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Woke UChicago Students Too Afraid To Call Out Obama For Gentrifying The South Side  

Students are misplacing their outrage and failing to call out the real cause of the problem: Barack Obama.


A group of leftist students at the University of Chicago are demanding their university pay over $1 billion in reparations to Chicago’s South Side residents for displacing black people living in the area. There’s just one problem: The university, which has been located in Chicago’s Hyde Park since 1890, is not what’s displacing the residents. It is Barack Obama and his presidential center that have caused the median home price to more than double in the South Side, forcing people to leave the area.

Obama claims that his $500 million presidential center, scheduled to be complete in 2025, will change Chicago’s Woodlawn and South Shore neighborhoods for the better, but residents told The Federalist that isn’t true.

“I just think it’s a crime,” said one resident. “Black Americans are not going to be able to afford to live over here [because] property tax is gonna be higher.”

“The cost of living is definitely going up,” another resident told The Federalist, adding that she believes the center is being utilized to “move crime around.” “[The locals] are gonna be able to stay here, some of them, but they won’t be able to participate because they won’t be able to afford it.”

Resident Lynn Franco described the center as “a land grab” since it took 19 acres of land away from the historic Jackson Park. “What is very heartbreaking is that a part of our park, Jackson Park, was taken from us,” stated Franco. “A lot of the green has been taken … This was just a land grab, in my opinion.”

Tahiti Hamer, a 42-year-old single mother of three born and raised in South Shore, was priced out of her rental in 2021. After the Obama Center broke ground that same year, her landlord raised the rent by nearly 40 percent. “I’m a working mother who can’t afford to live in my own community that I’ve lived in for 42 years,” Hamer told The Washington Post.

The student group, known as the University of Chicago Against Displacement (UCAD), acknowledged the impact of the Obama Center, writing in a press release that the demanded reparations are “especially crucial at this moment as the Obama Center in Jackson Park increases land values and, in turn, rental prices.” However, the group has directed all its self-righteousness at the university, falsely declaring the institution has a “legacy of chattel slavery” and calling for reparations from the university for “long-term true affordable housing” on Chicago’s South Side for 20 years.

The students’ “chattel slavery” accusation is attributed to the land endowment the university received in the 1850s from Senator Stephen A. Douglas, a slave owner and supporter. However, the university moved to a completely different location in Chicago in 1890 with no financial support from Douglas. The school’s website dates its founding to 1890, and slaves neither built the university’s original campus nor its current one. In fact, the university’s Hyde Park campus was constructed nearly 30 years after the U.S. abolished slavery.

The student activists did not provide any evidence for how the university is currently displacing black residents, and that’s because it isn’t. While the university supports the Obama Presidential Center, the true cause for the ongoing gentrification of the South Side is Barack Obama. 

Since the project was first announced, many South Siders have been vocally opposed to the center and hyper-critical of Obama. The former president has not listened to them, though. If the leftist students really wanted to help the South Siders, they could appeal directly to Obama, who may be inclined to listen to students who are part of the community where he taught and his two daughters went to school.

As is typical of woke warriors, the student’s activism isn’t about enacting real change. Social justice is about making oneself feel good. The students’ refusal to look past their politics and call out the true source of the problem, Barack Obama, is characteristic of UChicago leftists and liberal college students in general.

For years, students at the University of Chicago have rallied, allegedly on behalf of black Chicagoans, to abolish both the university’s police department and the Chicago Police Department. But black Chicagoans in Hyde Park repeatedly indicated their opposition to removing the police and affirmed that the area needs more officers.

When student activists insist black Chicagoans are victims, they are not wrong. The catch and release policies of Soros-funded Cook County District Attorney Kim Foxx and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s cash bail-abolishing Safety Act, colloquially known as the “purge law,” makes poor, minority-occupied neighborhoods more dangerous.

Democrat welfare programs disincentivize marriage and encourage decades of fatherless households. The children of absent fathers have an outsized association with poverty, incarceration, poor educational outcomes, and drug and alcohol abuse. Fifteen years ago, Obama aptly spoke out about the absent father epidemic among black Americans. Yet throughout his political career, he did nothing to combat the issue and instead dramatically expanded the welfare state. Today, 65 percent of black children are being raised in single-parent households.

Furthermore, during his time as an Illinois politician, Obama stridently supported the teachers’ unions. The Chicago Teachers Union, which wields massive control over the Chicago City Council and the newly elected Mayor Brandon Johnson, makes it nearly impossible to fire bad teachers, lobbies for radically left-wing policies (such as defunding the police), and shut down in-person learning during Covid, all at the expense of Chicago students, many of whom are black.

The displacement of South Side residents reveals Democrats’ true feelings toward minorities. The privileged leftist university students purposely misplaced their performative outrage because they care more about politics than the South Siders. Obama was happy to take Chicago’s black votes during his senate and presidential elections, but his actions show he doesn’t care about the South Siders or black people in general.

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