Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

No Country for Black Men

New study shows Wisconsin leads the nation in black incarceration, with a shockingly high rate. Why?

By - Apr 25th, 2013 12:40 pm

As executive director of The Sentencing Project in Washington D.C., Marc Mauer has studied racial disparities in sentencing for decades, yet even he is stunned by the statistics in a new report by the UW-Milwaukee Employment & Training Institute (ETI).  The study found that more than half of all African American males in their 30s and 40s in Milwaukee County have served time in state prisons.

“The numbers are truly shocking,” says Mauer.

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No state comes close to Wisconsin in imprisoning black males. The study found that 12.8 percent, or 1 in 8 of African American working age men, were incarcerated. That rate is 32 percent higher than the second worst state, Oklahoma, and nearly double the national average of 6.7 percent (or 1 in 15).

By contrast, Wisconsin’s rate of incarceration of white men is similar to the national average and the rate for Hispanics is actually lower than the national average. “It certainly is disturbing to see this rate of imprisonment for black males,” says Mauer.

Nationally, Mauer notes, there has been a “40 year explosion” in imprisonment in the U.S. but the numbers really grew in the 1980s and 1990s, he says. A national push to get tough on drugs, truth-in-sentencing and “three strikes and you’re out” (meaning permanent incarceration) rules were among the factors driving the growth of prisons.

The UWM study tracks the stunning rise in imprisonment for African American males from Milwaukee County: the number imprisoned rose four-fold, growing from 2,684 imprisoned in 1990 to 5,521 in 1995 and 9,123 in 2000. The number peaked at 10,669 black males from Milwaukee County imprisoned in 2007.

Drug offenses have been a big factor driving this wave of imprisonment. Forty percent of black males from Milwaukee County incarcerated since 1990 were drug offenders, the study found. “In the early 1990s African Americans had 4 times as many annual admissions for drug-related offenses as white men. As drug offenses soared in the 2002 to 2005 years African American men had 11 to 12 times as many drug-related prison admissions as white men,” the study reported.

A previous study by Pam Oliver, a sociologist at UW-Madison, found the rate of imprisonment in Wisconsin for drug offenses by African Americans rose from 9 per 100,000 people in 1984 to nearly 257 per 100,000 by 1999. Meanwhile, the rate for white defendants had barely budged, rising from 2 per 100,000 people in 1984 to just 3 per 100,000 by 1999.

 Click image for a larger view.

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Much of this had to do with the difference in how crack cocaine was treated versus powder cocaine. Sentences for using or selling crack were much tougher, Mauer notes, and “80 percent of those arrested for crack were black,” he adds.

States also varied in how they handled drug offenders. “When it comes to drug offenses, there was a tremendous amount of discretion in how different cities dealt with it,” says Mauer. “You could have one community say we’ll go after the big guys. Other communities will say we’ll go after everyone down to the small user on the street.”

In the mid-1990s, a new trend emerged, as some communities created special Drug Courts that tried to divert addicts and small-time drug users from prison. Wisconsin, however, was behind the trend: the first such court was established in the late 1990s in Dane County and Milwaukee did not create a Drug Court until 2009. That may help explain why the ETI figures show the imprisonment of black males has begun to decline in recent years.

Another factor that may be driving the imprisonment of black males is driver license suspensions, says John Pawasarat, executive director for ETI and lead researcher for its study. The institute has previously found that a high percentage of African American males lack a valid drivers license. Often their license has been suspended because they owe fines for unpaid parking tickets, equipment violations, etc..

“Without a license, workers are unable to legally drive to job sites throughout the metro area and subject to police arrests, particularly when driving through suburban communities,” the study notes. And those stops can sometimes result in police noticing the driver possesses illegal drugs, which can then lead to imprisonment.

“For many inner city neighborhoods having parents or other family members incarcerated in state prison (or in the Milwaukee County House of Corrections) has become a way of life, given the extremely high rates of incarceration,” the study notes. “The prison/ex-offender overlay has profound implications for youth and families as high poverty neighborhoods are rife with hardened criminals, drug violence, and lack of safety for youth. At the same time, many ex-offenders and current prisoners are themselves parents – and struggling (or not struggling) to support their children financially and emotionally and to reattach to their families.

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The most deplorable example of the impact of incarceration can be seen in the 53206 zipcode, from North Avenue to Capitol Dr. and I-43 to to 27th Street. Of 7,628 black men aged 18-64 in the zipcode, about half, or 3,837, have served time in state prison. “By 2012 nearly every residential block in the neighborhood had multiple numbers of ex-offenders with prison records,” the study notes.

