‘White people out!’ Racist graffiti plagues Chicago neighborhood — media silent

If it had been a coffee shop owned by a black businessman, operating in a white neighborhood, the recent vandalism probably would have been a national story.

Almost nine months after it was first hit with “anti-gentrification” graffiti, a small coffee shop in a Chicago neighborhood has again been targeted with racist messages, warning white customers and business owners to “get out” of the area, according to the Chicago Eater.

The first cases of vandalism took place in January and February, and seemed mostly aimed at the neighborhood’s sudden influx of new businesses and changing demographics.

Pilsen, Illinois, has been a traditionally Hispanic part of the city, but in recent years more white customers have been making their way to the community. The most recent graffiti is aimed at letting them know they’re not always welcomed.

White People out
Photo from the Chicago Eater

“I know Chicago is known to be segregated, but I don’t really live in that frame of mind,” said Phil Tadros, owner of the Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, who was targeted by the recent racist vandalism.

He wasn’t sure if the messages were targeted at his customers or his staff, but he said the most recent vandalism was far more racist than the previous anti-business graffiti.

“I think it’s a sad mental place to stay,” Tadros told the Chicago Eater.

Pilsen not for sale
Photo from the Chicago Eater

Gentrification – the process by which poor urban neighborhoods are transformed by businesses and property owners moving into the area – has been a touchy topic among Pilsen’s population in recent years, as some people worry that the region’s Hispanic roots are being forgotten.

But, according to Tadros, his business receipts seem to show a different story.

“Maybe it’s my ignorance, but I guess I’m having a hard time believing that we’re a negative thing,” he said.

At least one racist graffiti artist, however, apparently disagrees.

Michael Schaus


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