“Whites and blacks in Chicago are living in two totally different cities”

That’s the title of an article in the Washington Post, referencing an earlier survey and article in the New York Times.  The Post’s Wonkblog says:

Nearly half of parents with children at home said they would like to leave the city. Three-quarters of all respondents said they believed the city had seriously gotten on the wrong track.

The data, though, is particularly revealing for what it says about the very different experiences in Chicago of blacks and whites, who, because of largely decades-old patterns of segregation, largely inhabit separate sides of the city. Whites and blacks offered bluntly different responses to many questions. Sixty-three percent of blacks said they thought the biggest problem facing the city was crime, violence or gangs; just 35 percent of whites said the same (they’re more likely to cite economic and budget issues). Forty-six percent of blacks said they’d made changes to their daily routine as a result of the recent rise in violent crime; only about half as many whites report having done so.

Twenty-three percent of blacks said they believe they’ve been denied housing they could afford because of their race. Two percent of whites said the same.

Down to their experience of their own neighborhoods — and whether they believe the city services, parks and schools there are good — blacks and whites in Chicago have notably different perceptions.

. . .

The difference between these two realities is the city’s biggest challenge yet.

There’s more at the link.  It’s seriously worth reading the whole thing, as well as keeping an eye on the Post’s Wonkblog column.  It has some good stuff from time to time.

I’ve had the (mis)fortune to work in several inner-city areas of some of America’s most blighted cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans.  It’s a scary experience if you don’t know what to expect, because in some of those areas it’s literally like being in a foreign country.  One of the reasons I was able to get results working there was that I regarded such areas as similar to tribally divided suburbs in some African cities I’ve known.  If you treat the gangs as tribes, warring with each other, a lot of things become clear about the society and culture you find in such areas.

The article also highlights – without meaning to – why some popular movements are widely popular among the black community, but not nearly as much among whites.  A good example is the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.  To many blacks, the reality of the situation is unmissable and inescapable.  They’re treated to what amounts to legalized police harassment every day, and they resent it bitterly, particularly when it leads to a disproportionate number of incidents of police violence against members of their racial group.  (Largely white) police officers and their supporters, on the other hand, argue that such treatment is inevitable because crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks, and that they’re therefore being treated as they deserve.  Neither side is completely right . . . but, sadly, neither side is completely wrong, either.  Unfortunately, their perspectives are so far apart that there’s virtually no chance of reconciling them.  Therefore, the disputes, the arguments – and the violence – are likely to continue unabated.

We’re living in a divided society.  It’s getting more divided, too, as Hispanic and other groups occupy their own areas of our cities.  They aren’t forming ‘ghettos’ as such, but effectively it’s the same.  In a major city near me I can clearly identify areas occupied by blacks;  different groups of Hispanics (i.e. Mexican, Honduran, Cuban, etc.);  Vietnamese;  and other racial and ethnic groups.  It’s a different version (with different skin colors) of what used to be the case in ‘white’ cities, where Poles, Italians, Irish, etc. would form their own neighborhoods in the same way.  It’s only after World War II that such ethnic enclaves began to break down in the white community, and some are still there.  I’ve visited them.

Of course, this also affects crime and security.  That’s something of which all of us need to be aware, for our own safety’s sake.  Follow those six links for more information and food for thought.



  1. I don't get it. There are no Confederate monuments emitting hate rays trapping Blacks in crime and poverty in Chicago, yet they're experiencing similar problems as Blacks in the South. There's just no explaining it …

  2. Good review, and it points out the baseline differences that will probably never be overcome… Sigh

  3. We have lived in a divided society for a long time.
    I had a friend who lived in a bad area of a large city. He is white and always commented about the crime in the area. He would relate stories of black on black crime that were truly horrific. But these criminals would never bother my friend.

    1 – my friend made it obvious that he had weapons in his house. He always made a big production of taking his rifle to the range.
    [ I mean like noticing that as he left there were some late teen early 20 year olds intently watching my friend depart. When this happened he casually stared down the "overly curious basketball players" while checking to see if his rifle was unloaded and stowing it away, almost to say "if my house gets messed with… you know who I will be visiting"]

    2 – He had two large German Shepherds with a fence that covered both front and back yards. (he had an elaborate explanation as to why he had 2)

    3 – sturdy metal external doors, decent alarm system with LOUD alarm horn that he tested regularly

    4 – MAINLY he was safer because he was white… He knew that being white in that neighborhood meant that the police would actually come and they would investigate any crimes. My friend saw this casual police attitude several times. (of course it didn't help that the single mom down the street usually had dated her burglar… but that's another story)

    My friend only stayed in da'hood for two years. He calls it his "tour".
    He got serious with a girl and married and knew there would be no way he could raise kids in that hellhole.

