By now there shouldn’t be hardly anyone who hasn’t heard of the flap regarding the design of the 2012 city sticker. Designed by Herbert Pulgar Jr., it had the city’s skyline inside a heart. It had the four stars and stripes of the City of Chicago’s flag. It had four hands reaching upward from the heart at a policeman’s hat, a paramedic’s symbol and a fireman’s helmet. But when several popular police bloggers saw the design and visited little Herbie’s Facebook page, they called the winning design a “gang sign” and City Clerk Susan Mendoza quickly dumped the design.
There are always two ways to look at this kind of fiasco. One can agree with the city clerk – or one can have my unconventional view. When I looked at the design, I saw that all the major gangs were included. For starters, the city’s roughest, toughest gang was represented. Everyone who lives or has visited Chicago has been affected by them. They meet at least twice a month on Wednesdays at City Hall. Led by the mayor, with his sidekicks, the city clerk and city treasurer, and followed by his band of 50 aldermen, they are the biggest bullies in town. They extort us – legally. They launder our tax dollars so that I bet not a single one of you can say where the money you spent on that city sticker even goes.
The next gang represented by that sticker has the largest membership roster of all. Just ask Howard Morgan, who, after being shot 28 times by the gang, was recently convicted of attempted murder of them. And like most gangs, they are selective in their membership. Just look at the percentage of black members compared to the percentage of black people living in this city.
The next gang is the one that wears the red. Red trucks and red hats are their insignia. They also have miraculously passed their gang affiliation from grandfather to father to son while making sure black folks can’t join the club. They have an offshoot organization with their “sister” gang, the paramedics. Again, finding the diversity there is like finding a black-owned business in Bridgeport.
What I most appreciated about Little Herbie’s design was the ethnic diversity of the hands. White, Black, Yellow and Brown were all represented so no single group was portrayed over another – especially if you compare Little Herbie’s design to the one selected to replace it. That design includes three superheroes, not a black one among them. I was ready to start the boycott/protest of that sticker design (or at least attempt to magic marker the skin of at least one of them black) when City Clerk Susan Mendoza announced that she was scrapping that design, too, and going for one developed “in-house.” Yay!
The sticker flap has led to a secondary discussion on my Facebook page. I was accused of being very judgmental because I happened to agree with the city clerk in pulling the design. I saw the photos off Little Herbie’s Facebook pages with the mob of teens all posing making gang signs.
I thought back to my own childhood when adults were quick to have us young folks learn lessons. We learned there was a price to pay for lying down with dogs: One came up with fleas. But the “politically correct” world we now live in doesn’t have any wrongs. Children don’t learn that they “reap what they sow.” So they plant wheat and then spend all summer talking about the corn they are going to harvest. They don’t learn that you may not get everything you pay for in this life, but you must pay for everything you get.
Herbert Pulgar paid a huge price. But all is not lost. I think he should put his sticker design on a T-shirt and include a sample city sticker application underneath it with the caption: “Which is the real gang sign?” I for one will buy it and wear it downtown to city hall while standing in line on the last day to buy my sticker and am forced to pay that fee!