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Even Traffic Lights in Chicago Are Racist Now

Even Traffic Lights in Chicago Are Racist Now

“A ProPublica analysis of millions of citations found that households in majority Black and Hispanic ZIP codes received tickets at around twice the rate of those in white areas between 2015 and 2019.”

As we’ve learned over the years, there is nothing that the left can’t turn into an argument about race and racism. In Chicago, even traffic lights are apparently symbols of racism.

You might want to try this argument the next time you’re pulled over for running a red light.

Years ago, the city of Chicago installed cameras near many traffic lights to catch people running them. It was sold as a safety precaution, but it’s actually a source of revenue that brings in some serious money.

At ProPublica, they’ve decided this is really about racism:

Chicago’s “Race-Neutral” Traffic Cameras Ticket Black and Latino Drivers the Most

When then-Mayor Richard M. Daley ushered in Chicago’s red-light cameras nearly two decades ago, he said they would help the city curb dangerous driving. “This is all about safety, safety of pedestrians, safety of other drivers, passengers, everyone,” he said.

His successors echoed those sentiments as they expanded camera enforcement. “My goal is only one thing, the safety of our kids,” Rahm Emanuel said in 2011, as he lobbied for the introduction of speed cameras. And in 2020, Lori Lightfoot assured residents her expansion of the program was “about making sure that we keep communities safe.”

But for all of their safety benefits, the hundreds of cameras that dot the city — and generate tens of millions of dollars a year for City Hall — have come at a steep cost for motorists from the city’s Black and Latino neighborhoods. A ProPublica analysis of millions of citations found that households in majority Black and Hispanic ZIP codes received tickets at around twice the rate of those in white areas between 2015 and 2019.

The consequences have been especially punishing in Black neighborhoods, which have been hit with more than half a billion dollars in penalties over the last 15 years, contributing to thousands of vehicle impoundments, driver’s license suspensions and bankruptcies, according to ProPublica’s analysis.

“We felt the brunt of it the way white people didn’t,” said Olatunji Oboi Reed, a longtime activist for racial equity in transportation in Chicago who has received a handful of camera tickets over the years.

No one likes traffic light cameras, but they’re everywhere. In this particular location, there are more black and Hispanic people, so they get more tickets. The cameras aren’t about racism, they’re about money.

Cities, including Chicago, have been running this scam on people for years. This CBS News report is from 2014:

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Capsaicin_Addict | January 14, 2022 at 9:22 am

There are some good arguments against red-light cameras. Too bad ProPublica’s too stupid to actually use them.

Well in these communities there should be a remedy. Adjust the timer controls to keep all traffic lights green all the time…..

2smartforlibs | January 14, 2022 at 9:28 am

Liberals are always too stupid to see you make arrests where the crime happens.

    henrybowman in reply to 2smartforlibs. | January 14, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    ^ This.
    I’m so tired of “minorities” sobbing that neutral policies catch them “disproportionately” committing crimes, and the wacky white chicks who enable their denial.
    If you don’t speed, or blow through red lights, you won’t get a ticket — it’s no more complicated than that.

Thank you!

I’ve always said traffic lights are racist. The colors selected demeans the Native Anerican, the Asian and Martian with stereotypical characterization.

I also believe the earth is flat.

(On serious note – Garrett Augustus Morgan invented the traffic light. He was African American)

    Exiliado in reply to Doc-Wahala. | January 14, 2022 at 9:38 am

    He also invented hair straightening treatments, so I guess he will not be a favorite of the woke left.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Doc-Wahala. | January 14, 2022 at 11:12 am

    The Martian? Or just somebody who is really really not feeling very well?

    “Garrett Augustus Morgan invented the traffic light. ”

    No. Please don’t spread this here too. He was one of several people that invented a type of traffic light, but his traffic light (invented in 1923) is nothing like the ones we’ve adopted for use. Those are descended from the one Detroit Police Officer William Potts created in 1920.

      Doc-Wahala in reply to f2000. | January 14, 2022 at 1:37 pm

      I could make a joke about how we are “trying to take away the black man’s accomplishments”, but that would be in poor taste.

      Didn’t know about Potts. Now I do. Now I want to go back 45 years and tell my third grade teacher she was WRONG!!

      In fact, I want to find a lawyer. That’s 45 years I’ve carried around wrong information, believed wrong information and am now guilty of spreading falsehoods – somebody needs to pay!

        45 years? I thought this was a recent thing. One of those left-wing “journalism” sites put out a video about all the things black people invented that we can’t live without and it was all stuff that they didn’t really invent but had some tenuous link to. I never heard about this traffic light thing before a few weeks ago and it’s come up frequently since.

          henrybowman in reply to f2000. | January 15, 2022 at 11:04 am

          I still have great trouble believing that actress Hedy Lamarr was the genius behind spread spectrum wireless communication. My BS meter just won’t stop twitching.

