And it seemed designed to make sure that other people — the good people of the city, people like this woman — knew the same thing.
When I posted the column on Twitter, several people responded to say that Kass’s narrative reminded them of the ghettos constructed to contain Jews during World War II.
But many other people chimed in to say variations of something I hear often, most commonly from people who do not themselves live in the Chicago communities most impacted by violence: “well sure, it sounds bad, but we have to do something.” And those responses made me afraid in the pit of my stomach, because they reminded me of the long American tradition of moderate voices rationalizing the mistreatment of people who they fundamentally do not see as people like themselves.
But in these actions I see the same cold truth — that Black people, brought to this nation as items of property to be auctioned or traded — have perhaps never made it past the bar of being three-fifths human in the eyes of the state.
And so as we live in a nation where the president issues daily assaults on the personhood of so many — of Muslim people, of women, of trans children, of undocumented immigrants, and of the many who occupy the intersections of these identities — I worry that the urge to fence in Chicago, to police us, to punish us as the merchant whips the slow mule, may be an area on which the self-identified “reasonable people” find ample common ground.