;" title="WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore, right, flips through original documents from the Beverly Area Planning Association with question-asker Erin McDuffie, left, at the Ridge Historical Society. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></p><p>&ldquo;It was a diverse community; that was important to us,&rdquo; Shanabruch said. Blacks continued to move to the neighborhood but another real estate force threatened that progress.</p><p>In the mid-1980s, Beverly, and a dozen integrated south and western suburbs conducted a testing program in which black and white couples of comparable incomes posed as potential home buyers to see how real estate agents treated them. BAPA said white testers were discouraged from racially integrated areas and black testers usually were steered away from homes in predominantly white suburbs. My aunt and late uncle &ndash; then a BAPA board member &ndash; were testers.</p><p>BAPA sued four Southwest suburban real estate firms for steering blacks to Beverly only. White clients were told they wouldn&rsquo;t want to live in Beverly because they wouldn&rsquo;t be comfortable in an integrated neighborhood. BAPA lost the first case and settled the other four. Real estate agents went through training, but more importantly, Shanabruch said it put the industry on notice.</p><p>&ldquo;I still have a visceral reaction,&rdquo; Shanabruch said of the first case. &ldquo;The problem was the jury was an all-white jury. Every time a black came up to be considered, the defense did a preempt [to keep blacks off.]&rdquo;</p><p>Realtors struck back. They sued BAPA, accusing the organization of trying to keep suburban brokers from doing business in Beverly and Morgan Park. BAPA prevailed against the lawsuit.</p><p>But some proponents of open housing took umbrage with BAPA. Frank Williams, a realtor, Beverly resident and president of the South Side NAACP branch told <em>The Chicago Tribune</em> in 1985: &ldquo;What is the difference between Cicero, which says we don&rsquo;t want any of you, and a community like Beverly, which says we are going to practice integration maintenance and we will do everything possible not to allow any more than three of you on a block? I don&rsquo;t see a difference.&rdquo;</p><p>Shanabruch, then and now, insisted Beverly did not have a quota system to keep a racial balance. In a <em>Tribune</em> letter to the editor, he wrote: &ldquo;If only blacks are being shown houses in certain areas of our neighborhood or on certain blocks, we watch more carefully, encouraging blacks to look at other parts of the neighborhood and other areas in order to offset any effect that dealers&rsquo; steering might have. Likewise, we encourage whites not to limit their options, but encourage them to consider the aforementioned block.&rdquo;</p><p>During our recent coffee, Shanabruch told me he worried resegregation on a block-by-block level would&rsquo;ve made whites nervous and disrupted the neighborhood. BAPA saw the neighborhood in competition with suburbs like Oak Park and Evanston, communities that put a premium on integration. BAPA placed ads in <em>Chicago</em> magazine and set up booths and home fairs. The pitch? If you like architecture, great schools and leafy canopies, come to Beverly.</p><p><strong>Integrated Schools</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sutherland%20photo%201.jpg" style="height: 180px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Sutherland Elementary School was part of a desegregation plan in the early 1980s. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" />I grew up in Chatham, but my siblings and I rode a yellow school bus to attend Sutherland Elementary in Beverly. In the early 1980s, Chicago Public Schools unveiled a<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1981/04/04/us/chicago-announces-plans-to-desegregate-schools.html"> desegregation plan</a> for students that included busing. My parents loved our black middle-class neighborhood but felt strongly that their three children should receive an integrated education. I didn&rsquo;t realize I was part of a social experiment until much later in college. I just knew that only black kids rode the bus and I couldn&rsquo;t walk home for lunch. Not just because it was too far, but because unlike many of my white classmates&rsquo; mothers, mine worked during the day.</p><p>Overall, I loved Sutherland, loved my teachers and had black and white friends over for sleepovers, and vice versa. But I did experience odd moments of racial consciousness at a young age in Beverly. For a long time I thought only white kids ate white bread and black kids ate wheat bread, based on what I saw at the lunch tables. Imagine my surprise when one day I saw a white classmate unwrap his sandwich with wheat bread. Then there was gym class, which I hated because the teacher was mean to me. A few years ago, I ran into our beloved former principal, who&rsquo;s white, and told him the story. He explained the gym teacher eventually left because she didn&rsquo;t adapt too well to new black kids in the school.</p><p>During this time Beverly leaders like Shanabruch pushed for magnet schools and enhanced programs &ndash; like the one at Sutherland called Options for Knowledge - to keep and attract families. Sometimes white families stayed, but the neighborhood schools remained strong irrespective of racial composition.