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“Hey White People…” Un-Fair Campaign

I’m no longer in Duluth, but I found out about a campaign going on there right now and I couldn’t be more encouraged by the people and message behind it, including Mayor Ness. If you haven’t heard about it, check out local news coverage here.

I strongly support the message, which is not, “Hey white people. You are all racists.” Rather it is “Hey white people. You have privileges bestowed upon you because you are white.” Being white can make it harder to see that others in society are not equal because they are not white. I for one am happy to see Mayor Ness using his authority and influence to help open people’s eyes to the issue of racism in Duluth and beyond. Unfortunately Mayor Ness says he is getting death threats because of this.

Check out the Un-Fair Campaign website for more info:

I’d love to hear what people in Duluth are thinking.

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76 Comment(s)

  1. When I was a kid, I hated getting sick, because the antibiotic was always this purple sludge that tasted almost nothing like grape. Yet I knew that, when that bitter pill was done, I would be better, healthier than I had been before.

    That’s kind of how I feel about this campaign. If we take this up, we will be healthier than we had been before. | Jan 29, 2012 | New Comment
  2. It definitely is not going to be fun to be called out, but I support the campaign and think it’s definitely something we need more awareness about, especially in a town with our demographic. I think a lot of white people try really hard to not be racist and then that just makes things worse. Personally, if I stay in Minneapolis for a week, it all goes away pretty quick. Since there are sooo many white people and people of other races stand out up here so much more, it makes things a lot more difficult. Especially when no one ever really talks about it… that’s why this campaign is a good idea, and it needs to be this bold to make people really think.

    My two cents, anyway.

    excusemeprincess | Jan 29, 2012 | New Comment
  3. Sam | Jan 29, 2012 | New Comment
  4. Mayor Ness is reporting (on Facebook)that he is getting multiple threats from all over the world because of the campaign.

    White supremacists from all over the world are sending me threats and some of the most hateful messages I’ve ever read. The racism I’ve seen this weekend is all the proof I need that we good good people to step up. No, the ‘unfair campaign’ is not calling all white people racists, it’s saying white folk need to be part of the solution. And I’m not backing down from that -- will you join me?

    edgeways | Jan 29, 2012 | New Comment
  5. If you want to see some white privilege being expressed, go on over to the crazy discussion of this unfair campaign at the DNT.

    Sam | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  6. I am really proud of Don and others who have the courage to support this campaign. It is confrontational. It is provocative. And it is worthwhile. I think the immediate result is going to be a few good discussions and a whole lot of hate. But hopefully that will change over time as people take a moment to examine just how privileged they are.

    @ndy | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  7. Thanks, Sam! My first visit to ‘area voices’, and it was a hoot!

    The predominantly seemingly unsavory, anonymous characters over yonder seem to be, whether they have a clue or not, the epitome of race-driven thinking. Amazing. It seems as though, you even say the word ‘race’, or point out that white people are the majority of the population (Duluth being a real case in point), and they’re hopping on it like every ‘other race’ is at they’re back door, torch in hand. Wow.

    It pains me that people think this way, but it is totally understandable in a society that is overwhelmed by racial categorizing in -every- damn facet of life; especially governmental, medical, educational and private institutions. Think about it: you fill out a census, the 2nd question is typically race. You go to the hospital, the patient intake asks for your race. You take a survey at school, it asks for your race. Your employer asks what your race is. Then you have the cultural influence from generations past: grandma gets uncomfortable because there are two ‘black’ people in the parking lot of the groc (woopy-do, Grandma!). It’s extremely pervasive in our lives, and no matter how good you’re intentions are, or how open minded you are, you really can’t just pluck this norm out unless someone mentions it to you, or you are educated otherwise.
    Enter: the Unfair Campaign.
    The easiest way to put it, if you want to educate someone on the merits of thinking outside of the ‘race box’, just explain it scientifically. If they don’t understand, at least you will have raised major flags in their brain-cases. To make a long story short: race is not a valid biological construct. You cannot determine someone’s genetic lineage based off of the one or two genes that are responsible for encoding there skin pigmentation. Race is a socially constructed generalization, created a few hundred years ago by the upper-echelons of westernized societies, people whom happened to have light skin tones. “Why not develop an easy categorization of the minorities”, said some complete pompous jackass, who would be immortalized as a pseudoscientist for the rest of history. But it caught on, and it is now so engrained in our society, that we can’t even see it for what it is, at all.

