Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Take On Race and MIlwaukee's Problems

I received several comments to recent posts, including yesterday's take on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial, which I called a Typical Reaction Violence. Many anonymous comments chastised me for either not offering any solutions (Yes, leave it to the bloggers to be our leaders) or for being a racist for any of a variety of thinly-argued reasons.

So, in a nutshell, what is my take on the violence in Milwaukee?

Until residents of Milwaukee, regardless of color, take their city back, we'll have these problems.

The city gets taken back when people, regardless of their color, assist the police in investigations, and when people, regardless of the color of their skin, reject movements that encourage their peers to ' stop snitchin'.'

The city of Milwaukee gets taken back by its residents of all colors when they consistently elect leaders of character and vision and when they hold their elected officials accountable.

The city of Milwaukee gets taken back by its residents of all colors when they ensure their own children attend school and when they have the opportunity and choice to send their kids to schools that educate them, not warehouse them.

The city of Milwaukee gets taken back when its residents of all colors make sure their kids stay out of gangs and don't become parents while they themselves are children.

The city gets taken back when hardworking men and women, those that play by the rules (including ministers, firefighters, police officers and sheriff's deputies) are the ones that are looked up to by people of all races. Rather than cultivating a situation where people of any race idolize the high school drop out with a nice set of wheels and a lot of money and guns obtained through nefarious means.

The city of Milwaukee gets taken back when its residents of all colors respect all women as much as they do their own mothers, when they teach their kids to reject misogynist music and the 'stars' who make millions degrading women.

The city of Milwaukee gets taken back when bureaucrats and elected officials quit demeaning the 'quality' of temporary and entry-level jobs that suburban business are willing to relocate into the inner city.

The city of Milwaukee gets taken back when existing laws are prosecuted to their fullest extent, and the revolving doors for juvenile offenders and drug and gun-related criminals are permanently closed.

That's my take.

This doesn't require a new government program or additional subsidies; and it could happen immediately.

I believe it is racist to have lower expectations or lower standards of behavior for any segment of society based on their color of their skin.

We're neighbors. 'Their' problems are 'our' problems.

The sooner we face these facts the sooner things will improve.

We don't need a new commission, blue ribbon panel or 10 point plan to figure that out.

I chose to locate my business in downtown Milwaukee because I want to be a part of the solution. I was born in this city and I believe in it and its people.

But with every shooting, with every investigation that gets stymied by a lack of cooperation, with every tire slashing, with every unenforced or weakly-prosecuted law believing in this city and its potential becomes harder and harder.


At 11:04 AM, boblaughalott said...

Since your religion apparently forbids any involvement of government (except of course the police and prisons) how is this all to suddenly "happen?"

"Attention people of Milwaukee, become different now!"

The fact is that the problems you identify have causes; its the causes that need to be addressed in order for the problems to be resolved. This process is called "public policy."

"Stuff should be different, consarnit!" is just not real helpful or insightful.

At 11:11 AM, Dailytakes said...

What are you suggesting? Government indoctrination?

Government can not change what's in people's hearts. Government can not make people care about each other.

It works the other way around. People change government.

I guess that's my perspective as a conservative, I don't look to government instictively to solve problems faced by society

At 11:31 AM, Anonymous said...

I am suggesting that government has a role to play. For example, government has a role to play in fixing the relationship between law enforcement and certain segments of the community.

Government has a role to play in improving education and job training.

Government has a role to play in attracting decent jobs to where they do not now exist.

Government has a role to play in helping parents get the resources and support they need to raise healthy children.

Government has a role to play in making sure that ALL of the people it governs have confidence that they are represented and matter in decision making.

You say that as a conservative, you don't look to government to help solves problems. But - you don't object to addressing problems with law enforcement and imprisonment.

The fact of the matter is that conservatives love government involvement when it is punitive and "tough." The only government involvement that conservatives object to is productive and constructive involvement, like that mentioned above.

Ironically, of course, job training, health care, education, etc. are a heck of a lot cheaper than more cops and bigger prisons. So, I guess I am the fiscal conservative.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous said...

You actually had me until you blamed public schools for the problems of the city. The one place where the majority of the kids are actually safe a majority of the time and the majority learn how to leave and grow should be congratulated and thanked, not chastised.

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous said...

Me again, I agree about the schools and am, frankly, a defender and promoter of MPS. My only point is that schools, a (gasp) government institution are critical to the health of a community and to addressing community issues.

