Posted: 11/24/15 15:48
by Dave Mindeman
I had always thought (well hoped) that Minnesota was at least a little better when it came to race relations. That Minnesota "nice" translated into more cooperation in dealing with the problems that lead to confrontational issues in regards to minorities.
Well, I was wrong.
At first I had an ongoing frustration with the educational achievement gap. That there was something wrong with how we approach learning when it comes to minority children. Then I was disappointed by the "unforced" racial segregation that plagues our state in our urban areas and our inability to address that situation. Then I was even more disappointed with the inordinately high black and Hispanic unemployment rate in our state. And our continuing failure to achieve government lowball ratios regarding minority firm hiring. More and more I have come to realize that Minnesota has a deep racial problem.
And then there is last night.
Not only has there been a lack of support for BlackLivesMatter in their ongoing quest to expose problems in the Minneapolis police department, but in addition, here, in Minnesota of all places, we have an element that thinks shooting unarmed peaceful protesters is somehow an acceptable reaction.
Seriously, I am at a loss for words. I fear that we have been ignoring a long standing problem that has been festering and metastasizing deep into our "nice" culture.
I think it has become more visible because our national political rhetoric seems to allow for race baiting these days. But that is only a symptom and we have had this problem for some time. It is right there in all the statistical data - but we can't seem to translate those statistics into real time people solutions.
It was interesting that Sen. Bakk first initiated addressing these racial problems and disparities in special session. And it was predictable that the GOP would scoff at the notion. But the utter disdain shown by a tweet from the CD7 GOP calling it a #NegroProblem crossed another line.
We have been crossing a lot of lines lately. Trump with Muslim registries. Trump and Carson both saying they remember news footage of Muslims in New Jersey cheering when the towers fell. Police shootings of unarmed black citizens has become part of the daily lexicon. In Chicago, they will be indicting a police officer with first degree murder for killing a 16 year old African American male....and they have video which is even more deeply disturbing than the "usual" pictures. Chicago is bracing for massive unrest.
But I had thought Minnesota was a place that those lines weren't crossed. That at least we made an effort to recognize and address these issues.
And maybe we are more aware of them than a lot of places, but we have still failed. We have failed miserably.
I am not sure that beginning a racial dialogue in a special session can do anything of substance, but the conversation is still worth having. No protester should have to fear for his or her life when drawing attention to a very real and present problem. It is appalling what happened last night. It is shameful.
And I have lost confidence in our police. When I watched Almanac last Friday, I had hoped to gain some incite into the viewpoints being expressed. But when I listened to the police union head, Robert Kroll, make his arguments, I visibly flinched. His statements were neanderthal in intelligence. To seriously use the arguments from the lawyers for the police as "factual" data is almost criminal in itself.
We have a problem Minnesota. A deep one and it is getting worse not better. Last night was a wake up call for a lot of us. It was for me.
I realized once and for all....Minnesota is not immune.