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"This State is the Worst State for African Americans," Says One Student

African Americans from Wisconsin

In February 2015, an article appeared in The Progressive, a Madison, Wisconsin newspaper. The article was contributed by a student, Miles Brown, who was about to graduate from the University of Wisconsin. It is an eye-opening perspective from an African-American student experiencing racial inequality first-hand.

Miles Brown's experience in racial inequality

During his college years, Brown noticed a glaring difference between black and white students. For example, while he observed other students discussing how much they enjoyed band trips and taking foreign languages in high school, his high school didn't even have a band or orchestra, and offered only one language. So, Brown did extensive research on racial inequalities in Wisconsin and found the following facts:
  • "According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s data for 2013, the gap between black and white students in eighth-grade math was a giant 30.8 percentage points."
  • "Black kids are almost one-third less likely to make it to the stage (for high school graduation)."
  • "The Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that...black people are less likely to be in school or working, have two-parent homes, delay childbearing, or gain at least an associates degree."
  • "Thirty percent of Wisconsin’s white children live in households below 200 percent of the poverty level...For African American kids, the rate is 80 percent."
  • "My senior class in high school (Casimir Pulaski High School on the south side of Milwaukee) started at around 500 people. That number dwindled to 250 by graduation."
  • "Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has handled the issue of inner-city poverty. He has issued the largest cuts to education in the history of the state."
  • "Walker also ended the Wisconsin covenant program, which offered inner-city youth college scholarships if they met specific requirements."

The lesson

As Brown stated it so eloquently, "The first step to addressing racial inequality is recognizing that it exists."

Read more of Brown's perspective, along with examples of successful programs for inner-city kids, at www.progressive.org/news/2015/03/188033/wisconsin-worst-state-african-americans

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