This week: St. Paul’s 2017 budget, The Column wins national journalism award, and a profile on Hmong servicemen.
I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, raised by parents and grandparents who wore hats to church and always mowed their lawns. I was taught to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and act a certain way, not only as a survival mechanism, but as a means of access. Go to college, I was told. Join a profession. Never get caught out with ashy elbows. Dress for success. I think about respectability every time the cues I send out get missed, every time the obvious evidence that I do things ‘the way I’m supposed to’ is overlooked. I think about respectability a lot.
A lot of people of color do. In a televised interview the morning after her son Philando was killed, Valerie Castile said, “I did everything right as a parent. I made sure my kids understood the difference in being law abiding and that the police were there to help.”
When asked to describe her son, she spoke with courage and dignity about Philando Castile’s life and his death, and I thought about all the ways we describe human beings. The things we would say without the task of proving respectability. The things we’d want said about us if a loved one was asked a similar question – what we liked, what we valued, the things that drew our friends to us and held them close, how we laughed, and that one scene in that one movie that always made us cry. Maybe they’d describe what we were good at or share something of our struggles. Maybe they’d feel they could do that without those traits being corrupted or misused.
Valerie Castile knew better.
City residents and organizers have taken up this question to address racial and economic inequities within the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board’s more than 200 parks properties. Through popular education, putting pressure on policymakers and keeping the movement alive, real and local people have brought about changes not only in individual parks, but across the whole system.
The Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Prince Legacy Project features local black artists inspired by the life and music of Minneapolis’ own Prince Rogers Nelson.
In Vol. II, artist organizer Chaka Mkali, AKA I Self Devine, shares a painting rooted–as Prince was–in Minneapolis.
“There’s often a conversation of Prince transcending race… but when you say it in that fashion it’s as if we don’t have to have that conversation around gender, race or class–what defined him, especially coming from a place like Minneapolis, that is typically eurocentric. To be who he was is like salmon swimming upstream, and is the result is the environment he created. His own universe,” Mkali said.