Dueling State of the City Events Reveal Rift Between Rhetoric and Reality of Inequality

These days it’s hard to tell whether Minneapolis is united about being divided. Last week, two contrasting “state of the city” events — Mayor Betsy Hodges official speech at the American Swedish Institute, and a rally the next morning organized a North-side grassroots group — illustrated the ongoing tension between the rhetoric and reality of racial inequality in Minneapolis.Hodges’ speech, an annual tradition for mayors across the country, emphasized the themes that led her to an easy victory in the 2013 election. As Gino Terrell wrote on the Daily Planet earlier this week, Hodges stressed education, income inequality, and climate change, as part of her plans for the upcoming year. But the well-received speech comes only months after Hodges’ efforts to devote city resources to addressing inequality became surprisingly contentious. During budget debates at City Hall, Hodges’ plans to address racial inequality sparked a small controversy, particularly in parts of the city that are struggling the most with foreclosures and racial inequality. While debating the budget, Council Members Yang and Warsame and other Council Members  voted to defund part of Mayor Hodges’ key proposals in favor of more “meat and potatoes” issues that impact neighborhoods like Jordan or Cedar-Riverside, home to many  of the highest proportions of people of color in the city. Continue Reading

Navell Gordon, smeared face of #Pointergate, tells his story

Navell Gordon became famous when KSTP-TV blurred his face in a photo where he was standing next to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and broadcast it because police said the two were flashing gang signs by pointing at each other. Social media dubbed the story #Pointergate. Gordon says he is not a member of the kind of gang KSTP-TV insinuated he belonged to. “I’m a member of the NOC gang,” he says with a laugh. “Knocking on doors, and organizing and getting more people involved.”

Continue Reading

New Year, new view!

If we were color blind we would identify each other as one race, and we wouldn’t have to stereotype and make assumptions. If officer Darren Wilson or George Zimmerman were color blind, would they have made the same choices? Stereotypes that police and others make affect more than a person’s pride, these stereotypes are taking peoples lives and livelihoods.This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.In my local area of the Twin Cities one victim to racial stereotyping is Navell Gordon who was at the center of what was dubbed the Pointergate controversy. In early November KSTP ran a story accusing the Mayor of Minneapolis of flashing gang signs. Continue Reading

#Pointergate points to the imperative of oversight

In another life I was a stooge on the Minnesota News Council. At some point I, as a member in good standing, read in the press that the MNC was to be no more – no explanation, a simple affirmation that the staff person had acquired a safe position at the University of St. Thomas. Because I was too otherwise engaged to explore the roots of a decision I accepted as a done deal, closed that file, and gave complicit assent to a decision I knew was wrong. Continue Reading

VIDEO: Journalists discuss #Pointergate

UPDATED Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 1:58 pm.The Society of Professional Journalists – Minnesota Pro Chapter, along with the Twin Cities chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association, as well as the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law and the Minnesota Journalism Center, hosted a panel discussion on the recent Pointergate issue in our local community.KSTP-TV sent a letter, but opted not to send a representative to the panel. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, the subject of the story, also declined to appear.The panel discussion happened at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs – Cowles Auditorium – 301 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455.See the MNSPJ, TCBJ and AAJA statement for background on the story.Read more TC Daily Planet coverage of #Pointergate. Continue Reading

OPINION | KSTP and Pointergate: Not as surprising as we want to believe

KSTP’s outrageous Pointergate story has caused quite the stir on the Internet. Daily Kos called it the most racist piece of journalism in 2014. I think it fits right in with the stories that suggest that Black people are going to riot if there isn’t a grand jury indictment of Darren Wilson in the Mike Brown Jr. case.

Continue Reading

VIDEO: KSTP owner Stan Hubbard refuses to apologize during Augsburg #Pointergate protest

Outside of Sateren Auditorium on Augsburg College’s campus, dozens of protesters convened in the cold November air, demanding KSTP publicly apologize for their report last week, now dubbed #Pointergate.Inside, a packed auditorium listened to KSTP owner Stanley Hubbard present his points on the success of broadcast journalism. But the sold out event wasn’t because of Hubbard’s insights into broadcasting. About a third of the audience there, organized by Augsburg’s Minnesota Public Interest Group and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, were there to demand a public apology for KSTP’s report.Less than 30 minutes into Hubbard’s speech, protesters interrupted the event demanding he apologize on air. Watch the unedited video below to see what happened, or keep reading to find out more.Related article: #Pointergate protesters plan rally against KSTP owner Stan Hubbard(UNEDITED VIDEO: Stanley Hubbard refuses to apologize during Augsburg #Pointergate protest)“Speaking of integrity,” says a man wearing a large, red foam hand. “We demand an apology on air.”The foam hand, the kind seen at sports events, is pointing with one finger, and at this point dozens of protesters stand up in the auditorium, all wearing the same red finger.“No, of course not,” Hubbard replies to the man. Continue Reading

#Pointergate protesters plan rally against KSTP owner Stan Hubbard

Updated: Watch KSTP owner Stanley Hubbard refuse to apologize during Augsburg #Pointergate protestKSTP’s report of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges supposedly flashing a gang sign on camera sent the local news station straight into the national spotlight. Social media erupted in anger, demanding the station retract the story and apologize on air.But KSTP decided to stand behind their report, so protesters are now taking their chants off Twitter and onto the streets.Read more TC Daily Planet coverage of this issueAugsburg College’s Minnesota Public Interest Group (MPIRG) along with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change are planning to protest an Augsburg event hosted by KSTP owner and chairman of Hubbard Broadcasting Stanley Hubbard on Nov. 13.The protesters plan to rally before the event at 4:15 p.m. at Anderson Music Hall on 22nd Avenue South.“Last Thursday night, KSTP aired an outrageous and inflammatory story accusing MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) organizer Navell Gordon of flashing a gang sign with Mayor Betsy Hodges,” wrote MPIRG organizers on their Facebook event page. “In reality, the photo snapped during the event shows them merely pointing at each other … We must show up in solidarity with Navell and demand KSTP issue an on air apology.”KSTP has been unavailable for comment but issued a statement on Nov. 7, standing behind the story.Augsburg College also issued a statement on their website, saying, “Hosting a speaker on campus is not an endorsement of a speaker’s comments or business practices … The College has communicated with student leaders who are organizing a demonstration before the event to establish a safe location for the expression of their opinions while, at the same time, ensuring a positive experience for participants attending the event to hear the speaker’s comments.”Hubbard’s speech, taking place at Sateren Auditorium, is now sold out.“This story is a prime example of how the Minneapolis Police Department Union is attempting to use the media to negatively influence public opinion,” said Filsan Ibrahim, co-chair at MPIRG’s Augsburg chapter. Continue Reading