South Side Bob | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Separate, Unequal, and Ignored

Although this article focuses on tired concepts that generally have not worked (namely scattered site public housing and school busing), it does bring up a needed airing of the issue of race. Fortunately for our society, the younger generation is much more open to individuals of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds. Liberals can be blamed for failed programs to implement integration policies but it is they who have successfully worked for decades to open up access to all aspects of society for blacks and others through laws and enforcement. This will increasingly reap more benefits as people of all backgrounds have more opportunity to better themselves. A more enlightened population will mix more willingly on their own vs. being manipulated by some bogus forced program.

Most hipsters' grandparents would never have moved into a block with a mix of ethnicity and races. Their parents probably would not be enthused about the idea either, except for the flower children set. The important point is that this generation is willing to do so--it is a sea change of attitude. Most blacks have been willing to live in mixed areas for decades. It will take time, but there is reason to be optimistic about a gradual desegration of more parts of the city.

Areas of the city dominated by crime and poverty will obviously not attract anyone. This dysfunctional part of society with fractured households, multi-generational dependence, substance abuse, crime, lack of civility, etc. is what needs to be addressed. These are hidden areas to most people, as mentioned in the article. But it is this demographic group that brings entire neighborhoods down and there needs to be a concerted effort to target this group. (The tearing down of Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens has sent many of these dysfunctional folks to formerly stable south suburbs and other city neighborhoods, wreaking all kinds of havoc.) Understanding and addressing the underlying problems here is the challenge that the mayoral candidates should be taking on. And the answer is not plantation politics and the welfare society. Maybe Mr. Orfield and his colleagues can take this on......

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by South Side Bob on 02/17/2011 at 4:01 PM

Re: “Toxic Tour of Northwest Indiana

Northwest Indiana was once beautiful dunes along Lake Michigan with immense wetlands and prairies along the Calument River and the Kankakee River, teeming with wildlife. Just about every bit of this paradise was destroyed by big industry with support from the State of Indiana. It took Senator Douglas from Illinois to save the remaining dunes in the present National Lakeshore. If you look at an aerial, you can see the natural meandering of the Kankakee River in Illinois, but on the Indiana side it is channelized. You can also see the green parks on the Illinois side along Lake Michigan, changing to heavy industry on the Indiana side. Illinois is far from perfect but at least it had the sense to capitalize on and preserve its great natural assets while still providing jobs. Interestingly, the only nice scenes in the photos are at a Chicago beach and at the waterfalls along the Calumet Sag Channel in Blue Island---in Illinois.

Northwest Indiana is the poster child for selling your soul to the devil and thereby creating one of the most miserable, toxic, spirit-killing places in the country. Our hearts go out to everyone trying to live a life in this mess. It's time to start restoring this once beautiful area to a healthy ecosystem. Maybe the State of Indiana should acknowledge that Northwest Indiana is actually in the state and start paying attention to it.

8 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by South Side Bob on 02/10/2011 at 5:14 PM

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