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AALBC.com's Thumper's Corner Discussion Board » The Kool Room - Archive July 2005 to April 2006 » Black Leaders Say Enemy Is Within « Previous Next »

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Kola
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Username: Kola

Post Number: 1950
Registered: 02-2005

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Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 04:23 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Milwaukee's black leaders say the enemy is within

By John Rondy, Reuters

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Two days before the oldest and best-known U.S. civil rights group holds its yearly convention in Milwaukee, black leaders in the city say their community is being torn apart from the inside.

Civil rights leaders like 57-year-old Prentice McKinney, who fought to free Milwaukee's blacks from the ghetto, say gangs, drugs and violence have left those who still live in the nation's urban cores in fear of the next generation.

"Back then, the enemy was clear, it was white racists, and racist police officers," said McKinney, who was a black teen-age "commando" in the 1960s and now runs a tavern once frequented by fellow activists.

"It was a legalized system of segregation. And so, the challenge was between the white establishment and the African-American population. Today, the African-American population is being destroyed by its own youth ... an enemy from within."

He and others interviewed before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's six-day meeting beginning Saturday see a changed city where a generation of blacks freed from the shackles of yesterday's legalized discrimination are held hostage by today's crime and poverty.

"You have a population of older African-Americans ... who are now afraid of the children in their neighborhoods," McKinney said.

Milwaukee, with 583,624 residents, 37 percent of whom are black, is the country's 22nd-largest city. It remains deeply segregated, civil rights activists say.

'A BIG JOKE'

"The image of Milwaukee is one that we are not proud of," said Jerry Ann Hamilton, president of the NAACP's Milwaukee branch.

People she encountered from outside Milwaukee considered the city "a big joke" and were surprised at the extent of segregation still existing there, she said.

In a departure from the NAACP's roots of appointing a civil rights activist as its leader, the group recently named retired telephone company marketing executive Bruce Gordon as its president. Gordon has said he will put more emphasis on winning economic equality for blacks.

Retired Gen. Robert Cocroft, chairman of the National Association for Black Veterans, said the NAACP convention could help to remind city leaders there must be greater inclusion in order for Milwaukee to thrive.

"Whatever we allow to happen to the least of us is going to affect all of us," Cocroft said.

The struggles over segregated schools and housing in Milwaukee began in 1963, when marches and civil disobedience were organized by Roman Catholic priest James Groppi.

Marchers who crossed an invisible line were met by mobs of angry whites. Three people died in the summer of 1967, 100 were injured and 1,700 arrested. Groppi and the NAACP Youth Council later began 200 consecutive days of marches aimed at breaking down the laws that forced blacks to live in ghettos.

The passage of an open housing law in 1968 broke open the boundaries of the ghetto but it also led to black flight, and those who could afford it moved to more affluent areas.

"What was left behind was the poorest of the poor -- the drug pusher, the player, the pimp, the hustler ... and moral values became very different over time," McKinney said.

Milwaukee community activist George Martin said cities across the country shared the same issues and had watched the same transition from a struggle for rights to a battle with crime.

"We marched for fair housing, and now we have homelessness," Martin said. "I remember when there was good housing stock and families thrived. Now there is empty lots. I remember business districts that were as busy as any shopping mall and now they are vacant stores."

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Yvettep
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Username: Yvettep

Post Number: 587
Registered: 01-2005

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Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 06:14 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Funny, how so many are unwilling to see a connection between the "enemy from within" and the "enemy from without." Not to say that folks are not responsible for their own actions. But surely folks are sophisticated enough to recognize that these issues cited are the unruly branches of deeply rooted bushes...
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Abm
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Username: Abm

Post Number: 3818
Registered: 04-2004

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Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 06:23 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Black people as a whole have 13% of the nation's population, 5% of its income and less than 2% of its wealth.

Yet our per capita rate of consumption of decreciable goods/services exceed almost any other group of people.

And we have the highest incarceration, disease, morbidity and mortality rates.


The "enemy is within" us ALL.
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Yvettep
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Username: Yvettep

Post Number: 590
Registered: 01-2005

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Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 06:30 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

both/and

not

either/or
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Chrishayden
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Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 1292
Registered: 03-2004

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Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:31 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

They know what it is and they are scared to say it.
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Roxie
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Username: Roxie

Post Number: 36
Registered: 06-2005

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Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 05:38 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For the first time I'm not sure what to say here. Of, course I WANT to say something I don't know what.
The issue of poorer blacks being abandoned by those who moved out to the suburbs is always brought up in disscusions around me, but this phenomenon never applied to MY family history. They never were part of that "black flight". My mother grew up in N.Carolina and my father in Salisbury, Conn. and D.C, and I've lived in the suburbs of MD and VA since infancy.

Am I the "enemy From without" for not being able to relate?
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Abm
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Username: Abm

Post Number: 3826
Registered: 04-2004

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Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 07:11 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Roxie,

What does it mean to you to be Black? And what, if anything, will you do to preserve that?
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Roxie
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Username: Roxie

Post Number: 37
Registered: 06-2005

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Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 09:20 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I preserve it with my journals, my short stories and my drawings, and my experience altogether. I may not be from the "Ghetto", but you can't escape being black where ever you go.

You can imagine the looks on my Jewish friends faces when I tell them that jewish racism is not the same as Black racism.

However, I am concerned about this situation. In thecity near me, some people are moving back to the city and the locals are standing up to the violence. But I can do little more than pay donations and be an invisible worker in the back.

You guys are the first for me to openly admit that I couldn't relate because the only responses I've recieved were sentiments of hate or resentment that I truly did not deserve. These people are more trusting of someone who shared their experiences. *I* didn't abandon them, but they hate me any way.
I'll still help them whether they like me or not. I hate seeing people with potential being left behind just because of circumstance.
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Chrishayden
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Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 1300
Registered: 03-2004

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Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 10:31 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Roxie:

You gotta do what you gotta do. I have lived long enough to realize that we ain't never been one big happy family and we ain't never gonna be.

Yes we all consider things like "duty to the race" and "consciousness" but there comes a time when its time for you to die and you will be all alone and won't be nobody there talking about solidarity or power to the people.

I can handle being around all kinds of people--decent poor hardworking people as well as street people, junkies, gangbangers, prostitutes, pimps, you have it but I gotta get my hat when they get into their thing. I can't be with them when they do that. You gotta do what you think is right and try not to hurt nobody and that's all you can do.
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Roxie
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Username: Roxie

Post Number: 49
Registered: 06-2005

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Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 09:41 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've known for a long time that "ghetto" was never a situation, it was a state of mind. You can have class and live in the ghetto and vice versa. I just want to support my people who want to help themselves and leave the "weakest links" to destroy each other.

As I learned from my own father's issues, I should never waste my energy on someone who refuses to stop harming their communities.
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Roxie
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Username: Roxie

Post Number: 50
Registered: 06-2005

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Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 09:50 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I also learned another lesson in middle school: Just because someone's black doesn't mean they got your back. I've been mentally and verbally abused by more black kids than white during that time and my mother only set me up with those kids 'cause we shared ethnicity. Mom's learned this lesson too.

I guess even when you're black the same cliche' applies: true friends (and family)will always be there for you.

Thanks Chris. You made my day.:-)

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