Is Segregation the Best Option?

by Priest Delon Butler / photo by Tess Reiss

Monday night, July 14, 2003, I was flipping through the television channels and came across a local news station. The story being broadcast concerned an incident that occurred in the Riverwest community. Flyers were distributed around the neighborhood with a disturbing message that allegedly stated that Caucasian neighbors wanted African American neighbors to move west of Holton Street and to never come back. I wasn’t too shocked when I learned of the incident due to the fact that I have been mentally conditioned to accept incidents like this as a part of everyday life in race relations — especially after flyers were posted on Milwaukee’s Black Holocaust Museum regarding the Alexis Patterson case. I don’t think I need to remind you of the appalling message contained within that flyer. The main shock to me was the fact that I know someone who lives in the neighborhood. It is important to note that my friend is an African American who is married to a Caucasian and has children. I quickly jumped on the phone to speak with my friend, concerned as to how the situation made my friend feel. My friend gave me some insight as to what may have motivated these individuals to produce and distribute these flyers, explaining that it may have been because of white people and white-owned businesses being harassed by young African American people in the area. I was happy to hear that African American and Caucasian neighbors did rally against the flyers and their content during a community meeting. Even so, looking at the Alexis Patterson incident, the Riverwest incident, and America’s history made me ask myself a question. Is segregation the best option? How long is each race going to go on turning their backs on another entire race because of a few bad apples? I can understand why white people may feel this way. The way I see it, it’s fifty percent closed mindedness and fifty percent fear. I have had a few negative run-ins with white police officers and it’s gotten to the point that I think all white police officers are dishonest and deceitful people who willingly engage in police brutality against African Americans. I also suffer from the fifty-fifty syndrome, and the only way to cure this illness is by segregation. So let’s segregate all neighborhoods by race. Let’s put the white people on the east side, the Latino people on the south side, the Black people on the north side and put all other races way out west. Let’s pass a law that states any person of any race who travels outside of their respective parts of town without a paid permit will be prosecuted to the severest extent of the law governed by their respective communities. By segregating all races there wouldn’t be any accusations of police brutality from black people at the hands of white police officers or white people claiming they were robbed by a black man. Let’s kick it up a notch, seeing as we could never get along in the first place. Once we are all completely segregated, let’s not tell our children that other races exist. This way we won’t have to teach them about one another’s history that seems to keep us at each other’s throats. Here’s an even better solution. How about we segregate the entire world. Let’s send the Irish back to Ireland, the British back to Britain, the Swedish back to Sweden, the Italians back to Italy and so on. But before I head back to Africa, the white man needs to travel to there to clean her up after readily and willingly destroying her with slavery and apartheid! Then you can give the Native Americans back their land and remove them from those reservations! Once worldwide segregation is enacted, there won’t be any accusations, finger pointing, or stereotyping to blame on an entire race because of a few bad apples! If the idea of segregation as a solution has upset or angered you in any way and you disagree with it completely, then picture me smiling because your anger and disagreement lets me know that there are still people out there ready and willing to at least try to improve race relations. Thank You. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 8 – August 2003