Trevor Noah is this week conducting The Daily Show from the U.S.’s third-largest (and Donald Trump’s least favorite) city, Chicago, otherwise known as the Windy City, Seacago, or “Syria but with different pizza.”
If everything you know about Chicago comes from Fox News and cartoons, you might have an exaggerated idea of it as a urban war zone. But that’s simply not the case, Noah said in Monday’s opening monologue. Being from South Africa, another place unfairly perceived as crime-ridden and violent, Noah has a lot of sympathy for a city with a bad rap, and has decided to spend a week in the place in order to see it for himself.
Chicago’s crime rates are often considered the worst in the country, but why? While the number of murders in the Midwest’s most populous city are certainly concerning, Chicago’s murder rates are not the highest in the nation if you go by murders per capita, where Chicago ranks below St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis, and Cleveland. “Would you rather be in a big city with five Pennywise the Clowns, or an Uber pool with just one?” Noah asked.
Why, then, is the right is so focused on criticizing Chicago? Noah thinks he may have an idea: Could it have something to do with former Illinois Senator and Chicago community organizer, Barack Obama? Over the past eight years, the right-wing media has repeatedly held President Obama responsible for the failings of his “hometown.”
“Oh, now I get it,” Noah said. “When there’s shootings, he’s from Chicago. All the other times, he’s from Kenya. Now it makes sense.”
Republican lawmakers, right-wing pundits, and whatever Donald Trump is don’t actually care about Chicagoans, argued Noah, despite all the time they spend talking about the city. All they care about how they can use Chicago to score political points against their greatest enemy, President Obama. They want to decry the crime, they want to point fingers, but they make little effort towards fixing it.
At the end of the day, what matters most about murder rates is not rankings or blame. What matters most is lowering them.