Black Cool

By Sharai Sims

I have started a new phase in my life. I am a black woman, 22 years old, and living in rural Minnesota, ­­ where assimilation is a must for social acceptance. For so many years, I thought I was accepted because of my light skin and the ability to flat iron my hair so bone straight that you never saw my nappy roots at the nape of my neck.  I thought it was the traces of whiteness in my family line that separated me from the other black kids. Just as ambiguous as my looks, I couldn’t be placed nor did I try to limit myself when moving through social crowds and groups.  I was accepted seamlessly.

Because of the necessity I felt to assimilate, I never acknowledged the things that were actually setting me apart: my humor (black), my style (black), and my insight (black).

When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember a party that my white friends were throwing. At the party, all the popular girls (there were about nineteen of us) wanted to do a group shirt saying “sophomore class of 2012.”  Funny, I was actually flattered to be considered a) popular and b) the only black person invited, even though our whole school was pretty diverse.

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Continuing Conversations About Islamophobia

In St. Cloud, Islamophobia and xenophobia run rampant. We have discussed Islamophobia and xenophobia on this blog before, and it is important to keep these conversations going. When I read that “St. Cloud is the worst place in Minnesota to be Somali” my first reaction, as a white woman who not only attends school at the University but also lives and works in St. Cloud, was shame.

Islamophobia and xenophobia extend beyond the University and into the city itself, from systematic spaces like school systems to everyday spaces like grocery stores and in cars stopped at traffic lights. It happens, abruptly, in the flow of everyday life, and so, as a community, it is in everyday life that we must choose to stand against it.

Here is another link to this important article.

Also, on Tuesday, February 2nd at 5:00 pm, St. Cloud State will be hosting a discussion on “Islamophobia in Minnesota” featuring Jaylani Hussein.  Here is a link.  Be a part of this important, ongoing conversation!

 

Minnesota Nice?

By Melissa Anne Frank

Diversity has the power to make communities stronger.  But in order for that strength to exist, there needs to be an integration between people.  Our community has been divided for too long.  After attending the Mizzou rally on campus, I was reminded of the fact that our entire community is missing this significant aspect in our lives.

I often ride my bike through downtown St. Cloud on my way to campus.  I bike past people and say “good morning,” because that is the kind of person that I am.  I was raised in this state, and I was taught that people in this state are nice.  We say good morning to our neighbors, we are there for each other, and we create safe spaces for those around us…at least that’s what I was taught.

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Perspectives from SCSU4MIZZOU

By Sharai Sims

The first snow fall of this season happened on the same night St. Cloud State students rallied for solidarity with the students of the University of Missouri

Over the last several weeks we have seen college students around the nation stand together in solidarity with Mizzou against racial injustice that occurs for all students of color on a systematic level. On November 19, St. Cloud State students of all ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations banded together to show their solidarity as a diverse community against injustice. The rally was a response to everyday experiences of racism and the denial of a call by student organizers for St. Cloud State University to make a public statement in alliance with Mizzou students. Students decided the best way to see change was to take action. With signs held high, voices screamed chants like, “My Gay Black Life Matters.”

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