Fire in North Chicago sheds light on American’s views of “illegals”


A fire broke out in a strip mall in West Rogers Park in Chicago on Friday. After investigation, it has been said that the fire was started by a blow torch being used by roofers. The roofers allegedly left the scene and did not return once the fire broke out. An extremely unfortunate situation that put many in danger and led to vast destruction of local businesses. A mistake, indeed, to not stay at the scene of a fire if actions taken by the roofers were the cause (intentional or not). Certainly, we can all agree.

But what I can’t agree with are the comments that readers of articles covering this story were saying.

I’ll bet $1,000 they’re illegal immigrants and will never be found or come forward.- iuriggs6


I agree. My guess, and I think it’s a damn good one, they were indeed illegal aliens. Maybe they were hired to torch this place, maybe not. In any case they need to be tracked down like the mad dogs they are and arrested. -CamelPaw357


Those roofers are already back in Guadalajara by now…. – fefifo2466

In my last post, I discussed the idea of viewing through particularities and not generalities. The readers (which by the way, these comments were on an article written by the Huffington Post) of this story demonstrated that they view the world through generalities. No where in the news story does it mention the race of the roofing crew that were working on the American Matress Store. Readers jumped to his extremely racist conclusion. Even so, if the roofers are Mexican, readers also jumped to the conclusion that they are “illegal” and deserve to be arrested. I find it both fascinating and sad how quickly Americans jump to judgmental conclusions regarding  scenario they, quite frankly, know nothing about.

In a country where we are battling immigration reform, Americans are so incredibly misinformed about the reality of immigrants in this country. Sweeping numbers — 11 million illegal aliens — are often cited when talking about immigration reform. Through media representation of this issue and commentary by readers, immigrants (illegal or not) are quickly categorized as undeserving, lazy, and criminal. But what Americans refuse to admit is that these “illegal aliens” are taking jobs American’s do not want. A large majority of Mexican immigrants in this country are working the fields growing, picking, harvesting, and distributing food to dinner tables across America. Indeed, slavery in America never ended, it just shifted to a different race. Many immigrants are working in the back of restaurants ensuring your meal is brought to you fresh, warm, and on clean dishes.  Many of these workers are struggling to support their families because our welfare system is built to only support those who aren’t working. For those that are, their benefits are cut and still their wages are not enough to feed their families.

The readers who made these ignorant, offensive comments likely won’t give up the food they eat, the clothes they wear, or the products they use because they were made by “illegals” — because of course, these readers are far more deserving of life’s necessities than these workers, right? Give me a break.

Until readers of these sorts of articles can read it with a empathetic heart, a critical lens, and a moral compass that isn’t pointed only at the well-being of themselves, we are never going to achieve equality and humanity will never witness ultimate dignity and respect.




I have always been and will always be a supporter of gay rights. It sounds bizarre for me to even have to say that — DUH, yes I think that homosexuals, who are as human as the next guy, deserve the same rights that I do as well as the same rights as my neighbor. Ugh, I even hate that I have to put it that way “…homosexuals deserve….” No, HUMANS deserve. Their sexual orientation should NOT factor into the rights that they are granted. Who they fall in love with, sleep with, are attracted to, hold hands with, etc. are none of anyone’s business. If Bill Clinton can have an affair and remain President, if Britney Spears can be married for 55 hours and then disregard her vows and annul the marriage, and if Kim Kardashian can be married for only 72 days and turn her pre/post wedding life into a reality TV show, then why the hell can’t same sex couples exist with the same damn rights?

Today I had the great pleasure of being one of the nearly 1 million spectators of the 2012 Chicago Pride Parade. Words cannot describe how amazing it was to see tens of thousands of people march for 4 hours — yes, it was a 4 hour parade — with so much energy, confidence, and pride. Watching the LGBTQ community and it’s allies share today was very powerful and it showed what community and togetherness can really accomplish. I could not help but think of how far we have come. Still, there were anti-gay protestors throughout the parade route and the Huffington Post covered a story today from Moline, IL where a lesbian couple wanted to use a historic banquet hall as their wedding venue and the manager told them they could not

“Because marriage is a covenant that God created for man and woman, then, as a biblical Christian, I cannot help them enter into or celebrate that sin.”

It really breaks my heart that religion  is the primary institution preventing people from obtaining and exercising their rights. The rights that they deserve. It also breaks my heart that IL only recognizes Civil Unions — yes, I know it’s a big deal that we even do that and I appreciate that — but Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Patrick Quinn marched closely to each other starting off today’s parade. Rahm even looked up at us in our apartment and shot us a peace sign (see photo below). Quinn held signs boasting his leadership as Governor. They had smiles on their faces. Rahm ran over to the spectators and hugged a few women cheering his name. He even fist pumped as he rounded the corner of Belmont and Broadway as if to say “HELL YA I am an ally of the LGBTQ community,” which don’t get me wrong he probably is — for the most part. But he is co-existing in a political world where we cannot universally accept and grant all rights to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. Quinn has only legalized civil unions. The sign in the photo below really describes it best — separate is, in fact, NOT equal. I hope the passion, confidence, and pride that echoes the streets to this very minute replay in Quinn & Rahm’s heads tonight and for days to come so that they work together to support all rights for all people in Chicago and the state of IL.