State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) lives in this zip code. “It’s horrific and nothing to be proud of,” she says of the rate of black imprisonment. “It really is the highest rate in the world, when you consider that Wisconsin leads the nation and the U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.”

The ETI study, towards the end, does provide a table on the incarceration rate internationally. The numbers rise from India, where just 30 of 100,000 people are incarcerated, to 149 per 100,000 population in Spain (about the midpoint internationally) to 716 per 100,000 in the U.S, far more than the 527 per 100,000 in second-place Rwanda.

Taylor says there are many points throughout Wisconsin’s law enforcement system that can result in differential rates of imprisonment. “That includes the police and where they chose to police and how they police, the prosecutor’s office and how they use their discretion, the access to lawyers for suspects…”

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Taylor notes that the state brought in experts from the nationally respected Justice Center, which found problems with Wisconsin’s system of rehabilitating ex-offenders. “The average re-entry rate into prison for ex-offenders is like one year in Wisconsin versus the national average of five years,” Taylor notes. “Often it’s not because of new offenses but because of probation or parole violations.”

Pawasarat points to something basic like making sure young black males have a driver’s license, which can often be a key to getting and maintaining a job. The study notes that only 17 percent of African American male teens (ages 16-17) in the city of Milwaukee have a driver’s license compared to 64 percent of white male teens (ages 16-17) living in Milwaukee’s suburbs.

“A large population of African American males is approaching adulthood in Milwaukee County,” the study notes. “These young men will either swell the ranks of Wisconsin prisons, most initially incarcerated for drug-related offenses, or successfully join the workforce contributing to the economic health of their families and the community.” A focus on employment training and job placement for young African American men “is crucial,” the study adds, “to prevent a new surge of prisoners into the state DOC system.”

Categories: Murphy's Law

41 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: No Country for Black Men”

  1. Ann Bowe says:

    Thank you, E Michael McCann

  2. Marc Levine says:

    This is an exceptionally important study that should be widely read. The mass incarceration of black males in Milwaukee is a central element underpinning black male employment rates under 50 percent here that are among the worst in the nation. And mass incarceration is a crucial factor in Milwaukee’s exceptionally high rates of concentrated poverty in neighborhoods like the 53206 zip which, as ETI documents, is ground zero for such distress. Time for action = now!

  3. Dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    Maybe we should try getting these kids jobs. with 57% unemployment rate in the inner city and only 30% of the kids can read, you might find an answer there. Or, you might look at the demagoging the left does about the 1%ers that finance the jobs. Let’s get rid of them, chase them down to Fl., Al, texas and other places then all our problems wil go away.
    Oh, let’s raise the minimum wage so that we get 67% unemployment in inner kids without any skills.

  4. Chris Trotter says:

    Truth in Sentencing ??? Private Prisons ?? Tommy Thompson ??? This is the remnants of the Prison Business experiment… implement strict Laws ( Crack / Truth sentencing /) and then you invest and build more in (private) prisons..
    The Prison Business is Big Business and Black Males are the Fuel…. Lazy Minded Conservatives Don’t see it because its not there Kids they can’t feel it…..This strategy only works where there are meaningless Jobs..Poor Education and most important a Lack of economic Community support amongs each other….Sound Familiar…

  5. Chris Trotter says:

    Truth in Sentencing ??? Private Prisons ?? Tommy Thompson ??? This is the remnants of the Prison Business experiment… implement strict Laws ( Crack / Truth sentencing /) and then you invest and build more in (private) prisons..
    The Prison Business is Big Business and Black Males are the Fuel…. Lazy Minded Conservatives Don’t see it because its not there Kids they can’t feel it…..This strategy only works where there are meaningless Jobs..Poor Education and most important a Lack of economic Community support amongs each other….Sound Familiar…

    P.S. The !% are the one’s who finance the Prisons….

  6. dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    lots of whining from the Left, no answers.

  7. Stacy Moss says:

    Most striking is that since 2006 incarceration rates have been cut in half.

    If this continues we wouldn’t have any one in jail is a few years.

  8. MilwMike says:

    @ Stacy. I’m betting that Glenn Grothmann will come up with something to rectify that.

