October 24, 2006

The Nice North Central's Not So Nice Black Communities

One of the regional oddities is that Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, three states with a deserved reputation for civic cooperativeness, good government, and general niceness, have some of the most dysfunctional black communities in the country. As I wrote in VDARE.com in "Mapping the Unmentionable," the state with the highest ratio of black to white imprisonment rates in 1997 was Minnesota, at 31 to 1, compared to about 9 to 1 nationally (The national ratio has since dropped into the 7.2 to 1 range). Iowa and Wisconsin were way up there too. And black crime there looks bad not just relative to the low crime rates among the white locals: Iowa had the worst black imprisonment rate in the country in absolute terms. Wisconsin has the highest black illegitimacy rate in the U.S. at 81.9% vs. 69.3% nationally in 2004.

These three states are more liberal than most in the heartland. They've gone Democratic five out of six times in the last two Presidential elections.

A reader offers his take on this question:

As a Milwaukee native originally, I knew the city like the back of my hand in the sixties, when I used to drive cabs for Yellow during my summer breaks from the U. of Mich. I was even caught in Milwaukee's smaller version of Detroit's race riot and narrowly escaped with my car getting stoned pretty badly. They missed me.

Milwaukee used to have one of the best public school systems in Wisconsin, which has good public schools. But back in the sixties, the advent of welfare and Milwaukee's old German Social Democratic mindset combined to make Milwaukee and Wisconsin's welfare the most generous in the Middle West. This obviously drew the most enterprising grifters among the black population in the Mississippi Valley, which traditionally was a bit less clever than the East Coast blacks, who worked tobacco rather than cotton and were less humiliated and downtrodden. Or so I was told by sociologists when I worked at St. Louis U. among the black population of Pruitt-Igoe, before they dynamited that vertical plantation...

With better than average public schools and blacks eager to get the Midwest's most generous welfare subventions, I just don't understand why Milwaukee blacks would be lower. But my family and friends back there tell me that catering to blacks with the sort of compassionate condescension that Wisconsinites have toward the less fortunate has not improved the attitude of the black community. Au contraire.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


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