When a mother is accused of giving her son a handgun to settle a neighborhood confrontation with other teenagers, that is considered “ghetto” behavior, particularly when you think about how many mothers have lost their sons to gunfire in Milwaukee, says Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane, who is black. Kane also cites a fight during the funeral for a 13-month-old boy allegedly killed by his foster mother. The boy’s father was injured during the melee, which took the focus off the dead child and turned it on some pretty inappropriate behavior during a time of mourning.
Many local “tragic stories,” Kane says, “end up defining each and every black person in Milwaukee, regardless whether most are hardworking, law-abiding, churchgoing people who can’t be described as ghetto at all.” “Where is the outrage in the black community?!” asked readers, wanted to know why more black leaders didn’t show up beside Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Edward Flynn in a news conference about the mother who gave her son a gun to settle a personal score. Some people “use any incident of violence in the black community as fodder for their harsh appraisal of black leaders, black youth and black people in general,” says Kane. When authority figures with real power like Barrett and Flynn speak out, that helps send the message it’s everybody’s problem, he concludes.