Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is facing mounting backlash after suggesting better parenting and morals are the keys to addressing gun violence in the city’s Black and Latino neighborhoods.
Emanuel, who’s been mayor since 2011, encouraged locals to be a “good neighbor” and speak up” to help police find killers and gang bangers responsible for the recent spate in violent crime on Chicago’s South and West sides, Fox News reported. Eleven people were killed and 74 others wounded in shootings across the city earlier this month, marking the deadliest weekend in Chicago since 2016.
Addressing the recent violence, Emanuel side-stepped questions about police staffing and instead focused on the need to have tough conversations about morality and values.
“This may not be politically correct, but I know the power of what faith and family can do,” the mayor said. “… Our kids need that structure. … I am asking … that we also do not shy away from full discussions about the importance of family and faith helping to develop and nurture character, self-respect, a value system and a moral compass that allows kids to know good from bad and right from wrong.”
“If we are going to solve this, we’ve got to have a real discussion,” he added, stressing a parents’ responsibility to shape their children’s character. “Parts of the conversation cannot be off-limits because it’s not politically comfortable … It plays a role. Our kids need that moral structure in their lives. And we cannot be scared to have this conversation.”
Emanuel’s comments didn’t blow over well with critics, however, who found his words to be “insensitive.”
“I cannot see the victims of racist policies and bigoted practices shamed by anyone who says they need to do better or be better in their circumstance,” said Shari Runner, former president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “I won’t accept it.”
Sen. Kwame Raoul, who’s running for Illinois attorney general, expressed similar views, saying, “I think for the mayor to make a generalization about a community is more than just misspoken — it’s outright wrong.”
Resident Yordome Bello told Fox News Emanuel’s comments rubbed her the wrong way.
“I’m not immoral,” she said. “My neighbors aren’t immoral. Is he going to come to my house and protect me? I’d like to see that.”
Since Friday, 60 people have been shot in Chicago, nine of them fatally, according to the news site. Authorities said one incident involved a 20-year-old man who was shot in the stomach at a parking garage while three teens and five adults people were shot during a block party in a separate incident.
Emanuel hasn’t responded to the recent backlash.