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Old 05-18-2017, 05:54 PM
 
Location: WI/MN resident
157 posts, read 77,786 times
Reputation: 461

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I am of African American descent and have lived in the Milwaukee area for almost ten years now. My wife and kids and I resided in Mequon for not even a year (2009) before we decided to flee the community due to the unwelcoming atmosphere the community oozed. In the duration of our time living there, we'd been met with stares and glares (you know, the "you don't belong here" stare), racially profiled at stores and by the police on countless occasions, and were targeted by the Mequon-Theinsville School District by trying to identify my child with a disability to place him in special education and suspend my other child for being a victim of bullying. In light of those uncomfortable events, we relocated to the Brown Deer area (which happens to be far more racially diverse, even though Brown Deer and Mequon border each other, which shows how segregated the Milwaukee metro area is) and have lived there since then. Additionally, I have a niece that works in Oak Creek, and she gets racial slurs hurled at her all the time.

Although I feel welcomed in my current community, whenever I commute to my job (I work in both Cedarburg and Grafton) I still get this "you don't belong here" vibe from residents in both communities. It's been that way since day one and nothing has changed! Then, I constantly keep hearing about the higher than average incarceration rate of African Americans in Milwaukee and how the black (and even Latino) residents economically lag behind the white residents from a multitude of news sources.

So, tell me: Why does Milwaukee seem like such a racially unequal and prejudiced place? What can we do to dispel negative perceptions about minorities, particularly in the Milwaukee metro area? If I'm wrong about my perception of Milwaukee, please don't hesitate to clarify your opposing opinion. Thanks in advance!

 
Old 05-18-2017, 08:09 PM
 
360 posts, read 244,126 times
Reputation: 487
Not sure. There's been places I've worked down in the southeastern usa where I was the only white person. I think personally they aren't use to seeing black folks and they might be kind of shocked to see one. I got that look being in all black area's in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and south Chicago, so I know what you're talking about oddly enough. lol
It didn't bother me. You have just as much right to be there as anybody else. If they give you dirty looks forget them!
 
Old 05-18-2017, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,071 posts, read 4,000,157 times
Reputation: 2482
It's unfortunate, but much of Milwaukee-- and much of the state-- reflects immigration and settlement patterns from decades ago: not much has happened to transform the demographics in the state.

Milwaukee, like much of the rest of the state (and like many rust belt communities), has been a place of neighborhoods: Polish neighborhoods, German neighborhoods, Italian neighborhoods, Irish neighborhoods, Jewish neighborhoods, and so on. Some areas of the city still have an ethnic identity, but race has become the unifying trait as the various white ethnicities have intermingled. Most of the Blacks came to Milwaukee during the Great Migration (1915-1960), when the ethnic enclave (and therefore white enclave) mentality was strong. The whites largely segregated according to ethnicity; when the Blacks came to the city, they did the same thing (typically settling in German and Jewish neighborhoods whose German and Jewish residents left for more suburban areas). At the same time (in the 1950s and 1960s), the national phenomenon of white flight also took place.

In some cities (on the West and East Coasts), racial segregation has also been bad, but somewhat tempered by a more dynamic economy and a more transient population. Milwaukee's (and Wisconsin's) economy continues to rely heavily on manufacturing, and lacks the dynamism you'll find in more progressive cities. Milwaukee does have its share of transients (the State of Wisconsin overall, less so), but mostly on the East Side and (in the case of suburbs) in the North Shore and near-west side (Tosa, for example). Much of the city, like much of the state, is still very traditional: there are many generations of families living in the same areas. The south side (West Allis, St. Francis, Cudahy, South Milwaukee, etc.) has a reputation in this vein. Ultimately, the relative provincialism of the city and state has helped to ensure lines of segregation for many decades.

I doubt things will change any time soon. As long as Milwaukee's and Wisconsin's economy is stagnant (or merely stable), and as long as old ethnic/racial neighborhood patterns continue to determine growth and settlement trends, we won't see many changes.
 
