Two years ago, I interviewed activist Tio Hardiman, who at the time was contemplating a run for Congress against U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (1st). This time, the former head of CeaseFire Illinois, is running for governor. His thoughts on the roots of the city’s violence, however, haven’t really changed.
You can take the police off the street for thirty days, including all the violence prevention programs, and I guarantee you [it won’t have a measurable impact on the amount of violence].
You cannot police self-hatred. It’s hard to detect it. You don’t know because a lot of guys are already at a level in their mind that when they get in a confrontation with somebody, no matter whether it’s a high level confrontation or a slight confrontation, they’re going to kill the person. It’s all based on, ‘Look here man, I don’t like you, I don’t even like myself, so get out the way.’
[Self-hatred] stems from a lot of sources. It stems from poverty. It stems from the fact that some of us have been taught that we have to step on each other in order for each of us to come up. ‘You cannot disrespect me for nothing, because if you disrespect me, I’ve got to kill you.’ It all comes back to plantation politics. People want to be seen as important and if they feel you’re in the way, it creates this division among people.
— Michael Romain