Pubdate: Thu, 02 May 2002
Source: Racine Journal Times, The (WI)
Copyright: 2002, The Racine Journal Times
Author: Alfonso Gardner
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Racial Issues)


Where Are the Black Men in Wisconsin?

Calling all sisters, calling all sisters. If you want to find a husband, go 
to Green Bay, Waupun, Jackson or Sturtevant, Wisconsin, but let me warn 
you, those brothers are wards of the state.

On April 10, news stories showed the state of Wisconsin had the dubious 
honor of having the highest incarceration rate of African-Americans.

It appears that the state of Wisconsin is proud to own this record. They 
would rather lock a brother up for a nonviolent drug offense than to give 
them treatment.

Most of the brothers that are locked up have mental health issues and 
substance abuse problems. I want the community to know that I believe in 
the saying that if you do the crime you do the time, but it appears that 
law enforcement selectively seeks out African-Americans to arrest on drug 

It has been documented that whites use more drugs then African-Americans, 
but in Wisconsin it appears that whites are not prosecuted for their drug 
offenses. I guess the white offenders are in treatment or on probation 
while blacks are incarcerated. This may be due to society's view of drug 
use among different cultures. Blacks are called crack addicts while whites 
are viewed as having substance abuse problems.

This is former Gov. Tommy Thompson's way of dealing with social issues -- 
you lock sick people up and that way you don't have to worry about them 
voting or getting employment opportunities. It appears that Gov. Scott 
McCallum and other politicians in Madison have adopted the same philosophy .

You have to wonder what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot. 
Would the white community be outraged? Would they demand treatment or 
justice? I would think so. I have not heard a peep out of the black 
community in Racine. It appears that we have just given up on helping one 
another. The black community of Racine has an identity crisis. It appears 
that we are afraid to say that we are proud of who we are.

James Brown, "the godfather of Soul," had one of his biggest hit records 
called "Say it loud, I am black and proud." It appears that the black 
community of Racine is not proud of anything because we say nothing, we do 
nothing, and we have nothing. The only way change comes about is that you 
have to stand up and be heard. We need to lift our voices together for 
change, otherwise we will die silently.

Alfonso Gardner
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