Growing up in Chicago, I was told that the best word to describe its racial makeup was “hypersegregated.” You could sometimes ride a bus or drive down a major street and watch the racial make up of the neighborhoods change five times in 3o minutes.
As I got older, I was shocked to find out that Milwaukee, which is only an hour and a half away, suffers from even more blatant segregation. This is the same culture that many pointed to as a cause for the public uprising that occurred after police shot and killed Sylville Smith.
Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin was recently featured in a piece for the Wisconsin State Journal that focused on the role the basketball program plays in the state. Well, to be more accurate, the lack of a role it’s played over the past decade as a generation of fans have mostly abandoned the franchise and how he hopes to mend that broken relationship.
This provided the New York native with an opportunity to point out what he feels is a clear problem with the city of Milwaukee that he hopes the Bucks can repair.
“Very bluntly, Milwaukee is the most segregated, racist place I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Feigin said. “It just is a place that is antiquated. It is in desperate need of repair and has happened for a long, long time. One of our messages and one of our goals is to lead by example.”
Of course, given that Feigin lives in a world mostly controlled by who wins, loses and in what fashion, he believes that the team’s winning could draw more attention from the community, which the team would continue to return through community involvement.
“We know we can’t cure the world,” Feigin said. “But we are very determined to get ourselves involved in programs that we can measure a difference in and put our claws into for a long period of time and show a difference.”
Fortunately, with the likes of players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Carter-Williams and Chicago’s own Jabari Parker on the roster, the Bucks may be winning very soon.
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons