From Ben Willis to Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the administrators who implement Chicago's racist school policies are always well-paid and viciously powerful...

Within a few months, a local filmmaker will be releasing a new film retelling the history of the great school boycott of 1964 (and hopefully telling the story of the "Justice" strike of 1968 that launched the certification of thousands of black teachers who had suffered decades of discrimination because of Chicago's racist "standards" for hiring teachers).

But one piece of the history needs to be updated -- NOW. During the 1960s, 1970s, and into some of the 1980s, Chicago's "drum majors for justice" were more easily able to tell the racist leaders from the rest of us. Although the protesters against Chicago's massive segregation were of all colors, the segregationists were all white, usually men. Hence, Ben Willis became the symbol of racist school construction policies during the 1960s, and the portable classrooms used to contain black children in black ghetto schools became known at "Willis Wagons."

In 2013, it's not so easy to tell the racists and those who are pushing racist policies, because many of them, lead by Barbara Byrd Bennett, are not African Americans, and they try to use this to confuse those who criticize the policies.

In one way, this is a good thing. As everyone who has studied the long and ignominious history of slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation in the USA knows, those various monstrosities could not have survived as long as they did without the Barbara Byrd Bennetts of the USA. At every step, a handful of well-paid opportunists preyed on the black community for their own benefit, just as Chicago's quarter million dollar "Chief Executive Officer" does today. Everyone now knows that Byrd Bennett is a tool of the nation's racist plutocracy, just as is Mayor Rahm Emanuel. And all the protests and phony biographies from Byrd Bennett or about Rahm can't hide or obscure those facts: the racist policies are racist, not matter what the ethnicity or color of those who push and implement them.

While we still haven't found the right historical or fictional model for the Rahm Emanuel character today, a recent movie has given us a great depiction of the Barbara Byrd Bennett character: Stephen in "Django Unchained." As more and more teachers are combining the showing of "Django Unchained" with a showing of "Lincoln," the lines can be more clearly seen. Just as the abolition of slavery in the USA required sacrifices by white people (most dramatically, the hundreds of thousands of white union soldiers who died fighting the Civil War), so the maintenance of slavery and its evils required the Barbara Byrd Bennetts -- er, "Stephens" -- of the world. Samuel L. Jackson is playing the Barbara Byrd Bennett character in "Django Unchained."


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