By Dylan Deprey
Montreal Robinson spent nine years, three months and eight days in the House of Corrections.
During that time, he reflected on his past decisions and for a different future. He had a picture of what reality would look like when he got home, but when he returned, it was a rather skewed depiction.
As generations of families in Milwaukee have been decimated by mass incarceration, violent crimes and healthcare disparities, a fragmented community has become the norm he once remembered. Having grown up in poverty his entire life, he had noticed a widening crack between the generations, but when he finally made it back after nearly a decade away from home, it was worse than he had imagined.
Robinson said he had to dive deep and take an honest look into what divided his community. “Facing Reality (the untold truth)” is an exploration into the generational divide in Milwaukee’s Black community.
Robinson explained that the premise lies in the construct created when the elderly generation is scared of the younger generations, and because of this, the youth do not feel respected. In turn, there is no reciprocation. The lack of respect, connection and communication has led to a perpetual state of disconnect between generations.
“For the youth, life is like a revolving door, people come in and constantly run out,” Robinson said. “It’s sad and that’s part of the miscommunication right there.”
He said the disconnect is fluid and spans between all generations in the community, not just the youth and elders. He said he has experienced the lack of encouragement and support himself.
“Around five years ago, I was talking with an elder and I was asking them about what career path I should take,” Robinson said. “They told me they couldn’t help me because they didn’t want to get involved.”
He said it was disheartening experiences like his that continued to drive a wedge between generations.
He said he felt obliged to analyze the community as a whole instead of putting specific generational groups under the microscope. From young adults to grandparents, Robinson said “Facing Reality (the untold truth)” was meant for everybody in the community to read and reflect on.
“Our perception is not our reality, and it’s hard to change that life when you are not actually facing it,” Robinson said. “I take the reader a step back and put the focus where it needs to be.”
For more information on the novel, people can reach out to Montreal Robinson on social media at https://www.facebook.com/montreal.robinson.925.