  9. Dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    If that happens the crime rate wil look like the UK or chicago. There are lots of bad people out there. Let’s look for 1%ers to come here, start businesses, crate jobs and then the Left needs to fix the education that they have screwed up so bad.
    Want to see a boom town?? Go to San Antonio, they love people that make money down there. Just got back.
    how many of you clowns have ever owned, run or started a business.

  10. John G. says:

    Dohnal, what would be your solution? Completely remove food stamp and welfare programs? Teach them to fend for themselves? In many ways, the high amount of crime is a perfect example of people being forced to already fend for themselves.

  11. dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    Tt is better to be thought of as an ignoramus than open mouth, type and remove all doubt.
    Under Reagan we had full employment food stamps at all time low. We adopt programs that develop jobs, encourage entrepreneurs, teach kids to read, they do it in the poorest countries in the world. The last time the Left controlled this state it was a disaster and the Obama gang has made it far worse for the poor and middle class,even worse than Carter.
    The Left has controlled Milwaukee county for 100 years. Look where Waukesha county has grown in comparison to Milwaukee. Name me three things that Barrett has done n the last ten years of value, even one.

  12. Chris Trotter says:

    I am not the left…I am pointing out what Tommy Thompson and his buddies implemented….Wisconsin back in 1970 went to a system where all the Tax payers Money would be allocated across the State for Municipal Services like Schools..Police etc…They did this to help small towns who could not compete with Heavy Tax base Cities like Milwaukee due to the Huge Industrial Business and the Jobs it created…..we are talking small towns like Oconto etc in the Northern Wisconsin….So the Cities with the least amount of tax paid received the most $$ with schools currently receiving 60%+ hence the unaccountability in Milwaukee(MPS) —-Milwaukee should be funding MPS not the state— What gets over looked is $$$ going to these small towns across Wisconsin for Huge Fire Dept upgrades…Firetrucks and Souped up Squad cars in Towns with 30 people like Kansasville ,,Salem to the South……You see the Good ole Boys abuse our tax dollars also on toys….I agree we have to get out of the business of poverty…No more low income housing…and govt programs……We need High paying Jobs and Business incentives…….I don’t want just Jobs ..I want a environment conducive for good Business where my People are not always the Customer….

  13. Bob says:

    The ridiculous “war on drugs” is as much to blame as the legacy left behind by the ridiculous “war on poverty” (“The Great Society”) and its cradle-to-grave welfare state. I’m sorry, but when all of the “illegals” can come here, many speaking little English and somehow manage to find 2,3 or even 4 jobs that they work day and night and yet somehow all of these black males in the inner city supposedly can’t find ANY employment, it just doesn’t add up. My work takes me through the inner city often, you can’t tell me that all these guys I see hanging out on porches and/or lurking around the streets are actually doing anything close to looking as hard as they can to find employment!

  14. Bob says:

    And as far as MPS funding goes, when the vast majority of these guys leave school LONG before high school graduation, I don’t care how well-funded our schools are, it won;t make a difference. Throw in all of the single-parent households and babies having babies (a direct result of liberal poverty-fighting, cradle-to-grave welfare policies) and its a recipe for the disaster we are now seeing in Milwaukee!

  15. Dujuan Walker says:

    As a Black man and ex-convict now having been free from prison on drug related charges for over six years, I understand, on a first-hand basis, the detrimental effects of being warehoused in the prison industrial complex, for long periods of time, for minor drug offenses. The Black man, now convicted of a felony and “marked” for discrimination by housing authorities, employers, etc., is worst off then the paralyzed man who cannot walk. Indeed, the homeless man (of any race) on the corner with no education, work experience, or ambition whatsoever is better off than the college educated, bright, Black ex-convict living in Wisconsin. The way the state’s system is designed, it is trained to eliminate the Black man from all productive livelihood and force him into extreme poverty and financial distress, thus leaving him with only two options: 1. Live your life under the viaduct and beg for food for the rest of your life or 2. Rob, steal, and kill. The former option doesn’t sound that appealing does it? Especially when you have a child to care for! The latter option is not appealing at all, as this guarantees death or re-incarceration. With CCAP and the abuse of CCAP by employers in Wisconsin, who have no respect at all for Federal and State laws that prohibit this kind of employment discrimination based on arrest and conviction record, the prognosis is dire. Some may call me extreme for this, but I believe that there is an active conspiracy among powerful officials in the State of Wisconsin to kill and exterminate the Black man, and the justice system is the beginning of that slow, painful death–a death that is often spiritual and emotional but more often physical, at the hands of overzealous cops or a Black man in the same situation as the victim. There are people who GAIN from this havoc and social travesty. Thus, the motive for the continuance of these draconian sentencing policies and discriminatory prosecutions is twofold: 1. Money; 2. Elimination of an undesirable race of people.

