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.
Taking a class with Cow Tipping Press was the first time Rob Bergerson had ever tried his hand at poetry–let alone read it aloud—which he did, at one of Cow Tipping Press’s public reading events. The reason he’d never done these things before was not, he said, because he didn’t think he could do them. He could. It was simply because until then, he hadn’t had an outlet. Continue Reading
“So often the terms and phrases applied to African American youth are negative: at risk, inner city, thug, gangster,” said Gary Hines, a three-time Grammy award winner and music director of the ensemble Sounds of Blackness. Continue Reading
Study abroad programs have been an international tradition for years, touted as a surefire way to expand global horizons and even change students’ worldviews. But ironically, they have a diversity problem – first and foremost, economically. Continue Reading
Minnesota is more than a thousand miles away from hip hop’s mainstays on either coast. Yet, Complex listed Minneapolis as one of the 15 best cities for hip hop fans in the United States, and Mic named the Twin Cities the “greatest hip-hop scene you’ve never heard of.” Continue Reading
“If Scott Seekins had taken photos of Auschwitz and inserted himself into those photos, I can’t even imagine the moral outrage,” said Anishinaabe artist and activist Ashley Fairbanks. “This is art about genocide.”
Inside the crowded Douglas Flanders & Associates gallery on May 14, one of Minneapolis’ most recognizable artists, Scott Seekins, opened his exhibit “The New Eden,” a collection of paintings and drawings depicting the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. Many of the pieces seem to mimic Plains Indian art forms, including work created on ledger paper.
Images of Seekins himself appear throughout the collection, which is typical of his work. But when Seekins, a white man, paints himself next to Britney Spears — which he did throughout the 2000s — it’s different than inserting himself into cultural work dealing with genocide and oppression. Continue Reading
To the Guerrilla Girls, who got their start in New York in 1985, it was just a bit of visual humor–a prod at the patriarchy. But to the transgender and gender-nonconforming students in the audience, it didn’t seem funny so much as tone-deaf–and, frankly, insensitive. Continue Reading
Among the ways we choose to evaluate where we live, few reports are more respected than that of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), an annual, comprehensive examination of cities’ laws, policies and services with regard to LGBT people and LGBT issues. Continue Reading
Netsanet Negussie is an emerging young artist exploring social justice and racial equity themes through the lens of her camera. On the streets of Minneapolis, Negussie has found compelling subjects that depict impactful, human narratives not seen in the day-to-day media coverage of the city. She shared her art, her inspirations and her process with the Daily Planet. Continue Reading
In October, Macalester College hosted a Million Artist Movement “Power Gathering” themed around Asian American resistance and solidarity. That event was a part of the larger and ongoing convenings across racial and ethnic groups called by MAM. Following the event and inspired by the conversation, The Twin Cities Daily Planet published a story in December discussing the different intersections between Black and Asian American history and art. However, the original story left out a key voice in the conversation: the young artists who are shaping the future of how these intersections manifest. As a continuation of the previous article, Andrea Plaid reached out to Macalester dance students Sophia Hill and Niara Williams about their experiences as Asian American and Black American (respectively) students and artists, and how those experiences intersect. Continue Reading