    The only solution to the problem, is to stop categorizing people by there skin tone. Stop categorizing yourself by your skin tone. Forget all about race: our race is Homo sapien sapien (with some neanderthalensis in the European stock -- yes, true story, different discussion). We’re all humans, judge every person on there own individual merits, one completely unique individual, with a unique series of genetic traits and environmental influences creating there wonderful self. 7 billion (and counting) absolutely unique humans!

    End of story..hopefully.

    Stephanos | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  8. Race indeed is a social construct. In the mid-19th century, the Irish in America were regarded as non-white, as “Negroes turned inside out.”

    Claire | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  9. Sometimes the truth hurts.

    Dorkus | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  10. I’m so glad there are places like PDD to come back to when I become thoroughly disgusted with the comments over at DNT. It’s a shame the mayor is receiving so much harassment over a lesson that Duluth really does need.

    Fuku-soncho | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  11. The “Privilege” claim is an attempt to instill guilt in those who really had nothing to do with slavery, genocide, or any other kind of oppression. It’s used to in the hope that we’ll get on board with a “social justice” political agenda.

    Btw, If you take my dismissal of the concept of “white privilege” to mean a denial of racism, then you are missing the point.

    While were at it, I hope we tackle the issue of “Thin Priviledge” next, all the Fat Acceptance Fascism I’ve been getting bombarded with online need their marginalized voices heard!

    And for the record, I get where Ness and others are coming from, their heart is in the right place, I just think they are going about it wrong.

    wingsofjudas | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  12. I read the DNT comments yesterday and found them very distressing -- particularly because DNT blots out reasonable comments that are voted down by the mob. And that is just what it is over there -- mob rule.
    There is an editorial in today’s Strib Bus. Section that hints at the real problem.
    Things just don’t work like they used to. College is very costly and does not guarantee a career. Plus, ghettoites are dissociative -- they cannot become what they behold -- so they just keep acting like they learned in the ghetto and keep being mad about everything.
    And we (whites with privilege) keep acting like clueless jerks.

    Carla | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  13. White Privilege is not necessarily about guilt. It is necessarily about a string of social advantages that whites have that others do not. Here is a partial list of them by Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., who has done legitimate research on the subject:

    Here is another article by Robert Jensen, Ph.D., who has also done research on the subject:

    American thinker is a right wing blog with dubious information. It is not a legitimate source on this issue.

    Sam | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  14. er.. linking to American Thinker is a dubious source for making a legitimate point. An outfit that legitimizes Ann Coulter and Michael Savage? Going to have to try harder than that.

    I think it is fair to say that racism exists within every ethnicity to a greater or lesser extent. And what we have seen in America is a product of Caucasians being in the dominate power role, and coming from places where the same applies. To me, structural racism (which I think is what the Unfair campaign is trying to address), or any other structural -ism is about power differentials, more than any given group being inherently better, or more fair than any other.

    edgeways | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  15. I Googled and glanced and tried to grab something where someone would articulate my thoughts better than I can. My bad. Screaming infant doesn’t leave a lot of time to sit and type big arguments… There are some interesting point in those articles though.

    Still, I stand by my statement.

    wingsofjudas | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  16. thank god for screaming babies.

    spy1 | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  17. Point taken. I’ll stop commenting.

    wingsofjudas | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  18. Some might argue that racism is much more than merely giving extra privileges or advantages to one ethnic group. Racism might also, according to some, require more negative attitudes and beliefs about the “other” ethnic group, rather than, say, personal preferences for being around and generally favoring another ethnic group.

    According to some at least, white privilege is not itself racism, although racism might sometimes go with white privilege.

    For example, I think it is fair to say that fewer people in our society are uncomfortable with a white teacher than a nonwhite teacher. Fewer whites are uncomfortable with a white boyfriend for their child than a nonwhite boyfriend.

    So the dominant ethnic group (whites, who are dominant in money and power and sheer numbers vs. many other groups) “on balance” prefers to be around white teachers and white boyfriends. This isn’t to say all whites are like this, but many certainly are (to “tip the balance” in one direction).

