Friday, August 5, 2011

Funky Cold Mobdina: Segregation vs. Integration

Cross-posted from Brew to Bay:

Warning: I realize this blog is going to piss some people off. Please know I can write volumes about how awesome Milwaukee is. But if you don't address problems they'll never go away.

This morning I was greatly saddened to see this article posted on Facebook describing an alleged mob scene at the Wisconsin State Fair last night.

More upsetting to me than the news of alleged violence (which I do not condone), is the unbelievably racist tone of the article. Compare it to the one in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (oddly enough owned by the same media company) and the difference is stark.
Let's compare the ledes:
"Witnesses tell Newsradio 620 WTMJ and TODAY'S TMJ4 of a mob of young people attacking innocent fair-goers at the end of the opening night of State Fair, with some callers claiming a racially-charged scene."
"Police from three jurisdictions - West Allis, Milwaukee and Wisconsin State Fair police - spent Friday morning piecing together a series of incidents late Thursday night at the Wisconsin State Fair in which large groups of youths rampaged through the Midway and outside the grounds after closing."
It doesn't take a journalism degree to label one as sensational and the other as a bit more balanced. However, both use the articles succeed in one thing — underscoring Milwaukee's issues being, what a friend on Twitter referred to as, "trapped in a 1960s timewarp, but not in a good way."

Yes, the fighting kids were absolutely in the wrong. But it doesn't help the situation at all to add fuel to the fire and make it sound like all black people are out to get all white people. That guy named "Norb" — I'm about as scared as him as he is of an MC Hammer and Tone Loc concert.

I refuse to look at the comments on either article, as I'm sure they'll cause my heart to break into a thousand pieces.

Of course the entire time I lived in Wisconsin I heard and read report after report of the segregation problems. I don't have a solution. I will tell you though, I didn't realize how bad they were until I moved back to somewhere integrated. I can also tell you that efforts are needed by both whites and people of color. But Jesus, white people, you really need to make an effort.

I used to work at 17th and Fond du Lac and white people would freak out that I'd walk a quarter mile to 21st and North to catch the bus. Guess what? I never got shot, mugged, harassed more than I would downtown, anything. The most I ever got was people looking at me like "What the hell is this white girl doing here?" I'd be confused too if a white person never came into my neighborhood except when there was traffic on the freeway. I also feel like many people don't realize there are middle class areas tucked in the "ghetto" in Wisconsin. All they see are black vs. white. There are amazing things in a lot of Milwaukee's vast land area. Go discover them.

I can tell you some of the stark differences I see in San Francisco:
  • Here, skin color does not equal socioeconomic status.
  • Here, chatting someone up at a bar/dating does not revolve around skin color. 
  • Here, there don't appear to be a bunch of "diversity" efforts. Diversity just is.
  • If there's a mob beating or other act of violence, it's not a problem for "that neighborhood." It's everybody's problem. EVERYBODY wants to find a solution.
Yes, there are "bad neighborhoods." Yes, there is Oakland. But the dark cloud of racism isn't constantly hanging above our heads.

Before I sign off, I'll end with the best quote I saw from @svdodge this morning:

Lets also realize that the "dozens or hundreds" of "black youths" were outnumbered by "non-acting spectator citizens." Deep societal problem.


  1. Wisconsin has a new concealed-carry law, ya know

    What on earth are you folks waiting for… shoot them

  2. While I agree with the statement that Milwaukee is extremely segregated, I think its segregated more than in just terms of race, but of socio-economic status. Unfortunately, it seems this is becoming an issue nationwide and the country as a whole needs to find a way to address this. I read a couple of articles today about situations like this happening in Philadelphia, Chicago and a couple other places and it makes me sad for many reasons. I have no idea how we can fix this, but things just can't stay the way they are on any side. Here's one of the articles.


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