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Disparity Week

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Simeon: The first to six?

Posted By on 03.17.12 at 12:44 PM

Jabari Parker
Chicago Simeon had all the height and most of the talent in its state semifinal against Chicago Heights Bloom on Friday. So it's no surprise Bloom tried to even things out on defense—and for a while it almost worked.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Is Toni Preckwinkle building a political machine?

Posted By on 03.16.12 at 10:00 AM

Kwame Raoul
  • Kwame Raoul: not a fan of "machine-style" politics

Toni Preckwinkle has pushed a flurry of no-nonsense reforms since being elected Cook County Board president in 2010.

But her attempts to extend her influence this election season have left a longtime ally wondering if Preckwinkle's brand of independence is drifting toward “machine-like” power politics.

"You don’t want to become everything you’ve done a great job of not being your entire political career," says state senator Kwame Raoul.

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Mind the gap

Posted By on 03.16.12 at 08:00 AM

The Terror House Museum
  • The Terror House Museum

When your daughter elopes
So you hang her from ropes
That’s a moré.
When your son says he’s gay
So you lock him away
That’s a moré.
When your wife won’t stay wed
So you leave her for dead
In the doorway.
‘Scusami but you see
In our theocracy
It’s a moré.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A tale of two lunches

Posted By on 03.14.12 at 04:30 PM

Black truffle pasta is Charles Murrays favorite.
  • Pat Castalda
  • Black truffle pasta is Charles Murray's favorite.

I was walking down State Street to get lunch yesterday, when a woman standing in front of a Subway asked me for a handout. "I haven't eaten in two days," she said, and I had no reason to doubt that. She looked to be in a bad way, smoking the butt of a cigarette and missing many teeth. I'm kind of broke myself right now, but I thought I could swing a sandwich. So we went inside and she ordered a footlong with double meat and grabbed a bag of chips. She tried to take a cup, but the Subway guy gave her a hard time: "You want a cup, get a combo. You're not cheating me." I told her to go ahead. The total was $11.83.

I went on my way, and as I was ordering a salad at a place down the street, a guy came in and asked me to buy him lunch. "Sorry," I told him. "I don't really have the money." He left, and I remarked to the counter guy that this was the second time in five minutes that I'd been hit up. "Maybe he's in on it," he said, laughing.

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Painting the picture of an efficient operation

Posted By on 03.14.12 at 07:00 AM

Dorothy Brown
  • Dorothy Brown has run the Cook County court clerk’s office for the last 12 years
Our criminal justice system is rife with disparities along lines of race, income, and power. The grass gap is just one of them.

Yet it’s impossible to confront or even monitor the system’s flaws without first overcoming a troubling disparity of another sort: the gulf between the public’s right to know and the access offered by our institutions of justice.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just one drop: Lyric Opera's Show Boat

Posted By on 03.13.12 at 06:30 PM

The 1936 version is said to be better.
  • The 1936 version is said to be better.

I was ten and on a family vacation at Estes Park in Colorado when my dad dragged us to a screening of Show Boat in the grand lodge. I had grumbled—I was a bookworm and wanted to stay in the room reading—but as it happened, I loved it. Of course, I had no clue as to miscegenation, which is central to the plot. When the tragic heroine, Julie, is forced to leave the show boat after her mixed marriage is exposed, I imagine I would have thought something along the lines of "Why is the pretty lady leaving?"

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The MVP halts the Linsanity

Posted By on 03.13.12 at 04:30 PM

Derrick Rose
You want a sample of disparity on the field of play? You should've seen the Bulls play the New York Knicks Monday night.

The Knicks, of course, have Jeremy Lin, who has ridden a few late-game heroics, a plethora of bad puns, and the hyperventilating New York City media to become a national phenomenon. His counterpart at point guard for the Bulls just happens to be the reigning NBA most valuable player, Derrick Rose.

Monday, it was no contest, as the Bulls beat the Knicks 104-99.

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The terminal illnesses of poverty and segregation

Posted By on 03.13.12 at 09:43 AM

4952166117_a1683a1242_m.jpg
  • jasleen_kaur
Twenty-six years ago, I wrote a Reader article about cancer in Chicago—"Poverty is a carcinogen." It was the story of a 59-year-old African-American woman who was dying of cancer, and spending her final days in a tiny west-side apartment. Cancer had made her blacker and poorer: chemotherapy had darkened her skin, and cancer and chemo together had weakened her until she could no longer work, and then became bedridden. She had no savings; there were final notices and shutoff warnings from Com Ed on a chair next to her bed, and she was borrowing money from friends to pay her rent.

I noted in the story that cancer was only one of the menaces to health and longevity that afflict the urban poor more than others: there were also infant mortality, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cirrhosis, schizophrenia, accidents, and murders. From low birth weight to high blood pressure, being poor was hazardous to one's health. The health of blacks was also far worse than the health of whites, and the evidence indicted poverty more than race for this disparity—blacks' health was inferior because they more often were poor.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Starting today on the Bleader: Disparity Week

Posted By on 03.12.12 at 11:14 AM

justice-scales-photo.jpg
In recognition of the age of disparity in which we now live—as evidenced by the racial disparity in marijuana busts, the economic disparity between the 1 percent and the rest of us, and the value disparity between the cost of long-form journalism and the amount people are willing to pay—we’ll be devoting this most recent installment of our weekly Variations on a Theme series to things that just aren’t fair.

We’ve got disparity on the brain in the aftermath of Steve Bogira’s two-part series "The Color of His Skin," which ran last week and the week before. The narrative explores the 1971 killing of 21-year-old Joe Henson, a black man shot dead following an altercation with a group of white teenagers. The story is the equally tragic inverse of Bogira’s two-part series from last fall, "The Price of Intolerance," about the 1970 killing of two white children following similar racial tensions in a neighborhood near where Henson was killed. Unlike the black perpetrator in the 1970 shooting, the white suspects in Henson’s killing never went to prison.

In case you missed our prior Variations on a Theme installment, feel free to return to Obsolescence Week (VHS! Reel-to-reel!), a thinly veiled bon voyage to our old website. And be forewarned that next week is Booze Week, in honor of our soon-to-drop Neighborhood Bar Guide. You'll definitely want to stick around for that one.

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Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West Museum of Contemporary Art
September 16
Performing Arts
Franklinland The Frontier
January 25

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