One example that folks can't really argue with: free breakfasts at school in economically depressed areas lead to high achieving kids, less disruption, etc. Conservatives may not like it, but the results can't be argued with.

At 12:46 PM, Dailytakes said...

We spend more on 'job training' 'health care' and 'education' than ever before.

All this social spending, attempted social engineering has not made life in Milwaukee better.

Milwaukee's Public schools, which spend significantly more per pupil than their private counterparts, are a mess.

The Social Development Commission, Career Youth Development and countless other social service agencies have been breeding grounds for waste fraud and abuse.

Government can play a role, but to say that people are selling drugs and killing each other on Milwaukee's streets because government hasn't spent enough is not credible.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous said...

Most of your facts are entirely made up. The vast majority of government job training programs were killed in the 80s as one example. And, health care programs have long been cut way back, as another. And, every dollar diverted to a choice school leads to loss to MPS of more than the same dollar. (because you still have the same classrooms to heat, buildings to maintain, teachers to pay, etc.)

But Fraley, you spin too much. No one wants the government to spend just to spend. It brings us a full cirle. There are causes for the problems you identified, causes you never address. And, government can help play a role in dealing with them. And, yes, it'll cost some money on the front end. But less than the cops and the prisons. And, that cost is the cost of civilization. I, for one, am prepared to meet my responsibility as a taxpayer.

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous said...

Oh, because we don't already "meet our responsibility" as taxpayers in Milwaukee county.

Give me a break.

At 2:52 PM, Dan Knauss said...

That is not the typical reaction to violence among people who live in the city in the affected areas. Typical reactions from that group are rather more diverse and sometimes more sensible.

What you are right about is that it is a typical reaction for the J-S editors, i.e. suburban liberals, or as I call them, suburblicans. Their fundamental disinvolvement in the city and their interests and behavior (economic and otherwise) are essentially the same as those of their conservative suburban neighbors: avoid the city schools, taxes, crime, etc. Yet these liberal folk (university profs ar ein a similar demo) can't accept that identification, and as part compensation, part reaction to their cognitive dissonance (desire to "help" the poor, minorities/desire stay the hell away from the poor, minorities) they are driven in the multifaceted disorder known as "white guilt." WG tends to yield a lot of hand-wringing but no practical solutions, i.e. something that would require actual citizens and local officials to do anything more radical than mouthing niceties and "redoubling their efforts" to mouth niceties and throw money at problems.

At 2:55 PM, Dailytakes said...


Excellent take.

WG is very powerful.

I don't blame people for wanting to avoid crime and the ills of the inner city. Ask most inner city residents, and they'd flee if they could, too.

But I do believe we'd all be better off if we pitched in to address problems in our area.

WG driven tossing money at problems does as little as fleeing the problem, but it may make the people with the guilt 'feel' better, as they are comforted by their 'compassion.'

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous said...

I feel alot better knowing that Brian has a plan.

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous said...

Dan's somewhat overblown liberal bashing simply continues the problem that typically haunts this blog. Its fun to bash the opposition and dismiss their ideas - but how do conservatives think we can solves problems?

Calling the editors of the newspaper names (not that I would defend them) may make for nice trite sloganeering but adds nothing, zero, nada to a conversation about how to bring stability and opportunity (or whatever you want to call it) to all urban neighborhoods.

Having said that - 2 points for the totally underhanded rhetorical technique of diagnosing anyone who disagrees with you as having White Guilt. By definition, I suppose, being concerned about these matters is, therefore, not legitimate but merely a symptom. Pretty crass shit.

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous said...

I agree with the first anonymous reply below my earlier comment. It's fine for people to be concerned, whatever their motives, but at some point motivation has to connect with practical actions or we never get beyond good intentions and higher level bureaucratic and policy intervention.

Another anonymous commenter complains about my complaint about the ineffective prescriptions of newspapers editors and others who are not directly engaged in city neighborhoods--as if the point I was making requires me to state better practical steps that ought to be taken. That's a whole different issue. I live in the city and am involved in different formal and informal activities that benefit the community directly--for example neighborhood associations and a housing rehab and investment cooperative that mostly aims to take on properties too distressed to attract anyone but slumlords or else be razed. It's profitable but within a limited margin that allows us to offer affordable prices to new owner-occupants. There aren't enough people in the city doing this kind of thing, conservative or otherwise. Actually, conservatives seem to be the worst in this regard. It seems they aren't in the city, or if they area, they are uninvolved in voluntary organizations that build social capital and community cohesion. -Dan K.


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