America, here’s the truth about Chicago’s looting and protests that mainstream media isn’t telling you

In times of looting and protests, national media headlines don’t always properly contextualize the Windy City. When cameras touch down into Chicago from outside the city, they often only scratch the surface of what’s really going on. Looting is not the most pressing issue. Why people resort to it is.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Chicago can mean different things to different people.

To those on the outside, headlines and national media coverage about gun violence and looting in the city paint a mental image of a chaotic war zone. The label “Chiraq” is floated in the Facebook comment section of any article about the city’s problems. For those on the inside, like me, it’s much more complicated.

Seeing images of people breaking windows and grabbing merchandise along Michigan Avenue is jarring. Most Chicagoans get no joy from seeing it. And, yes, it’s absolutely wrong. But, when cameras touch down into Chicago from outside the city, they often only scratch the surface of what’s really going on. Looting is not the most pressing issue. Why people resort to it is. Delving into the cause is helpful in finding solutions to our problems. I invite you to not raise your voice in an argument, but rather, listen and draw in closer to what people who live in Chicago are trying to say. You’ve seen “the what.” But what’s often missing from the conversation is “the why.” And it’s just as important to the Chicago story.

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