MINNEAPOLIS - We have a problem, Minnesota. All of us. Because once again the numbers staring us right in the face are telling us loud and clear the racial inequity in this state is horrific.
It's actually the second worst place in the United States to live if you black in those terms, according to the website 24/7 Wall Street.
In numbers crunched by that publication, it ranks the worst states in this order (1 being worst).
- South Dakota
So how bad is it here?
With an African American population of 5.7 percent, the black median household income is just over $30,000.
For whites, it's near $67,000.
The unemployment rate for blacks is nearly three times what it is for whites.
University of Minnesota Professor Keith Mayes isn’t surprised by these numbers, as, this isn’t the first time a study has pointed out how behind Minnesota is when it comes to racial equality. Mayes is an expert in African American history.
“I think that we need not only people of color but we need white people to talk about these numbers. We need these numbers posted everywhere. We need to have conversations in cafes, at home, in class and in the boardroom about what these numbers represent because if this is the state where people want to keep saying is the greatest to live but they see these numbers…what does that say…?”
And those conversations need to go past our borders on the east, west and south, because all the states in the top five WORST in the country, are our neighbors.
“I thought that was one of most staggering things came out of that report – it was that it's the region of the Midwest,” Mayes said.
That would suggest something is baked in up here, into our systems that make them unequal.
And it begs an uncomfortable question, is Minnesota racist?
“Yes I hate to say it, that it is….even if you say the white people here are not hostile like we saw in Charlottesville, Virginia – but white indifference is still racism,” Mayes points out.