Northwestern’s latest stadium proposal exploits existing racial tension in Evanston

Chicago
By Chicago 4 Min Read

Thank you for recently printing Steven J. Harper’s excellent op-ed on the duplicitous nature of Northwestern University’s quest to rebuild Ryan Field and develop it into a major entertainment venue despite its location in a quiet residential neighborhood.

He’s right on the money (so to speak).

One point bears expanding: “NU has exacerbated schisms in its divide-and-conquer strategy …” 

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As Mr. Harper so capably points out, NU has consistently refused to engage in honest discussion about the impact of its rebuild on the surrounding neighborhood. That’s offensive enough.

But digging up support with a $10 million workforce development plan is a vile and deliberately divisive tactic. It’s clearly a bribe aimed at Evanston’s most economically disadvantaged populations — paternalistic racism and condescension at its worst.

Pat Ryan and NU know full well that Evanston’s long-underserved Black and Brown community (understandably) has little sympathy for the mostly white, mostly well-off Ryan Field neighbors. They also know full well that rejecting workforce development funding will be viewed by many Black and Brown Evanstonians as a betrayal.

This clumsy, last-minute offer has inflamed Evanston’s long-standing racial animus, putting city leadership in an untenable position, and that is just reprehensible.

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I hope Evanston has the good sense to reject white privilege pandering and demand a good-faith deal from Northwestern. Mr. Harper is 100% correct about longstanding damage here. The fallout from this self-serving, cynical strategy is already ugly. And it’s going to get worse.

Amy Savin Parker, Evanston

Extreme right endangers democracy

Donald Trump’s arrest in Georgia has triggered an unsettling reaction on the extreme right. TV stations, podcasts and social media all had guests on warning of a coming civil war. What’s worse, they are speculating the deep state may try to harm or kill Trump, which would trigger the unrest.

If you’re MAGA, you’ve probably heard some of this talk, and it should scare the heck out of all of us. It seems our democracy sits on a powder keg, and Trump and the Republican party have brought us here.

Richard Keslinke, Algonquin

Sweet’s debate coverage hits the mark

Kudos to Lynn Sweet for her recent story about the Republican debate. I didn’t watch the debate, nor do I know anyone who did. But I was interested in its outcome.

From what I’ve subsequently seen and read, Lynn nailed it. Her synopsis reflected the reality and was spot on. While other media pundits had overnight to carefully formulate their thoughts, she had to do it on the fly with only minutes before the printing deadline. The subtitles nicely summarized the subject matter. Outstanding job under what must have been intense pressure. At least for me, it would have been.

Kenneth White, La Grange Park

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