Wednesday, July 16, 2014

No Roland Martin, We Should NOT Send The National Guard To Chicago

If you have not yet read Roland Martin's article on sending the National Guard to Chicago, please do so first before you dive into this post.

So this was my initial response to Roland Martin's article:

I wanted to stop there, but then I figured that we really need to look at why sending, or even suggesting, the National Guard should be sent to Chicago is a BAD idea.

Militarizing Chicago & The History of Military & Increased Police Presence in Black Communities

Suggesting military intervention in Chicago is the last thing that city needs. We all know that if the National Guard goes to Chicago, they're going to the South Side, and we know the racial makeup of that part of the community so it is easy for us to deduce who would be most impacted by this military presence.

Chicago is plagued with poverty, violence, discrimination, abuse and a fear and mistrust of law enforcement already; amplifying a military presence there is not a responsible way to assure public safety after years of oppression. Having the National Guard in Chicago will surely lead to the criminalization of black and brown bodies, displacement of black residents and ultimately gentrification. Militarizing Chicago and increasing the police presence is only treating a symptom of a much larger issue, which is another reason why this will not work. There are larger, deep-seated issues that contribute to violence in Chicago that no military presence can solve. Education, poverty, employment and social services are all contributing factors that must be addressed to even begin to solve or "fix" Chicago's issue of violence.

Militarization & heightened police presence in black communities have ALWAYS had devastating impacts. Remember the MOVE bombing and the destruction of Black Wall Street? 

In 1967, Detroit erupted in a riot that lasted four days. Governor George Romney ordered in the Detroit National Guard and President Johnson sent in army troops. The result: 43 people died, 1,189 were injured and it left devastating and lasting effects on Detroit til this day. 


Sensationalism & Statistics

The media has sensationalized Chicago and it has us believing things about the city that just aren't true (See misleading FBI crime statistics report from 2012). For starters, Chicago is NOT the murder captial of the U.S. Flint, Michigan actually has the highest homicide rate according to FBI statistics, but no one is talking about that. See, statistics, when not put into proper perspective, have a way of skewing the way we interpret the data. When you hear about the number of lives lost in Chicago in a year, it is not equivalent to the homicide rate. You must consider the overall population of Chicago in order to see how their homicides compare with other cities. So if we put these stats into proper perspective (typically by looking at Chicago's homicide rater per 100,000 people), we will find that there are other cities that are worse off than Chicago, but because there are a high number of shootings at once (like the 84 people shot during the 4th of July weekend), the media sensationalizes it and we start calling for military intervention.

We have to get out of the mindset of trying to solve all of the worlds problems with military intervention. As Albert Einstein so aptly stated, "We cannot solve a problem with the same mind (read: thinking) that created it".

Show me a black community, or any community, that fared well under military control and then (Maybe. And by maybe, I mean never) we can talk about sending troops to Chicago. Until then, NO.

*I am not a Chicago resident, never have been. 
Therefore, I do not speak as an expert on Chicago or claim to know exactly how to solve the city's issue of violence. But history has shown me what has NOT worked in the past, so we know there is no need to repeat it. I encourage anyone truly concerned for Chicago and its residents to link up with the people and activists in that community and ask them specifically what solutions to implement and how we can work directly with them to end violence there.*

Twitter: @SoulRevision

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