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Race & Ethnicity

Race & Ethnicity

Racism in Minnesota (And Beyond)

  • We cannot conquer "the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism" until we "shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society." -- Martin Luther King
  • A new legal caste system?

Jeff Nygaard, Nygaard Notes

Martin Luther King, Jr., in his famous speech "Beyond Vietnam" on April 4, 1967, said that we cannot conquer "the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism" until we "shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society."

In recent months Nygaard Notes has been wandering far afield, from Afghanistan to Rwanda, from NATO to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, and the focus has been on the Third Triplet, militarism. But in this issue I come back very close to home, with a look at the First of the Triplets, which is the racism that aids and abets the extreme materialism of some in imposing extreme deprivation on others. In these times of economic malaise, when so many are suffering, it is painfully true (as the title of one of this week's essays says) that "not all areas have suffered equally."

In today's thing-oriented world, most of the conflicts that we see come down to a question of who gets what. And some of the same forces that are behind the occupation of Afghanistan are behind the unnecessary deprivation and suffering documented in this issue of Nygaard Notes. If we want to make an honest attempt to live King's dream of conquering the Giant Triplets, we need to have the courage to see things as they are, whether in Afghanistan, in the Gulf of Mexico, or in my own Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

This week (Issue 458) and next (Issue 459), Nygaard Notes takes a look at some of the ways that racism plays out in my home state of Minnesota. At the end of the series I'll give some resources for people to look at for a more complete picture of the consequences of the racism that we harbor in Minnesota. I'll also include some resources so the many non-Minnesotan readers of the Notes can check out what's happening in your area when it comes to the living legacy of racism and its concrete effects.

More...(Browse by issue number for Issue 458, Issue 459)

Related:

A new legal caste system? Read the book  The New Jim Crow ~ Michelle Alexander, Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald<lpitts@MiamiHerald.com>

  • `You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to.'' -- Richard Nixon as quoted by H.R. Haldeman, supporting a get-tough-on drugs strategy.
  • ``They give [black people] time like it's lunch down there. You go down there looking for justice, that's what you find: just us.'' -- Richard Pryor.
  • The New Jim Crow? It never left us.


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