What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tosa Thinks They're Slick...Basketball=Black Kids/Skate Boards=White Kids

The Wauwatosa City Council had a strange meeting on the newly unveiled plans for Hart Park. No testimony or questions were allowed. Something interesting was changed on the final plans though...

The basketball courts were removed and they were replaced by skate parks. One citizen insisted on asking the hard question out of turn anyway: Why?

The answer from the President went something like this: The neighborhood had "security concerns about basketball courts" and decided that a skate board park would be more appropriate.

This is a perfect example of the racially coded crap that is happening all over this country. People who don't want to invite "black kids" into their neighborhood park are making a bigotted assumption that black kids play basketball and white kids skate board, so if we don't have a basketball court, we won't have any black kids around. The idiocy of this astounds me.

Let's take a lesson in critical reasoning and logic:
First of all, some white kids play basketball. Secondly, some black kids skate board (ask my brothers and all their friends). Third, all black kids are not a "security concern" and finally, some "white kids" are a security concern.

The Tosa Common Council should be ashamed of themselves. They thought they could get away with this kind of behind the scenes, let's not talk about it racism. But hey, we all know that the black community in Milwaukee stops at 60th street going west (hum...isn't that where Tosa starts???) . Tosa cops like to pull over blacks who drive west of 60th street (ask the Milwaukee Alderman McGhee...) and buying a house in Tosa is nearly impossible for blacks (it always seems to be sold already).

It's an invisible redline that we all know about on both sides of it, and it's disgusting that our city's openly racist redlining is not only alive, but doing quite well.


V'ron said...

Well, my mouth dropped open when I read this post, but my husband, who grew up in 'Tosa just shook his head with a "well, wha'd you expect" look on his face.

David said...

Hi Renee,

I'm a Tosa resident, and a progressive. I heard you speak to a group of student journalists about student expression back in September at the UW-Whitewater campus. I'm also a member of the Candlelight Coalition, a Tosa peace and justice group that worked a little bit with your office on a possible Bill of Rights Defense Act.

I consider the election of the current Common Council president -- the one who gave the answer regarding the basketball court -- to be a step back for Wauwatosa. The former council president was considerably more receptive to what everyone had to say. Experience on other issues has led me to believe that as an individual alderman, he is unresponsive and can be hostile to constituents who're doing nothing more than participate in their democracy.

That said, I happen to have overheard a few discussions of a skate park at Hart Park at various public meetings in Tosa. There are a lot of young people and a few great adult organizers working to bring a skate park to that community. If we're talking about the same project, which I believe we are, then it's worth nothing that the main intentions going into the skate park have nothing to do with the perpective that the aforementioned alderman brought up.

As a Tosan, I am ashamed of the rationale that that alderman chose to use. I certainly believe that it is reflective of the attitudes of a large (but shrinking) number of Wauwatosans and suburbanites throughout the region. These racist attitudes are crippling to Southeastern Wisconsin.

But know that he doesn't speak for everyone in Tosa, or even everyone working in local government in Tosa.

I hope the skate park gets used by kids of all colors and cultural backgrounds. I'm sure the kids and organizers working on the skate park project will welcome everyone who wants to use the facilities. They aren't the ones we have to worry about.

Thanks for your consideration and ongoing work,



Crawford's Take said...

Thank you for your insight David! I really enjoyed the KEMPA conference and was so impressed by all of you who attended. I am well aware that many really awesome people live in Tosa. I was very struck however, about how blatantly the Council President fell back on his racist assumptions and quickly typed the blog to respond and bring some light to the situation. As I said, I have no problem personally with a skate park (it sounds pretty cool to me and when I was a skate punk, I would have been so excited!), it was as you pointed out the ignorant remarks by the Council President that set me off. On the flip side, I think the Tosa Highs had a great basketball program and the coaches are probably apoleptic. I wonder how many college scholarships they have in skate boarding???

Anyway, your post is thoughtful and absolutely correct and I appreciate your input. Hope you keep reading! Rae