Racism still exists today and the person who fails to acknowledge it is blissfully ignorant, and when crime is involved we’ll see our friends become our enemies and our enemies become leaders in the community.
The Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago has been under the microscope since the summer after an unusual amount of crime was reported. Its residents have experienced mob muggings and have witnessed brutal attacks. Boystown, a gay-friendly area of Lakeview, has been a hot spot for these crimes.
These attacks have birthed a Facebook group called “Take Back Boystown.” The group has gone under a lot of criticism on the name with questions of who exactly is the group targeting along with comments that patrons have left on the page. Adrian McGuire said that Boystown was built by gay whites and that it should have stayed that way. He later apologized for the number of statements that he left on the group’s page.
“Boystown was meant to be a happy place with open arms full of hugs and love for all of us gays who wanted a place to feel safe and have fun without the bullshit and crime,” McGuire said. “It’s sad that Boystown has been taken advantage by these fucking savage monkeys.”
Crime is no stranger to the streets of Chicago, but this neighborhood seems to be receiving a lot of media spotlight and attention. There are people in other parts of Chicago that experience these attacks daily, but Joe Nevill, a resident of Lakeview, has found comfort in the amount of police that have been placed on duty in the area.
“Great job but don’t let up a bit until we eradicate this crime wave we are experiencing,” Nevill said. “The streets are still not safe enough to walk at night-I see thugs hanging out and walking everywhere, with no police in sight. Please keep an eye on them officers.”
It appears as though the best thing to do now is to define what a thug look like. We can assume that a thug does not look like Joe Nevill, a white male wearing a t-shirt, jeans and gym shoes; almost everyone is wearing those items while in Lakeview. Then what exactly should residents be looking for?
The term thug can be defined as a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber or murderer. It is safe to say that many of these perceived thugs, if they are as such, would be in possession of a weapon of some sort.
A study published in the “Journal of Experimental Social Psychology” shows that when white and Asian Americans were given a picture of a man that quickly followed by a picture of a tool or a gun, participants were more likely to misidentify a tool for a gun when the preceding picture was that of an African American. The results show an unconscious bias against blacks that can be closely related to the defining perception of a thug.
Brandon Bailey, a patron of Boystown, said that on any given night there are dozens of groups of black kids hanging out on Halsted looking exactly like these groups, and that calling the police every time you see a group of blacks on Halsted would be extremely racist.
Darrell Jones, an out of town patron of Scarlet Bar from Texas, said that racism and crime should have a zero-tolerance policy on Halsted Street. He also notes that racism and crime in the community have nothing in common.
For McGuire that is not the case. “I’m trying to spread the word about the truth. It’s our neighborhood that is being taken advantage of by these ghetto fuckers who could care less about us,” McGuire said. “We need to stop being friendly to these animals who are destroying our neighborhood.”
There is an abundance of voices looking to “fix” Boystown, but who are we letting go in order to do so? The cultural diversity that explodes on Halsted will be lost forever if we “Take Back Boystown.”