          The Gentle Grizzly in reply to f2000. | January 15, 2022 at 11:56 am

          For Henry: she worked with her husband and developed a system where the frequencies sent to torpedoes shifted. The shifting was controlled with a variation on a piano roll mechanism. The one in the torpedo was synced with the one transmitting the signals. It was not quite what we know as spread-spectrum today, but it was a start.

          She wasn’t just a pretty face.

          Milhouse in reply to f2000. | January 16, 2022 at 12:34 am

          The patent is public information.

    fscarn in reply to Doc-Wahala. | January 14, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    Look up the story of Elijah McCoy’s invention for steam locomotives, which has lead to the phrase the real McCoy.

    Char Char Binks in reply to Doc-Wahala. | January 15, 2022 at 9:50 pm

    Morgan got a patent for A traffic signal, not THE traffic light. Give credit where due, but don’t exaggerate.

Refer to Maslow’s hammer:

It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

An equally valid inference, given that data, is that Blacks and Hispanics run red lights at a higher rate than other ethnic groups.
I am not saying it’s the case, though it could be, I am saying that it would be wise to drop the hammer and try other tools.

Make them okay by their own rules. I don’t like the cameras so get them declared racist and force them to take them down everywhere.

“Disparity is discrimination” as a legal principle is stupid, it’s like mandating correlation is causation. It’s anti-truth.

Meteors are racist because they are disproportionately likely to hurt BIPOC people? No. But progressives would have you believe otherwise.

But start forcing people to live up to this principle in ridiculous ways and you can build support for overturning it.

Traffic cameras may not be the best place to start (although I hate them – they are for municipal revenue not public safety) – but using Alinksy’s rules to overturn progressive and government overreach is a good place to start.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to PrincetonAl. | January 14, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    I don’t like the cameras so get them declared racist and force them to take them down everywhere.

    But you know they wouldn’t do that. They’d more likely simply not issue citations for hoopties and what not but still nail whitey for every infraction they can. And they’d do so under the bogus equity claim so nobody could conceivably complain. Especially whitey.

Texas banned red light cameras a few years ago.

No one likes traffic light cameras, but they’re everywhere. In this particular location, there are more black and Hispanic people, so they get more tickets. The cameras aren’t about racism, they’re about money.

You seem to have misunderstood the claim. They have no idea who is actually getting the tickets, just that people who live in black neighborhoods are getting tickets at a higher rate than people who live in white ones. So the odds are that black people are getting tickets at a higher rate than white people are, although it’s possible that the people getting tickets in black areas are disproportionately white.

At any rate it’s not about a specific location where there are more black people, it’s comparing locations with more black people to those with more white people. Which means that if black and white people are equally likely to run traffic lights, then they should be getting tickets at the same rate. And apparently they’re not. Which means one of two things:
(a) Somehow the cameras are racist, and don’t take pictures of all the white people who run the lights.
(b) or….. maybe, just maybe, do you think it’s possible that perhaps… that initial assumption isn’t true? If the cameras are catching black people running lights in greater proportion than they’re catching white people doing the same thing, maybe black people are running lights in greater proportion than white people are. Jathink? Maybe?

    Peabody in reply to Milhouse. | January 14, 2022 at 10:43 am

    It’s possible the traffic light camera cannot tell who is driving and is simply programmed to take a picture of every car that goes through. If that’s the case it needs to be taken down and replaced with an affirmative action camera. Anything that does not give blacks a break is automatically perceived as racist.

    wsot23887 in reply to Milhouse. | January 14, 2022 at 10:51 am

    Charles Murray’s new book covers that general area, plus all of the reasons people don’t want to believe the truth about it. African Americans have, as a group, lower IQ’s and higher criminal tendencies. These two facts combine to make a very difficult public policy situation, to say the least.

      fscarn in reply to wsot23887. | January 14, 2022 at 1:13 pm


      The charges of white privilege and systemic racism that are tearing the country apart fIoat free of reality. Two known facts, long since documented beyond reasonable doubt, need to be brought into the open and incorporated into the way we think about public policy: American whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians have different violent crime rates and different means and distributions of cognitive ability. The allegations of racism in policing, college admissions, segregation in housing, and hiring and promotions in the workplace ignore the ways in which the problems that prompt the allegations of systemic racism are driven by these two realities.

      What good can come of bringing them into the open? America’s most precious ideal is what used to be known as the American Creed: People are not to be judged by where they came from, what social class they come from, or by race, color, or creed. They must be judged as individuals. The prevailing Progressive ideology repudiates that ideal, demanding instead that the state should judge people by their race, social origins, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

      We on the center left and center right who are the American Creed’s natural defenders have painted ourselves into a corner. We have been unwilling to say openly that different groups have significant group differences. Since we have not been willing to say that, we have been left defenseless against the claims that racism is to blame. What else could it be? We have been afraid to answer. We must. Facing Reality is a step in that direction.

    alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | January 14, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    New Jersey State Police were accused of pulling over and ticketing blacks more than whites. Taking only nighttime ticketing where there would be no chance of figuring out who was driving…. blacks sped more than whites and at higher speeds. So just maybe, there is some validity to this claim… and so .. for equity… either forget ticketing or pull over whites for quota purposes.

      Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | January 16, 2022 at 12:38 am

      Yes, that was a famous case, and the leftists didn’t know how to respond. They were so sure the ticket disparity was down to racism, but when it proved not to be they couldn’t say anything. They hadn’t yet come up with the idea that if the reality backed up the disparate result then it just means reality is racist.

Let’s dig a bit deeper. What is the rates of compliance (paying the mailed ticket) and see how see how racist that is?


I guess the engineers and technicians who installed these traffic lights will be deemed racists, so the Dems will have DOJ and FBI bust down their doors at 4 am, hauled them to jail, charged them with 1st and 2nd degree murder (Dems view this as the only appropriate criminal offense for “racists”), along with Federal civil rights violations. A jury of overly effeminized women and girly men will convict them of murder, to ensure they our society is rid of conservatives and those who oppose Dems.

Well, in the UK traffic planners seem to justify placing cameras because of a higher proportion of drivers jumping lights or a higher rate of accidents.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Matt London. | January 14, 2022 at 11:45 am

    It’s the same here, but the justifications seem hollow when you consider the increase in rear end collisions due to these cameras.

    It reduces some types of collisions but increases others. It also does nothing to stop drivers that just flat out aren’t paying attention and run a blatantly red light (which happens quite often).

      alaskabob in reply to healthguyfsu. | January 14, 2022 at 12:23 pm

      Some cities were found to have shortened the yellow to increase “running red lights”.

      mbecker908 in reply to healthguyfsu. | January 14, 2022 at 4:51 pm

      The best solutions to traffic accidents at red lights are two-fold.

      1. A five second (or thereabouts) delay between the yellow light turning red and cross-street red light turning green.

      2. Left turn at red light intersections after the oncoming traffic has stopped.

      Traffic cameras only generate cash.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to healthguyfsu. | January 15, 2022 at 12:01 pm

      A work associate of mine got rearended good and hard when he stopped short to avoid a ticket. The car that hit him was…. a police car.

      Within seconds, several people were handing my associate business cards and slips of not paper with names and contact information “in case the cop tries to weasel out of it”.

There is sn easy solution to this.
Set the cameras so that thry record the “tint” of the driver.
If it detects s darker tint, then use a higher speed limit or a longer interval after the light changes to red.
For a paler driver, use the stricter criteria.
Problem solved.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to GL. | January 15, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    A better solution – aside from removing the cameras – is to enforce the laws equally. Why hand blacks yet still more further different “affirmative action”?

Four seconds is all one needs to wait before turning right on a red light.
Is this racist?

Nothing new. All enforcement on minorities is racist. I can’t even begin to guess how many times I’ve heard “you only stopped/arrested me because I’m black”. Being called a racist in a regular basis for no reason makes the word completely powerless.

When did human behavior and our choices not become a considerable factor in the equation?

It is equally likely and possible that Blacks and Hispanics run lights more than Whites, especially when you poll about respect for law enforcement in general.

Besides, if your credit sucks there is usually nothing they can do to you about these tickets. They are typically not moving violations and dont’ go on your driving record. They can go after your credit, but if you have nothing to lose they have nothing to gain.

The Gentle Grizzly | January 14, 2022 at 1:02 pm

I wonder how many of those traffic light camera Citations are generated from white people driving through those neighborhoods slowing but not stopping for the lights because of the danger in the community around them?

Well this is shocking… I mean we know that blacks commit murder at about 7X the rate of Whites, so why is it that they only run red lights at 2X the rate?

In my state, a mailed ticket is not considered adequate personal service. They have to send an officer to your residence to serve you. I ignore them and have never had a problem.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to Tim1911. | January 14, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    In the city I live in the red-light & speeding camera tickets that are sent out are civil citations & not criminal citations. The pictures are processed & citations are sent out by a third-party company contracted by the city for a percentage of what they collect. So you can basically just throw them in the wastebasket if you get one because in the end the worst thing they can do to you is send it to a collection agency in hopes you then pay. And that’s something the city doesn’t mention or want people to know. The money is too good to give that up.

Could it be, just maybe, that the people who drive in those areas drive like a-holes?… There is a very astute book by Thomas Sowell that talks about the importance of calculating in culture and cultural norms before vomiting the claim of racism every time there is a disparity in numbers.

Pretty darn clear cut if ya ask me.

The light was red … the driver ran it … the driver was caught on the cam … the driver was a minority. Well tough shit. The driver broke the law … and only the driver … whitey didn’t make him do it.

If the light was in a minority neighborhood … well tough shit. The example above just shows that in that neighborhood more minorities run red lights. And if the minorities in that neighborhood think the camera was placed in their minorities so whites can game the system at their expense … it just shows they’re too stupid and selfish to have enough self control not to run the damn light.