On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

What does it mean to be black in Minnesota?

Share story

On the final day of her debut week on MPR News, Angela Davis talked about race.

Minnesota can be a tough place for professionals of color. Employees of color report all sorts of reasons living and working in Minnesota is a challenge. Meanwhile, the state is known for having some of the highest racial disparities in the country. 

MPR's Angela Davis lead a conversation about what it means to be black in Minnesota right now.

Guests: Josie Johnson— Civil rights pioneer

James Burroughs— Chief Inclusion Officer for the state of Minnesota

Dara Beevas— Co-founder and CEO of Wise Ink

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

Stories from our Public Insight Network

"Black in Minnesota is never feeling like you truly belong. You can be born here, gone to school here, and have a high level of education. You will never be part of the community. They assume you are poor or working class. That isn't my reality." — Eric Pone from Minneapolis

"For me, to be black in Minnesota is to always be the 'only one' in many situations — work, school, social, etc. I have become accustomed to downplaying my blackness (my true self), so as to fit in better and make myself more palatable to others." — Marcee Harris from St. Paul

"My life has been harder but I don't know anything else. Manifest Destiny is rampant in the Midwest. I was offered a job over the phone ... then when I came in for an in-person interview and my color was shown the job no longer existed." — Tiffini Flynn Forslund from Brooklyn Park

"Being a black Minnesotan means that black transplants are attracted to all of the things that make Minnesota toxic for you because you've lived through it and they haven't intimately experienced the Minnesota you have; the white liberal racism; the disparities." Paris Yarbrough from St. Paul

"As a financial education professional, and public policy grad student at Humphrey School, attempts to discuss root causes of current disparities are not well received. Space must be created for folk to bring their full selves into 'every' space." — Cassaundra Alder from Minneapolis

"It means being asked about being black when the conditions under which all live are powered by whiteness. No one is asking or admitting what it means to be white in Minnesota. Or rather, what impact does the creation of whiteness have on our world?" — Clarence White from St. Paul