Join students from five colleges in solidarity with UMD students at Monday march/rally

Racism in Minnesota?  Really?  In the wake of a Facebook scandal that has rocked the UMD community, students and community members will join together on Monday, May 3, as a united community standing together against all forms of racism.   UMD students will make a 4-mile march beginning at 10 a.m. at the Washington Center and ending at Kirby Plaza, UMD.   

In an unprecedented expression of unity, students from the University of Wisconsin, Superior, the College of St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College and Fond du Lac Tribal Community College and local high schools are planning simultaneous rallies and marches in solidarity with UMD students. 

St. Scholastica students will walk out of classes on the main campus at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 3, to rally in solidarity with UMD students.  Many faculty and staff will be joining the one-hour rally.  An American Indian drum group will begin playing at 10 a.m. as the call to walk-out of class and community members will meet on the front lawn of the Science building at St. Scholastica. 

The rally will feature local musicians and guest faculty speaker Dr. Sabah Alwan. Northlanders are encouraged to join with students at one of the area colleges to show unity in rejection of racism of all forms.

At approximately 11 a.m., St. Scholastica marchers will make their way east on College Street to march one mile to meet and join with UMD marchers coming from the east,  forming one group of unified marchers at approximately 11:45.  

Participants will wear black in solidarity with UMD students and march in silence to symbolize the silence of oppression. 

Simultaneous events are being planned at UWS, Lake Superior College, and Fond du Lac Tribal Community College, and several area high schools and middle schools.  Organizers expect large turnouts and estimate up to 1,000 participants across the region across all
campuses.

*  STUDENT COALITION AGAINST RACISM (SCAR) is a coalition of students from UMD, UWS, Lake Superior College, College of St. Scholastica, and Fond du Lac Tribal Community College and area youth that recently organized to take a stand against racism of all forms in our region and systems of oppression. 

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44 Comments

bobby61278

about 11 years ago

All of this because some white kids said some rude shit on facebook about some black kids?  Lighten up a bit. You gonna march when some black kids say some shit about "skinny white bitches"?  Don't be so naive.  Minorities in our community are at an institutional advantage these days, "oppression" exists only in one's mind.

Sam

about 11 years ago

I do not agree with bobby61278 that "minorities are at an institutional advantage" and "oppression only exists in the mind."  For every one institutional advantage there are about 1000 institutional disadvantages for minorities.

Here is a study on how non-whites in the U.S. are systematically discriminated against for jobs... http://bit.ly/2hdPwb

Here is a chapter from a book on institutional racism about health care discrimination in the U.S.... http://bit.ly/a4WhwU

Here is an article on institutional racism in the U.S. legal system.  For example, "Black people are 14% of illegal drug users and 35% of those arrested for possession. (US Public Health Service study)"... http://bit.ly/caPwsI

Here is a short article on white privilege by a U Texas prof... http://bit.ly/285POG

And these articles indicate merely the tip of the iceberg.  Institutional racism runs very deep, and the slight institutional advantages any minority might have pale by comparison to the disadvantages.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

Hey Bobby61278, if oppression only exists in one's mind these days, why are "some white kids" writing racist remarks on Facebook? 

It seems to me that a handful of people being racist should be more upsetting to you than thousands of people standing against it.

bobby61278

about 11 years ago

@Paul-racist remarks on facebook is not oppression.  oppression is not being allowed to vote, segregation, apartheid, etc.  This just seems like a giant overreaction.

davids

about 11 years ago

Bobby61278,

Your attitude is part of the system of institutionalized racism we live within--race as a tool for dividing people in our society doesn't go away just because those who are in privileged positions say it doesn't exist. If you took the time listen to people rather than simply write comments on a blog, you would hear students and others outline ways that this is not an isolated event, but one among many examples of the ways that our society has still not seriously addressed the questions of difference.

I really encourage you, and anyone else who thinks responding to these kinds of things is not significant, to look at some of the resources Sam lists (thanks Sam!). We have work to do as a society; simply ignoring or looking the other way when these kinds of things happen is not going to get that work done.

adam

about 11 years ago

Just don't call us Northlanders.

Melissa

about 11 years ago

And for the few Duluthians who haven't yet seen the Facebook transcript (as everyone at UMD has)...

