Ebony & Ivory
May 15, 2004 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Brown v Board of Education 50 years after a "landmark" decision not a lot seems to have changed in old Milwaukee.Via The Guardian
posted by johnny7 (5 comments total)
Interesting - thanks johnny7.

Unsurprising conclusion: "America is still segregated to a great extent".
Surprising conclusion: "Segregation is seen by many black people as sometimes a good thing".
posted by iffley at 9:37 AM on May 15, 2004

Not too surprising to me, iffley. I figured out at a pretty young age that most of the issues of race in America today are actually class and cultural differences. Cultural differences make communication difficult in both directions.

One tough question I've been unable to answer: are these differences a good thing? Can we break down the barriers and create a single "American culture", without effectively destroying these existing cultures?

I believe that diversity is America's greatest asset... but without equality it's wasted. How can we achieve equality without losing diversity?
posted by Eamon at 11:09 AM on May 15, 2004

As a Milwaukee resident, I gotta say the article's right on. I live on the "edge of the 'hood" near Marquette University, whose student population is pretty lily-white. The only time I ever see a black person in the local bars near campus is when one comes in to solicit for change. But go five blocks west from campus, and it's nearly all black (but with a few whites, such as Jeffrey Dahmer).

Wisconsin has a fairly progressive rep-- we're the home of Fighting Bob LaFollette, The Progressive magazine, etc.-- but racially the citizens here are immiscible.
posted by starkeffect at 1:49 PM on May 15, 2004

Hey, a post tailor-made for us black expatriate Milwaukeean Metafilter members! All... uh... one of us! ;) Nice and detailed, too. Thanks.

The racial climate in Milwaukee. Hmm. Last I heard, there was a bit of gentrification taking place that was slowly but surely pushing the "black" boundary even further north: it seems like North Avenue is becoming the new unofficial southern edge. They even shifted the annual Juneteenth Day parade and festival about half a mile up MLK Jr. Drive (which really does quietly morph back into "Old World 3rd Street" as it approaches downtown-- man, I was so gonna post to that thread).

I don't think I'm too happy about school choice. I'd been leery of it from the very beginning, when Polly Williams first brought it up only to have other legislators cheerfully try to take her idea and run with it (Didn't work, so I hear), but if the upshot of all this is more teachers like Taki Raton--
Once, a white family came to the school, interested in enrolling their son. "I told them there's nothing here for your child. Your child will probably emerge with low self-esteem because there's nothing here that represents them."

--well, that's not the kind of idiocy I'd want to endorse. Jeez, didn't he ever read The Autobiography of Malcolm X? Moron. It seems like I'm going to be part of the only Milwaukee generation that participated in even a half-assed attempt at integration.
How can we achieve equality without losing diversity?
I don't think the former automatically demands the latter, but judging from the quote from the Guardian article-- and other sources-- mine may not be a majority view. Mutual respect would be nice, but of course there's that whole "separation implies inferiority" argument. I dunno, if you figure it out, tell the rest of us.

Oh, and the Black Holocaust Museum is insanely depressing, but good nonetheless.

Heh. Sorry for all the rambling. So Milwaukee is the bleak epitome of all that it wrong with black/white race relations in the United States? Heh. Stop, you're makin' me homesick. I've always wondered how they did the calculations for that sort of thing.
In your face, Detroit!
posted by tyro urge at 3:08 PM on May 15, 2004

This is very depressing. I grew up just over an hour from Milwaukee and always loved the place as a kid. Now when I visit I find myself wishing it was better than it actually is, or, at least, as I imagined it when I was younger.

If you're looking for further reading about race issues in Milwaukee, Eugene Kane's columns in the Journal Sentinel are a good place to start. (He writes about numerous subjects, but the city's race situation is a regular topic.)
posted by mrbula at 5:44 PM on May 15, 2004

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