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About "Tracking the Gaps" Blog
We "track the gaps" in "The Big 7" of inner city Minneapolis: Education, Jobs, Housing, Public Safety (including tracking the war on young Black men) E nvironment, and E thics (of access and opportunity, of liberty and justice for all). In doing so we also track the failures of the post 60s Civil Rights Movement and the failures of Black organizations like the NAACP, who have taken their eyes off the prize. Hence our efforts to provide solutions.
We track the gaps 4 ways, through:
We started with the book. But the Black so-called leadership forum/ministerial alliance told people not to read or buy it. The mainline press (Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press) refused to cover the book (not to mention two Black weeklies). Only the Black newspaper weekly The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and the white alternative paper City Pages reviewed the book and provided front page coverage.
And the NAACP? They expelled me from the local and national NAACP because of my being critical of their stewardship (book, Chapter 14) in terms of both their moneys and their missions. They have never refuted anything that I have written. They just didn't want truth spoken in public.
So when the Minnesota Spokesman-Recoder offered us a column, with the name The Minneapolis Story continues , we jumped on it. And when our publisher invited us to try this new form of communications, the web log, or blog as they are now known, we accepted. We are old school. We are not tech savy. So we appreciate the support for enabling us to do so.
Our blog, column, archive, solution paper, and book are all geared to bring the themes of the gaps in these 7 areas into the open and to provide workable solutions. Working in conjunction with our publisher, Beacon on the Hill Press, we have done just that.
We track the gaps between Minneapolis' inner city minorities, especially Blacks, and the Whites of the greater Minneapolis area, gaps we view as caused by purposeful public policy blockades instituted by both White and Black bureaucratic professions, doing harm with their sense of good, in the Big 7 of America.
Please understand this: we are NOT about being victims. And we are not about raising the spectre of white guilt.
So understand this: what we ARE: we are about fairness and justice, which we translate as equal access and equal opportunity (NOT equal results, but equal access and opportunity).
For those who want labels, I am a Nellie Stone Johnson Democrat. Read more in my book's Interlude 3. For more on Nellie, read Nellie Stone Johnson: The Life of an Activist, and Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights and the Transformation of the Democratic Party.
She lived to her 90s, spanning most of the 20 th century. She founded and led the Farm Labor Party. Humbert Humphey and his smaller Democratic party asked if they could merge parties. Yes, she said, if we don't lose our name. Hence, in Minnesota, its is the DFL (Democrat Farm Labor Party). She was my mentor. She would be pleased with much of the progress. She was never pleased with the way the inner city was treated. And despite being a close advisor to several governors, leading Black organizations of tossed her out, as the Democratic Party would do later. Why? Because the DFL believed in a state political party in control and Nellie believed in the community, in the grass roots, or in what some now call the "net roots."
Many Blacks have done well in this country. We leave alone the prejudice and racism that exists (every group has its own stories, for and against them). What we will not leave alone is the discrimination that can occur because of the racism and prejudice, especially on our Big 7.
Many are still being left behind in the inner cities, their only purpose to warehouse Democratic votes come election times. Inner city Blacks are treated as Blacks in the "Middle Passage", piled on their wooden bunks awaiting for the next landfall: the next election.
We also raise the stakes: "Tracking the Gaps" is also about tracking the failures of the civil rights movement, a failure that is primarily the fault of whites, as they control the policy machinery, and, as the Democrats control city politics, the problem of most inner cities is because the Democratic Party maintains an almost unbroken line of Plantation mentality, from when they wer in charge in slave days, to their Jim Crow period, and now in the post 60s civils rights period governed by the 1968 Kerner Commission report stating we can't make it on our own, and thus must be wards of the state.
Not that Republicans or Independents or Greens are off the hook. They have stood by and given their assent. But those in power were and are Democrats.
So this is not a blog of Democrats (nor of Republicans). Nor it is a blog of the left (nor the right). Both parties as well as people in power all along the political spectrum, left to right, have contributed to the gaps we track. We support any program or effort of those willing to work to close the gaps, left or right, democrat or republican.
This has not been easy. Two the most noted Democrats and liberals from my state, my fellow Minnesotans on whose presidential campaigns we worked, Hubert Humhrey (as an advance man in California in 1968) and Walter Mondale (1984), both blamed Blacks for their losses in those presidential elections. They cried victim. We are not victims although we have been victimized.
Finally, before repeating our excellent summary of what we do (Blog entry #5 of 2006), and stating how we originally defined our blog, a final word about those Blacks in Minnesota who have exemplified themselves in sports, which we have covered in our book, our columns, and our blog. Minnesotans seem to have a problem with the outsized success of Sports figures (coaches and players, collegiate and professional). Both White organizations (especially the press) and Black organizations (especially so-called civil rights ones) have resented their success and attempted to bring them down. Rather than celebrate them as favorite sons they treat them, literally, as the "black sheep" of the Minnesota family. And the lastest, of course, is to continue to favor non-slave descended Blacks over slave descended blacks. We will continue to follow all of these issues and urge our readers to stand up for justice and fairness as defined by equal access and equal opportunity for all.
(from our Blog entry #5 of May 27, 2006)
Our original "Tracking the Gaps" statement from 2004
Tracking the Gaps...
Policy regarding the inner city in Minneapolis, as in many cities, is driven by the racist conclusions of the 1968 Kerner Commission Report (see analysis is my book): that Blacks are different from other immigrant groups, that their "special" circumstance of not coming voluntarily to America leaves them unable to make it on their own, and that therefore they must be wards of the state (the conservative 1998 book "The Bell Curve" that Blacks are too dumb to make it on their own and thus must be wards of the state brought us full circle).
This well meaning conclusion (make them wards of the state) has resulted in the flip side: don't waste money on those who "can't" make it. Thus inner city minorities are provided with substandard education, jobs, and housing, backed by laws that kept it that way (as they are too dumb, dumbed down education; de facto policy regarding hiring and the city flat out not following its own hiring compliance statutes; and "red lining" - until recently, red lines drawn around minority neighborhoods on bank maps - indicating who not to offer loans to) have all contributed to the current situation in the inner cities. Black organizations acquiescing to funding for them and their staffs has contributed to Black youths believing there is no hope, and instead of joining volunatary associations of old (schools, churches, community), they have joined gangs. As a result, public policy as destroyed inner city community and family life and contributed to the increased gaps in education, jobs, and housing.
Thus, Minneapolis has served as a "last outpost" that has mastered the harmful political and economic machinery needed for keeping minorities "in their place." This has led particularly to a war on young black men.
Many traditional Black organizations, including the NAACP, have taken their eyes off the prize and become middle class job banks like much of modern government and education.
The alarm bells should be tolling in our minds anytime one community takes it upon itself to side step the Individual Rights of other communities, blocking their opportunities by denying them equal access
Let us close with the words of Nellie Stone Johnson, from the Delon book: