Emanuel, Kennedy spar over Chicago's declining black population

- Chicago's African-American population has been falling for 40 years, from more than 1.2 million in the 1980s to about 790,000 now.  A few argued it's the result of an intentional, racist strategy. On Wednesday, Illinois gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy blamed it on Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“We're cutting off resources to push people of color out of our city and, perhaps, out of the way of economic development,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy provided no evidence of the mayor's alleged racist scheming. On Friday, the Chicago Tribune's editorial page denounced Kennedy's claim as “fantasy,"  and a "cynical and divisive pitch for votes."

“I'm looking forward to ideas, not insults. As the Chicago Tribune referred to it today as ‘Imaginary,’ ‘Hallucinatory.’ I hope nobody ever describes any of my ideas that way,” Emanuel said.

Kennedy responded to the mayor in a written statement. It notably did not include any reference to a supposed conspiracy to drive African-Americans out of Chicago. 

Kennedy’s press secretary said the candidate would continue "calling out inconvenient truths that are hurting people of color in Chicago," adding, "he wants to dismantle the structural inequities that exist in our government."  

The mayor himself blamed structural inequities when asked why nearly half-a-million African-Americans have left Chicago.  

“Of course, it troubles me, which is why we're making investments in the neighborhoods across the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said. “That's a longer discussion that takes longer than just standing here and gets snippet and cut up later when it gets produced.”

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

More Stories You May Be Interested In - includes Advertiser Stories