Running in the Ghetto

Committing to write a blog post (or some other similar content) a day means that you actually have to do it. The circumstances of my day, and the fact that we are getting ready to go on vacation means that I probably should have had something written yesterday, so I could post it today. That didn’t happen. I’m probably going to get home late from work and I am realizing the kids could use some more attention, at least more than I have been giving them. Nothing major, just something I noticed. Because of that, I wanted to write something quick. But, if you have ever tried to do this, it’s not like you can just pull ideas out of nowhere. Luckily for me, I live in the ghetto and odd and interesting dynamics are at play all around me. So I went for a run without my phone or headphones and just listened to what was going on. I got about two blocks in and saw a white person. Not an affluent white person, but a white person none the less. He was sitting on a porch with a black man. It was odd.

It was odd because I don’t see that very often. In fact, I don’t see white people here and if I do they aren’t sitting on a black person’s porch. This reminded me of when of our core messages. It’s a message that we have and will continue to come back to. It’s not a fun message and it kind of sucks to have to say this, but I can’t stop thinking about it. It probably sounds self serving, because, in many ways, we actively fight against it. It might seem easy for us to say this because of choosing to live here for the last 14 years, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said. I might come across as a pretentious asshole, but I guess that is something I will just have to get used to and work on ways to do less of that.

So here it is. We all have a certain level of choice. In particular, many or even most of us have a choice on where we live. We have varying levels of choice on where we go during the day. We are attracted to certain places and we avoid certain places. All of those tens of millions of choices added together either create areas of diversity or areas of segregation. We all consciously or subconsciously choose to segregate or integrate. Some of us are more or less responsible because of other circumstances (I started to list some, but it really doesn’t matter). I have no solution nor do I think anything other than a critical mass of us making more decisions to integrate rather than segregate. It wouldn’t shock me if in 5 years it is trendy for younger white Millennials or even Gen Z’ers to start moving into poor, black neighborhoods, that would help I suppose, but we would still need enough people in enough spheres of influence to to make enough decisions to integrate to change the momentum, at least in Milwaukee, from segregation to integration.

I don’t know if seeing one white person on one black person’s porch means anything beyond being one small decision in the right direction, but we have to start somewhere. Seeing that interaction on a morning run through the ghetto gives me hope that more decisions will be made to move toward integration rather than segregation.