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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