For years, northerners, such as those of us in Milwaukee, have always had a superior attitude about our racism when we think about places like South Carolina, where the confederate flag – and its symbols of slavery – for years flew proudly.
We have nothing to be smug about; racism still reigns in the State of Wisconsin.
Just a few examples from some recent personal experiences:
An African-American teacher who lives two blocks east of me in our once historically white Milwaukee neighborhood told me that she experienced the usual hateful racist artifacts being placed on her property after she moved in five years ago. It was a next door neighbor who was unmoved by her efforts to keep her lawn mowed and snow shoveled well above the typical standards of the neighborhood. To be honest, her lawn is much neater than mine. Finally, she called the police who set the man straight; to his credit, he backed off.
A friend told that he was called a “n—— lover” in an argument with a neighbor on the Northern Wisconsin lake where he and his wife had purchased an older home and were fixing it up. His sin, in the neighbor’s eyes, was that he took a nephew (an adopted nine-year-old Ethiopian boy) fishing.
While our politicians and public officials never use racist terms outwardly, there are still plenty of our neighbors in this state who do so regularly. Some will avoid openly racist terms, but soon their language will be populated with euphemisms that seek to hide their true racist feelings.
Obviously, there’s still a need to attack racism in our community. – Ken Germanson, July 21, 2015.