Campaign's view: If we recognize racism, we can stop itFor those of us in the majority it can be hard to see racism.
By: Ellen O'Neill, for the News Tribune
According to 2010 demographic information, Duluth is 90 percent white.
It is possible for those of us in the white majority to go through our day without ever seeing a person of color. It is possible for those of us in the majority to never see or experience the world through the eyes of the 10 percent of our fellow community members who are black, American Indian, Asian, Latino or mixed race. It is possible for those of us in the majority to never see the prejudice or racism that the 10 percent of our community experiences on a regular basis.
For those of us in the majority it can be hard to see racism.
Our community is proud, resilient, strong and filled with disparities. Duluth school district data for 2010 shows that 80 percent of white students graduate in four years compared to 34 percent of American Indian students and 25 percent of black students. The 2010 census for Duluth shows that 18 percent of whites live in poverty compared to 67 percent of blacks and 56 percent of American Indians. Recent data from St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services show that a person living in one specific area of Duluth can expect to live 11 years longer than a person living in another specific area of Duluth.
These statistics should be of concern to every one of us. How is our community going to prosper and grow if such disparities exist? How can we accept such inequality?
The Un-Fair Campaign is designed to create awareness and dialogue. The tools of the campaign include billboards, posters, a website, workshops, films and discussions. Our next public event is at 7 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church, the “Coppertop church,” at 230 E. Skyline Parkway. A film called “Power, Privilege and Difference” will be screened followed by a community dialogue.
We first need to see racism and the disparities it creates in order to find solutions. We need to see it, know it and stop it.
Ellen O’Neill of the Un-Fair Campaign wrote this for the News Tribune on behalf of the campaign.