Partnership, white supremacy and dance: Macalester student artists reflect on Black and Asian American intersections

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

COMMUNITY VOICES | Considering the intersections of privilege and digital literacy

Do I frequently wish that my AmeriCorps service year paid me more money? Absolutely. I work a full time job teaching basic computer skills at the Roseville Library and make less than $6.00 an hour. But when I start to feel like my situation is unfair, I have to remind myself that my service year is a personal choice that I can—quite literally—afford to make. Unlike many of the patrons I serve through the AmeriCorps Community Technology and Empowerment Project (CTEP), I drive to work everyday in a car my parents gave me and have a degree from a reputable college. Continue Reading

AT THE INTERSECTION | Why MCTC’s decision to reprimand Shannon Gibney for teaching structural racism is an investment in white male power

I’m sure by now, most of you have heard about Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s (MCTC) decision to reprimand faculty member Shannon Gibney, after two students filed a complaint accusing her of singling them out — based on their race and gender — in class.For some context: the class was about structural racism, the students who complained were white males, and Gibney is a woman of color (whom I read as a black woman).  When I first heard that Gibney was being reprimanded because two white males felt like they were victims, the first thing I thought was, “how ridiculous.” As someone who understands how US power relations and racial hierarchies work, I couldn’t miss the irony: that she, a woman of color, was being accused of attacking white males in her class, because she was teaching about structural racism.To me, this is a textbook case of how white male privilege works. This is just one possible example of how white men can get away with “victimization” in conversations about the reality of white systems of oppression. The momentary white guilt they may feel when people of color bring up their lived realities of racism and racial violence makes them a “victim,” when the real victims are those in communities of color who live with such traumas every single day.MCTC’s decision to reprimand Gibney signals the college’s investment in protecting white male hurt feelings, and white male power. What I mean by this is that, despite the realities of structural racism faculty and students of color constantly face, and despite the very real power dynamics faculty of color experience in the classroom, the hurt feelings of a few white men trumped that. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | I am not Terrance Franklin

Terrance Franklin is dead and the officer who killed him is unlikely to even face discipline. These are the profound realities that carry different, often divergent, meaning for different people in our society.Many people in my acquaintance can calmly characterize this death as just another chapter, albeit tragic, of the age old tale of law and order. Yes, some can calmly presume that it was necessary to shoot an unarmed man in the back ofthe skull multiple times. An unavoidable killing despite the presence of overwhelming numbers of armed police officers and a police dog actively restraining the suspect. Upon further review, the calm, trusting perspective of this incident seems a bit untenable.So, why do so many people trust the dutifully reported, but detail-deficient, explanations offered by the police department? Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | #HoodiesUpMN rally inspires hope for our communities

On Sunday, a group of community organizers and citizens met at Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) after the jury had read the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial.We had three main goals to discuss at the meeting: (1) What was the message we wanted to send out, (2) Who did we want to target with this message, and (3) What was the narrative going to be. During the meeting every one of us could feel the emotion in the room – people’s hurt, frustration, anger, sadness—and hope. As a recent resident to Minneapolis this was such a beautiful sight to me. Many ideas were shared and discussed as we began to create a long-term, and sustainable, plan for justice – not just for Trayvon Martin, but for everyone that is and has been affected by the racism that is entrenched within our society.Last week I came across a report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement entitled Operation Ghetto Storm.  This report was created with the goal of understanding the disregard of Black life in America, a disregard which has been vividly called to many of our minds by Trayvon Martin’s and Terrance Franklin’s deaths. It breaks down how our government and our society tolerates—and even supports—the extrajudicial execution of Black people: “In 2012, 313 Black people were executed without trial by police, security guards and self-appointed law enforcers.” Every 28 hours a father, mother, daughter, son, sister, brother is murdered. For me, the most startling statistic was that 66% were people aged 2 to 31. Continue Reading

White privilege 2:Psychology and pathology of entitlement

This week’s show brings back our guests and the next phase of our discussion on White Privilege (see Part One). The dynamic of hatred of a people we once enslaved is not as unusual at it may seem. This is the American Indian experience and the African-American experience. The psychology and pathology of refusing to accept what it means to be white pervades the culture still. In the wake of the recent annual conference on white privilege* in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, TTT delves deeper into the issue of unconscious entitlement that is so much a part of the American psyche, and the most difficult to extricate from our national inclination toward the colonial European view of race as well as understand the oppositional subculture we’ve created from the dregs of slavery over 200, 300, 400 years of American history. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Zinn and Wise Challenge American Exceptionalism

A Duo of Dissidents Debunk American Exceptionalism: Howard Zinn Dissects America’s “Holy Wars”; Tim Wise Decries the Downside of White Privilege. By Steve Clemens. April 9, 2009In my youth when I was bored on a Saturday afternoon, I would occasionally turn on the TV and end up watching the charade known as “Professional Wrestling”. Even though the matches seemed highly scripted, it was interesting to watch the “tag team” matches where often you would have two “bad guys” paired against two “heroic types”. After the first wrestler pummeled his opponent senseless, he would quickly reach over to his tag team partner, slap his hand and the fresh “wrestler” would continue the attack on the helpless opponent, who, in turn, was trying desperately to get to his partner so he could get relief.I witnessed a tag team event on Tuesday evening just off Summit Avenue in St. Continue Reading