Yesterday, an article on Salon.com named Milwaukee the most segregated city (of at least 500,000 people) in the country. We‚Äôve heard this before, and we‚Äôll hear it again. For now, sadly, we top this latest list that features New York City as the second most segregated city and Chicago as the third.
The rankings are based on a dissimilarity index -- a measure used by social scientists to interpret residential segregation -- and the recent census.
The article says that 90 percent of African Americans living in Milwaukee live in the city. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Marc Levine says Milwaukee has a very low rate of African Americans living in suburbs compared to other cities its size. Also, it suggests that de-industrialization is the largest contributing factor to Milwaukee's segregation.
What can we do to change this, Milwaukee?
There is something to be said about 'don't do anything'. For one, you don't really hear a lot of people on the ground on either side saying 'i wish i lived in a more affluent community'. The people who keep telling us Milwaukee is segregated, are politicians and pundits, they are the people who tell us it is a problem. If black people want to live near other black people, let them. If Latino's want to live near other Latino's let them. Forced desegregation is a terrible idea.
Also, while not wanting to use a wide paintbrush to prejudge, i think the materialistic culture of certain ethnic groups are more an attribute to segregation that some white 'glass ceiling' that exists on 60th, Holton, Walnut, etc. ALl you need to do is look out your window and you will find that many minority families could afford to live in West Allis, Greenfield, South Milwaukee, etc, if they lived a bit more frugally. If they want a nicer car, nicer clothes, a nicer TV and sound system, like to eat out more, i don't begrudge them for it. Again, i know this isn't a 100% sort of application, but I myself choose to live in an area with higher rent rates in exchange for really pinching pennies in other areas. It's just a matter of preference.
"The article says that 90 percent of African Americans living in Milwaukee live in the city."
I thought 100% of African Americans living in Milwaukee live in Milwaukee.
Eastside, tell your friend he's lucky that he just gets harassed a little bit by the cops (not saying it's right). The segregation is a two way street: if you are white and happen to venture into a neighborhood on the Northwest Side, believe me, you will not be made to feel welcome. I've been stared down, yelled at, my car has been swarmed, and I've even had a car speed up to try and hit me while crossing the street; the general message is: you are not welcome, get the hell out.
A big part of the segregation problem lies in the fact that the majority of suburbs go out of their way to make minorities feel unwelcome. I have a friend who lives in Franklin and he says he gets pulled over all the time in his own neighborhood for no reason other than he's the only Black guy who lives there. It's unfortunate too, rather than having all of the low-income Black and Brown people ghettoized within the city limits, I think some of the burden on local schools and social services could be evenly distributed by having the suburbs pick up some of the slack. I know if I were African American or Latino and raising a family, I would rather live somewhere like West Bend or Grafton where you could rent a nice apartment or house on the cheap, crime is almost non-existent, and the schools are excellent as opposed to Metcalfe Park or Mitchell Street.
And I believe "Milwaukee" in this study really refers to the greater metro area, beyond city limits, so didn't Mr. Walker solve this problem when he was County Exec? At least his county's part of it?
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