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=5550296508&topic=22595

TimK

about 11 years ago

White privilege is such that the bobbys of the world don't recognize it within themselves. Think about this for a minute:  what if all the tea party rallies were mostly black folk. All screaming about the government and taxes- oh yeah, a good number of them are openly wearing side arms and carrying signs about comparing the president to a dictator. Do you think they would become media darlings or rounded up and jailed?

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

Racist remarks on Facebook are indeed oppression, Bobby. Granted, there are degrees of oppression and this situation ranks on the lighter side, but any act of cruel subjugation can be considered oppression.

Claire

about 11 years ago

I read the transcript and was disgusted. I'm a strong believer in free speech, but this crosses the line into oppression and harassment of a woman because of her race. Free speech doesn't give people the right to just spew crap about others in public forums.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

Yeah, its a real problem.  Absolutely it is.  

I read the transcript, too, Claire.  One of the things that really struck me about it was how it seemed like a couple of young people who thought they were being funny or "cute" and totally oblivious to how hurtful their remarks were. They were so glib with basically filthy, denigrating, and hateful language.  Also noteworthy, when they got called out, it sounded like they actually knew the other girl which adds to the nastiness of it all - African American kids and peopel from other groups persistently have to wonder in far too many situations:  "what do they REALLY think of me." And this is a great illustration of why.  Either way it was remarkable how quickly she moved from an object of derision into being considered a real human being.  And a formidable one, too, because she really called them to task, tenaciously and courageously, too.  

The prospect of a thousand or more young people, presumably of all races, to get together and say: "We don't think racism is funny" is pretty cool. No, it's not the march on Washington, or Freedom Riders, or even desegregating lunch counters. In some ways its more than that.  The rally reaches young people exactly where they are, and they are not targeting institutions or some generic "the man." They are targeting people's hearts and minds -- encouraging people of all races and backgrounds to consider their own words and actions and to see where they might be hurtful or nasty and to STOP acting racist.  That's the ultimate battlefield in many ways, the battlefield of the heart.  I find this rally very inspiring.  

I wish I could bring my own kids so some of the college kids' justice and equality activism would rub off on them.  But they're little yet, and they need to learn the basics like reading and 'rithmatic first so I think I'm gonna leave 'em in school.  But don't be surprised if Mrs Goose and I show up with our littlest gosling.  Either way we will be hoping and praying for your success, h8snowtires, and for hearts to be transformed and healed in all of the students who are involved.

Claire

about 11 years ago

Interesting, Wild Goose. Sad that those who think it's no big deal don't get it: the target of this abuse in a public forum is a real person.

David

about 11 years ago

I hope that starting at that spot on the Hillside doesn't preclude a walk past the CJM Memorial.  Such a visit would clearly remind the students that these issues must be addressed on and off campus.

mac

about 11 years ago

Overblown.  Pure and simple.  It was disgusting what the girls said, but the reaction to this like it is an institutional problem is doing nothing to help the school or anyone for that matter.  You could find dozens of instances of racism by college students at UMD or CSS or LSC on Facebook every month.  The only reason this is a big deal is that it was public and the girls were not smart enough to set their privacy settings so everyone could not see it.  Racism is not as serious of a problem as the school is making it out to be. 

It's sad that the school can get all huffy puffy over the rights of this one "oppressed" student, but when multiple students come out and tell tales of sexual harassment against a UMD fitness instructor with a history of such accusations, the school does nothing of any substance.  Apparently two kids "talking" with racist overtones on Facebook is more of a problem than one of their staffers actively harassing multiple students over a number of years in a sexual manner.

Sam

about 11 years ago

Mac,

The following two statements you make seem to be at odds with each other:

#1. "You could find dozens of instances of racism by college students at UMD or CSS or LSC on Facebook every month."

#2. "Racism is not as serious of a problem as the school is making it out to be."

Are you joking, Mac?  If #1 is true, then #2 is false!  If dozens of students regularly write racist crap online (as #1 says), and presumably for every racist who writes crap online there are many others who are not dumb enough to write about their racism online, then this would mean that there are a heck of a lot of racists  at Duluth colleges.  This would be a major problem (contrary to #2)!

bobby61278

about 11 years ago

Agreed Mac
Here are my two main points:
1) Don't be naive.  The post begins, "Racism in Minnesota?  Really?" Does the author honestly believe that we are so holier than thou in northern liberal utopia that no one harbors racist sentiments? Have you been to the Iron Range? Negative racial attitudes exist everywhere and are held by members of ALL RACES (exhibit A: Rev. Jesse Jackson refers to NYC as "Hymie-town"). I tutored Native American high school students while in college and was stunned to hear them speak openly about their dislike for white people (while I was helping them learn).  But I get it. There will always be an axe to grind, from the beginning to eternity. That will never disappear.

