Green and Rowdy St. Patrick's Day Through a Black Lens


The Chicago River turned green for the Saint Patricks Day Holiday weekend

Saint Patricks  Day in Chicago has always  jumped started with a huge bang and this past weekend  was no different. Chicago has a large Irish Catholic community who has taken on the holiday with enthusiasm and gusto.  Widespread St. Patty’s Day celebrations   over the weekend led to 16 arrests and 24 tickets for violations like public drinking in the Lakeview area.  Cars have been known to be turned over during the celebration of green in years past when drunken youth  get  ahead of themselves and act over the top. There was much to be said about mayhem  and violent fun. This year  most of the tickets were for drinking on the public way, and all the arrests were for misdemeanors.

As a non Irish Catholic I always found it interesting how the crazy drunkenness of white Irish Catholics was always looked at as an expected outcome for the highly celebrated  day.  That struck me as prejudiced in how Black males or Black youth are treated.   I’ve seen the mistreatment of young Blacks horsing around just having fun stopped by police, harassed and  often abused.   What a different reality we live and  yet are judged based on a reality that is not ours.  The idea that boys will be boys is allowed if you’re white.

Here’s the contrast; even with all the  rush of activity  and the nature of  all the frenzy which resulted in calls to the police no one was shot by the police. Neighborhood  residents  noted  lengthy waits up to  47-minutes for   for Chicago police to respond to a disturbance in the 2600 block of North Halsted Street around 3 p.m. Saturday.  But overall, though, Maloney said there were “very few issues.”

The  annual ruckus seems to be escalating  and residents have contacted their alderman seeking improvement  on how to improve policing over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend in the 44th ward. Most of the complaints centered on the large crowds and people drinking in the street according to reports.  Ironically the police handled it all peacefully.

I can only hope for that kind of care and handling of our youth by police. The carefully laid plans by a team of officers dedicated to entertainment areas  started patrolling at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Officers officers met with local bars beforehand to discuss enforcement plans and offer suggestions on crowd control.

On Monday the department could not provide specifics on deployment, but they were committed to provide enough personnel to ensure public safety. Some officers from the vice unit were called in, while others worked overtime to police the area however safety first was their goal. Consequently no one was taken into custody. Interesting too is that the residents find it comforting to have a police presence on the scene. When the worst one worries about is that someone may die from  alcohol poisoning.   This is just the opposite of how Blacks feel in the presence of police. Clearly the worlds, black and white  are different.

Some officers  express that they don’t mind the holiday  chaos  that usually ends up with a few funny stories once the weekend is over.

What a different world it would be in Black America if  police brought that sort of attitude to our community.


From the Web