Via the miracle that is link-hopping, I stumbled on a thirty-year-old essay by the late Leanita McClain last night. It was written in 1983, shortly after Harold Washington’s first election as mayor. It ought to have a place in the Chicago nonfiction canon, I think, next to books like Making the Second Ghetto and Boss, and Studs Terkel’s work. The only website I could find with the full essay is here. More about Leanita McClain here.
Bitter am I? That is mild. This affair has cemented my journalist’s acquired cynicism, robbing me of most of my innate black hope for true integration. It has made me sparkle as I reveled in the comradeship of blackness. It has banished me to nightmarish bouts of sullenness. It has made me weld on a mask, censor every word, rethink every thought. It has put a face on the evil that no one wants to acknowledge is within them. It has made me mistrust people, white and black. This battle has made me hate. And that hate does not discriminate.