Chicago Tribune Editor ‘Wishing For A Hurricane Katrina’ To Rid Her City Of Poor Black People (TWEETS)

In an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune, Kristen McQueary expresses her heartfelt desire that a Hurricane Katrina-style storm would hit Chicago, so the city can be ‘reset’ like in New Orleans.

McQueary’s piece begins by acknowledging the elephant in the room:

“Envy isn’t a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.”

Which is the point at which a self-respecting journalist would stop writing and realize their mistake. Not McQueary. Instead, she attempts to inspire Tribune readers with the idea that a Katrina-like natural disaster in Chicago would wipe away the city’s problems. Namely, poor black people, and their housing, schools and jobs.

According to the Data Research Center:

  • More than a million homes were damaged
  • New Orleans’ (mainly black) population was cut in half
  • Over
  • The storms did $135 billion worth of damage, and just $120 billion was granted in federal aid. With $75 billion needing to be spent on emergency relief, little was left to rebuild.

And in the process, 1,836 people lost their lives.

In a piece for The Advocate, Jeff Adelson scanned Census Bureau to check on New Orleans’ recovery, and found that the storm and aftermath had radically changed the ethnic composition of  the city. He writes:

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the storm is the severe contraction of New Orleans’ black community, now nearly 97,000 residents smaller than it was before Katrina.

Meanwhile, the white population rose.

“A new mayor slashed the city budget, forced unpaid furloughs, cut positions, detonated labor contracts. New Orleans’ City Hall got leaner and more efficient. Dilapidated buildings were torn down. Public housing got rebuilt. Governments were consolidated.” She writes.

What actually happened, however, was very different. In fact, the reason for the black exodus from New Orleans were exactly the actions McQueary celebrates in her Tribune op-ed:

  • The removal of public housing from urban centers
  • Mass lay offs of public sector workers
  • A black exodus for the tens of thousands of newly unemployed black people who fled to other cities in a search for jobs and housing.

This allowed the poverty rate in New Orleans to drop by 7 percentage points without making a single poor black person richer, but by making sure the city’s new population was “smaller, whiter and wealthier.”

In the process, elderly and disabled residents are still living without running water and electricity to this day.

But in the privileged world of this Tribune journalist, all this is a price worth paying for a whiter and wealthier Chicago.

“That’s why I find myself praying for a storm.” she writes, “OK, a figurative storm, something that will prompt a rebirth in Chicago. I can relate, metaphorically, to the residents of New Orleans climbing onto their rooftops and begging for help and waving their arms and lurching toward rescue helicopters.”

That’s right. McQueary ends her piece by stating that she understands the horror experienced by Katrina’s victims and survivors, because there are some rundown areas of Chicago blighting her city.

Needless to say, when McQueary shared her story on Twitter, it didn’t take long for people to point out just how outrageous they found her opinions.


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The responses were still coming in at time of writing, and McQueary was busy defending herself on the basis of ‘right to apply egregious metaphor for the sake of clickbait.’

Featured Image via LinkedIn/News Muse Flickr