Saturday, January 6, 2007

Crossing the Great Divide

Up until today, when I googled North Minneapolis, I consistently got this link at the top of the page. For those of you too lazy to click on it, it defines the area as "an African American neighborhood" and contains a big photo of a graffitied building with some folks loitering on the corner in front of a grocery-tobacco shop. Nice.

Thankfully, today's google search resulted in Positive Perceptions at the top of the page.

North Minneapolis gets a bad rap, but there are a few people working on changing that. It's going to be a tough road, considering the fact that this section of town has been slathered in stigma for my entire life, which -let's just say- represents a fair amount of time.

First of all, it's not a "neighborhood." North Minneapolis in fact contains at least 15 distinct and recognized neighborhoods within it. The term "North Minneapolis" simply describes an area, to the northwest of downtown, not to be confused with Northeast, Southeast/University, Downtown, etc.

Second of all, I want to just come right out and say that a big part of the metro area's distain for North has to do with the notion that black people are concentrated there. Sorry, but I believe that. Nobody wants to say it... but most of Minneapolis is whitebread. The suburbs are essentially whitebread. There is still a LOT of prejudice around these parts.

Having said that, I will now admit to a bit of predisposed thinking myself. For example, I never really questioned the idea that most of our metro's black people were over North. So much so that the first few times I went to work on my new house and saw a white person walking their dog or getting in their car I was like "Oh look, a white person! How novel!"

As an aside, the feeling was something ambiguous, and akin to my reaction to Americans when I was living abroad. I was curious about them, but not sure if I really wanted them around, since they might well embarrass me.


The whole point of this is that I, a life-long South-sider, just bought a house over North. I am going to renovate it and live in it, at least for a while. So, I thought it might be interesting to chronicle the experiences.

Who knows? It could be boring as shit. Or maybe not.

I trust you will let me know...


black java said...

Good luck up there and with your blog. It should be interesting.

Ranty said...


Anonymous said...

Very well said! As a fellow northsider of the caucasion-persuasion - I couldn't agree more. I'm at the point of slapping my fellow whitey's when the gaspa nd clutch their pearls when they learn of my residence. I'll be reading your adventures over north! thanks!