2) This is an overreaction.  This group, SCAR, is going to organize a walk-out, from five schools, leading to a march, because of a FACEBOOK CONVERSATION BETWEEN A FEW KIDS! David suggested they march past the CJM memorial, and I agree.  That way they can see what a real injustice constitutes, not this petty back and forth accidentally made public.  Thom Yorke said "I wish it was the sixties", and I think I know why.  Liberals, especially college-aged ones, are just dying to protest something.  The fact that this incident is causing this large of a reaction, is indicative of how far we've actually moved in this country.  There's nothing major to get worked up about. Only these minor, overblown, blips.

Sam

about 11 years ago

bobby61278,

In 1), you say racism is widespread in Minnesota.
In 2), you say " There's nothing major to get worked up about."

Apparently, you think that widespread racism is nothing major.  But here you are wrong.  

If racism is indeed widespread in our community, we need to take serious action.

mac

about 11 years ago

I'll admit that was a contradiction, but people can be racist unintentionally and that is what I meant.  There are many terms in use today that have racist roots.  People use racist words in jokes and jokingly.  The fact that we now supposedly have a serious racial relations problem because of a Facebook conversation is ridiculous.  

There are bigger problems like I mentioned before with a staffer accused time after time again throughout his time at UMD of sexual assault and apparently that is not worth a march or anything.  Where was the march last year when UMD students at the DECC started shouting gay slurs at the opponent during a hockey game?

Sam

about 11 years ago

bobby and mac,

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read these articles so you can understand some of what we are talking about...

Here is a study on how non-whites in the U.S. are systematically discriminated against for jobs... http://bit.ly/2hdPwb

Here is a chapter from a book on institutional racism about health care discrimination in the U.S.... http://bit.ly/a4WhwU

Here is an article on institutional racism in the U.S. legal system. For example, "Black people are 14% of illegal drug users and 35% of those arrested for possession. (US Public Health Service study)"... http://bit.ly/caPwsI

Here is a short article on white privilege by a U Texas prof... http://bit.ly/285POG

mac

about 11 years ago

I read them.  My point stands.  This is not as big of a deal as the school is making it out to be.  On the flip side, please explain to me the lack of a response to the gay slur chanting at the hockey game and the continued employment of an accused sexual harasser with accusations spanning years.

Sam

about 11 years ago

mac, 

Fair enough, UMD totally dropped the ball on issue with the the staffer who has been accused by a number of women over many years of sexual harassment.  I did hear (about 4th hand from a friend of a friend of an acquaintance of a friend, so take it with a grain of salt), however, that most all the UMD faculty and staff involved in the investigation recommended firing the staffer.  What I heard (4th hand) was that the Vice Chancellor in charge of this staffer was so adamant about firing the staffer that the Vice Chancellor was forced to step down by his superior.  I heard (remember, 4th hand) that it was only this superior that insisted that the staffer not be fired.  So, if this 4th hand information is to be believed (and I'm not necessarily saying it is), it seems that most all of the UMD administrators in charge of this process wanted to do the right thing, but it was prevented at the top.

But they would also be dropping the ball if they did not wake up and deal with the long standing racial issues on campus.

Sam

about 11 years ago

PS - And they should wake up and deal with the rampant homophobia on campus too.  The words "gay", "homo", and "fag" are regularly used on campus to mean "bad".  This is very unfortunate and disheartening.

David

about 11 years ago

I think that it's too easy to presume that the protest is "about the Facebook exchange."  In fact, it's "about" the institutional climate at UMD, something that you have to experience as a person of color to recognize.

Does this over-react to the stupidity of two kids on Facebook?  Maybe.  That's not what it's about, to the students.  

The next step, though, is seeing that the world is bigger and more complex than campus, and protesting the climate on campus is only a first, small step.

hbh1

about 11 years ago

Bottom line: the FB conversation was the catalyst--evidence in black and white that this sort of thing happens all the time, in not-so-secret, every day. It was akin to spraypainting the words on the wall of the study room where they all were. That sort of boldness only exists in an environment where this sort of talk is not just commonplace but generally goes unconfronted by the white people who witness it. 

