Douglas Andrews / May 20, 2021

Lori Lightfoot’s Rank Racism

The Chicago mayor decides she’d rather not talk to white reporters.

Get lost, cracker.

That seems to be the message from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who’s decided to give one-on-one interviews only to journalists of color.

You read that right. And we wonder: Has there ever been, in the post-Civil Rights era, such a nakedly and despicably racist act from an elected official anywhere in America?

As the Associated Press reports, “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday that she will grant one-on-one interviews to mark the two-year anniversary of her inauguration solely to journalists of color, saying she has been struck by the ‘overwhelmingly’ white press corps in Chicago.”

Welcome to wokeness, and welcome to “antiracism,” whose proponents, like critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi, are nodding in approval. “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination,” Kendi has written. “The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Lightfoot’s present discrimination surfaced late Tuesday, when the request for an interview from a journalist of pallor was denied by the mayor’s office — denied with an explanation. “As Chicago’s mayor reaches her two year midway point as mayor,” tweeted NBC 5 Chicago political reporter Mary Ann Ahern, “her spokeswoman says Lightfoot is granting 1 on 1 interviews — only to Black or Brown journalists.”

Within minutes, a disbelieving Chicago alderman replied to Ahern: “How is that even true, be serious.”

Moments later, another journalist weighed in: “I can confirm, alderman,” tweeted local reporter Heather Cherone.

Perhaps sensing that she was about to become national news, Lightfoot tried to rationalize her racism: “I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many,” she tweeted. “That isn’t just in City Hall. It’s a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American.”

But like every inept politician, Lightfoot just doesn’t know when to shut up. So the tweets kept coming: “Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media. In order to progress we must change.”

And coming: “This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.”

And coming: “This is an imbalance that needs to change. Chicago is a world-class city. Our local media should reflect the multiple cultures that comprise [sic] it.”

At least one fair-minded journalist had heard enough, and he went straight to the source. “I am a Latino reporter at the Chicago Tribune whose interview request was granted for today,” tweeted Gregory Pratt. “However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled. Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.”

While it’s noble to say that politicians don’t get to choose who covers them, it’s not entirely accurate. Think of Barack Obama’s efforts to freeze out Fox News, and Joe Biden’s months-long stiff-arm of a campaign-season interview request by FNC’s Chris Wallace.

But imagine if the reason were race-based instead of ideological. Imagine the outrage if, say, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who is white, had announced that he’d only be granting interviews to white journalists.

It’s unimaginable. Even in this day and age. Except maybe in Loathsome Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago.

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