That’s because there are two Madisons. At our own fun, liberal, near-eastside extravaganzas — La Fete de Marquette, Willy Street Fair, Marquette Waterfront Fest, Orton Fest, etc. — there’s nary a brown face or a black face in the crowd. Slightly less than you’d find at a Republican Convention. In the same vein, at all of the fantastic minority events that I go to in Madison, I am almost always the only white person in the room (except for Mr. Jon Gramling).
I often hear conversations among my white liberal friends talking smack about and making fun of Milwaukee and its hyper-segregation, its tremendous white flight, its subtle and overt racism. I want to shout at them. “WE ARE MILWAUKEE JR.”
In short, our white-dominated liberal events and organizations in Madison never come close to resembling our growing diverse population and never include multiple voices, styles, and cultural norms. While our discussion of the horrendous achievement gap that has existed in Madison for 40-plus years was finally started by a black guy, it’s only allowed to be discussed and solved by a small group of whites who have no feel for, connection to, or dialogue with the minority communities they want to save.
So, the challenge I issue today to all the nice white liberals in America’s third-best city to be a nice, white liberal is to finally make an effort to get to know all of the people of your city. Because you won’t slander somebody you know. You won’t fabricate things about them. You won’t silence their voices. You won’t ignore them. You won’t segregate them if you know them. Right?
As it turns out, Ananda was way more knowledgable, passionate, and qualified than Manski. As it turns out, she has no illicit ties; no evil far-right Republican intentions — just a Brazilian immigrant with incredible educational expertise and experience who has a minority child in a district that has for decades upon decades failed minorities.
But it’s too late for Ananda now. She should be at forums, debates, radio shows, and conferences expounding upon her vast and unique experience with education as we use our democratic system to flesh out the best candidate for the School Board job at this extremely crucial juncture in Madison.
But her voice has been silenced.
You can write her in (as I will) but a write-in candidacy is nearly impossible. My challenge to Madison is to get to know Ananda and all of the Anandas out there … before you completely dismiss them.