With Mayor Richard Daley’s announcement that he is stepping down from the job as Mayor of the City of Chicago potential leaders are emerging from all walks of life. Having a diverse group of candidates for such an important position should be a great thing for the citizens of Chicago.
Democracy is about choice, freedom and the idea that anyone can rise to the top regardless of race, ethnic background, gender or religion. But for groups like the Chicago Coalition for Mayor and the City Council’s Black Caucus the idea that all men and women are created equal doesn’t apply when it comes to selecting the next Mayor of Chicago. In this election supporting a single black candidate for Mayor has become a common goal of black leaders throughout the city.
Sadly, the news media in Chicago has portrayed this as normal behavior and completely failed to address the fact that this is essentially supporting racism. Let’s imagine for a moment a group of white men coming together in the city of Chicago stating publicly that they are going to draft a list of names for Mayor that they will support but only whites will be considered. Leaders from all walks of life would condemn this group as racist. The President would be making public statements condemning the behavior of the group. Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. would be leading a public outcry against such behavior. But here in Chicago, this has become acceptable behavior for leaders in the African American community.
A group of black community leaders recently came together and heard testimony from a number of black candidates for mayor who each reported on why they should have the support of the coalition in the race to become the next Mayor of Chicago. The group apparently formed in order to assure that the black vote is not split and will stand unified behind one black candidate. No white or Hispanic candidates were invited to the meeting.
When Americans elected Barack Obama as the first African American president, the world watched and hoped that we were witnessing an end to an ugly past of racism in politics and society as a whole. It was hoped that society had learned from the mistakes of the past and that the majority of citizens of the US who now have elected a black president would, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., no longer “judge a man by the color of his skin but by the content of his character. ” Dr. King had a dream. But in Chicago, all we need to do is turn on the evening news to see that his dream is still far from becoming reality.
“The root: Rahm isn’t a shoo-in for black community,” Lynette Holloway, NPR, Retrieved from :http://www.npr.org