Red, White And Black


From top: Scott Joplin school formerly ‘The Little Flower’ in Chicago’s southside, the neighbourhood where Dan Boyle (above) spent his earliest years.

I was eight years of age when my family left Chicago. We lived on the Southside, the baddest part of town. I never felt particularly threatened, but my Mother was sufficiently uncomfortable to want to bring us to Ireland at the earliest opportunity.

Although I was young, there are memories I will always carry with me. Memories like my Dad coming home with his car windscreen smashed, having been at the wrong set of traffic lights on the day that Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered.

I would have been aware of the tension, if not the context, of the Yippie riots at the Democratic Party Convention.

Despite these triggers, my parents always stressed the importance of accepting people, all people, as being equal. Although sadly, others in the Irish community, would indulge in a more knee-jerk response.

The school my sisters and I went to, was the local public school – secular, ethnically and gender mixed. My memories of there were largely happy.

I have visited Chicago twice since. The area, where we lived, now has an African-American bias, but physically has changed little.

The school has become fortified. This had happened after the principal was shot dead by a white student.

The local high school has had a name change. What once had been called Little Flower, after St. Theresa, was now named after the ragtime pianist, Scott Joplin. That made me smile.

Less mirth=inducing is the fact that Chicago now boasts more gun deaths, per annum, than Afghanistan.

While many of these deaths are drug related, itself a symptom of years of economic and social isolation, there are those who argue that failure to accommodate racial differences lies at the heart of this tragedy.

Many who make these arguments see themselves as victims – the great lost white tribe of the Western plains. Some of these were present at the ‘Friends of Donald’ rally at Charlottesville, Virginia.

Their victimhood has been enhanced, particularly by the King of Inarticulacy’s inability, but more likely unwillingness, to call out the vile creed they promote.

I feel for the country where I was born, the country that gave my family opportunity. It will, eventually, see a return to more wholesome values.

The fear is what damage, what real terror, will it inflict on itself before then.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

21 thoughts on “Red, White And Black

  1. Mike Baldwin

    ” there are those who argue that failure to accommodate racial differences lies at the heart of this tragedy.”.
    Those, those folks huh Dan? The frustration of multiculturalism. How does one attempt to accommodate racial differences Dan? Hey, I’ve a big city, look at my lake. Listen, you lads live there and we’ll live here yeah? How ’bout dat? Have a parade now and again, I’ll bring my daughter, but only if it’s properly policed. Sorted.

  2. Hugh_Mungus

    “The school has become fortified. This had happened after the principal was shot dead by a white student.”

    I’m baffled as to why you brought up the killers race when you spend the rest of your article arguing that the chaos in chicago is nothing to do with race.

      1. Gorev Mahagut

        And because of a known trend in American journalism where the suspect’s race is mentioned if black, not mentioned if white.

    1. petey

      except for the bit about his father’s windshield being smashed after MLK’s killing. do read things before you comment.

      1. bisted

        …a car in front of mine has it’s windscreen smashed at traffic lights in Ranelagh…not sure what colour the assailant was but his hoodie was grey…the General was assinated near there…

  3. Charger Salmons


    1.52% of all homicides committed by blacks who occupy just 13% of the population.
    2.93% of black victims were killed by fellow blacks.
    It has nothing to do with poverty – poor Hispanics,Asians and other minorities commit far less violent crime.
    It ain’t whitey’s fault as this black journalist on your old local people makes clear.

    ” time for African-Americans to get tough on crime ”

    1. LW

      Are you entirely sure you put your decimal points in the right place? If they did, they undermine your argument

      1. Pip

        I thought that too, then it dawned on me that the 1 and 2 are like, this is the first point (52%) and so on for the second one. 2.93% did indeed seem rather low!

  4. dan

    Gang warfare fed by the financial rewards to be gained from selling drugs.
    Blacks killing blacks to make money.
    If it were Ireland it would be passed off as “it’s our culture Boss”.

    1. Gorev Mahagut

      High levels of crime in a community are not evidence that members of that community are racially backward savages. They evidence a failure of governance and policing. It’s not “their culture”, it’s prejudice by government and police.

  5. dan

    Also, Google tells me that there were at least 2 other shootings related to that school, one where a black male fired through a school window and another where a 9 year old black boy was shot dead.

    You didn’t mention these Dan, did it not suit your agenda? After all, you were quick to state the colour of the boy who murdered the principal.

Comments are closed.