This past week, I got a chance to experience a marathon session of four episodes of the CNN garbage called Chicagoland. A friend had encouraged me to “check it out” so he invited me over to view the first four episodes. Admittedly I was prepared to dislike the series because it focuses on the village idiot who occupies the fifth floor of city hall as if he were some sort of superhero. And my bias was correct. The series is worse than mere propaganda to re-elect the mayor. It is stereotyping at its worst.

The series also features the young, beautiful principal of Fenger High School. Fenger made headline news several years ago when Derrion Albert was murdered during a fist fight by someone swinging a two-by-four. 

As I watched how the principal is portrayed as some sort of educational super-heroine, I paid more attention to the neighborhood than to her. The streets are clean. The lawns are mowed and the buildings are houses — the epitome of middle-class America. 

Yet we have a school where chaos, havoc, and poor educational performance are the norms. My first inclination was to ask, “What’s wrong with the picture?” How can this bastion of so much negativity sit in the midst of all that middle-class value without a deeper look and analysis of the situation and thus the problems? 

The series is stark in that it features only polar opposites (based on what I saw during those first four episodes). We have the black neighborhoods of Roseland, Englewood and parts of Garfield Park. We have the white neighborhoods of Lincoln Park, downtown Chicago and the near North Side.

We have crime-plagued neighborhoods, filled with shootings, fighting, and negative activity with the par-for-the-black-course response of black folks gathering to either march or pray. Sorry, but my God says prayer without action is just wasted speech. The march should have been on city hall and not a parade around the neighborhood that doesn’t really address the systemic problems that city hall government creates and maintains. 

We have the white police force going after black criminals. We have the half-white principal being the savior to the school, the same way the half-white community organizer was supposed to have saved and organized the same basic area. One almost has to question the legitimacy of whether there ever was such an organizational legacy when you witness the carnage going on. Either the area is poorly organized or never was.

One of the strangest things that caught my attention was “sports attire.” Every time they flashed to scenes of white people, they were wearing Blackhawk jerseys as they celebrated the team’s play. They were partying at the United Center or partying in clubs. Then the screen would flip to black men all decked out in their sports jerseys and baseball caps.

That bothered me because in juxtaposing the two, the whites were off work and celebrating a “pastime” while the blacks wore sports attire as regular daily attire. While the majority of white men would most likely not be able to wear that Blackhawk jersey to work, spots attire was the de facto uniform for black men. The men wearing those sports jerseys don’t own or control anything other than the clothes on their backs. It is also a pseudo Peter Pan symbol in that grown men are still trying to dress like kids. 

 Lastly, I just gotta address our super-zero mayor. I know he is supposed to come off in the program as some sort of cross between Superman and Batman. But he is more like a combination of Jughead and Mr. Magoo. There’s a young black teen he’s mentoring. This mayor is famous for throwing around the “f” bomb, yet can’t wise up the kid that he’ll be seen on nationwide TV, so it would behoove him to “pull up his pants.” We have a kid being offered the opportunity of a lifetime but because no one is there to really teach him how to play the game, when it doesn’t pan out, he won’t have a clue. 

I do highly recommend that everyone take a look at the series as motivation for the February 2015 elections. Then as you go outside and look at the way this mayor is doing his best to put us out of this city, we can reciprocate and put him out of office!


3 replies on “‘Chicagoland’ is laughable and infuriating”