    That preference is white privilege, and it is true of a lot of people in the U.S. However, some have argued (controversially!) that this in itself is not racism. Do you agree?

    Sam | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  19. I’m white and there isn’t a billboard or add in the world that will make me feel guilty about the privileges it gives me. I’m not racist, my brother-in-law is African American, my other family, a group of people I grew up with, are African American. I have many friends who are African American.
    I was taught treat others as you wish to be treated, life isn’t fair, and take what perks you can get in life.

    Sure I don’t get carded for using my credit card, but at the same time I get passed on for promotions despite seniority and experience because a less qualified individual who is in the minority gets the spot to fill an AA quota.

    Yes our area is predominately white, there are other areas that aren’t.
    The intentions may be great, but the execution of making whites feel bad for being white is as stupid as being prejudice against blacks for being black.

    It is skin color. We can’t choose it. We are born with it. Quit trying to make me feel bad for being born white.

    Jadiaz | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  20. I’m an elf!

    adam | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  21. I don’t think people need to feel responsible for the white privilege that they have, since no one is responsible for the luck they were born into.

    But I do think people should do something to get rid of the unearned privileges that pervade society. On balance, the unearned privileges of whites help them out more than the unearned privileges of other ethnicities. Whites overall have more unearned privileges, but much of this is invisible to whites (since they are so used to is).

    The invisibility is discussed here:

    Sam | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  22. Seriously? A link that says “dickshovel”? Not clicking on that.

    Jadiaz | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  23. Ah, white supremacists, their own overpowering antithesis.

    For further laughs at their expense, I commend to you “Mein So-Called Kampf.”

    The Big E | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  24. No one is trying to make you feel bad for being white.

    I have said this to white people about eleventy billion times in my life, and yet here I am saying it again.

    You know who else has said this… to me? The most militant, angry black man you’d ever have the chance to meet, who is now dead, god rest his soul. He followed it up with something like this:

    You know why I’m not trying to make you feel bad for being white? Because that gets me nothing. If all you do is get all moany and feel guilty for being white, all I get is a moany-ass white girl who stares mournfully at the wall and reads a bunch of Maya Angelou to make herself feel better. I don’t want you to feel bad. I don’t even want to you stand around with a sign the rest of your life saying Racism Is Bad. I want you to be honest. To dig down deep in your soul and be honest about what you think and what you feel and where you think all that shit comes from. Be honest about what that lotto ticket at birth that said “caucasian” got you, and how it continues to pay off, and what it means. Be honest about how easy it would be for you to say, “Hey, that black man is scaring me” and have about a dozen people who look like you suddenly appear out of thin air like Newt Gingrich’s Angels ready to sympathize with you and write articles about your troubles with that bad bad man. Look at history. Look at what’s going on around you, and see it. Really see it for what it is. And stop participating when what you get is got by stepping on someone else. Stand up. Speak up. And start pulling those bricks down when they stand between the truth and your life. Here’s a hammer.

    The reason why white people need to be confronted with this stuff and talk it to death, even if it’s scary and confrontational and makes people upset is because as far as I can tell, people of color have been talking it to death and putting their butts on the barricades for about a hundred years or more and getting pretty damn far but not far enough. Why? Because there are whole lot more white people, with a whole lot more power, that’s why. And guess what? A whole lot of those white people have a hard time listening to Black and Native and Chicano voices without having another little voice chattering way in the back of their heads saying something like, “Oh, he must be exaggerating.” or “Well, when I was in school, Marius beat the shit out of me and nobody did anything about it, and isn’t that racism too?” or “If she would stop talking with that accent, then she’d have no problem getting a job.”

    White people need to talk about this shit because it’s about damn time. And if you think that talking about it is going to make people more racist, which I’ve been hearing a lot of, I just want to shake my head at you. I’ll refrain from shaking my finger, because that would be condescending and begging for a fight, but hey, not like white ladies don’t feel perfectly comfortable doing that at Important Black Men for disagreeing with them, so why not me. (Oh yes, Jan Brewer, I see what you did there.)

    People, it’s time. That is all. If you can’t speak your mind without getting all bound up in defensive or offensive bullshit, then please take a walk on the Lakewalk and come on back when you’re ready. I’ve been walking around my neighborhood every day, and muttering at the crows about it and how much I want to punch some of these assholes in the face, but I keep coming back to it after a breath or two and that’s what counts.