</p><p>Jennifer Smith, who is white, grew up in Beverly along with her six siblings. They all attended Vanderpoel Magnet for elementary school in the 1980s. One year she was the only white girl in her classroom.</p><p>&ldquo;When I was a kid, I didn&rsquo;t really think about the fact that all of my friends were African American. It was just normal,&rdquo; Smith said. Her parents believed in public education. Smith and her younger sister were best friends with two black sisters on their block.</p><p>The racial tension came from elsewhere.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel in the 1980s, there was a sharp divide between the (white) Catholic school kids and the (white) public school kids. Most of the white people in Beverly sent their kids to Catholic schools,&rdquo; Smith said. &ldquo;We got called a lot of racial epithets like &lsquo;n-word lover.&rsquo; But it didn&rsquo;t shake our world up too much. We would throw stuff back and fight with them.&rdquo;<a name="cpsdata"></a></p><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0Am-AbC8HDbXMdEd1QWFEbVhlZW1xVDRxOW1ibl9jRGc&transpose=0&headers=1&range=A1%3AC7&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"series":{"0":{"errorBars":{"errorType":"none"},"color":"#c9daf8"}},"animation":{"duration":500},"theme":"maximized","width":600,"hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":null,"viewWindow":null,"maxValue":null},"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":null,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Racial makeup of public schools in Beverly","height":371,"domainAxis":{"direction":1},"legend":"in","focusTarget":"category","isStacked":true,"tooltip":{}},"state":{},"view":{},"isDefaultVisualization":false,"chartType":"ColumnChart","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script><p><span id="cke_bm_366S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_367S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_368S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_371S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><i>Source: Chicago Public Schools</i><span id="cke_bm_371E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_368E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_367E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_366E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p><p>Back in the early 1990s, then 16-year-old Morgan Park High School student Todd Clayton and a group of black friends would play basketball at Beverly Park on West 102nd Street. One day, he recalled, a group of white boys with bats and chains chased them away screaming &ldquo;Nigger, this is our park.&rdquo; Clayton and his friends ran to a nearby gas station payphone to call the police.</p><p>&ldquo;When the police arrived on the scene, they didn&rsquo;t do anything to the boys that were still in the park. They told us it would be best for us to stay away from the park to avoid trouble,&rdquo; Clayton said.</p><p>Clayton said they ignored the police officers&rsquo; warning and kept coming back to the park &ndash; but with more guys as &ldquo;reinforcement.&rdquo; The white guys didn&rsquo;t bother them again.</p><p>&ldquo;Our main point was we weren&rsquo;t going to be pushed away,&rdquo; Clayton said. &ldquo;We evened the number for a fair fight if it came to that.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Today&rsquo;s Beverly</strong></p><p>The public schools in Beverly today don&rsquo;t necessarily reflect the diversity of the neighborhood. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-beverly-neighborhood-integration-no-accident-109922#cpsdata">(See chart.)</a></p><p>Most chalk it up to the strong Irish-Catholic identity and Catholic schools in the community. <a href="http://morganparkcps.org/special_programs.jsp">Morgan Park High School</a> now has a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme that current BAPA executive director Matt Walsh hopes will be a draw to families.</p><p>Walsh said BAPA&rsquo;s annual home tour, <a href="http://www.bapa.org/RIDGERUN/">Ridge Run</a> and other special events are used to lure people to the area. &ldquo;People here want to live in a racially diverse community. We continue to work on it,&rdquo; Walsh said, acknowledging that people don&rsquo;t always socialize as much as he would like. Recently, the <a href="http://www.beverlyartcenter.org/">Beverly Arts Center</a> hired<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/beverly-arts-center-hires-new-executive-director-109725"> Heather Ireland Robinson</a>, in part, to bring in more diverse programming.</p><p>But challenges remain. In late February, a musician wrote in his&nbsp;<a href="http://icestentatious06.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/too-many-black-people-at-mcnallys-says-chicago-police-officer/">blog</a> about an untoward racial incident at McNally&rsquo;s, a bar on 111th and Western &ndash; technically the Morgan Park neighborhood. Many of the bars on Western Avenue between Beverly and Morgan Park have a reputation &ndash; rightly or wrongly &ndash; of not being open to blacks. The blog post spread via social media. &nbsp;</p><p>I called McNally&rsquo;s and was told the bar did not have a statement.