The Current’s Policy and a Pint: Minnesota and Race in the 21st Century
Todd Butcher for MPR
Jan 23, 2014
On a special Martin Luther King Day edition of Policy and a Pint, a conversation about race in Minnesota and in America at large — where we’ve been, and where we’re going. We’ve made progress since the civil rights struggles the 1960s, but where do we want to be in the 21st century?
The conversation went beyond racial disparities and the achievement gap to dive into real-world questions about how to bring about King’s dream of economic justice, and how we want today’s more diverse Minnesota to evolve and thrive.
Here are some choice quotes from our guests for the evening, but as usual, it’s best to hear the entire conversation. Stream it above, or download an MP3 of the discussion.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, Director of the Community Justice Project at the University of St. Thomas School of Law:
I think we had an excellent PR person, who sort of sold us a bill of goods about what it means to be a Minnesotan: you know, land of 10,000 lakes, land of a number of Fortune 500 companies. Not only can you have a main residence, but you can go buy a cabin. And that is sort of the paradigm that we’ve been taught about our state. But when you peel back the layers, you look at how Native Americans have been treated, you look at African-Americans who have been here for a hundred years and the fact that many of them have remained on the fringes of society, you look at how we treat newcomers, you look at the fact that Minneapolis was seen at one point as the most anti-Semetic city in the country, you look at the fact we had the Ku Klux Klan running rampant in our state. Those are truths that we rarely talk about, and I think that those truths, even though they are uncomfortable truths, they’re difficult truths, need to be incorporated into a new narrative about who we are. This isn’t about being guilty. This is about moving beyond guilt, and focus on action and solutions to actually shift what’s happening right now.