  16. patty says:

    Making a criminal out of those caught with drugs on them for personal use is a huge mistake (for all the reasons Dujuan stated above and more). Convicting those who sell the type of drugs that ruin lives deserve the sentences they get.

  17. MilwDave says:

    This study says nothing about the real problems that leads to incarceration. The lack of personal responsibility, the lack of leadership in the black community, decades of liberal city leaders accomplishing nothing and the dissolution of the family structure. All supported and funded by the left through “social programs”.

    I grew up poor in a very poor section of Milwaukee, didn’t commit crimes and pulled myself out of that existence. I don’t see anything approaching that kind ambition in the black community as a whole.

    Stop making excuses, do something for yourself and stop looking for others to hand it to you. Now there is a start for you.

  18. Tom D says:

    dohnal, the low point for food stamps didn’t come under Reagan. Under Reagan, the percentage of the (civilian, non-institutionalized) population getting food stamps each year varied between 10% and 12%. Under Nixon/Ford it ranged from 2%-12%. Even if ignore 1969 and 1970 (which were exceptionally low), the Nixon/Ford range was 6-12%. Clinton inherited a 14% rate and brought it down to 8% (lower than anything seen under Reagan).

  19. Shareef says:

    What about improving public transportation so people can get to jobs? One thing that bothered me is the focus on having a car. Who cares about teens that have a car at 16-17? I know my family couldn’t afford one at that age – ironically the only kids I knew in NJ they had them that young were either rich or drug dealers.

    Very depressing stats. As a Black man about to move to Milwaukee, this does inspire me to get up with people in the community that are looking to change these stats.

  20. Andy says:

    I suppose this is too simple: If whites stop committing crimes they will not be arrested, prosecuted, convicted, fined or jailed; if Hispanics stop . . . (etc.); if Asians stop . . . (etc.); if polka-dotted people stop . . . (etc.); AND, if blacks stop committing crimes they will not be arrested, prosecuted, convicted, fined or jailed at apparently higher rates than all the rest by far. Yes, it must CERTAINLY BE that blacks are targeted, singled-out, have the deck stacked against them, suffer from laws that are written to single them out, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. Personal responsibility for your actions. Is it a concept that truly is too difficult for all the writers of these studies to grasp? If you don’t like the treatment, don’t do the crime. Don’t do the crime, you will not suffer the treatment . . . NO MATTER the color of your skin, the size of your nose, where you came from or how you got where you are now.

  21. John G. says:

    Amazing oversimplification Andy of a very complex issue. It seems every answer to every social issue to people like Andy is a simple one.

  22. MilwDave says:

    No John G. it is really that simple. Unless you want to create an industry out of the problem.

  23. John G. says:

    You are kidding right? Where might a youth learn personal accountability if they are raised in an impoverished and broken home, oftentimes under the care of a single parent?

  24. MilwDave says:

    John G. go back and read my original post. The concept of personal accountability is just that personal. It starts with the parents, the community leaders and is instilled in the children.

    I grew up in a single family household. When we didn’t have enough to eat my mother took on a second job even though she was eligible for all kinds of government handouts. That gave us an understanding of personal responsibility and the work ethic to be productive members of society.

    So it is that simple and no I’m not kidding.

  25. Dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    The answer is not simple, but the problem is well documented. In the early 60’s we had very stable black communities with jobs and decent schools. All of the Leftwing programs that have been adopted in the last 50 years have made the problems and then made them worse. either we go in an entirely different direction, educate these kids, find jobs and move forward or we are condemning decades of kids to jail and more problems. the Left seems to think that if we just do more of what we hahve been doing that we will solve the problmes.

  26. Andy says:

    I have not yet read the article or the comments after… however I want to make a quick note that there are now two “Andys” commenting on these threads and readers shouls not try to connect any past/current/future comments by any one “Andy” to the other as they may not be attributed to the commenter or comment that one may be responding to.

