While Evanston, Illinois is considered a progressive university town, it is actually a Chicago suburb that struggles with persistent racial discrimination. Unfortunately, I contribute to this discrimination by living in the strictly white area of Evanston. Once you reach Davis Street in downtown Evanston, you can see the clear racial line between blacks and whites. There is some evidence to suggest that this line has been present since 1989, when there were accusations of racial steering among five major real estate companies. These allegations set a precedent for segregation in Evanston that is still alive today.
Most recently, Evanston police has come under scrutiny for their use of excessive force on Lawrence Crosby, a black individual who was thought to be stealing a car; in fact, the car was his own. Not only was there excessive force used by the Evanston police, which can be seen in the video attached at the end of this post, but there was also an extreme case of racial profiling present. The woman who called 911 thought she saw a black man in a hoodie using a bar to break into a vehicle. She specifically stated in the 911 call that she was afraid she was racially profiling the man. In fact, she was. What she did not know is that Lawrence Crosby, an engineering doctoral student at Northwestern, was merely repairing his car so he could drive to Northwestern’s campus.
The lack of willingness of Evanston whites to integrate and view blacks as equals causes some tension among all Evanston citizens. Some of these ideals can traced to the readings we have studied in class. The Anglo-Saxon beliefs stressed that Germanic and English standards in government and liberty were the only right ones. Eventually, this transpired into the belief that those of Caucasian descent were superior to all other peoples. As a race, we became blind to the characteristics that those of other races had to offer. The 911 caller was oblivious to the fact that Lawrence Crosby may have just been repairing his car. Furthermore, she was blind to the idea that Crosby had something to offer the Evanston community. I strongly believe that has this woman seen a white man in the same position, the entire situation would have transpired very differently.