</p><p>BAPA swiftly responded with an e-mail blast: &ldquo;Recently, an incident which allegedly occurred at a local establishment generated a whirlwind of passionate conversations on diversity in Beverly Hills/Morgan Park. While BAPA does not have all the details or specific facts involving this incident, it is clear from the exchanges on blogs, emails, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media that diversity, whether it be racial or ethnic, is an important cornerstone of this community. In fact, Beverly Hills/Morgan Park is one of the most integrated neighborhoods in Chicago, and BAPA has a rich history in working to achieve this&hellip;. With so many neighbors reaching out to BAPA and the greater online community to share their commitment to integration, diversity and inclusion, we truly do believe that we have a new &lsquo;shot at greatness.&rsquo; Bring us your concerns and your ideas, get involved in not just the conversation but the connection.&rdquo;</p><p>So, is that connection something Curious City question-asker Erin McDuffie feels living in Beverly today?</p><p>&ldquo;As far as the South Side is concerned, it means something to people &ndash; and to white people in Beverly in particular &ndash; to have integration,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And I think for black families who live here, my hope is that we feel accepted and know that&rsquo;s coming from a genuine place.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" target="_blank">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">@natalieymoore</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-beverly-neighborhood-integration-no-accident-109922 Sorority racism: a legacy that needs to end http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/sorority-racism-legacy-needs-end-108690 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rush%20at%20the%20University%20of%20Alabama-%20Lindsay%20Flickr.jpg" style="height: 418px; width: 620px;" title="Sorority Rush at the University of Alabama, Fall 2011. (Flickr/Lindsay Brown)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Last week, the University of Alabama&#39;s student newspaper <em>The Crimson White </em>published a lightning rod of an exposé on <a href="http://cw.ua.edu/2013/09/11/the-final-barrier-50-years-later-segregation-still-exists/" target="_blank">racial discrimination</a> during sorority rush. The allegations&mdash;that two black women were rejected from four traditionally white sororities this rush season because of pressure from racist alumnae&mdash;were based on the account of Melanie Gotz, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, and several other UA sorority members who wished to remain anonymous.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This news does not surprise me. First of all, Birmingham, Ala. is the site of one of the most heinous hate crimes ever committed. On September 15, 1963, a group of white supremicists <a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/09/15/20507957-birmingham-remembers-4-little-girls-50-years-after-infamous-church-bombing?lite" target="_blank">bombed</a> 16th Street Baptist Church, injuring two dozen black churchgoers and killing four little girls: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair. This year marks the 50th anniversary of their deaths.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Many of the white alumnae urging sorority members <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/13/us/sorority-exposes-its-rejection-of-black-candidate.html?_r=1&amp;" target="_blank">not to pledge black women</a>&nbsp;in 2013 may be old enough to remember this tragedy, or perhaps their parents witnessed it firsthand. Most likely, these women came of age in a place and time when violent racism was not only out in the open, but also publicly encouraged.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I was raised in the South and saw institutional racism almost everywhere I turned; although sadly, I didn&#39;t see it for what it was at the time. I joined a prestigious (read: overwhelmingly white) Southern sorority, as did my mother and older sister before me. The university that I attended for two years was not what one might call a shining bastion of <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/tcu-professor-criticized-email-students-of-color-2013-9" target="_blank">racial diversity</a>. My youngest sister rushed at the University of Alabama this fall, and was selected by one of the sororities at the heart of the current controversy, Alpha Gamma Delta.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I know how rush works. The pressure from alumni is intense. I know that most white women who enter into sorority rush, often at the behest of their female relatives, are either blissfully unaware that their &quot;sisters&quot; look just like them, or prefer (secretly or overtly) to keep it that way.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Still, I believe that in the vast majority of cases, it is the sorority <em>system</em>, not the sorority members themselves, perpetuating the age-old practices of elitism, segregation and thinly-veiled prejudice. Tradition is worshipped in sorority life, upheld as holy doctrine by the alumnae determined to keep their sisterhoods frozen in time. &nbsp;However, the new pledges are the ones to raise their hands and ask why. After all, when a perfectly qualified candidate is rejected for no other reason than the color of her skin, what does standing by &quot;tradition&quot; really mean?