  27. Dujuan Walker says:

    I have no comment regarding the “welfare solution” and its effects. My political beliefs are neither left nor right, more independent than anything. Let’s just deal with the facts and leave the emotion out of the coversation. Andy and Milwaukee Dave have similar positions. Both of their positions are ripe with misunderstanding, with all due respect to both gentlemen. Firstly, let’s get away from this “THE ANSWER IS SIMPLY ‘JUST DON’T DO THE CRIME'” mentality. In my opinion, the people who yell at the top of their lungs, “BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD JUST GO TO SCHOOL AND STOP DOING CRIMES AND THAT’S THE SOLUTION” are either uninformed about the true conditions of the Black community (caused by over ten generations of slavery, employment and education disenfranchisement, and a faux “War on Drugs”) or are, put bluntly, unconcerned and unsympathetic. The lack of sympathy and concern comes from the fact that these people are uninformed (or, in some cases, racist) so all these things go hand in hand. The man who says, “I came from the ghetto, I rose above it all with no criminal history” has no point at all, as he is only one out of several million. His “victory” does not say, “If I can EVERYONE else can”, it simply says “If I can ANYONE can.” Lofty as it may sound, it still does not reflect the realities in these communities. THE BOTTOMLINE IS THAT MOST PEOPLE THAT HAVE NEVER REALLY BEEN AT THE BOTTOM DO NOT UNDERSTAND OR SYMPATHIZE WITH PEOPLE AT THE BOTTOM. SO, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT ANDY, THERE ARE VITAL POINTS HERE THAT YOU ARE MISSING.

  28. chris trotter says:

    Andy and all the people who believe all Black Males are lazy and have a since of entitlement….Let me give you a couple of examples …because I don’t think you guys understand…before the Civil Rights Movement we had our own Community in Milwaukee and cities like it……ours was Walnut Bronzeville 3rd street….then we migrated west when the Jews moved to Sherman Park…..Milwaukee decided to build free ways through our communities dividing our business districts etc..(ironically this happen in all the midwest cities of the time) mean while we were fighting to have the right to live in Brown Deer,Glendale,Tosa, we wanted our kids to go to the good Schools ? We wanted the right to earn the same wage etc……….and in doing so we left our Communities and our own businesses and any hope for ownership and influence in decision making around this city….The Black Dollar was spread all across the City…..some believe this was by design……..2000’ahead Tell me how does a development like the PABST ENTERTAINMENT PARK get shot down !!!!!! When this would have been huge for the Urban economic scope !!! The Marcus theater would have sat over 2 million asses in it per year…!!!! BUT WAIT !!!! Old Milwaukee did not want it

  29. Dujuan Walker says:

    Chris Trotter good writing. I’d just like to add one more thing here. In Quentin Tarantino’s new movie “Django Unchained” there is a part where the white slaveowner, whom also made a business of pitting physically robust Black men in the ring against one another and making them fight until one of them died, attempts to comfort one of his slaves/fighters whom is afraid to fight any more fights for fear of his life. Black Man: “Master, I can’t find no more, I’m scared, I’m gone die next time. Please spare me master.” Slavemaster: “Boy you gotta make my money and that’s that and you gone fight or I’m going to feed you to these angry dogs.” Black Man: “But I’m scared, Master I CANNOT FIGHT.” Slavermaster: “You can fight boy, You might can’t WIN, but you can FIGHT.” He fed him to the dogs anyway. Nevertheless, the point here is this kind of thinking by the slavemaster is still alive and well today. It is like breaking both of a man’s legs and saying, “Walk boy!!!! Even though I’ve broken your legs and back and the whole world knows I did it, its well documented and I don’t dispute it, but still get your Black ass up and walk.” It adds insult to 400 years of injury.

  30. Hardworkingman says:

    Let’s not forget the role right wing talk radio played in all this, pushing policies that crammed African-Americans into prisons and penalizing politicians who want to do something smart and enlightened.

    And as usual, Bob Dohnal is snorting pixie dust. The idea that lowering the prison population will increase crime. If that’s the case, Minnesota, which has half the people in prison but similar demographics, should be like the set of Blade Runner. Of course Bob doesn’t go anywhere so no doubt he might believe that.

    Bob lives in such a simple minded world and a prime example of why conservative “ideas” suck.

