Black Youths Are Milwaukee's 2011 Bogeyman

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane writes that his city's headlines were dominated by stories about "out-of-control-black youth" in 2011. He explains why he doubts little will change.

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If Time magazine can name "the Protester" its Person of the Year, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane writes that he would like to recognize another group for his city: the "out-of-control black youth" who dominated the headlines. He says he doubts that the situation will change this year because conditions that created the highly charged circumstances have not changed.

In a recent poll on JSOnline.com, the most-read news story of 2011 wasn't Gov. Scott Walker's budget battles over union bargaining or the "Wisconsin 14" group of Democratic state senators that fled to Illinois or even the votes out of Brookfield that for a time appeared to be missing in the race for state Supreme Court.

The most-read story was the disturbance by a group of unruly black youths at Mayfair mall last January. According to reports, it was a hectic scene with scores of black teenagers running through the mall, knocking down a clothing display and prompting mall security to close the shopping center early.

Frankly, I didn't think the story deserved to be ranked that high. As news about out-of-control black youths in Milwaukee goes, I think the Mayfair mall incident wasn't as newsworthy as other events that happened later in the year…

I imagine it's hard for some to understand why so many black youths in Milwaukee seem so angry and disconnected from mainstream society. I suggest taking a look at some crucial statistics regarding black unemployment, incarceration, poverty and the graduation rate of Milwaukee Public Schools…

Read Eugene Kane's entire column at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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