Racist fliers were discovered in the 19th Ward recently, re-igniting the conversation about what residents can do to ensure Beverly/Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood are welcoming to everyone.
It is not known who distributed the fliers, which listed websites “that oppose anti-whiteism” and “identify anti-whites,” but similar fliers were found along the route of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, as well as last summer.
Racist graffiti has also been found around the community several times in recent years.
19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea has distributed signs reading, “Hate has no home in the 19th Ward,” and it’s encouraging to pass by businesses and homes and see them displayed in front windows.
Still, people can always do more to drive home the message that racism will not be tolerated in this neighborhood. It starts at home and continues at school. Work environments should be considered welcoming to all people.
Racial tensions are high nationwide, and on July 21, the Illinois Republican County Chairmen’s Association (IRCCA) posted another troubling flier on social media that featured manipulated images of four Democratic congresswomen—Rashida Tliab, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley—and it called them the “The Jihad Squad.” President Donald Trump has criticized the women lately, telling them that, if they hate the U.S. so much, “go back” to the “totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”
The IRCCA post was beyond inappropriate, and later that day, it was deleted. IRCCA President Mark Shaw apologized, saying the post was unauthorized and did not reflect his values.
“Bigoted rhetoric greatly distracts from legitimate and important policy debates and further divides our nation,” Shaw said. “My intense disagreement with the socialist policies and anti-Semitic language of these four congresswomen has absolutely nothing to do with their race or religion.”
Words and propaganda have a real effect—the same week as those comments, a Louisiana police officer said that Ocasio-Cortez, a former bartender, “needs a round—and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve.”
Dangerous words lead to dangerous actions. No U.S. citizen should be told to “go back” to the country they came from—one of the amazing things about our country is that there is a multitude of peaceful ways to improve conditions if people disagree with certain laws.
Nationwide and locally, people need to do more to condemn racism and promote rational discourse.