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What is Chicago’s impact on…anything?

By: Dartunorro Clark (dclar4@uic.edu)

One day in my political science class we were discussing global cities and globalization. My professor asked “what is a global city?” I wittingly said, “A city where it not only impacts things within its own borders, but the nation and on a global scale.” She accepted my answer and then proceeded to ask, “What makes Chicago a global city?” Some people in the class had varying answers. Then we then looked at the global city index and New York, Tokyo, and London (of course) rounded out the top three, Chicago fell in at number six; Washington, DC and Brussels also were in the top ten.

Discussing the idea further, my professor noted how cities like New York City, Beijing, London, Washington, DC, have immense impact on culture, politics, and the economy. It seemed to me that it was interesting how different Chicago is from the rest of other major cities. We’re not quite New York City or Washington, DC. As a natural born and raised Chicagoan, I always found it hard to see what makes Chicago special or stand out from the New York’s or LA’s—whether its film, theater, or celebrities.

 We do have a famous hot dog, if that counts?

Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud to be a real Chicagoan, but I am just tired of hearing what makes NYC or LA so special. All of the celebrities that live there, shop there, and that were born there. And all people talk about Chicago is the hot dogs, Garrett’s popcorn, and… our famous corrupt politicians.

This city is really hyper-segregated. I really noticed it after two Chicagoans? made a ‘Shit Chicagoans Say’ video in conjunction with the viral hit ‘Sh*t _______ Say.’ I am a Chicagoan and I never say any of that ‘shit.’ I only laughed because it was (honestly) two white people trying to amalgamate all the blacks on the Southside, all the polish, all the Italians in Little Italy, all the Latinos in Pilsen and Humboldt Park, etc. Yeah it didn’t work. However, a bunch of transplants got a laugh out of it, maybe because they haven’t been in Chicago for that long and only see Chicago at face value.

Condescending Willy Wonka

But I digress. Rahm Emanuel is now taking the liberty of trying to make Chicago into those New York’s and Los Angeles’ by hinting toward a bid for the Superbowl to  be hosted in Solider Field, after we “successfully” hosted the NATO Summit.  Does the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, come to mind?’ Then again, I digress.

What Chicago has to offer:

  • Oprah 😦
  • Really tall and beautiful buildings/architecture
  • A diverse population (its actually really nice)
  • A great financial/trading/professional service industry (largest trading floor in the U.S.)
  • Great food and restaurants with food from all cultures
  • Corrupt politicians (never a slow news day)
  • Rich, very rich history
  • Al Capone
  • Great Museums
  • Great Sports Teams
  • Crazy Sports Fans
  • Much, much,… much more

We’re not NYC, LA, or DC—but that’s what makes us special.

Chicago is… Chicago. And I have to say I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.

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