    So, let’s talk. Let’s listen. Can y’all do that? Please?

    hbh1 | Jan 30, 2012 | New Comment
  25. Professor Robert Jensen’s article can also be found at

    Sam | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  26. I’ve been informed by local a Native American that “white people are so racist.”

    Right … brilliant thinking there. Thanks so much for stoking this brand of stupidity.

    consuelo | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  27. Why is it stupidity? Isn’t it true that many Native Americans have been treated disrespectfully by whites on account of race? Isn’t it true that this happens often enough even today? It is at the very least true that there are a lot of racially intensive white people who have been rude toward Native Americans due to race.

    Sam | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  28. Yes, but when can I marry my dog?

    c-freak | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  29. I never thought about white privilege until I was at a shopping mall with an African-American friend. We were followed a little too closely by every clerk in the stores we visited. After a while I said out loud, “WTF, why are they doing this — following us around like this?” And my friend said, “It happens to me all the time.”

    TimK | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  30. Sorry, I’m not a racist, and I don’t feel guilty. I’m too busy fighting the stereotype that I’m unintelligent, lazy and unproductive, due to the fact I’m short, fat and bald. I out produce my peers, have absolutely stellar performance, but if you are not at least 6 foot tall, with a full head of hair, your opportunities are very limited.

    We all face challenges, and we all fight to overcome them.

    Joel | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  31. Short, fat, bald people didn’t spend centuries in slavery. That injustice may take centuries to overcome, if it ever is.

    DaVe | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  32. I wanted to take this seriously, but it’s so over-the-top offensive that I wondered what was going on.

    Then I wondered if it is yet another way to split and to distract the middle/lower financial classes from what (I see) is the more important issue.

    emmadogs | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  33. Wait a minute- what is over-the-top offensive to you? The Un-Fair campaign or this thread or what? If you click on the Un-Fair campaign link at the top, I’d be pretty surprised if you found anything offensive in there… unless the statement “It is hard to see racism when you’re white” is all it takes to get you offended. That is the gist of the whole campaign- that’s it- that’s everything. Go be offended by the comments on Area Voices and you will feel better about yourself, but that doesn’t mean white privilege doesn’t exist (or that bringing it up is somehow reverse racism against whites).

    TimK | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  34. A white male complaining that he is disadvantage relative to other ethnic groups is like the New York Yankees complaining they are disadvantaged relative to other teams. Sure, other teams gun a little extra for the Yankees and everyone wants to knock out the best team, but overall the Yankees have huge advantages over all the other teams.

    It drives me crazy when people say “But whites have disadvantages too.” While that is technically true, it is missing the point that on balance there are usually more advantages to being white than not. Anyone who denies that is crazy or trying to sell you something.

    And I’m pretty sure study after study has shown that whites notice racism in our society less than nonwhites. Racism is often harder to see if it isn’t aimed as much at you!

    TimK’s story of noticing that nonwhites get followed more closely in stores than whites is just one example of how racial disadvantages are noticed more easily when it happens to you.

    Sam | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  35. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    I think they have great intentions. I also feel that putting the majority of white people on the defense when they wake up and see this huge billboard or another one of the ads isn’t the way to open a dialogue with no facts behind it other than seeing what is perceived as being called a racist only for the color of their skin.

    How many ad agencies had some great intention and ran an ad only to have it perceived negatively, only to pull it and apologize. That is what I see here. A great intention, with the terrible execution.

    Despite what some are saying, if the majority of your target populace is upset, on the defensive, and reading a different message than what you have intended, you’ve failed.

    This has no longer become a teaching moment on how to end racism, but a fight amongst whites on the merits of this campaign mostly ignoring the message that was intended, and that is sad and why this campaign is poorly executed.

    Jadiaz | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  36. For a minute there, DaVe, I thought you were saying it was an injustice that short fat bald men had never been enslaved. And I laughed.


    I am sometimes a bad person who laughs at bad jokes.