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">My sister, raised in a city by an open-minded family, goes to parties in Birmingham and is shocked to hear students casually spewing racial epithets. She and her more progressive friends leave.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Members of Alpha Gamma Delta and several other sororities on the UA campus have spoken out against their Panhellenic legacy of <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/report-racial-segregation-university-alabama-sororities-2013-9" target="_blank">systemic racism</a>, and I commend them for doing so. Still, the system needs to change from the inside out, with the younger generations leading the way to bridge the divides.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Anyone who followed the Trayvon Martin&nbsp;trial or saw the hate roll in on Twitter for the new, non-white&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/a-lot-of-people-are-very-upset-that-an-indian-american-woman" target="_blank">Miss America</a>&nbsp;knows that we don&#39;t live in a post-racial world. Not yet. But as long we continue to speak out against injustice, much like sororities <a href="http://jezebel.com/tell-us-about-your-schools-racist-sororities-and-frate-1300421893" target="_blank">all over the country</a> are beginning to do in the wake of this report, then bigotry won&#39;t win.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 10:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/sorority-racism-legacy-needs-end-108690 Nailed it! The unique history of race and class in Chicago's nail art http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-06/nailed-it-unique-history-race-and-class-chicagos-nail-art-107697 <p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311"><img alt="&quot;Fluorescents on orange with sparkles&quot;" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/orangesilver.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(Helen Maureen Cooper)" /></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span><a href="http://hmcooper.com/home.html" target="_blank">Helen Maureen Cooper</a> is next level, existing on a plane that few even know exists, let alone try to reach. Aesthetically-speaking, with her curly red hair, colorful apparel, and long acrylic tips, she stands proud and stands out. Her look is part youthful, all referential, yet decidedly personal. It is a reflection of all that she knows and an indication that what she wants to know still exists, if she is willing to find it. </span></p><p>It is her tips that distinguish Cooper from the women around her both in the art world and in the world at large. Cooper wears acrylics with traditional Chicago artistry. It is this love of nail art &ndash; less traditionally accepted forms of nail art, specifically &ndash; that serves as the inspiration for her latest solo exhibition, <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/nailed.html" target="_blank"><em>Nailed</em></a>, opening June 21 at the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/city_gallery_in_thehistoricwatertower.html" target="_blank">City Gallery at the Historic Water Tower Place</a>. Nailed includes photographs from her ongoing <em>Hard Candy</em> series featuring close-ups of nails posed on top of and within piles of items such as glitter, frosting, and dice.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">The exhibition will also include a new body of work. For her series of large-scale photographs titled <em>Jazzy Nails</em> (named after a now-defunct shop from the 90s), Cooper photographed patrons and nail techs of the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Naughty-Nailz/302553103738" target="_blank">Naughty Nail&#39;z</a>&nbsp;shop. Her entrance into the world of nail art was not easy. The acrylic nail art community in general and the Chicago community in particular is not so much exclusive as it is reflective. In Chicago, we see a community that speaks to the diversity of the landscape. The vastness of the city means neighborhoods and sub-neighborhoods, groups and scenes develop before most are even aware they exist.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">Throughout her photographic career, Cooper has found inspiration in the physical and the performative. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;Hands are particularly expressive to me,&rdquo; she said. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Upon moving to Chicago from Philadelphia for graduate school at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, Cooper&#39;s interest in nail art grew. She frequented the now-closed Bottom, a popular shop for women in the know on the West Side of the city. Soon, she realized that the nail art stakes were raised in terms of artistry, commonality and frequency. In Chicago, paint is used in a way that is not global. Nail artists here work with acrylic paints, not nail polish. In their work, we find distinguishing styles &ndash; thin and light drags, stripes and lines &ndash; that creates a uniform look for the city. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;I can tell who goes to what salon based on what is done,&rdquo; Cooper said.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Untitled%20drawing%20%282%29.jpg" style="height: 422px; width: 620px;" title="('Vogue' and 'Rocker'/Helen Maureen Cooper)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">In addition to style, Chicago also provided a change in business ownership, diversity of nail artists, and divisions within the scene. Whereas Philadelphia was largely serviced by a Vietnamese community of nail artists, Chicago&rsquo;s nail artists vary by race in correspondence to the type of designs they create. Black and hispanic women largely work in acrylics.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">Local acrylic nail artists are protective of their work and the amount of access they provide to their community. When approached by Cooper, many nail techs expressed their concerns over competition with shops employing Asian women. Cooper herself was an outsider as a white artist. In order to find women to photograph, Cooper began to talk to women on street and on the bus.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">Women from a variety of different backgrounds inhabit shops like Naughty Nail&#39;z, but a majority are racial minorities of working or middle class. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;All sorts of women who are not similar go there with weird sorts of racial/cultural tensions with each other, and yet it works,&rdquo; Cooper said. </span></p><p>&ldquo;I fell in love with the shop and the type of women that came in,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Her love of the shop however did not make others agreeable to her artistic pursuits. Her original requests to photograph the space and its inhabitants was denied.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="&quot;Junk with marble and gold glitter&quot;" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Image1_2.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(Helen Maureen Cooper)" /></div><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">&ldquo;There were so many possibilities for being skeptical of an outsider,&rdquo; Cooper said. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>In the end, there was no way that she was signifying that she knew what nail language the women were speaking. There is a rightful fear that white artists creating work that showcases or reflects non-mainstream communities are out to exploit these lived experiences. Cooper&rsquo;s aim as a creator and general fan then was to become a part of the community that she was interested in documenting. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;Until it was something I was doing and that was a part of my life, it would look like cultural tourism,&rdquo; she said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">Her only true &ldquo;in&rdquo; to the space was to get acrylics of her own. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;I just knew that I had to get my own nails done to get to the community,&rdquo; she said enthusiastically. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Eventually, Cooper was allowed to photograph in the space, first in a documentarian style and later, in portraiture. Allowed to bring in backdrops in January, Coopers photographs became a collaborative performance project exploring how Naughty Nail&#39;z&rsquo; customers look and what they are communicating with their look. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m interested in photographing any woman with a sense of presence,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m interested in any woman who is owning who she is.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">The end result is a series of photographs that are loving, positive, and rich with humanity. The women (and children) photographed are not subjects, but her fellow enthusiasts in the community.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-105427ad-40d1-4f7b-8d8e-7bc515cf8311">Fashion and style are not one in the same. If fashion is the clothes themselves, then style is the expression through those same clothes. In extension, style too is the way one plays with their hair, their accessories of demure or extravagant accoutrement, the way everything is put together to form not a look, but the truest reflection of self. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m interested in how everything that adorns the person expresses something about what their character is,&rdquo;&nbsp;</span>Cooper said.</p><p dir="ltr"><span>A caring glance reveals far more about a person than the first thing they say. Cooper&rsquo;s own look reflected this ethos. And for the artist, hands reveal the largest truth. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;You learn a lot about a person by seeing what their hands look like,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Everyone is their own character.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 14 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-06/nailed-it-unique-history-race-and-class-chicagos-nail-art-107697 Study: Segregation persists in Chicago with hurdles to fair housing http://www.wbez.org/news/study-segregation-persists-chicago-hurdles-fair-housing-107627 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr_Chicago_man_JM.