Old 05-19-2017, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
2,122 posts, read 1,441,893 times
Reputation: 2325
There's a perception that where one black family moves in, there will be more coming that way and the area would turn into a ghetto, and middle class white folks would be scared of raised crime, house values would collapse, etc. It happened in the past in different places, and you're a victim of those unfortunate events. There's nothing you can do about it in a short run (other than to move into a more diverse area), in the long run - make sure your kids are the best in school, get a good college degree, make more money than white kids and stay away from trouble. No one is afraid of Asian kids nowadays, although in the past that wasn't the case. But Asian parents make there kids work extra hard in school, and stay out of trouble, and it worked for them over several generations.

White people aren't very welcome/comfortable in predominantly black neighbourhoods either, btw. We probably should start crying "why cannot we be safe" as well...
 
Old 05-20-2017, 09:22 AM
 
Location: AZ
484 posts, read 434,693 times
Reputation: 1545
I'm sure you know that Milwaukee historically was one of the most segregated cities in the country. Growing up on the far southwest side, I had never seen a black person up close and personal until I went in the Army. I kid you not. The north side was someplace southsiders very rarely, if ever, ventured into.

It's noteworthy, and pretty ironic, that my best friend in the Army ended up being a black guy. Coincidentally, he came from a similar background as I did...only in reverse. Growing up in rural North Carolina, he had virtually no contact with white people. So Milwaukee is by no means the only segregated place.
 
Old 05-20-2017, 11:01 AM
 
866 posts, read 446,407 times
Reputation: 2335
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnovativeAmerican View Post
I am of African American descent and have lived in the Milwaukee area for almost ten years now. My wife and kids and I resided in Mequon for not even a year (2009) before we decided to flee the community due to the unwelcoming atmosphere the community oozed. In the duration of our time living there, we'd been met with stares and glares (you know, the "you don't belong here" stare), racially profiled at stores and by the police on countless occasions, and were targeted by the Mequon-Theinsville School District by trying to identify my child with a disability to place him in special education and suspend my other child for being a victim of bullying. In light of those uncomfortable events, we relocated to the Brown Deer area (which happens to be far more racially diverse, even though Brown Deer and Mequon border each other, which shows how segregated the Milwaukee metro area is) and have lived there since then. Additionally, I have a niece that works in Oak Creek, and she gets racial slurs hurled at her all the time.

Although I feel welcomed in my current community, whenever I commute to my job (I work in both Cedarburg and Grafton) I still get this "you don't belong here" vibe from residents in both communities. It's been that way since day one and nothing has changed! Then, I constantly keep hearing about the higher than average incarceration rate of African Americans in Milwaukee and how the black (and even Latino) residents economically lag behind the white residents from a multitude of news sources.

So, tell me: Why does Milwaukee seem like such a racially unequal and prejudiced place? What can we do to dispel negative perceptions about minorities, particularly in the Milwaukee metro area? If I'm wrong about my perception of Milwaukee, please don't hesitate to clarify your opposing opinion. Thanks in advance!
Having people chant "kill whitey" and attacking motorists soley because they are white tends to degrade race relations. If you're unfamiliar with what I'm talking about, reference the video footage from the riots last year: https://youtu.be/7yPXtMRqE-0
 
Old 05-20-2017, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Mequon, WI
7,675 posts, read 18,902,029 times
Reputation: 4121
This is all nothing but a bunch of hooey...hogwash...gobbledygook. We all get along fine, there is no race war or tension in Milwaukee because of segregation. In a liberals mind segregation=racism and there is no other explanation. This is 100% media and liberal driven. I hate to play the liberal vs conservative card because a lot of times it's intellectually lazy but here, the glove fits. Yes we are segregated but we don't play, work or shop segregated. Go to 99% white Germantown you'll see black people, you will see Indian, Asian people. My job takes me to a ton of different work places in the hood and in rural Wisconsin. You'd be amazed on how many minorities work and play and shop in the suburbs and rural parts of the metro area. You'd also be amazed on how many white people work in the hood.

Prime example, I was in East Troy WI on Friday, I walk into a place of employment...all Hispanic. Not a single white guy. What's East Troy's demo's? basically 97% white. But yet people will come on these boards and say don't move to east troy it's all white and lacks diversity, again liberals equate Diversity=not racist and nothing else.

To say Milwaukee metro is segregated is completely true but it's not the whole story or even accurate to what kind of a city we are. People don't live and work and play on just one side of town or in a 5 block radius, people see what they want to see, so if they see West Bend as racist they will and they will ignore the 3,000 minorities that choose to live there.
 
