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Understanding is asked of all sides
I would venture a guess that every race in the United States is misunderstood to some degree (“Somalis in Minnesota: Still misunderstood,” March 2). Each has different historical and cultural backgrounds that are often exaggerated and distorted by the uninformed and by those who view derogatory media portrayals.
I’m curious — what do Somalis in Minnesota think of other races? Do these relative newcomers get along with whites and people of color? Last year’s food fight at South High School in Minneapolis turned into a riot over tensions between Somalis and African-Americans, due to what authorities explained were stereotypes Somalis had of African-Americans. Another example was noted in the March 2 article — that Somali entrepreneurs cater to their own subcommunities, thereby limiting their commercial viability.
Being open and inclusive has enormous benefits but will continue to evade us without a serious reality check. Seriously, can’t we all get along?
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
‘SPOILS OF POWER’
Which of these many examples doesn’t fit?
“The spoils of power: Always so ostentatious” (March 2) was a familiar read about the excesses of political leaders, mostly dictators, who divert large amounts of public money into their private coffers. Examples given were the newly ousted Viktor Yanukovych; Imelda Marcos; Saddam Hussein; Robert Mugabe; Nicolae Ceausescu, and Moammar Gadhafi. Bad guys (and gal), almost everyone would agree. Then, in the second to last paragraph, the author inexplicably interjects former President Bill Clinton into the story, as if Clinton’s current wealth had something to do with such abuses. The rumor that he and Hillary tried to take some of the White House furniture when he left office was a low blow, and it was a stretch to compare that supposed faux pas with the horrible excesses of the aforementioned dictators. Nobody was forced to buy Clinton’s memoir or attend his speeches — it was capitalism that made him rich.
Paula Morgan, North Branch
The March 2 commentary “Somalis in Minnesota: Still misunderstood” misspelled the name of the incumbent state representative in District 60B. It is Phyllis Kahn.
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.