FREE WHITEWATER

Culture

Widespread, Continuing National Support for Racial Justice Protests

Steven Long and  Justin McCarthy of Gallup report Two in Three Americans Support Racial Justice Protests: WASHINGTON, D.C. — About two in three Americans (65%) support the nationwide protests about racial injustice that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May. Half say they feel “very” (23%) or…

The Price of Ignorance is Widely Paid

As nationwide chains take sensible measures to require masks, ordinary workers at those chains find themselves the underserving recipients of abuse. Kelli Weill reports Walmart Workers Are Terrified of Enforcing Mask Rules: Even in a time of record unemployment, some of Dan’s colleagues at an Indiana Walmart have walked off the job. They aren’t quitting over…

Individual Responsibility in Conditions of Pandemic

Economist Robert Samuelson, writing Americans are historically unhappy. But there’s a lesson to learn here, observes that The connecting threads of these pessimistic surveys are the novel coronavirus and its devastating impact on the economy. Nearly everyone is affected in one way or another. There’s a clash between America’s individualistic culture (“You can’t make me wear…

Barriers to Substantive Change in a Small Town

Several recent posts here are FREE WHITEWATER are, collectively, a cautionary series on the difficulty of effecting substantive change in Whitewater, Wisconsin. One might want change; realism demands a clear-eyed assessment of its likelihood. Other towns might have better (or even worse) odds; Whitewater is not, by definition, another town. A listing of challenges, with…

Built Against Substantive Change

Over time, no matter how small the city, national conditions and trends make their way to the edge of town. Some towns will address these conditions, but others will be resistant to substantive change. For those towns in the latter category, business as usual and rhetorical feints suffice in response to powerful forces to which…

Mentoring

When a small community like Whitewater comes to rely on hundreds of non-resident commuters to provide services (for city, schools, or university), those commuters will have a different work relationship than resident workers. (About these workers see The Commuter Class.) Many will be less attached to the community (as they’ve freely chosen to live elsewhere…

After a News Desert

A news desert is a community without coverage from a daily newspaper. If coverage means timely newspaper reporting on a city’s principal public meetings and events, then Whitewater has been a news desert since the nearby Daily Jefferson County Union stopped reporting on Whitewater’s common council & school board meetings. If coverage means timely, insightful,…

Public Relations v. Journalism

Anyone familiar with a proper newspaper should be able to tell the difference between public relations and journalism: the former advances a corporate or government perspective, the latter reports and assesses that perspective. There are public relations outfits (often called media relations) in big and small communities, with this obvious difference: small communities have few…

The Lingering Problem of Local Exceptionalism

A common error in small rural communities is the persistent, false claim that local officials are examples of a local exceptionalism that makes them implicitly immune from the flaws and mistakes that beset the rest of humanity. Under this thinking, while there may be problems in the wider world, there are no local examples of…

Frontline: Race, Police, and the Pandemic

As streets across America erupt into clashes over racism during the coronavirus pandemic, Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker examines a connection between George Floyd’s death and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 deaths among African Americans: “the thing that ties them together is empirical evidence of a phenomenon that had been dismissed otherwise.” Cobb describes how the relationship…

Karen Attiah on Diversity and Integration

This morning, Karen Attiah of the Washington Post observed the difference between diversity and integration. Through remarks on Twitter (@KarenAttiah), in a thread quoted below, Attiah notes the greater importance of integration over mere acknowledgments of diversity  — (1) I didn’t get a chance to say it on @TheTakeaway with @tanzinavega but I was struck when…