Burying the Bad, Growing the Good

by Nastassia Putz

Over the summer, violent attacks were committed by some of today’s youths, while notions of retaliation by white supremacy groups crept up upon the city. These demonstrations of hate—the mob attacks at the opening of Wisconsin’s State Fair in August, followed by a neo-Nazi rally in West Allis in September—have left Milwaukeeans with several unanswered questions:

1.) Are the mob attacks racial in nature?
2.) Do they reflect bad economic times?
3.) Is this the start of a race war?
Unfortunately, the assumptions and questions could go on forever because neither you nor I can pluck some magical card out of the sky declaring one reason to be the cause of it all. We, as a society, must learn to live with our differences or at least die trying to end such pointless, racial injustices.

First things first, we must realize and accept that what happens next door, down the street, on the other side of town, in a different city, state or country does affect us. Therefore, Milwaukee needs to become an integrated city with educational systems, transit systems, after-school programs and much more, catering to all regardless of age, race or financial status.

As it stands right now, we’re all destroying our potential to be a society through constant displays of selfishness, hatred and greed. It’s time to expand beyond our state of complacency and indifference. It’s time to think about the future of our children and the environment in which they will grow up in. Because if we don’t, who will? Now that we are forced to reckon with it, how do we begin to unite and solve these problems?

Joel McNally, contributing writer for the Shepherd Express said it best when he said, “We need to find out why some young African Americans are so angry and violent, whether that violence is directed at whites or other blacks.” Because no matter what side of the color spectrum we are on, violence still hovers above us.

Milwaukee is not the safest place to live for any age, race or sex. And as a society, we need to rethink what defines and unites us as human beings rather than what separates us. As simple and as childish as the following analogy may sound, do you think dogs at the dog park go up to one another sniffing each other’s butts and say, “Hey man, you’re a Pit Bull, I can’t talk to you! I only hang out with other Labradors.” Don’t you think humankind should be far more advanced than its butt-sniffing, four-legged companions?

YOUR HOMEWORK: Try to start small in an effort to change the future. Stop capitalizing on racial diversity and refuse to check race boxes on documents. Stop applying for things that are only reserved for a certain ethnicity. Stop comparing yourself to your neighbor through a distorted, racial lens. It’s completely fine to be proud of one’s ancestry but if you were born in America, you’re American. You’re actually a global citizen if you want to think above and beyond. Stop separating yourselves into these little boxes that have no choice but to co-exist together in this already extremely segregated city.

Try checking the box for human instead of Caucasian, Asian or African American. Maybe eventually we can have just two boxes to check, one for human and the other for robot. Then if we get unhappy or bored, we can start a civil war against robots (no joke). Because it seems like individual contentment is deeply rooted in the selfish acts of ignoring the pain and suffering of others.


  1. This was totally unexpected. Was researching Dave the Potter, famous master potter and poet…as you already know he was enslaved. This inquiry lead me to your words here. You are a very talented writer. People on this earth have forgotten humanity. I was born, raised and graduated HS there but relocated in Atlanta for college. So your words have particular meaning for me being gone 18 years. One of my close friends is a philosopher and is still in Milwaukee. We have a project doing some of the exact things you mention in the above article. Plus he has connected it with Dave the Potter. Would love to communicate some more ideas in detail. Connect with you soon.

    • Dave the potter is a wonderful project and workshop. I actually participated in it a year ago at the sculpture garden in Brown Deer and wrote a piece on it for the Shepherd Express. Thank you so much for your comment above. I really appreciate it. Hope to hear from you again.


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