Bravo to the students who have taken the opportunity to do something about it besides feel bad or complain to the administration. Contrition on the part of the "sinners" is not the point. Changing the dynamic is.

Claire

about 11 years ago

Hbh1 nailed it. I see the FB incident as being the straw that broke the camel's back. Bravo for all of the student groups coming together to speak up against this dynamic.

bobby61278

about 11 years ago

Sam-

Throw all the statistics you want at me about race and disadvantage.  Here's the one that matters most.

Nearly 70% of black children are born to single mothers. Almost 50% of Hispanic children are born to single mothers.  That number falls to 25% for white kids. 

This is the real problem facing minorities in this country, not some BS on FB.  SCAR should lead a march encouraging family unity if it really is interested in minority protection and advancement.

bobby61278

about 11 years ago

Here's the link:
http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/pdf/75_PDF.pdf

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

Bobby, that is one of the weakest arguments I've ever heard. 

1) This is more important than that, so that isn't important.

2) It's wrong to do anything about that, because you should be worrying about this.

If you want to prioritize the world's problems, that's all well and good. But as far as this particular issue is concerned, you really ought to ask yourself why it offends you that people are standing together to make a statement against racism.

huitz

about 11 years ago

I think the protest was scheduled wrong and a bit over-reactive to an incident that may have nothing to do with racism in the first place.  I've seen teenage girls do more terrible things out of spite (and boys, too) and nobody marched about it.  We don't have all the facts on this one.

Good intention, great idea, just bad timing.

davids

about 11 years ago

Huitz,

A student group at UMD called SPAT (Students Promoting Awareness and Tolerance Through Teaching) has been working on the climate regarding race at UMD for at least 4 years. They've been doing "in the trenches" work of visiting classes, talking about their experiences and about issues of institutional racism, and educating people at a very nondiverse university in a very nondiverse city in order to open up ideas and attitudes. There have been significant incidents related to race and other markers of difference regularly at the university (i.e. murals of famous Black, Asian, and Gay leaders stolen from their display spaces, etc.) 

At the UMD SPATout event last week, which was scheduled long before this FB incident took place, many people stood up and described issues that reflect a climate of unwillingness to accept difference on campus. This FB incident is NOT a singular incident. 

When do people get permission to act? When is the right time, and why do you (or I or anyone else?) get to decide when there have been enough of these kinds of things to merit a march or any other nonviolent action?

h8snowtires

about 11 years ago

Bobby:  It's true that African American women are working to raise their children without help from their childrens' fathers at a higher percentage than white women. But since you're such a genius with regard to who should be lecturing who, perhaps you will be interested in this statistic:  80% of all children being raised by single mothers in the United States are WHITE!  Dead-beat dads deserting their families is a problem for our Nation, definitely, but it's primarily a white problem.  Applying statistics like you did in your earlier post that have absolutely NO relevance to the issue of whether or not students should be protesting racism is very revealing of what it is you're actually angry about, and what's sad is that you don't have accurate information.  I hope you read some of the articles others posted earlier and learn something.

h8snowtires

about 11 years ago

Just to clarify, the statement I made at the beginning of this post ("Racism in Minnesota?  Really?"), that was intended as sarcasm. Unfortunatly, my sarcasm was lost on a few readers who thought I was implying my shock and outrage that any of our "nice" folks in Minnesota might actually think or write anything racist.  It happens every day, right here in Duluth and elsewhere in Minnesota.  What I'm most outraged about is how few people know it's a problem.

With regard to how the sexual harassment issue was mis-handled at UMD:  Totally right there with everyone else who is angry about that institutional oppression played out.  But I'm also outraged over how racism is dished out and experienced every day in our "nice" community and institutions sweep it under-the-rug so us "nice" folks can pretend it doesn't exist.  

Racism is a real problem not just in Duluth, but in many predominantly white communities in our Nation.  As our community grows more diverse, racism is a spreading cancer that we need help with, and if that help comes in the form of our youth speaking out and walking out and saying "ENOUGH!" and we are unwilling to support them...then we are doomed. Forget walking by the CJM memorial, because there's no point -- if you argue that students rejecting racism is "overblown" then you clearly have no idea how pervasive racism is and are part of the problem, not the solution. 

Our inability as a community to admit that racism is a problem, the unwillingness of some to learn to dialogue about it, and the visceral knee-jerk reaction to lash out at those shining a light on racism and criticism of those young people bold enough to ask us all to reject racism in all forms -- that, my friend, is the REAL sickness plaguing this community.  I am prou of our youth and hope we see 2000 people tomorrow morning!!!

Claire

about 11 years ago

Does anyone know the route the march will take -- I know it's going east on 4th Street, but is it then going up 19th Ave. E or is it going up Woodland, before turning on to College? Thanks!

mac

about 11 years ago

h8snowtires, you statistic about 80% of single-mothers in the United States being white is pointless since this would be expected because a vast majority of this country is white.

David

about 11 years ago

For the record, h8, my suggestion that they reroute past the memorial was intended to both support and challenge the students.  Both gestures are necessary.

h8snowtires

about 11 years ago

David -- your suggestion that the marchers go past CJM was poignant and right-on.  I wasn't arguing with that -- just pointing out that it's the responsibility of adults in this community to affirm that our youth are engaged in something valuable, meaningful and critical for our future together. The few out there intent on telling our kids they are wasting their time are the few whom the CJM would have little meaning for.  See you at the march tomorrow!

The route?  The 4 mile march begins at Washington Center at 10:00.  Will go east on 4th Street, then uphill on Woodland Avenue, then left on College, then right on University to Kirby Plaza.  St. Scholastica marchers will rally at 10:00, then begin walking at 11:00 along College to meet UMD marchers on College.

Peace!

h8snowtires

about 11 years ago

To Adam and all:  I sincerely apologize for the "Northlanders" thing, which was mentioned in a post by Adam.  That phrased bugged me when I first came to Duluth many eons ago but I've apparently become so accustomed to that made-up word that I actually wrote it. 

Just out of curiosity for any grammarians, is "the northland" even correct?  I would think it would be "the northern" lands, region, or are of Minnesota if someone actually wanted to reference one of the 4 directions in describing us.

Adam, please accept my very sincere and humble apology for using "Northlander".  And thank you for pointing it out!

-Berv

about 11 years ago

What the heck is so wrong with Northlander? Sheesh.

@ndy

about 11 years ago

Nick,

Why don't you "lead a march encouraging family unity". Whoever said we can't have a march against racism on Monday and a march against dead-beat dads on Tuesday?

There are lots of problems facing everyone in this country, but racism is certainly one of them and frankly, it is up to folks other than us white guys to decided what the "real problem[s]" are within their community.

bobby61278

about 11 years ago

Paul, I'm not offended. I just think this energy is misplaced. Priorities are important. As I stated earlier, there are bigger fish to fry.

h8snowtires, this IS what dialogue sounds like. I appreciate the disagreement, and respect the civility shown me (who is clearly outnumbered). Also, please provide accurate information if mine is not. 
And, what then, am I "really mad about?" Do tell, please.

huitz

about 11 years ago

davids,

This was exactly the thing I was going to recommend to the community, but apparently you are already doing it.

I went under the unfounded assumption that one came after the other, or "post hoc ergo propter hoc", or "therefore then because of this".  Guilty as charged.  I should do better research.

You're right about this area, in that it has an inherent knack for misunderstanding with people of any color that are considered "outsiders".

But the other uproar is still, in my opinion, a bit strong in light of the facts.

Think about it this way (outside of the box).  Perhaps your planned event caused the outburst.  I'm pretty sure it didn't, but you never know.

Claire

about 11 years ago

To the people who are arguing, "why don't you march against [this] instead?" and "why don't you march against [that]? -- these students are organizing today's march about an issue they are concerned about. If there is another issue you think is more important, no one is stopping you from organizing your own march. This is what democracy is all about.

Claire

about 11 years ago

I marched today with maybe 600-700 other marchers, including Chancellor Martin and May Ness, as well as students and community members. It was inspiring, that these young students had organized such a great event that obviously empowered everybody there. I wasn't able to stay for the rally, but if it was as well-organized as the march, I am sure it was an amazing experience.

Kudoes to all those who helped organize this march. I hope it has an impact, and people think before uttering racist comments or even laughing at others when they utter racist comments.

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