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Barriers to fair housing are exacerbating segregation in the Chicago area, according to a new study by the John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Clinic.</p><p>A team looked at housing discrimination cases between 2009-12 and found a 30 percent increase in clients who alleged &lsquo;source of income&rsquo; discrimination. In housing terms, that&rsquo;s when landlords turn down renters because they have subsidized housing vouchers.</p><p>The housing clinic released <a href="http://www.jmls.edu/fairhousing/pdf/2013-chicago-segregation-study.pdf">the study</a> Monday and gave a slew of recommendations.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one thing to say we should do a massive integration plan for the city, but I don&rsquo;t think that&rsquo;s very likely in this political climate,&rdquo; said Michael Seng, director of the clinic.</p><p>Although Chicago and Cook County protect such low-income renters, Seng says a federal statute is needed because it would have more teeth and apply to other parts of Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;That has been a factor in recent years on the problems of minorities, particularly African Americans and others in getting housing in Chicago,&rdquo; Seng said. &ldquo;All of these areas that we have identified would have an impact on segregation in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>Other recommendations include legislation to end discrimination against ex-offenders who haven&rsquo;t committed a serious or recent offense.</p><p>Seng said immigrants who don&rsquo;t speak English often face discrimination, and state and federal changes should make them a protected class. The study found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth comprise a significant percentage of Chicago homeless. While sexual orientation is a protected class under Chicago and state law, Seng said more training is needed in homeless shelters and various agencies dealing with LGBT youth. He noted that there are no shelters for these young people on the South and West Sides.</p><p><em>Natalie Moore is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">@natalieymoore</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 07:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/study-segregation-persists-chicago-hurdles-fair-housing-107627 As South Side church turned black, one white congregant stayed in pews http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/south-side-church-turned-black-one-white-congregant-stayed-pews-107451 <p><p>On a recent Sunday morning, the choir at Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church belts out &ldquo;Jesus is the Rock.&rdquo; The brick church at the corner of 81st Street and Calumet Avenue is a largely African-American congregation made up mostly of senior citizens.</p><p>One of its members, Marie Moe, has been around longer than most.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m 85 years old. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida in an all-white home, in all-white neighborhood in an all-white church, in all white schools in the segregated South,&rdquo; Moe recalled.</p><p>In her Southern home, the family&rsquo;s black maid entered through the backdoor. Her cast off textbooks ended up in the under-resourced black schools. Today, she&rsquo;s the only white member of Crerar from a bygone era.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/church%20member2_130531_nm.jpg" style="height: 197px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Marie Moe, second on left, with a group of church women. (Photo courtesy of Marie Moe)" />Sixty years ago when she first joined, the community and church were all white. The story of Crerar is a story of changing neighborhoods, and attitudes toward race that changed even more&mdash; and Marie Moe saw it all from the pews at Crerar.</p><p>Lately, though, a bad hip and a recent stroke have kept her from attending church.</p><p>Her silver hair styled in a pixie cut, Moe lives among stacks of books and photo albums in her third-floor Hyde Park apartment. She first moved to Chicago in 1949 to attend Northwestern University. A few years later a friend brought her to Crerar.</p><p>&ldquo;One choir rehearsal night in September 1953, I walked over to the church and said &lsquo;may I sing with you?&rsquo;&rdquo; Moe remembers. &ldquo;And the director said &lsquo;what do you sing?&rsquo; And I said &lsquo;soprano.&rsquo; He said &lsquo;go sit over there.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Moe joined the soprano section, and the church.</p><p>In the late 1940s, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down racially restrictive housing covenants. African Americans who had been confined to the Black Belt of Chicago could start moving into white neighborhoods like Chatham. Eventually some black families starting showing up at the all-white Crerar to worship.</p><p>&ldquo;It was very gradual at first,&rdquo; Moe says.</p><p>Back then Rev. Warren Studer, who was white, actively recruited blacks. A committed integrationist, Studer wanted to avoid what happened the last time blacks moved near the church.