I just saw a meme on Facebook in which a frog is sipping tea and the words are, “I don’t see the welfare office on fire in Milwaukee. But that’s none of my business.”
Number one – time plus tragedy equals comedy; there has definitely not been enough time for this to be funny because it is an ongoing situation. Number two – this will never be funny. It prompted me to look up poverty statistics for Milwaukee. The figures are shocking.
The poverty rate for African Americans in Wisconsin—36.3 percent—is 10.5 percentage points higher than the national rate of 25.8 percent for this group. Poverty among Hispanics or Latinos in Wisconsin is 23.8 percent, slightly above the national rate of 23.2 percent. The state poverty rate for whites is 9.6 percent, 2 percentage points below the national poverty rate of 11.6 percent…..
Milwaukee County … showed similar contrasts to Dane County. The Milwaukee County overall poverty rate was 18.8 percent; in the central section of the City of Milwaukee, the poverty rate was 41.6 percent; in the southern portion of the county the poverty rate was 9.3 percent; to the north, within the City of Milwaukee, the poverty rate was 19.3 percent; and in the western section of Milwaukee County the rate was 8.7 percent. – Source: Who’s poor in Wisconsin
Even though I expected disparities,I was still surprised to find that numbers showed those differences so apparently. One of my many hats is Human Resource Development professional. When I was in school I learned about the effects of ignoring fair process. When people react after a long period of being treated unfairly, they act in ways that are contrary to their best interests. I was sure that was the case for Milwaukee. I just didn’t expect it to be so obvious. I had not heard of Milwaukee’s issues prior to the shooting incident.
This meme caused me to become angry initially because I thought it expressed prejudice against African-Americans in general. After seeing the statistics, it upset me because it shows apathy against people who are suffering from poverty and years, perhaps decades of unfair treatment. The questions I ask now are: What can be done now to right the wrongs in Milwaukee; who can do something to positively affect a permanent, fair change for the people suffering from poverty in Milwaukee; When did the ongoing hardship of others beoome entertainment.