Black conservative Chicago native Gianno Caldwell picked apart recent controversial comments from former First Lady Michelle Obama, who claimed that "white folks" fled Chicago neighborhoods in the 1970s because black families were moving into them.
"Families like ours, upstanding families like ours... who were doing everything they were supposed to do or better," said Obama at an Obama Foundation Summit at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago last week, "As we moved in, white folks moved out because they were afraid of what our families represented.
“I want to remind white folks that y’all were running from us,” she continued. “And you’re still running.”
Caldwell expressed doubt that the former first lady had facts to back up her comments, which he described as divisive.
Appearing on Fox Nation's "Reality Check with David Webb, Caldwell said: "I wonder if she has any facts to support her conclusion, that simply because they were there, that white Americans were leaving the community because they didn't like what their family represented.
"I don't know of any facts to support their narrative whatsoever," he continued. "And I think to make a statement like that without a message about uniting us... and you're looking to divide us based on race -- is problematic.
"And I don't know of any data to support her saying 'they're still running'. Like, I don't know where that comes from," he added.
Fox Nation host David Webb offered his own explanation for why white families left Chicago.
"Economic flight is what drives it," Webb said. "If a black man could afford to leave a bad neighborhood or a black woman could afford to leave a bad neighborhood, they do that. We see this all across America, but here we see the race-baiting game."
Caldwell argued that it is more likely that families in the 1970s, continuing to the present day, are leaving Chicago because of dysfunctional city leadership. The Chicago native ticked off a few examples of alleged mismanagement, including Chicago's sanctuary city policy, which Caldwell blames for depressing wages for legal citizens regardless of their race or ethnicity.
"People are running out of the city of Chicago in droves," Caldwell said, "in fear of their lives being taken away, in fear of the taxes being raised on them... in fear of a liberal government that continues to chase its citizens and take everything that they have. So maybe there is some truth to that point, but that wasn't the narrative in which she was making."
In conclusion, Caldwell suggested that there may be another motive for Obama's remarks.
"Michelle Obama's at this point, she's looking to sell books, she's still on tour to a degree... and she's doing quite well -- sold over 10 million books," he said. "So maybe this is more rhetoric to gin up her base of folks that are going to buy her book."
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