</p><p>In 1928, Crerar was located on 57th and Prairie, then a white neighborhood. When the &ldquo;population began to change&rdquo; - a nice way of saying Negroes were moving in - the church decided to simply disband.</p><p>Fast forward to the 1950s, and Studer wasn&rsquo;t going to let that happen again.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of the members in the church felt that Mr. Studer was spending too much time trying to bring black people into the church and he was ignoring them,&rdquo; Moe said. &ldquo;He really was excellent at making the new people feel welcome in the church. Some white people felt he was neglecting them for them.&rdquo;</p><p>Outside, neighborhood tensions were even higher. Chatham experienced racially-motivated vandalism. Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who lived in the community, had her windows shot out.</p><p>Inside Crerar, Moe remembers asking her new friends questions.</p><p>&ldquo;I wonder what it feels like to be black,&rdquo; Moe said. A friend looked at her and replied &ldquo; &lsquo;Moe, there&rsquo;s hope for you yet.&rsquo; If I said something wrong in Bible class, someone would say, &lsquo;you don&rsquo;t understand.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>And Moe said others would chime in: &ldquo;&lsquo;Of course she doesn&rsquo;t understand, she&rsquo;s never had the experiences we&rsquo;ve had.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/church%20member3_130531_nm.jpg" style="height: 274px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church on 81st and Calumet. (Photo courtesy of Crerar Church)" />But those awkward moments never pushed Moe away.</p><p>&ldquo;People have always been very good with me. Very patient with me and treat me like I&rsquo;m one of their own.&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Just listening to what people were subjected to. I hadn&rsquo;t had to go through any of the experiences black people had to go through. It was all new.&rdquo;</p><p>One of the first blacks to move to Chatham in the 1950s was Alscenia Hodo. A retired school teacher, she&rsquo;s the same age as Moe and still attends Crerar. After service on a spring Sunday, Hodo and other congregants gathered for fellowship in the basement named for Rev. Studer, Crerar&rsquo;s integrationist pastor.</p><p>&ldquo;There might have been racial tension in the church, but I didn&rsquo;t feel it really,&rdquo; Hodo said.</p><p>By 1967 the church was virtually all black and had its first black pastor. Whites had emptied out of Chatham, mirroring white flight in neighborhoods across the country. Hodo said every week a white family moved out. Crerar was more welcoming, but she remembers whites leaving there, too.</p><p>Despite the changes over the years, one thing at Crerar remained constant: come Sunday morning, Marie Moe was almost always there.</p><p>&ldquo;Not only did she stay, she&rsquo;s been very active. And she has contributed to the community,&rdquo; Hodo said. &ldquo;I think sometimes she has to be reminded that she&rsquo;s not black. Cause she thinks that she knows a lot of things and she doesn&rsquo;t but she&rsquo;s always been wonderful being here.&rdquo;</p><p>Today middle class Chatham, with its Cape Cod, ranch and bungalow homes, is still close to 100 percent black.</p><p>This is one reason why I always noticed Moe. I&rsquo;ve been a member of Crerar since I was about 10 years old. Growing up in Chatham in the 1980s, I was keenly aware of my segregated surroundings.</p><p>I always wondered why that white woman was still a member. Not in a negative way but there just weren&rsquo;t any other white members. And so it&rsquo;s taken me all this time&mdash;now that I&rsquo;m a reporter&mdash;to ask her if she truly felt accepted.</p><p>&ldquo;I always felt accepted. There was always a line in a way that I was not supposed to cross,&rdquo; Moe said. &ldquo;I remember once when I was nominated for an office, they said, no this is a black church now we should have a black person in that office. I was elected to it anyway,&rdquo; Moe recalled.</p><p>&ldquo;Just little things like that would come up once in awhile, but by and large I haven&rsquo;t had any negative experiences. That was home and I was going to stay there. Nobody ever asked me to leave.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Natalie Moore is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">@natalieymoore.</a></em></p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/south-side-church-turned-black-one-white-congregant-stayed-pews-107451 Where 'they' live http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/where-they-live-107105 <p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/0bbca76c696311e2afd722000a1f98d6_7.jpg" style="height: 438px; width: 600px;" title="(Britt Julious)" /></span></p><p dir="ltr">&quot;People don&rsquo;t drink coffee on the South Side,&quot; a woman waiting for a drink at a Wicker Park coffee shop said to a barista last year. I was standing near her, waiting for the same barista to finish making my own drink. Her comment was &ndash; obviously &ndash; incorrect, but it was so bizarre of a sweeping statement that I couldn&rsquo;t help but chime in.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;What does that even mean?&quot; I began. &quot;I&rsquo;m pretty certain people drink coffee all over the city, even on the South Side. It&rsquo;s pretty big. You do realize that, right?