Our family grew up on the south side of Chicago in the ’80s and 90’s eras. Gangs were looking for respect. It was not like gangs we have today fighting over “drug” turf. Street gangs were feared, and some of the adolescents yearn to be part of them. Chicago gangs were seen as degenerates and frown upon at times in history (i.e., Al Capone and company). In contemporary times, gangs have images of protectors and rebels. The black sheep of the community.
Biggest Gang, Chicago Police
White Chicago police officers were the majority serving on law enforcement. 8th Precinct was down the street from where I grew up. There was a police officer who lived several houses down from our three flat apartment building; he was kind; his son was not.
Maybe, with cops on the scene, all the time in my neighborhood; is why I was motivated to study criminal justice. I passed the written exam, the physical agility test to become an officer. However, when I went to see the psychologist, he labeled me crazy. Never forget it, I was in the lobby room waiting on to see the psychologist. It was the month of Ramadan, and I was fasting. No food, no water from sun up to sun down.
There I waited and waited, and everyone new person who showed after me; got to see the doctor before me. It was odd. I think all those other people were part of that firm that was conducting psychology testing. In other words, those people pretending to be applicants were working for the firm.
I sat for hours before I got to see the mental shrink. The doctor invited me to his office. And I asked him about why others went ahead of me, and I had an appointment, and I was punctual. Psychologist started to type and ignored me, and I asked him what he was typing. And he still ignored me.
No food and no water, the cognitive skills were not working. I was upset, and I needed a cigarette. I told him that this was unfair treatment and I left his office. There was that little bell on the receptionist counter, just for good measure I smack it off the table. It was official; the temperament to become a police officer was not part of my DNA. The mad self smoke a cigarette once I left the building. It was the worst feeling in the world. Broke my fast, opportunity lost, and I was still addicted to nicotine.
Chicago South Side homes are adjacent to each other. The alleys were accessing for utility companies (i.e., waste management, ComEd, Peoples Gas) coming from the exteriors of the property. However, other vices evolve, like urinating in public space or doing drugs to get that mental fix.
Houses on the residential block had 4 to 6 feet of space. The car traffic streets were one way. Some roads had two-way car intersections. Arab and Hispanic immigrants migrated to this area where White middle classes were the dominant race.
Chicago is still profoundly segregated and there seems to be no solution. In time and faith, people of all walks of life will realize that we stand the most to benefit if we learn to love one another. The world will never flourish if people will not tolerate each other. Humanity must have all different shades in unison for the sun to come out.