The Pillaging of Oak Street: A Visual Tour

Last night, Chicago’s toniest shopping district rang with the sounds of shouting thugs, cracking glass, and a U-Haul truck used as a battering ram. While people in other parts of Chicago and the nation protested for justice, the bands of smash-and-grab thieves that habitually prey on 60611 used the police distraction to ramp up their barbarism and ransacked the neighborhood.

Looting damage on Oak Street, May 30, 2020

By way of background, there are bands of hoods who regularly visit this corner of Chicago to steal from the boutiques that serve the tourists and employ the locals. Even on an ordinary day, the human trash know that they can do almost anything they want because the shopgirls are under orders from their stores to stand aside for thieves. The companies would rather file the loss as an insurance claim than risk the lives of employees who, in spite of appearances, are sometimes paid about the same as fast food workers.

Last night, while the Chicago Police Department was occupied in other parts of the city, the greedy locusts descended in force. They weren’t there to fight police brutality. They weren’t stealing to feed their families. They were there to make a quick buck while terrorizing people who live and work in downtown Chicago.

After enduring a sleepless, helpless night listening to her neighborhood being ransacked, Brenda S. shared these pictures of the results with us.

Location: Oak Street, Gold Coast

Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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16 Comments

  1. I posted this for the pictures but one by one my friends pointed out that this is a terribly racist blog entry. I read it and agree, your description and language is inflammatory and demeaning and should be altered or taken down.

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    • Editor

      Thanks for the response, Brandon. While I agree the language is inflammatory, I do not agree that it is racist. It is directed at the looters who targeted and destroyed a neighborhood for no reason other than greed. These were not protesters. These were not people with a social agenda trying to right a wrong or change the system. You don’t fight police brutality by smashing windows and stealing clothing from an unguarded street. Ramming a rental truck into an empty jewelry store is not going to stop police officers from targeting minorities.

      Looting is not protesting. As stated in the article, the protesters were elsewhere. These were looters.

      That your friend equates certain descriptions with particular races speaks to your friend’s racism, not mine.

      It’s a shame that the people defending the destructive actions of a group of thugs don’t seem to feel any empathy for the people who live and work on that street, who have been without an income for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and who will now remain without a way to support themselves and their families for weeks more because of this greedy vandalism.

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      • There are a few word choices that have been coopted as dog-whistles by the racist community, e.g. “thug” and “hoods.” Maybe you didn’t intend them in that way, or are unaware of the connotations, but a reader cannot tell. I would suggest you replace those words with words that carry less baggage, even if it means you have to use the word “thieves” more than once.

        You are of course right that the protestors are largely a distinct set from the people doing the looting, who have varying motivations (some trying to cause chaos, most probably just opportunistic, some of whom may even rationalize it as protesting to feel better, however wrong and illogical we think that might be).

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        • Editor

          Hi, asdf. If the racist community has co-opted certain words, I’m not aware of it. I don’t keep up with those sorts of things. Words like “thugs” and “hoods” have been used for generations without implicating any particular race. Look at any mobster film of the last century. They almost all use those words, and they almost all refer to non-black people.

          That might make me old-fashioned. But it doesn’t make me racist.

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      • I have to say, I agree with Brandon: the language used in this article is not okay, and I think it’s disingenuous to pretend that calling people “thugs” and “hoods” doesn’t have a strong racist undertones.

        As for worrying about the people who’s livelihoods would be affected: you’re posting pictures of luxury goods stores like Dior and Mikael Kors. It’s not like these are mom-and-pop, locally owned restaurants that are on their last dime. I have a hard time working up any sympathy for the owners of stores like these, and if they have any decency they’ll be doing what they can to take care of their employees as well.

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        • Editor

          If you think that these stores are doing well financially, you are mistaken and don’t read the business press. While I don’t weep for big companies like LVMH, I do sympathize with the hundreds of shopgirls, window washers, janitors, and others who are put out of work by this greedy vandalism. That was the point of the article.

          As you noted, I never mentioned the brands, because this isn’t about the brands. It’s about the local people who have to live and work in the neighborhood being victimized for no reason. I’m sorry you missed that, and have no sympathy for your fellow Chicagoans who are struggling to get by.

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      • You are so right. The language is honest! These THUGS are destroying our communities! This is not protesting it out right robbery. I think I heard 9 people have died trying to stop them or merely trying to save their property a cop was shot in the head some were beaten by the mob!!! Wake up folks! Your neighborhood could be next.

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      • I agree that your post is insensitive and shameful. Whatever sociology-economic or psychological desperation motivate such actions, your reference to “human trash” is outrageously elitist and implicitly racist.

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        • Editor

          Racist and elitist? That’s in the eye of the beholder.

          Were those words offensive? Sure. But I don’t care about offending the sort of people who would loot a neighborhood. Being offended is the least of what they deserve.

          Post a Reply
    • There’s nothing racist in this article, because it doesn’t make any reference to race. Just looters.

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    • Racist???? I did not see any mentioning of any race. You made your assumption. Ironic, is not it?

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    • Wow, black supremacist like you won’t give an inch. You are what’s wrong with America. You would happily destroy us all out of your racial hatred and demands that black people get special treatment. I hate to tell your racist bigoted self, but it’s more than black people looting

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  2. Thank you for sharing these photos to show the rest of us what was done. It is heartbreaking to see what is being done to our beautiful city.

    And the article contained no race baiting and agree that it’s in the eyes of the particular poster and his friend.

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  3. Shocking. Thank you for posting. And sharing.

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