Ward Room
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Does Emanuel Owe The Black Community?

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Does Emanuel Owe The Black Community?
Does Emanuel Owe The Black Community?

Now that Rahm Emanuel has appointed an Irish cop from Jersey as police superintendent, black aldermen are complaining that he’s ignoring the constituency that got him elected.

“There is a dearth of African-American professionals evident in his current team,” 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell told the Sun-Times. “It’s problematic that he hasn’t appointed African-Americans in prominent positions that deal with delivering city services. He’s appointed African-Americans to be on boards and commissions and on his personal staff. But, in terms of managing a large city department that provides services to the taxpayers, I don’t see anybody of color.”

(Apparently she didn't see Jean-Claude Brizard, the pending schools chief, who is Hatian.)

According to the article, Dowell pointed out that “Emanuel’s landslide victory was sealed by carrying every one of the city’s black wards.”

Emanuel did win every black ward, but overall, he won the same proportion of the black vote as he did the white vote: 57 percent. But he was expected to do well in the white community, because he’s white. Presumably, Dowell thinks the black community deserves credit for Emanuel’s victory because it defied expectations and voted for him over the “consensus” black candidate, Carol Moseley Braun.

Dowell is lobbying for her community to get its fair share from City Hall, which is her job. Emanuel doesn’t owe the black community any more than he owes the white community, and he doesn’t either of them as much as he owes Donald Trump, but he’d be wise to listen. The black community helped Jane Byrne get elected in 1979. Then she stiffed them by appointing three whites to the Chicago Housing Authority. Four years later, she hardly got any black votes.

Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!

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