Old 05-20-2017, 04:48 PM
 
Location: WI/MN resident
157 posts, read 77,786 times
Reputation: 461
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milwaukee City View Post
This is all nothing but a bunch of hooey...hogwash...gobbledygook. We all get along fine, there is no race war or tension in Milwaukee because of segregation. In a liberals mind segregation=racism and there is no other explanation. This is 100% media and liberal driven. I hate to play the liberal vs conservative card because a lot of times it's intellectually lazy but here, the glove fits. Yes we are segregated but we don't play, work or shop segregated. Go to 99% white Germantown you'll see black people, you will see Indian, Asian people. My job takes me to a ton of different work places in the hood and in rural Wisconsin. You'd be amazed on how many minorities work and play and shop in the suburbs and rural parts of the metro area. You'd also be amazed on how many white people work in the hood.

Prime example, I was in East Troy WI on Friday, I walk into a place of employment...all Hispanic. Not a single white guy. What's East Troy's demo's? basically 97% white. But yet people will come on these boards and say don't move to east troy it's all white and lacks diversity, again liberals equate Diversity=not racist and nothing else.

To say Milwaukee metro is segregated is completely true but it's not the whole story or even accurate to what kind of a city we are. People don't live and work and play on just one side of town or in a 5 block radius, people see what they want to see, so if they see West Bend as racist they will and they will ignore the 3,000 minorities that choose to live there.
I appreciate your response. Just because minorities choose to live in predominantly white communities doesn't mean they will be welcomed there. Also, if you read my post clearly, you'd know that I stated that I commute from Brown Deer to Cedarburg and Grafton to work. Although I am a commuter to those two lily white towns, I am STILL treated like a second class citizen, so minorities might have options as to where they want to live or work, but such options DO yield unpleasant consequences. It makes me angry that many Wisconsinites (and Americans for that matter) don't try to look at the world through the lenses of ethnic minorities and LISTEN to them.

Tell me: How are you treated when you commute to "the hood" (which is kind of offensive, by the way, and the prime example of the bad race relations in Milwaukee metro)? Also, you'd be thoroughly surprised at the blatant racism exhibited by many Oak Creek residents.
 
Old 05-20-2017, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Mequon, WI
7,675 posts, read 18,902,029 times
Reputation: 4121
IA, I wasn't responding to you specifically it was just a general response on segregation and not one individual experience. I didn't even read your post. Tend to skip over race relation threads but I had to jump in on thread #647 on Milwaukee segregation.

Hood is not offensive, no more than the sticks, the boondocks, hillbilly, white trash, cracker, salty, north-shore Nancy, fat-so. Somethings are what they are. When I lived in the hood I called it that because that's what it is, I knew where I lived. I would not be surprised on how blatantly racist some OC'ers can be just like how some black people and Mexicans can be as well. BTW, traveling down to Texas I was surprised on how much racism was directed toward black people from Mexicans, I never knew the rift.
 
Old 05-20-2017, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
2,122 posts, read 1,441,893 times
Reputation: 2325
Hi Innovative,

You obviously experienced bad attitude towards yourself, no doubt about that. But guess what? If my neighbours think badly about me, I don't care about them. I made many mistakes in my life, and I am not a majority anywhere (hey, i am a very unique, there's no one like me in this world), so they have plenty of reasons (real or perceived to hate me, or despise me, or disapprove me). I've seen a good share of stares in my life too, you know. But I know who I am and what I achieved in my life. I don't need no approval from anyone but a very few people (my family and close friends essentially). It's nice when your neighbour smiles to you, but if he/she doesn't - it's their loss.

Another thought:
Over time, I found out that many people tend to mirror you back. If you're a nice outgoing smiley person, they (unless they really have a bad day or a reason) would most likely smile back to you. And if you are "mind your own business person", they won't smile and wave and say hello to you first (again, most of the times)... I'm not saying this is an absolute, I might flash my genuine friendliest smile and say hello, and some people (who never met me before) might not like me for whatever reason, and be ignoring me in response, or people might turn aside and refuse to answer. But in general, people are more likely than not to be friendly if your approach them with a friendly face and attitude; and much more unlikely to be friendly if you seems negative to them.
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