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Playing the Tired Old Race Card Right Before Chicago's Mayoral Election

I am sick and tired of race. I am black, will always be black, but I am an unapologetic, freedom-loving American before any label.

What sickens me — literally — is how weak-minded Chicago politicians fling race at their opponents and voters to score trifling points that do nothing to help lift up my impoverished community on the South Side of Chicago. As we say, that race train is never late.

What sickens me — literally — is how weak-minded Chicago politicians fling race at their opponents and voters to score trifling points that do nothing to help lift up my impoverished community on the South Side of Chicago. As we say, that race train is never late.

Rather than argue on the grounds of merit as a citizen of Chicago, Johnson used the cheap trick of white guilt to pull the mayoral race into the race realm where it becomes, once again, the tired old tale of the victimized black man versus the guilty white man.

Johnson went on to say that this battle is “about providing community access to the very public accommodations which Black people fought for, especially after emancipation.

It’s what the descendants of slaves in this room are fighting for: public education, public transportation, affordable housing, healthcare and access to jobs.”

I do not disagree with Johnson that these are issues of great importance, especially to my South Side community, but why frame these issues in racial terms? I have yet to see any of my peers lifted up educationally or economically by this kind of racial talk.

We had four years of this kind of talk from our previous mayor and her reign was an indisputable disaster.

My fatigue with race comes from years of pastoring and mentoring my community. When I set up my first church over twenty years ago, I heard endless talk of the white-man-this and the-white-man that. I went along with it because it was so ingrained into our culture.

However, when I had these same conversations with these same people years later, I realized that they had not made any sort of significant progress in their lives in the time between. This race talk excused mediocrity.

I came to understand a simple yet profound truth: the only way to make progress in my community was to move beyond the politics of race. Along with my faith, I made the aspirational American values of hard work and personal responsibility the focus in my community.

Instead of complaining about how so many of our buildings are blighted or government owned, I spent the last year raising nearly $30 million from Americans all over to build a monumental building for my Project H.O.O.D. (Helping Others Obtain Destiny) community center.

Had I held onto race, there would be no tractors currently prepping the community center site and I wouldn’t be telling youths the simplest of adages: anything is possible if you set your mind to.

That is why Johnson’s racial mindset bothers me so. His true aim here is not the uplift of all Chicagoans but to exploit white guilt. Shelby Steele coined the “white guilt” term and he writes that white guilt is not the guilt of conscience.

White guilt is the terror that whites have of being linked to America’s legacy of racial horrors and being stigmatized as racists. The implication in Johnson’s words is that if white Chicagoans don’t vote for him then they are racists. As Steele says, white guilt is black power.

But this black power is false, a mirage of sorts. Where is the black power that uplifted my community? The belief in American principles has done far more for us.

I hear talk of white privilege all the time but what about black privilege? It is black privilege to play the race card when so many Chicagoan kids go hungry, fear violence daily, and go to failing schools.

It is black privilege to racialize an entire election to hide a mediocre platform that will make it harder for our communities to thrive. It is black privilege to blame race instead of coming up with real solutions to real problems. This black privilege will be the death of us.

My community is on the bottom of everything in America — education, single parent households, violence, and on. It is not fair that they were born into such a deprived area but that is their fate.

Their only hope is to move beyond the racial exploitations by the Johnsons of America and to embrace the American Dream.

They may face racism just as a Jew may encounter antisemitism, but by aiming high they will land higher and when they pass along these good faith lessons to their children, that generation will land even higher.

https://twitter.com/CoreyBBrooks/status/1643036631790944256?s=20&fbclid=IwAR3fK6rfTL391mnZHUb7E-V_p4q8WHZKXvkTFjHtF_4CpH-2CMz9W5r3ZHk



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