Skip to main content

View Diary: Milwaukee Goddamn (9 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  I was thinking a lot of the same things (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dragonlady

    I grew up in a Milwaukee suburb in the 1970s and 80s. I'm not surprised to see these statistics. The Milwaukee neighborhood known as the "core" is as tragic as any neighborhood in any city I've ever been in.

    •  Milwaukee (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnitaMaria, Korkenzieher, dragonlady

      The tragic situation for Black people in Milwaukee is not an act of nature.  It is caused by specific actions of particular people.  For example, the astonishing incarceration rate of young Black men is not an artifact of the poverty of the Black community; it is a primary cause of that poverty.  There is a large scholarly literature about this, much of it cited in my book on the Black Poverty Cycle, but, in brief, it is not very complicated.  

      If large numbers of young adult Black men spend time in prison, their present and future families will be impoverished.  The astonishing number of young adult Black men who are arrested are arrested because the chief of police has decided that his staff will arrest astonishing numbers of young adult Black men.  If he decided not to, the disproportionate rate of arrests would be lessened.  

      It is his decision.

      Similarly, the astonishing number of young Black men who are prosecuted, found guilty, and incarcerated after arrest is the result of decisions made by prosecutors, the district attorney and judges.  If they did not make those decisions, this would not happen.

      What are we talking about here?  The decisions made by one or two dozen men, few if any of whom are young adult Black men?

      The situation is similar with the schools.  Newark--Newark!--graduates three quarters of the male Black students in grade 9 four years later.  Are male Black students in Newark smarter, less attracted by the streets, more positively influenced by the White students in the next seat (as if there were any) than those in Milwaukee?  In New Jersey's Abbott districts, in Montgomery County Maryland, in many other districts, a decision has been made to educate Black students.  In Milwaukee that decision has not been made.

      What are we talking about here?  The decisions made by half a dozen district administrators, by members of the school board, by politicians?  Not the decisions made by Black school children.

      Brining the incarceration rate for young adult Black men in Milwaukee down to that of Mississippi would raise thousands of Black children in Milwaukee out of poverty.  Bringing the high school graduation rate of Black children in Milwaukee up to that of Newark--or nearly any suburb anywhere in the country--would further lower the incarceration rate (other things being equal, such as the justice system) and further lower the poverty rate.

      That these things are not done are the result of specific decisions made by a relatively small number of people--few of whom are young adult Black men.  

      For how long will they continue to make these life-destroying decisions?

      •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dragonlady

        But why is our incarceration level so high in specific terms? Are Milwaukee cops arresting people for things that don't get you arrested in Newark? Are we incarcerating people for jaywalking or loitering here? It can't be that.

        Maybe it's a case of prosecutors asking for prison time for every crime. Maybe if a guy gets into to bar fight in Newark, everyone gets charged with battery and gets a fine and probation, whereas here everyone goes to jail.

        The only rationale I can come up with is that somehow we're culturally different from other cities. Milwaukee has a very German ethic which is perhaps less tolerant of disorder and day to day mayhem than other places. I don't believe we're more racist than other cities, although obviously there's racism everywhere in the US. Maybe our approach needs to be more kid glove and less iron fist, but I'm not sure how we accomplish that short of rewriting state statutes, which is somewhat unlikely given who's in charge in Madison at present.

        The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

        by Korkenzieher on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 07:21:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (160)
  • Community (76)
  • Elections (45)
  • Environment (44)
  • Bernie Sanders (43)
  • 2016 (41)
  • Spam (36)
  • Hillary Clinton (36)
  • Culture (35)
  • Republicans (34)
  • Climate Change (32)
  • Media (32)
  • Labor (28)
  • Civil Rights (28)
  • Congress (26)
  • Education (25)
  • Law (25)
  • Science (24)
  • Texas (23)
  • Barack Obama (22)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site