Letter of the Day (June 6): Race issues

  • Updated: June 5, 2013 - 7:24 PM

Peter Christian Hansen and Ansa Akyea in "Clybourne Park," at the Guthrie through Aug. 4.

Photo: Tony Nelson, Special to the Star Tribune

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I want to commend the Guthrie for its performance of “Clybourne Park.” The play is provocative and raises important questions about how far we’ve really come in dealing with issues of race, inequity and gentrification. As a work of art, the play doesn’t offer many answers, but juxtaposes 1959 and 2009 and smartly highlights the difficult conversations about race we struggle to have.

In Minnesota, with one of the highest black-white unemployment disparities, with incarceration disparities and with a large achievement gap, we need to keep having these conversations. “Clybourne Park” helps remind us that talking about race doesn’t make us racist. However, when we are unable to have authentic conversations — putting aside predispositions and getting to know other people and their experiences — we perpetuate the inability to improve and reconcile.

To the Guthrie, I say thank you and more like this, please.

Robert Hemphill, St. Paul

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