Boy, does Mayor Daley have it in for the press these days. First, he threatened to stick a gun up a reporter’s ha-ha and pull the trigger. Now, he’s slinging a maximum Chicago insult their way: he’s calling them suburbanites.
Daley thinks reporters have no right to oppose building a Walmart in Chicago, because the suburbs where they live are graced with the discount retail outlets.
“If suburban areas have it, why can’t we have it in the black and Hispanic communities?” Daley raged. “You never question it in the suburban areas? Why don’t you question it? Ask the same questions as hard as you ask me. You don’t. You accept it there because most of you live in the suburbs, right? Most of you live in the suburbs, so you don’t question that. But you will question it here in the city of Chicago. ‘Never question it where I live.’ Can I ask you a question? Why? Why is that?”
The biggest opposition to a Chicago Walmart isn’t from suburbanites. It’s from urbanites -- but not the kind of urbanites who live in neighborhoods that need a Walmart. Journalism doesn’t pay well, but it pays well enough to keep reporters from having to live in Roseland, or Pullman, or Riverdale.
Like so many unimaginative people, Daley was using “suburbanite” as code word for “whitey.” Hasn’t he ever read “Stuff White People Like”? There are plenty of white people living in the city. Walmart is not one of the things they like. Daley actually meant to attack his own constituents, but “suburbanite” sounded more politically correct.
(There suburb most infested with reporters is Oak Park. Media elites love Oak Park because it’s on an L line, so they can pretend they don’t really live in the suburbs. If Oak Parkers want to go to Walmart, although I can’t imagine that many of them do, they go to North and Cicero -- the only Walmart in the city of Chicago.)
Once, I was in a bar on 75th Street, when a patron said to me, “By midnight, y’all’l be lookin’ for the suburbs.”
“I don’t live in the suburbs,” I told him. “I live in Rogers Park.”
“Same thing,” he said.
It’s the same thing to Mayor Daley, too.