Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What constitutes a diverse population?

Newly-elected state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray doesn’t seem overly concerned about appeasing potential voters to ensure she gets re-elected. Why else would she go about publicly labelling her home city of Naperville as white supremacist?
STAVA-MURRAY: Serious study, or self-attention?

True enough, Stava-Murray earlier this year used that label to refer to her DuPage County municipality (the fourth-largest city in Illinois) while responding to a Facebook post where somebody had described Naperville government as “the biggest bullies.”

TO ME, THE white supremacist label carries such a strong overtone that I wonder if it is too strong a label to use; one that distorts the reality of the situation.

Then again, there’s no disputing that Naperville is NOT a community where there are great numbers of African-American individuals living. For what it’s worth, an American Community Survey completed in 2016 showed more than three-quarters of the Naperville population being white – with people of Asian or Latino ethnic origins also existing in greater numbers than the 4.7 percent of those who are black.

Stava-Murray points out that many of the local public schools have next to no black students, and absolutely no black teachers.

Which might seem to be dooming any effort to get re-elected to her post come the 2020 election cycle. Then again, Stava-Murray (who has just begun her first term in office this month after being elected back in November) has already hinted she’s going to challenge Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., come the next elections.

COULD IT BE that Stava-Murray has already realized her ’18 election as a Democrat to represent a DuPage County district that historically has been Republican was a pure fluke? And that making such comments is meant to try to give her more appeal to those parts of Chicago where non-white voters are predominant?

I could see where many of those voters might think some white lady from Naperville wouldn’t know anything about them. Is this an attempt by her to show that she’s not totally clueless?

It had better work out that way. Because if it doesn’t, I could see where making such comments becomes a political “kiss of death” to any future she thinks she might have.
What should we think of Naperville community character?
Because she’s not going to make friends amongst the people she’s supposed to be representing in Springfield by implying they’re a batch of bigots. Although to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that many of those living in Naperville are out there precisely because there aren’t a whole lot of black people amongst their neighbors.

THEN AGAIN, PERSPECTIVE on what constitutes “diversity” varies based on whom one is talking to.

I remember once covering a legislative hearing about redistricting and district boundaries where local officials from suburban Tinley Park described their hometown as a diverse community – largely because the white majorities also had significant numbers of people of Arab ethnic origins moving in, along with a growing number of Latinos.

The African-American legislators on that committee took offense to the “diverse” label being applied to the municipality, which had a black population of less than 2 percent.

They couldn’t comprehend use of the “diversity” label to a community where their numbers were so few. Still are actually, as the 2010 Census Bureau count showed Tinley with a 1.92 percent black population – and with the majority including American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander and Latino, along with its white populace including significant tallies of people of Irish, German, Polish, Italian and Dutch ethnic origins.

THE POINT BEING that the “diverse” label being applied, or denied, to a community probably says more about the hang-ups of the person using the label – rather than the reality of the communities in question.
DURBIN: Stava-Murray likely opponent in 2020

For what it’s worth, I have a step-brother who lives out in that area, and a niece who attends high school within the Naperville district (which actually includes her home in neighboring Aurora).

While I’m not going to claim the area is most accepting to the presence of black people, it is far in character from the communities I have been in that truly do reflect a “white supremacist” attitude.

That goes even further in thinking that Stava-Murray’s use of the “white supremacist” label is most likely a campaign tactic; trying to build an image for the currently little-known legislator as she prepares for future runs for political office. Which also means we’re likely to hear similar trash talk during the next two years.


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