I live in Chicago, a place considered by many to be one of the most segregated cities in the world. This town is made up of countless very specific ethnic neighborhoods; every race and culture of the world is accounted for here and has its own area of the city where everything that goes on is conducted in the language and custom of that culture.

Its true that there are probably few other places where one can truly see such clearly defined hoods jutted right up against eachother with such clear-cut differences between them. Its also true that there is no denying the racial tension and racist people that can be found here. But that is because most places don't have so many people of so many different ethnicities and cultures.

I think when people speak of how segregated Chicago is they are comparing it solely to New York City, the only other city in the world comparable to this one in most aspects. In this case, the difference between the two is that New York has just as many cultures and races of people but they are all mixed and piled together in most areas of the city, as opposed to here where there are so many neighborhoods dedicated to a specific culture. By that comparison, because of the distinct neighborhoods and divisions that can be found here, I can see how Chicago has come to be defined as 'segregated.'

But to say it is one of the most so in the world or even this country for that matter seems ridiculous to me, because how can you compare it to any other city that has such a smaller population of inhabitants which are comprised of nowhere near as many different races of people. We have the largest population of Polish people outside of Warsaw, for Christ's sake. And they happen to have their own niche here, as does every other culture imaginable.

I don't know why, but as a resident of this city I take the whole 'most segregated' thing as a sort of an accusation, and very personally. Its weird because I really do know what people mean when they say that, but I also feel they are not thinking of things in a greater context. God only knows why things like this even bother me.