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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is a real lightweight when it comes to Chicago mayors. She is not just afraid to take on tough issues and doesn’t know how to deal with Chicago’s out-of-control street gang gun violence, but she is a racist and only wants to do interviews with sympathetic reporters who are Black or Brown. I’ve covered 7 Chicago mayors and have asked her for interviews 16 times and have gotten no response. But then, I am not Black or Brown, I am Olive. I guess she doesn’t like Arabs, too. You could call it political apartheid!
By Ray Hanania
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has decided that to celebrate her two year anniversary, she will give one-on-one interviews only to journalists who are “Black” or “Brown.”
It’s as racist as one can get and begs the question of how Lightfoot would have responded had another politician said they would only do one-on-one interviews with “White” journalists.
Lightfoot’s office has ignored a dozen interview requests I have made and now I understand why. My skin color is “Olive.” My parents are Arabs. Dad is from Jerusalem and my mom is from Bethlehem. Maybe, Lightfoot just doesn’t like Jesus. Dad was also a veteran, too, by the way. Not that it makes a difference to the mayor.
Who understands a politician like Lightfoot who is driven more by racist political segregation and skin color than by harmony or racial equality? Mayors I criticized still sat down and did interviews with me when I covered City Hall and seven Chicago mayors – every reporter claims to have covered Chicago mayors, but I actually covered them fulltime at City Hall, not just when it was convenient.
Lightfoot can shove it, as far as I am concerned! In addition to being racist, she is being childish. Or maybe she is afraid to answer tough questions from her critics.
Chicago was like the small box of crayons. Society was obsessed with Black and White races, and people who advocated for assimilation or the “Melting Pot” were just being disruptive. Chicago wasn’t a “Melting Pot.” It was a “Stew.”
The different races and ethnicities even didn’t live together. Blacks lived in their areas, Hispanics lived in theirs, and so did Asians. Everyone lived in separate neighborhoods. White neighborhoods were subdivided into ethnic sections of Irish, Italian, and Polish.
The issue of race color reminds me of the Crayola Crayon controversy of 1958. Crayola was the master of coloring. In 1903, they introduced the first 8 colors, black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green, in a simple little yellow and green designed box. In 1939, they launched the 52 box, greatly expanding the colors. In 1958, when I was in Kindergarten, they expanded the colors with 64 colors arranged in a complex box of tiered sub-boxes and color groups.
The following year, my First Grade teacher sent a note home explaining to parents that students should only buy the classic 8-crayon box. The controversy wasn’t that there was no “White” Crayon in the box. It was about costs, the bulkiness of the box and the lack of need for color nuance.
Families had to buy their own school supplies back then and government didn’t subsidize parental responsibility.
One challenge was the letter was in English. No one demanded translations back then. I helped my immigrant mom, who was still mastering English with our Greek neighbor, to figure it out.
Some parents were upset, but most didn’t care. They had bigger problems, like Sputnik, the Russian satellite flying overhead radiating lizards into giant monsters, poisoning the atmosphere, and spying into our homes through our windows from high above.
Lightfoot doesn’t have Sputnik to worry about in her racist world, though. She can poison the atmosphere all on her own.
Is Lightfoot saying reporters who are Black or Brown will ask her the questions she wants to be asked, but that White, Yellow or Olive reporters might ask tougher question that could embarrass her or expose her failures?
The truth is, Lightfoot has done more to reinforce racism than the race haters who, for sure, are still out there.
Maybe Lightfoot wants to start divvying up taxpayer-funded city services based on her Two-Color Chart with services only going to Black and Brown taxpayers.
Lightfoot doesn’t have Sputnik to distract her from this color controversy and its racial and bigoted implications. I saw a picture of her at a press conference with the Chicago Police brass, dressed up like a homeless person in tattered blue jeans and casual shoes. Maybe that’s her way to identify with the homeless who she has abandoned, failing to provide them with better shelters, more food or badly needed health services.
Based on her failure to fight crime, Lightfoot must also hate the color blue, which represents the Chicago Police.
Maybe under Lightfoot, police will only provide protection to Black and Brown residents, which might explain why she doesn’t care about the dozen Olive skinned Arabs whose stores were destroyed last summer by Black Lives Matter protesters, or the White businessmen and women, whose businesses were looted, vandalized and burned down, too!
I always liked the 64 Crayola Crayon boxes, even though they cost a lot. What a beautiful way to describe our world of diversity and differences!
In Lightfoot’s narrow-minded world, it seems that only two colors matter.
(This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group May 27, 2021. For more info on Ray Hanania’s writings visit his online hub at www.Hanania.com or email him at email@example.com.)
Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.
Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America.
Click here to listen to Ray’s Political Podcast.
Hanania’s columns are archived on his personal website at RayHanania.com. Hanania was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.
Hanania is President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group which provides communications services to governments and private businesses, and hosts writing training workshops, and publishes books.
Email Ray Hanania at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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