    Mostly he just got mentally exhausted.
    Always checking his 6 at the gas station.
    Knowing he has to get his groceries while there is still light out.
    And the constant harassment by pan handlers who could well be distracting whitey for some other dude to assault the unprotected back
    Always being ready to confront some dude approaching that was testing him to see if he was an easy mark

    This is why hampering police forces is so damaging to black neighborhoods. When you have a "street gathering" bad things follow. A proactive police force will nip these things in the bud if allowed to. Yes it's assuming the worst – but hey when you see some hoodlums scoping out a neighborhood they don't live in – It's pretty sure bet it's not to sell girl scout cookies. Having a vigilant police cruiser remind the lads to go to their own separate neighborhoods is a GOOD thing.

  4. It's worth listening to Colin Flaherty's podcast "White Girl Bleed a Lot" – and to read the associated book, and also his follow up "Don't Make the Black Kids Angry"

    There is an extent where the (valid) expectation by the cops of high crime and agressive behavior colors their own behavior, but look at Detroit, Chicago, etc. – There's a lot they COULD do if they chose to, instead of crime.

    After all, crime was a major concern among blacks in Chicago – were the people robbing them white?

  5. No society's ever truly been a single monolithic culture. There's always been "the subcultures within".

    And there's always been the silent "civilian cold war" phenomenon as well. Not just between different races, or between certain immigrant factions and the native-born, but also animosity and occasional full-frontal conflict between those of different economic, educational and social-status stature—even within the same race or religious affiliations.

    I don't see this phenomenon as ever abating myself. There will always be SOME "outcast" group or groups taking the brunt of the cultural and worldly ills.

  6. There are 2 different countries as well.

    White Americans actually have homicide rates on par with Canada and Europe, and much lower violent crime than England (which also skews their murder rate reporting).

    The excess is Black (mostly on Black) crime, which makes our country look very bad in other countries.

    This is further skewed by the way the FBI keeps statistics: Hispanics are measured separately as victims of crime, but lumped in with White as perps.

    Run the numbers yourself, don't take my word for it.

  7. If they are unhappy, there are plenty of black run countries to move to.

    Years ago, I read 'Gang Leader for a Day' written by one of the freakonomics economist. He was an American born Indian (with a dot). I'm taking it at face value, but some of his descriptions showed that blacks treated eachother worse than any white person would on average. Much of their problems in their communities are because of their cultural mindset and little to do with YT. I simply don't feel sorry for them care; just stay out of where I live.


  8. Odd coincidence is it not that each of those inner city areas you mention have long lived under liberal progressive democrat administrations.
    They are also, Chicago in particular, blessed with the strictest most repressive gun control laws in the entire United States. Until slapped down by SCOTUS in the McDonald decision the Chicago gun laws were nearly as onerous as those of Great Britain.
    Pure coincidence of course. No correlation to see here, move along now.

  9. We're living in a divided society. It's getting more divided, too, as Hispanic and other groups occupy their own areas of our cities.

    It's going to get worse – probably much worse – before it gets better.

  10. Excellent article. The comments not so much. The reality as I see it is what one of your readers said. Liberal sensibilities. Too much dependence on the state. Once that yoke is cast off and once responsibility is taken then you will see conditions improve. That will mean short term pain. It will also mean a reduction in services so that dependence can be lessened and independence established. Take a look at the Favalas in Brazil. That is coming to major cities soon and the talk of militarized police will be an after thought.

    Additionally we need to be honest about one other thing. Entire govt agencies have been established that feed off the poverty and hopelessness in the inner city. There will be howls of unfairness not because they think you're being heartless by insisting that adults no longer rely on state, but because "good middle class jobs" will disappear when the necessary medicine is applied.

    The problem is much more intense than the arrogance that some applied to this issue.

  11. Living a few hundred miles from Chicago I've seen what happens when people flee the violence there. They tend to drag the violence and the culture that glorifies and fosters it with them.

    Spent almost 40 years in a small town in Iowa (12-15000 residents) predominately white with sizable Mexican community going back 80 years or so. Crime was nearly non-existent. In the 90s there was in influx of Chicago refugees. Some fleeing the violence, others to be nearer incarcerated relatives and others to expand gang drug trade. The little town now has drive-bys crips, bloods and vice lord gangs. Before I left, a Chicago family moved in across the street. We'd literally had nothing stolen in the 60 years my family lived in that house. Within 3 weeks of our new neighbors moving in I had my car ransacked, a couple thousand dollars worth of tools stolen from my garage and an attempted break in of my home. House went on the market by the end of the month.

    Another city near my old town, a little over twice the size, now has no-go areas for both whites and even the police due to the Chicago influx. Another town downstate has at least one shooting a month now and rampant crime due to Chicago transplants.

    What happens to small Midwestern towns when the meat packing industry brings in cheap illegal and foreign labor is just as bad.

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