Rich Rostrom | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Why didn't the Confederate battle flag go the way of the swastika?

"Lincoln was a great president, but failing to properly deal with the Confederate traitors was his biggest mistake."

Lincoln was killed just before the end of the war, so he had nothing to say about it. Vice President Andrew Johnson was a white Southern Democrat. Though a fanatical Unionist, he was also a white supremacist and collaborated with ex-Confederates in establishing white control of the South. This "Conservative Reconstruction" was overturned by the Republican Congress, leading to Johnson's impeachment in 1868 and to the 14th and 15th Amendments. By that time, the war was over and anti-Confederate rage had dissipated.

It should be noted that some of the most vehement anti-slavery and anti-Confederate figures became advocates of reconciliation. Horace "Forward to Richmond!" Greeley advocated a broad amnesty for ex-Confederates and posted bail for Jefferson Davis. In 1872, Greeley ran for President against U.S. Grant, whose administration was notoriously corrupt, and accepted the backing of the Democrats, including the white supremacist "Redeemers" in the South (i.e. the KKK).

Getting back to Lincoln: he was never a vindictive man, and always inclined to mercy. He strongly hinted that he would prefer it if Davis and others escaped overseas. He wanted everyone to go home and settle down, and for black and white Southerners to work out their new relationship gradually, in peace. He probably underestimated the resistance of white Southerners to even gradual change. But his approach was never tried, so it can't be dismissed as a mistake.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rich Rostrom on 06/25/2015 at 3:28 PM

Re: “Separate, Unequal, and Ignored

(repeating comment because it was massively truncated somehow)

Mr. Bogira is either a fool or intentionally disingenuous.

In the last 40 years, there have been huge efforts made to end coercive racial segregation.

Billions of $ have been paid out in housing subsidies to move poor (mostly black) households into non-poor (mostly white) neighborhoods. Banks and mortgage companies were pushed to issue "subprime" mortgages to poor (disproportionately black) borrowers, allowing them to buy into better (usually less black) areas.

Laws have been enacted making overt discrimination illegal. Newsmedia, schools, clergy, politicians, and popular entertainment all sang the anti-racism chorus.

And these efforts have had considerable effects. Mr. Bogira's map shows that nine community areas that were <10% black in 1970 are now at least 10% black, i.e. were desegregated. Though he does not provide the data (and my references are packed away) I'm pretty sure that several other community areas went from less than 1% to between 5% and 10%, which is considerable additional desegregation.

His complaint seems to be that there are 20 community areas that are over 90% black (up from 13 in 1970). Does he really think this result is a failure of housing policy?

Suppose the various authorities had provided billion dollars in additional housing subsidies for Chicago. That could have moved more poor black households into non-black areas. But would it have had the slightest impact on the racial mix of the all-black areas? Would $10 billion have done it? $100 billion?

The all-black areas are all black because no non-black will live there. Mr. Bogira knows the reasons as well as I do. He wasted five pages of the Reader talking around them.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rich Rostrom on 02/14/2011 at 12:27 PM

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