Our agenda item on the racial disparities uncovered in the Race to Equity report have focused primarily on Madison and Dane County for obvious reasons.

That’s where we live and where our efforts can make the biggest difference. But let’s not forget it was perhaps 10 years ago that a national blog declared Wisconsin the worst state to be black in America.

This week’s news that Wisconsin is the only state in the country in which the life expectancy gap between blacks and whites, particularly for women, has grown significantly is a dreadful reminder of that status. Let’s say that again: the life expectancy gap between blacks and whites has improved in every state in America, except Wisconsin, where it has gotten worse.

Racial disparities in Madison and Dane County are an unacceptable, unjust and immoral embarrassment. But the context of the state’s ongoing racial justice failings must be noted and accounted for.

If nothing else it makes the current emphasis of state political campaigns laughable…and we don’t mean funny.