    That Robert Jensen article is very well worth reading. Sam, thank you.

    hbh1 | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  37. In truth, there is no beauty. | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  38. P.S. Joel, I’m sorry you face stereotyping that stands in your way. Remember though, no one is calling you a racist. They are pointing out that there are privileges that come with being white. Recognizing that fact does not mean that people are saying you don’t get to complain about when things are unfair, or that you’ve got it easy.

    Tall fair thin people with a full head of hair are absolutely (and scientifically) proven to be favored in work environments. I support you in discussing this problem in the future.

    Right now, however, I’m going to be a pain in the ass and remind folks that deflecting from the topic at hand (racism and white privilege) makes you look like you’re avoiding something.

    hbh1 | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  39. I have a friend who is black, a professor at UMD who looks as scholarly as you can get. He gets stopped by the cops **all the time** for “DWB.” Mr. Claire has never ever been stopped by the cops for “DWW” or DWJ” in all the 17 years we’ve lived here.

    I wonder if white women can relate better than some white men to “white privilege” because we know “male privilege” exists? What woman has not said something that was ignored, and when a man says the same thing 5 minutes later, everyone seizes upon it and thinks it’s worth validating?

    Like hbh1 says, let’s stop letting ourselves be distracted, and let’s start talking about what it’s like for those members of our community who do not benefit from white privilege.

    Claire | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  40. White privilege means getting to have a job as a police officer and knowing that while you are driving your rounds, nobody will call the police station and report that a police car has been stolen and is being driven around by someone of your color.

    Last semester I had an African American student, a former Duluth police officer, who had returned to school to complete his degree. He said that when he worked for the DPD, sometimes the dispatcher would receive phone calls reporting that a black man had stolen a police cruiser.

    The callers had seen this man driving his police vehicle and assumed it must have been stolen since a black man was driving it; the assumption being a black man couldn’t be a police officer.

    White privilege exists and many times veers into racist actions. It is something we need to be discussing in our society.

    davids | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  41. I mentioned I’m an elf, right?

    adam | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  42. Reminds me of the time I was at the airport and a woman in uniform breezed by the agent, who said, “Hold on, lady, only the pilot can get on the plane now.” The woman responded, “I am the pilot!”

    Claire | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  43. Wow. I can say this got more of a response than I imagined it would. I’m really encouraged to find that many of you see the value of this campaign. I also see where people say it failed because it made people angry, might be wrong. The 42 and growing responses show that indeed this campaign is working, if nothing else to get people thinking critically and engaging in dialogue. This may lead to action and positive outreach all around.

    Bravo Duluth!

    Interestingly enough, I thought this may interest some of you:

    Live Science: Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice

    Hans J

    j-buck | Jan 31, 2012 | New Comment
  44. I think that we need to occupy something and do something. I am giving up white milk for the next day or so.
    It’s like my kids that will talk non-stop about cleaning up their room but won’t actually clean it.
    I will light a candle, yeah, that’s what I’ll do.

    zizzer t | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  45. Question:

    Is an anti-racist ad campaign that targets only people of one race, then by the very definition of racism, itself racist?

    Joel | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  46. Question: Are you offended by being singled out? When you dissect the actual text of the posters and billboards, let alone the wealth of material available through the campaign, tell me which parts of it are wrong or misleading. Everybody has a lens, this is just calling one out that isn’t often discussed. If that is your hurt, it’s a small one.

    spy1 | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  47. I find all forms of racism deeply offensive, including this campaign!

    I support the idea that this campaign is trying to put forth. We all need to understand that we experience the world through filters.

    However, by using a racist campaign to fight racism, well it’s like killing for peace, or destroying the village in order to save it.

    Joel | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  48. @Jadiaz -- re: campaign poorly executed
    Are you/we talking about this subject? Is this an issue confronting us now? would we be talking about it if it had been another bland “awareness” campaign?

    Remember, less than a hundred years ago there was a circus in the fog and “blackies” hanging from a lightpole in front of the police station. One of the scary side “benefits” here is that there are those who feel the need to come out of the wood work and defend the status quo. Sometimes in a very threatening way. They feel the need to re-assert their racism. (I’m NOT calling anyone here a racist) Thus they self identify to the community. I do appreciate the feelings of those who have objections to the literally “in (y)our face” means by which this was executed. You probably have evolved and don’t operate with a color code and feel accused of an perpetuating injustice..feels unfair doesn’t it? Others still have not evolved. It’s nice to know that art (even if it’s “advertising”) still has power.

    baci | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  49. Mmmmmmm, I’m getting goosebumps from all of the love!

    OK, let’s say I dismiss 50 something years of first hand experience and resurrect the young man who read “Soul on Ice,” “Black Like Me,” etc.; bought into the ’60s and early ’70s trip, went through “race relations” training in the military, etc., and now I am wholly attuned to every facet of “white privilege” and it’s ugly flip-side. What would you like me to do? Should I approach every person of color and smile broadly and try to shake hands and profess how elated I am to be blessed with their presence or regard them with the same general indifference with which I regard most people I don’t know? Is that perceived as offensive? I’m tired of all of the special treatment minorities demand and this campaign is insulting. I don’t care about the presence or absence of pigment: what I care about is culture -- mine.

    MarcoSolo | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  50. I’ve avoided commenting on this until now, as I don’t think my innate ability to “stir shit up” would really be helpful here, but I just wanted to give some thoughts.

    1 -- This campaign was to get people thinking and talking about how they think about racism. Job done -- success! Even if people don’t like the campaign, it still has done it’s job (like an annoying advertisement that you can’t get out of your head).

    2 -- This campaign is not saying “all white people are racist,” or “white people are never the victims of racism,” or even “if you don’t notice racism, obviously you’re unobservant.” It is simply saying, “if you are white, you may not have encountered racism, and therefore may not be aware of it.”

    It is normal for a human to have limited scope of a situation, as it is hard to recognize something that does not directly confront you -- this is the result of how the human brain and social awareness has evolved. Simply put, the human brain is not wired to automatically recognize something that does not affect it – it takes a conscious effort to see beyond yourself and your own experiences.

    This argument goes beyond racism into all aspects of life – if you have something, it takes a moment of conscious awareness to recognize those that don’t. Whites not being aware of the effects of racism, wealthy not being aware of the realities of being poor, men unaware of the problems women encounter, educated people not being aware of the difficulties of those with learning disabilities, U.S. residents not being aware of the living conditions of other nations, healthy people unaware or the problems associated with a physical or metal impairment, etc. etc. etc. There are millions of ways that people can not see something, just because they didn’t realize there was something to see. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad people, but just that they might benefit from stopping and taking a moment to think about the experiences of those around you.

    BadCat! | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  51. First off, let me say that I understand the sentiments of this campaign. Unity, equality, understanding blah blah blah but I never understood using divisiveness to create unity. Like what Joel said in his post, we all have obstacles to overcome in life…can’t we unite over that? Isn’t it easier to accept something you can relate to rather than something “you’ll just never understand as a white person?” This reminds me of the many “tough girls” I’ve met who had pity parties about their “lives on the STREETS” and how “I’d never understand” what they’ve been through. I grew up in the suburbs but honey that doesn’t mean I haven’t been through anything, believe you me.

    I am Anishinaabe (Native American) and have seen so many of our people use racism as an excuse for their station in life. Yeah, we were dealt a shitty hand historically and lord knows we start out at the bottom and have to work our way to the top. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done or that failure is inevitable, but people use our “loss” in the lottery as an excuse to give up. When I was a teacher in Duluth I had native students tell me “you don’t know what my home life is like, it’s hard to be me…that’s why I haven’t done my homework” and Native ed literally FOUGHT with me to just give them the grades. Where is the accountability? If people just sit around feeling sorry for me all the time I’m not going to take any responsibility for my future. I told my students that I’m Native, and my life isn’t always easy, I face many of the same obstacles but lord knows I don’t get paid if I don’t show up to work.

    That’s not to say I don’t think racism exists or contributes to our society. I think *corporations* are responsible for ethical hiring practices, *the government* has been historically racist and cruel towards us, and individual *police* have to decide whether to make decisions based on race or based on the merits of the case. There is an environment of acceptance of these things sometimes and that needs to be addressed. I’ve found that when it is, people are very understanding. A few years ago when someone in Canal Park started printing offensive t-shirts regarding “Indian names” the tribune put it on the front page and people all over town, of every race were outraged. I have been a victim of racism from white people but also from African Americans when I’ve dated men from their race, and from other Natives who don’t consider my skin an acceptable amount of dark or lightness. Or my hair long enough. Or my speech too “white.” We all hold ridiculous standards for one another and oftentimes act upon them…and it’s wrong every time.

    I just think there are more tactful ways to create understanding. The truth may be ugly but cooperation shouldn’t be.

    Makoons | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  52. Why is it stupidity? Isn’t it true that many Native Americans have been treated disrespectfully by whites on account of race? Isn’t it true that this happens often enough even today? It is at the very least true that there are a lot of racially intensive white people who have been rude toward Native Americans due to race.

    It’s stupidity because “white people are so racist” is a racist statement.

    consuelo | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  53. Some of us are talking, and yes that is great. I feel the majority aren’t other than to take a defensive, “I’m not racist! This campaign is terrible!” stance.

    I love that the city is trying to open a dialogue. I don’t like how they have done it. Most people are not visiting the Un-fair site or looking deeper at the issue, nor will they past talking about how pissed they are for being called racist.

    I know the campaign isn’t trying to call all whites racist, but perception matters more than intent. Rather than open people up, this has further shut them down or pushed them further toward giving white privilege as they group together to say screw the city for calling me racist.

    Again, great intent, but poor execution.

    Jadiaz | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  54. It’s stupidity because “white people are so racist” is a racist statement.

    That would be stupidity if it said that “All white people are so racist,” but that is not what it says. “Sometimes (too often) white people are so racist.” That is what it really says, and that isn’t racist.

    The person is expressing frustration about how often white people are racist, and this frustration is not itself racist. Given the myriad of experiences of racism, the frustration is perfectly natural.

    Sam | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  55. An offensive, ill-conceived, and short-sighted ad campaign cobbled together by an invisible committee for which not one of the 15 culpable organization assumes responsibility is the antithesis of constructive dialogue -- it’s poisoning, divisive, polarizing. Hilarious: the graffiti across the models’ faces says if you don’t know what to think about all of this, call us and we’ll tell you what to think. Genuine cross-cultural exchange -- same as it ever was -- minimal at best.

    It’s disingenuous of the mayor to suggest only “white supremacists” have marked up in opposition, thereby justifying this lunacy. Of course he/they can’t cop to stupid at this point so they have to put on a collectively solemn, earnest, we’re-committed-to-the-struggle mien. Be glad it’s just a bunch of fledgling idealists trying out their chops on Duluth where any long term effects should be pretty well contained. Try this nonsense in Atlanta and see what happens. In the immortal words of Rodney King, “C-C-C-Can’t we all just g-g-get along?”

    MarcoSolo | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  56. I guess if something makes you uncomfortable, better to call it divisive, dismiss it, and move on. Sounds like more of the same. I’m still trying to get where this campaign blankets anyone as racist. Offensive? Please. In opposition? Of what?

    spy1 | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  57. @Spy1

    Uncomfortable, not at all; thoroughly pissed, yes. I don’t generally “move on” when the possibility of taking action exists.

    Dismiss me if it makes you feel all tingly, but here’s an article by Sister Edith of St. Scholasitca at on why she believes “un-fair is un-wise.” She’s more gentle and more erudite. She starts out by saying she’s proud of St. Scholastica for declining to join with the other organizations in this project. After that our sentiment is abut the same: she goes on to say that if you start by directly or tacitly singling out and accusing someone or by extension an entire city or ethnicity of being consciously or ignorantly racist, you cannot expect the conversation to progress much beyond that.

    The images and language used in this campaign are patently offensive and immediate dialogue killers — the good Sister sees it, I see it, a lot of other people see it as well. The creators of the campaign selected these images for their shock value, so only the willfully obtuse could describe them as neutral or benign.

    Those responsible should pull their propaganda, apologize to those they have offended, and, if their missionary zeal is unabated, go back to the drawing board to find a way to bring people together rather than drive them apart.

    I’m done -- thanks to the OP for the use of this forum.

    MarcoSolo | Feb 1, 2012 | New Comment
  58. It’s disingenuous of the mayor to suggest only “white supremacists” have marked up in opposition.

    It would be disingenuous IF the major actually said that ONLY white supremacists have opposed the campaign. But he never said that. He did say that he received some threatening white supremacist hate mail, though. That isn’t disingenuous, but it is true.

