As a UW-Madison student, I take issue with Ald. Mike Verveer for blaming hip-hop for the rise in violence on the 600 block of University Avenue in Saturday's article, "Police say gangs think city’s bar area is their turf."
A 65 percent increase in criminal cases on the block is certainly troubling. Yet scapegoating hip-hop fails to give proper analysis to this trend, ignoring other possible causes such as excessive alcohol use.
Ald. Verveer states that Liquid, a club on University Avenue and the site of some of these incidents, has been “victimized by the genre of (hip-hop) music.” The article blames the club’s hip-hop for escalating “volatility” on the block.
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There is a long history of blaming hip-hop for society’s problems, and Madison is a case in point. But the statistics don’t add up. A 2017 UW-Madison study found no empirical support for the popular belief that hip-hop venues incite more violence.
Stigma against hip-hop is racialized. Disproportionately condemning hip-hop venues indirectly targets the many African-Americans who find a home in the genre.
Rising crime on University Avenue deserves full analysis, not the scapegoating of an entire genre and its audience that can only serve to widen Madison’s racial divide.
Kyra Fox, Madison