Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Minneapolis gaps? Face the truth — it's racism

  • Article by: VINA KAY
  • Last update: September 25, 2013 - 9:10 PM

Take schools as an example. Are students of color opting out of honors-level courses because they believe they can’t succeed? Internalized racism.

Are teachers calling on the same students, who happen to be white, repeatedly, while ignoring the raised hand of a student of color? Interpersonal racism.

Do history courses and texts ignore the stories and contributions of immigrant communities of color, even as they highlight the stories of European immigrants? Institutional racism.

Do students of color who live in a particular low-income area of town also attend a school with fewer resources and opportunities for academic success? Structural racism.

The same analysis can apply to housing, criminal justice, employment, health care and other opportunities. We can find all of these levels of racism in Minneapolis.

Change that breaks down structures of racism and barriers to opportunities will be uncomfortable, partly because the usual way of doing things will be challenged. Building good programs that open up opportunities for communities of color is part of the solution.

But seeing the racism in the room and tackling it head-on must also be a part of a movement for racial justice.


Vina Kay is director of research and policy for Organizing Apprenticeship Project. A version of this article appeared on the blog

  • related content

  • Growing Minneapolis: Tackle racial inequality

    Sunday September 22, 2013

    Minneapolis can’t succeed without solving existing inequities. The need is acknowledged, but the city must latch on to strategies that are proving to help.

  • Slideshow: Minneapolis racial disparities

    Sunday September 22, 2013

    Demographers predict that people of color will make of the majority of Minneapolis residents by 2040. Today, disparities in income...

  • Commentary: Minneapolis must address racial inequities

    Saturday September 21, 2013

    Demographics are changing in Minnesota, and people of color will be the majority of residents by 2040.

  • Battling stereotypes is exhausting

    Wednesday September 25, 2013

    Targets of stereotyping have coping strategies that sap their energies — and don’t always work.

  • Young people attending the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in August.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters