‘Dividing areas based on race is indeed racism’: Alderman proposes Chicago remap with 48% Asian American ward

Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson

In a letter posted to Twitter, Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson expressed concerns that current proposals to unify Chicago’s Asian communities through current redistricting proposals would come at the expense of splitting other neighborhoods.

Proposal: Some City Council members and minority organizations have proposed that Chicago make its first Asian-majority ward amidst redistricting plans this year, sectioning off areas with higher populations of Asians, include Bridgeport and McKinley Park, centered around Chinatown.

  • The proposal Thompson references would establish a 50% Asian ward and would pull from areas that currently are a part of Chicago’s 11th and 25th wards.
  • Alderman Thompson, a representative of the 11th ward, posted a letter to his constituents via Twitter on Dec. 1,  sharing his concerns over redistricting proposals. 
  • “Dividing areas or neighborhoods based on race is indeed racism,” the Chicago City Council member wrote. Though he said he supports the unification of Chinatown, he claims that the proposed solution would “create the same problem that we corrected in Chinatown” in other communities.
  • “In order to achieve a 50% Asian Ward, you must divide neighborhoods,” Thompson wrote. “The proposal presented today divides Canaryville and McKinley Park. It cuts a large portion of Canaryville from the 11th Ward and a big portion of McKinley Park from the 12th Ward.”
  • Thompson expressed his belief that it is possible to avoid dividing other neighborhoods in order to unite Chinatown into a single ward..
  • As an alternative, he proposes that the city section off a ward that would result in a  48% Asian American population while keeping the other neighborhoods of concern together.

Columnist speaks out: Mark Brown, a columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, published a piece on Dec. 3 accusing the Alderman of making a “nonsensical” claim of “reverse racism.”

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  • Brown suggests that one reason Thompson might be worried about the division of the Canaryville neighborhood is that it is “a mostly white community that’s an important part of the traditional Daley political base.”
  • Brown said that when he asked Thompson to explain what he meant by “racism” in his letter, he had a hard time understanding the Alderman’s explanation, in which he claimed, “We’re segregating our community.” 

Featured Image via WGN News (left), @AldPatDThompson (right)

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