There are so many things that we just don’t talk about as a society, we are just networks and associations, friends via social media, and certain conversations are reserved for ciphers. I watch the news fairly often and find the local news to be the equivalent of a small town variety show. The odd part about the variety show that is at present the news, I hardly see the diversity that is obvious in the Twin Cities reflected in the news or the stories they decide to feature. One would think with all the vibrancy of the emergence of so many cultures, the state would do better to outwardly promote this diversity. I imagine this is why the people of color in this community find it hard to find out or to know whats “poppin”, or where to go, not because lack of numbers, but lack of interests because of not knowing plays a role. This role is so important in a community, which does exist, just in the crux, more hidden then obvious. The odd part is the feeling like a foreigner in my own home town. It seems like the gang has all disbanded and forged other alliances, and the community is here, but in some ways even I just show up, but don’t often frequent the South side Minneapolis community that I am from. Stuff we don’t say, but are fragrant like memories in the far past, of actually having a kindred association with my city. I have seen it change over the years and my word Minneapolis, where is the life?. I love my city but the downtown caters to the elite, it no longer serves the population that inspired the culture that nurtured the Minnesota sound. The industry has become so vague, the culture barely there. The irony is that the Twin Cities, particularly Minneapolis and St. Paul boast so much diversity that there are actual streets that where the majority of the business could be Hmong, Mexican, Somalian, or any other group of cultures.
I consider that here in the college metropolis that boast fortune 500 companies, that there can be a little bit more room to talk about the issues of placement, and identity here in Twin Cities because as a community artist, I can see that this growth in population and diversity can not be ignored. In every practice there will have to be a re-evaluation considering the broad scope of each of these communities. I bring up the town news, because while looking at it, it talks about a Norwegian based Minnesota History that etches out everything from what happen to the Ojibwa and Dakota Sioux, the Dred Scott Case, and various other marvelous examples of how how diversity and politics here in this state has always done a subtle dance. One in which there is a lead dancer.
In terms of being Black, Negro, African-American, Indigenous Aborigine. Here in this state some how the term African -American has merged with the term of African descent, which is peculiar because African Americans by birth who are not refugees do not received non tax status or exemptions, yet African decent refugees are afforded other resources. I see that the interests are not the same, because legacy communities here do not have the same benefits, though monies and terminology plays a role with who gets what. It’s a political double talk, to say that the needs are equal in some cases, but not most. When attending Concordia University, I was shocked to find that my Somali classmates did not have to pay the same out of pocket cost. I couldn’t understand how I had payed taxes into a system that did not give me the same luxury, why was my struggle different? I found out that there are so many resources that just don’t come up in conversation, so many things that can benefit the people of the community which has become “best kept secrets”.
I guess as a community artist I see the need differently. I come from Minneapolis, as mentioned above, and remember a robust community that was so educated that if I saw them on Ricky Lake back in the day, I could tell they were from the Twin Cities based on their grammar and how they spoke. It’s true, there were great schools, and memorable teachers. Perhaps I just want to get more involved with building inside my city again, because on so many levels I have learned to fall in love with it again. I see that there is a coming conversation that is needed that tackles inefficiencies in Minnesota’s diversity issue. The issue being the lack of exposure for businesses that are owned by people of color, a lack of promotion of artists of colors, beyond communities, and more visibility on local media outlets so that that people are aware that people of color are present, and industries to patron too. Perhaps tell stories beyond crime, that actually reflect everyday professionals including those of color for better promotion. The community of color pay in to the state same as any other community so their representation should be reflected in their promotion, as if they are paying for advertisement by merely paying into the state itself.
Has anyone checked the Black Capital report that was published by The Council on Black Minnesotans, which detailed the purchasing power that came form each home? At what point is there going to be more visibility on a regular bases? I hear more about breweries then other communities, I am like come on now shake it up a bit….