    Northland’s NewsCenter: “New campaign brings backlash to Duluth Mayor

    Sam | Feb 2, 2012 | New Comment
  59. Argh, Sam, I’m tired of this but here goes anyway.

    The mayor doesn’t have to actually say something untrue if he can suggest it by inference. Not everything is conveniently black and white. He is responding to attacks on his support for the campaign. If you read the article without bias, his statement is in effect that the sentiments expressed by the white supremacists justify his support of the program. What he doesn’t say is he has also received emails from non-racists who condemn the tone of the campaign -- see media reports on backlash and, as much as I dislike Facebook, his Facebook page.

    MarcoSolo | Feb 2, 2012 | New Comment
  60. That would be stupidity if it said that “All white people are so racist,” but that is not what it says. “Sometimes (too often) white people are so racist.” That is what it really says, and that isn’t racist.

    That’s not what the statement says, because it omits the word ‘some’. You’re basically making things up. If I said ‘squids have so much ink’, does that mean ‘some squids have ink’? No.

    consuelo | Feb 2, 2012 | New Comment
  61. Either way, the statement is broadly characterizing people based on their ethnicity -- it’s a racist statement and indefensible. But, this post wasn’t created to discuss something some racist idiot told me 5 years ago.

    consuelo | Feb 2, 2012 | New Comment
  62. Might I also add to Consuelo’s comment that as an Anishinaabe person, I don’t think our history with white people should be used as an excuse or “free pass” to be racist against them. It’s wrong for whatever reason from whatever source.

    Makoons | Feb 2, 2012 | New Comment
  63. How about Bullworth’s idea for racial deconstruction at the 4:30 minute mark?

    DaVe | Feb 3, 2012 | New Comment
  64. I received an anonymous e-mail today from “Choosy Choosester,” asking me to share the video below, so I guess it’s time to invoke “Godwin’s Law.”

    Click on the “CC” button to activate the subtitles.

    Paul Lundgren | Feb 5, 2012 | New Comment
  65. That is sooooo brilliant — I’m stunned and amazed!

    TimK | Feb 5, 2012 | New Comment
  66. Here is an interesting story about it all:

    Robin Washington: “Racism easy to see with a little help”

    edgeways | Feb 5, 2012 | New Comment
  67. There is a new DNT forum up discussing this stuff, and it is even crazier than the last one. I don’t understand why there are so many lunatics posting at the DNT forum.

    Our View: Mayor Ness threatened; anti-racism campaign has its moment to seize

    Sam | Feb 6, 2012 | New Comment
  68. By the way, there is an event on Wednesday where this issue will be openly discussed, which will likely be far more productive than any Internet comments.

    “Un-Fair” Campaign Community Dialogue

    Paul Lundgren | Feb 6, 2012 | New Comment
  69. Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Narrows by Race

    We should really be paying more attention to money divide, not racial divide.

    emmadogs | Feb 10, 2012 | New Comment
  70. adam | Feb 14, 2012 | New Comment
  71. Swim Creative, the ad agency that created the Un-fair campaign, released this public service announcement earlier this month. It has over 200,000 views already.

    Paul Lundgren | Jun 28, 2012 | New Comment
  72. Duluth News Tribune: “Un-Fair Campaign billboard defaced

    emmadogs | Jun 28, 2012 | New Comment
  73. Hey by the way, thank you, Paul and everyone, for fixing the links I submit. I don’t know how to transmit a copied link to an understandable link, so I appreciate it!

    Yay PDD!!!

    p.s. this doesn’t make the Sammy Hagar, so-called Van Halen ‘prize’ any better though.

    emmadogs | Jun 28, 2012 | New Comment
  74. The DNT is a bit creative in labeling the term ‘naggers’ a racist slur. I think we can all guess what the tagger was going for, but they missed the mark. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the graffiti is an elegant guerrilla aspect of the campaign.

    dbb | Jun 28, 2012 | New Comment
  75. Emmadogs: Here’s a helpful link page.

    Ramos | Jun 28, 2012 | New Comment
  76. Thanks Ramos! Unfortunately, reading that link page made my head hurt. I’m hopeless.

    emmadogs | Jun 29, 2012 | New Comment

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