Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Problems with the "Whitest of Chicago"

by Chris Campbell

While looking for The Onion last Thursday, I nonchalantly noticed a different paper in its place; something called the Chicago Ink. Curious, I picked it up and glanced at its cover, which proclaimed that issue to be 'The White Issue.' "Oh no," I thought, "just what we need: more trouble." But I was only half-right. What I found inside what the most poorly written, inflammatory and downright racist writing I've ever seen in a bona fide publication.

But not like you may think.

The feature for which the issue was named, 'The Whitest of Chicago,' triumphantly rattles off the 'Whitest' qualities of our fair city. For instance, Whitest Blues Joint: House of Blues. Whitest Toy: Beanie Babies. Whitest Leftist Party: International Socialist Organization. There's even a tasteless picture of our own esteemed Mayor Daley depicting him as an overgrown child. It also goes on to spell out its own definition of 'whiteness' as being, the "glorification of unrestrained capitalism," "manipulation of white language in the white media" and finally declares "resisting whiteness in all its forms is our goal."

Needless to say, I have quite a problem with it.

First of all, I don't see the point to all this. It's not funny, creative or constructive and all its doing is breeding hatred for everyone, including but not exclusive to that paper, its writers and white people who have nothing to do with "unrestrained capitalism." The last thing we need in this world is more hate and anger. Secondly, this is racism in its purest form. If this had been "The Black Issue" and was decrying all things black and mocked Harold Washington, there would have been an angry mob outside their offices, or maybe a rally and a demand for an apology. Which brings me to my next point. It's very true that there is a distinct racial double standard evolving in this country, and this disturbs me. I'd be lying if I told you its doesn't disturb me because I'm white. It scares me because it essentially says its OK to hate whites but a sin to hate blacks. Wrong. It's a sin to hate anybody, regardless of their race. Why should I be the target of all this negative emotion simply because of the color of my skin? It's the exact same thing civil rights workers protested and fought against in the 60's? I don't seem to recall Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanting to turn the tables so viciously. He wanted equality, not revenge. Besides, isn't this what happened in Germany in the 1930s to Jews? Granted they were a minority group, but they also had plenty of power. And it always starts small.

Lastly, the Ink might thinks its cool to call big business 'whiteness' but I question the semantics of this policy. If saying 'whiteness' is bad and commercial, doesn't that imply the 'blackness' is good and altruistic? That's not a valid argument on the part of the paper, because all whites aren't bad and all blacks aren't good or vice versa. It's stereotypes like these that piss people off and cause violence and more racism, exactly what this paper claims to oppose. This paper may very well want to end racism, but they are certainly going about the wrong way.

It's also peculiar to note that the Chicago Ink also advertises a "National Conference on Whiteness" this past weekend at the University of Chicago, about "confronting whiteness to end racism" this strikes me as an cruel contradiction: a racist paper advocating ending racism.

They needn't look very far to begin.

What do you think? Mail me

© 1998 Chris Campbell. All rights reserved.