My sister, who lives in Atlanta and saw coverage of the Milwaukee riots on CNN, contacted me on Sunday to make sure I was OK. "It looks like the entire city is on fire," she said.
It has been many years since she lived in Milwaukee, but I reminded her that even though the Sherman Park neighborhood is only a few minutes' drive from my house in Walkerâ€™s Point, it was a world away. I assured her I was not in any harm, which was reassuring to her as well as to me, but I also found it depressing.Â
I was "safe" because of segregation.
Annette French, who lives near Brady Street, heard from a number of her out-of-state Facebook friends who were concerned about the chaos in the city. She told them that the same thing I told my sister: Even though she was only a mile or two away, she was not in danger.
"It's been stated in the press that Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in the U.S., and I guess that's the unfortunate reason that I can be relatively close but still basically unaffected by the turmoil," says French. "It is an incredibly complex issue that I'm just glad people are talking about. It's the only way to move forward, and I hope that is the direction this goes."
French did, however, smell the fire from burning buildings on Saturday night.
"After a family reunion, several of us decided to sleep out in my backyard, hoping to catch a meteor or two," says French. "The air was filled with the distant smell of burning tires and fuel. We didn't know what it was from until the next morning, but we knew it was something major."
French was "safe" because of segregation.
Anyone who lives in MilwaukeeÂ should know that segregation has been a problem here for generations. Numerous books, studies and articles, like "Why is Milwaukee so bad for black people?" by Kenya Downs, really break down Milwaukee's de facto segregation.
This blog simply reflects the irony of people living minutes from a neighborhood in strife and yet experience it like the rest of t…Read more...