This Is One Of The Biggest Disparities Facing The Black Community In Milwaukee

Gentrification and failed urban planning practices after the Jim Crowe era.

First of all, let’s stop blaming today’s white people as a whole, and start blaming the bylaws and socioeconomic practices of older white generations who, quite literally, still hated black people right after the end of segregation.

Intentional gentrification is, IMO, one of those most blaring, obvious yet under the radar remnants of the Jim Crow era. It’s basically one of the remaining Jim Crow practices hidden in plain site (along with practices like redlining). At it’s core, it allowed local and state governments to control the population of targeted neighborhoods or cities based on socioeconomic filters like income and social class. Today, it’s positioned to the public as a means of urban revitalization to build a safe, vibrant community for the citizens. Stimulating economic growth and overall well being for all [who can afford it]. It sounds great on paper and in today’s society, it actually has many more positive benefits than negative. But when it was first introduced after the Jim Crow era, it had only one main purpose in which it was extremely effective: geographic control of the African American community.

This isn’t some crazy liberal conspiracy theory. This is a well documented and intentional urban planning mechanism used by Democrat and Republican pro-segregationists to keep Milwaukee separated, since before the deterioration of our industrialized roots. You’d be naive to believe that all the powers at-be in Milwaukee were in unanimous agreement that segregation was wrong.

As you can see from the 1991 critically acclaimed “Boyz in da Hood” — It’s not a new concept. It resulted in the poorest people/businesses of that neighborhood having to relocate because they couldn’t afford the increased property taxes. It resulted in an affluent white middle class moving into the area who makes enough money to afford the increase. When you raise the property taxes for a targeted neighborhood/demographic of people (who were not too long ago, valued as a portion of human) you then indirectly guide them towards ghettos and projects through social programs like rent assistance and reduced housing. This was done without giving us the means to establish ourselves and catch up economically to the rest of America’s Caucasian population. This is the epitome of institutional racism and a screaming contradiction to the backbone of the “American Dream” — that if you just work hard, you’ll be able to get ahead in life.

First off, I just want to say that if you in anyway condone the actions of the mob of rioters in Milwaukee over the weekend as an effective means to insinuate change, then you need to pick up a book on effective communication. Or just a book in general. Reading is an easy and cost efficient way for ANYBODY to become a more intelligent, critical thinker whether you live in the projects or in The Hamptons.

Now, when it comes to the issues that the rioters are rioting about, there are extremely complex SYSTEMIC issues at play here. I’m talking about a very, very complicated yet manufactured socioeconomic problem that goes beyond what we’re seeing on the surface, and what everyone is actually talking about. Everyone is talking about the obvious issue of personal accountability of one’s actions — specifically of those in these impoverished areas/neighborhoods. About how these folks are making the personal choice to gang bang, riot, loot, rob, steal, and just generally not contribute to society. Acting like animals, savages, etc. Or they’re talking about police brutality. But we need to be discussing what is indirectly causing black people in these communities to choose the path of life that many are choosing and what’s causing so many run-ins with the police. It’s the same thing that is keeping many of the hard working blacks of those communities (the majority) in poverty as well — the same ones fighting for an increase in wages.

When you think about it, all of what what everyone is calling “erratic” or “savage” behavior is working, in a way that it’s getting everyone to talk. But everyone is talking about the wrong issues with the wrong tone — kicking these people while they’re down. But that’s because these folks and some platforms that represent them (BLM for example) are not shedding light on the root cause — only the result of those root causes. That’s the problem.

Whether people realize it, or whether they’ve been able to articulate it or not, THIS is what black people of all social classes are so fed up about. THIS is what people mean when they say you can’t relate to what they feel because you’re white. Yes people today have to be held personally accountable for their actions. But for a community of people to be so fed up and so hurt and feel so neglected that they’re willing to lash out at any opportunity, there’s something seriously wrong here that goes beyond just personal accountability.

I may not have the answer. But the solution cannot be found at a surface level of thinking. To solve any problem, and find the solution you have to trace the problem back to the beginning — the root cause. And that’s what needs to be talked about, not police brutality vs. black on black crime or WHAT these people are doing. The WHY. Maybe the answer and accountability can be found by dusting off the old Milwaukee urban planning records to identify the what, and the who.