  31. Andy L. says:

    For the other ‘Andy’ who is concerned over being either confused with or associated with me, from now on I will sign as “Andy L.” Not a single one of the spectacularly bigoted and racist comments that follow and react to mine change the fact– presented in a deliberately non-racist way that put ALL races on an equal footing– change the FACT that low expectations and acceptance of failure will NEVER resolve the myriad problems of the black race. (Yes, please read that again and read my post again … I PUT ALL RACES AND ALL PEOPLE ON AN EQUAL FOOTING of equal possibilities and equal expectations for excellence. Those who disagree with me are singularly UNwilling to do that.) Please do not insult my intelligence by blaming slavery, which ended three-going-on-four generations and nearly 150 years ago for the problems of the black race in 2013 … unless you’re willing to blame the problems of modern day traffic congestion on the unresolved problems of the blacksmith and buggy maker. The closest thing we have to slavery today are the government programs that have enslaved modern generations and made them dependent upon today’s plantation owner, Uncle Tommy Sam. When liberals stop making bigoted excuses for, stop having racist low expectations for, and stop having an abnormally high and insulting tolerance for destructive, anti-social, counterproductive and even criminal behavior– (unjustifiable excuses, saddeningly low expectations and profoundly misguided tolerance that is BASED ON the color a person’s skin, rather than working every single hour of every single day to be and remain color blind and race blind), and who as a result fail to instead EXPECT ALL human beings to be good, and keep getting better, then we will continue to know what is truly racist and bigoted indeed. There are plenty of people of all races and backgrounds who have achieved precisely these things. This post will unleash a rash of frenzied, anguished comments– just you watch. Perhaps those of you who are pounding on your knee at this very moment in order to stop it from jerking and who are just itching to make a retaliatory, corrective post should consider looking in the mirror long and hard before you dare to call anyone else racist or bigoted. Throw the R word and the B word at yourself for a change. Huh!– Maybe then what we’re debating wlll finally change, along with what you call yourSELF… liberal or conservative.

  32. MKE Andy says:

    Wow, Chris and Dujuan… I hate to break it to you, but your conspiracy theories on the desire to suppress African Americans is beyond fiction. I’ll admit, somehow even today there is racism in the world… but far in large the biggest threat by whites is apathy. It’s not that they want to actively hold anyone back… it’s that many don’t care enough to change a community that they believe doesn’t want to change itself.

    I firmly believe that fixing our cities education system is the key to improving everything. When all the unskilled jobs left the city and the region, the group hurt most were those living in the inner city. If we can improve MPS and gets our kids educated and give them opportunity to support their family, themselves, and become more will follow.

    I can only guess at all the complex challenges of growing up in the inner city, but I like to think that if I had the hope of a good future, then I’d be more likely to live by a higher moral code and conduct then I would if I felt the world didn’t care about me.

  33. Lumumba says:

    As a recent immigrant who has lived in several other parts of the world, I am amazed by the deep valley in perspectives on racial issues between black and white in this country, this is especially unique to the US. And this perspective is pervasive in everyday America, TV, radio, policing, politics. A black man is equally as likely to get a ticket in a white neighborhood driving a few miles over by overzealous white cop and arrested for something other than the speed as is a white guy to get mugged in a black neighborhood. The irony is that there are poor white people living on spam on the south side as there are black people barely able to eek out a living on the west side

    I have met white people as friendly and nice as the Irish and black men as intellectual as can be. But because everyone live in their segregated part of town, they look and treat each other with suspicion. And develop conspiratorial theory or callous to basic social issue that should be an outrage to any free minded person.

    Most folks (white and black) face the same challenge, increasing cost of living, doing two jobs to get by, living paycheck to paycheck, essentially just getting by. As long we can’t come together and live together and solve our problems, we are undermining American strength to compete in world and sustain our leadership position in the world over the long term.

  34. Dujuan Walker says:

    My man, no one is racist here. I’m not saying that you are racist. You should re-read my posts. However, you are wrong–and we are not discussing a matter of opinion here. We both agree that slavery STILL EXISTS in some form today. You say, and I’ve heard some of my friends with right wing inclinations argue, that the welfare system and big gov is the new slavery for the African-American. I say police brutality, disparities in the criminal justice system, and employment and housing discrimination is the new slavery. Not to mention, you are in denial about the fact that there are systematic, structural forces, remnants of Jim Crow, Black Laws, etc. still alive today that threaten the Black man. We could go on and on, even argue about data and get all anal about the details of recidivism rates, etc. No need. Because I can tell you from experience that I speak truths, and when you tell me, from your experience, that I do not speak these truths knowingly and secure in the information that I’ve gathered from firsthand observation, you are simply saying one thing: I cannot relate. It’s a matter of perspective my friend. A simple matter of angles. I agree that education is important, which is why I have two college degrees. Thanks for your writing. Good day.