&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">And then she said, &quot;Well, I just mean coffee culture. It&rsquo;s a pretty bourgie, white thing.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Her statements signaled a lot of things (about race and class), but most significantly, our assumptions and ignorance about the different &quot;Sides,&quot; in particular &ndash; and neighborhoods in general &ndash; in the city.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/04/your-city-getting-way-your-social-life/5368/" target="_blank">In an article for <em>The Atlantic</em></a> examining <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692313000574" target="_blank">a study by Steven Farber</a>, Emily Badger examined the ways in which a city&rsquo;s design could inhibit one&rsquo;s social life. Badger wrote:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">People tend to self-segregate by values, or politics, or race, or income. But if our cities enabled us to interact with each other more, we might also form more of what sociologists call &quot;bridging relationships&quot; between demographics.</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Badger&rsquo;s article focused on one&rsquo;s social life, but these same ideas can be applied to even our simpler interactions with each other.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/0fe63a4089b811e2957722000a1f9a39_7%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 386px; width: 600px;" title="(Britt Julious)" /></p><p>It is easy to only know and understand and appreciate the neighborhood, the small town, the little corner of the universe in which one lives. It is easy to criticize this one woman, but assumptions and ignorance are common across different urban populations. Badger wrote, &quot;if people are sparsely dispersed across a sprawling metropolitan area with a weak downtown core and far-flung jobs, their potential for social interaction plummets.&quot; Chicago, in the broadest of terms, is described as having a North Side, a West Side, and a South Side. We are divided by train lines that stop miles before the city actually ends. I have friends and family who never leave their &quot;Side&quot; of the city, who do not know the North Side like I knew as a college student, who feel no need to do so because they have already made up their mind about what it means to be &quot;up there&quot; versus where they are.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d">I too make these assumptions, despite living and growing up on the West Side, living in the suburbs, and living up North upon my return to the city. I have to remember that Chicago is a large and vast city. Chicago is not about urban sprawl, but about the expanse of the former prairie. Chicago is large sidewalks and larger streets. It can feel never-ending and isolating, but many cities face this same problem. When there are so many people living within close proximity of each other, it can feel like we know no one. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&quot;Not surprisingly, if people are sparsely dispersed across a sprawling metropolitan area with a weak downtown core and far-flung jobs, their potential for social interaction plummets,&quot; Badger said. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>We in turn cling to what we have come to understand as our own: certain corners and bars, little pockets of nearby parks, restaurants for special occasions, and other people who look and act and perhaps even think like us, too. &nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d">Our segregation means that we often do not know about, care about, or understand the neighborhoods and people in those neighborhoods that are as far north and far south as the city reaches. Chicago is greatly diverse, and yet we are often not connected. As such, Chicago developed into (and continues to suffer from) an existence as a hypersegregated city. Is Chicago designed to encourage or inhibit social interactions among different types of people? Examining the ways in which we talk about numerous issues throughout the city (everything from public education and transportation to gun violence and food access), it becomes apparent that Chicago&rsquo;s design, whether intentional or by the sort of self-segregation that we often subconsciously choose on our own, inhibits social interactions.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d">This doesn&rsquo;t mean that everyone suffers this fate or that we are completely ignoring the structure of social interactions within this city. One person&rsquo;s ignorance can be another&rsquo;s challenge to the system. Just because we know one person is misguided does not mean that we are all misguided.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ddd95bb-8aca-db01-4ae0-3d3e4022274d">Back at the coffee shop, the barista, now joining the conversation, said, &quot;I&rsquo;m going to have to say no.&quot; He looked at me and shook his head. I shrugged my shoulders. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&quot;It&rsquo;s coffee,&quot; he said. &quot;It&rsquo;s everywhere.&quot;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 14:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/where-they-live-107105