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Open letter to the City of Edina, Minnesota: Don’t be a part of Black Chaos

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Critical thinking and white guilt don’t mix – but someone wants them to. It’s evident in Minnesota for over 10-generations, neither create wealth nor prosperity for Black Minnesotans…what’s next? It’s self-evident that Black, Asian, and Middle Eastern men and women ought to take pride in their identities and fight for their group interests, so it follows that White people have that same right. Right?

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News (OpEd)

Edina, Minn. – Let’s face the truth; Edina is convenient. If a Black man, women or child had their civil rights violated in Ball Club, Minnesota (between Grand Rapids and Deer River) and it was videotaped and went viral, there would be no connection to the group of protesters that became nuisance by protesting in the streets of Edina last week (Geography is a tendered bedfellow).  Country music mega-star Kenny Rogers wrote: “You have to know when the hold them; know when to fold them; know when to walk away, know when to run.” In the matter of the Edina police officer who did harass a Black American pedestrian, evident by a video that went viral on social media, I’m telling you to pull up your collective boots straps, stand tall and hold.

Many years ago I lived on the fringe of Edina near Lake Harriet. Edina is a city that has figured out how to engage the state, federal and local tastemakers to maintain its rich city infrastructure while creating opportunities in that city for its more than 50,000+ residents. Current City of Edina Mayor Jim Hovland and past mayors have maintained Edina as a generationally-wealthy, white Southwest suburb free of the many economic blights that have covered many parts of the Twin Cities for more than five generations. The challenge begins when a white law enforcement officer is clearly caught obeying his mandate, but violating what seemed to be civil rights of a person that does not fit the profile of city residents. This is not the first time it has happened and will not be the last time, so don’t let your white guilt feed into a process of protest that appears to make you look bad when bad always has two sides.

The incident in Edina became a distraction for more important issues in the black community like the announcement that police officers involved in the Jamar Clark shooting would not be suspended not disciplined. No… Jamar Clark should not be dead; then again, he shouldn’t have been used as the poster boy to move certain people’s agendas while they looked the other way when our black youth shoot and kill on a daily basis. Agendas are very important in Black culture (but that’s for another story about the new Vikings and TCF Stadium).

Edina; over this weekend in the Twin Cities there has been multiple assaults, domestic violence, robberies, and shootings…this is just a snapshot of what happens within the city borders of any given weekday or weekend. The people that now protest, more specifically the leaders of those protests I attest want you to fold and bow-down to outrageous demands while people who look like them in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are suffering from high (double-digit) unemployment, homelessness, health disparities and a number of political knots that have kept residents in a Petri dish of poverty that lends itself to community leaders (people that look like me and others), to have a huge sample-rate of every disparity possible to gain access to funding. But if you look down the rabbit hole, you can see that while some things remain the same, nothing really changes for Black Minnesotans in this static circumstance – despite Pathway to Prosperity grants from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and exaggerations from local agencies that promise game changing events but deliver half-truths and always are inches from the goal post.

Let me be very clear, racism does exist in Edina, but also in Minneapolis, St. Paul and on a global level. Your city has become victim to a mechanism that forces white-guilt to fund meaningless adventures in Tom Foolery dependent on Jim Crow politics and need to keep “Minnesota Nice” in full working order. The real chaos happens when agent provocateurs (BLM/NAACP) organizers who in some cases have some grandiose agendas of fame, money and cable-network television coverage lose track of the mission of Civil Rights and what Black Minnesotans really need in favor of $5000.00 speaking fees, travel and hotel rooms to talk about how they managed the north Minneapolis Fourth Precinct shutdown and how race is at the center of all disparities. Do we have to mention all of the forgotten who have been killed or had their civil rights violated by law enforcement in the Twin Cities?  I know, that’s old, and the new-new is better fodder than the old-old – but still someone died and a group who say they want hope and change looks more like they want the change-$$.

Let’s stop fooling ourselves. We will not come together in a big circle and sing Kumbaya, neither will some Black community stakeholders allow these community organizer, or Witch Doctors to continue this stratification of Blackness with nothing to undergird it with.  The City of Edina could teach many in the Black community about wealth, real estate and community building – but hey, that doesn’t get on television or in the newspapers until the groundbreaking ceremonies, plus is seems too right. My best advice to Edina city leaders is talk to different Black people, like the ones that live in and work in Edina – ask them what to do. The stories will be worlds apart because one group wants to build, while the other wants Black Chaos.

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