  35. dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    I have been lucky enough to work all over this county for the last 25 years in pharmacies. Racism is a figment. In the business groups that I have belonged to they are actively looking for minorities to fill spots.
    The conservatives that I know have spent real time trying to get by the Unions and educrats to get kids taught how to read and graduate.
    Conservatives want people to work and pay taxes. The Left has tried to lobotomize the inner city kids so they will stay stupid and vote for them. if the Left’s plan for the Inner city war so good, then why don’t things improve.
    The Left has run Milwaukee for hundred years and the inner city people are worse off now then they ever have been.
    It isn’t racisim, it’s the stupidity of the Left and their programs.

  36. Dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    As a Conservative, my objective is to solve problems, not just rail at them. We have formed the Frederick Douglass Society to bring attention to the fact that kids cannot read. Simple, straightforward.
    Does no good to give a book to a kid in 4th grade if he cannot read.

  37. dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    If you really want to understand slavery, and it’s deleterious effect on humans, you need to r ad the Frederick Douglass narrative, written in 1845. It is really eye opening.
    My relatives were serfs in the old country, now Czech Republic. They were free to come here and get land, which they did. Serfs had lots of problems, but nothing like slavery.
    But we have to move beyond that, the dish is broken and the past cannot be redone, but we can teach kids to read and develop a society where there is jobs. that is the only solution.

  38. Stacy Moss says:

    All this gripping.

    We argue RIGHT and argue LEFT.

    I would be very surprised if either side of this sort of debate have any answers or are even asking the right questions.

    Look at all the old dying buildings in Milwaukee that used to house vibrant businesses, each of which sent hundreds of kids to college and graduated to a better life than their parents could imagine. You can’t blame talk radio for the decline of the American Empire that has been in the making for more than than 40 years in the making.

  39. Andy L ... says:

    It appears that if Urban Milwaukee is willing to put ITS editorial and political presumptions aside– TRULY aside– and dedicate its publication to a permanent, in-depth, ongoing, relentless, long-term, historic exploration of race assumptions, poverty assumptions, government assistance assumptions, crime assumptions, legal system assumptions, family-rearing assumptions, role of the father and role of the male assumptions, broad cultural assumptions for behavior, actions and underlying attitudes, socio-economic assumptions, educational system assumptions, and other WALLS that keep us from understanding and finally resolving the question of whether this is “no country for black men” or not. At one time– (ask any descendent of an Asian family that worked on the Trans-continental Railroad, where it truly was no country for Asian Men; or ask any descendent of an Irish family that came to America during the Potato Famine, where it truly was no country for Irish men; or ask any descendent of an Italian family, or a polish family, or, or, or)– America HAS been “no country for __(fill-in-the-blank)__ men, including men of all kinds of color. Blacks CAN, and to be accepted as Americans MUST rise above every obstacle that has been put or remains in their way, just like every other group has. FIRST step– it’s up to them. SECOND step– THEY have to accomplish it for themselves. THIRD step– there can be no chip on their shoulder about it . . . just like every other group that has overcome these things has . . . through hard work, self-discipline, high expectations for themselves that come before and are higher than anyone else’s expectations. When blacks finally become part of the mainstream and a fully contributing part of American society and are known and appreciated for it, and in so doing deliberately refuse the label and special programs attendance to ethnic minority, THEN the issues raised within this series of posts WILL be resolved. Right now, there are far too many who do NOT want to see that happen, for all the wrong reasons. You’ve been sold a bill of goods, my black friends . . . reject it all, and your lives will begin improving immediately. Stacy, there are profound and fundamental differences in left versus right, in liberal versus conservative, in Democrat versus Republican . . . the two sides are NOT equally good or equally bad. As long as you remain stuck in the neutral middle, you too, are part of the problem. How about it, Urban Milwaukee? You lean pretty far left– willing to take on my challenge and skeptically question the left’s studies and answers as much as you tend to the other direction? Willing to get to the bottom of all this? Willing to make a true difference in the history of America? Or, content to just keep keepin’ on?

  40. Angela Q says:

    Racism is alive and well in Milwaukee. It takes a long time to shift biases and opinions – the Civil Rights era was a mere 50 years ago.

    Interesting study, albeit from 2003, but still rings true.

    I don’t have the answers, but admitting there is a racism problem is the first step.

  41. Rob Smith says:

    A tough but necessary read.

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