The original Atlantic article’s comment thread devolved pretty quickly. Steve Sailor, who is what… kind of a longtime nationally renowned race troll… leads the way, saying essentially ‘stands to reason Minneapolis is nice, it’s all white people up there.’ Which is crass at best.
But then you got Washpo, who makes that argument in a more academically respectable way…. IE “Northern European ethnic homogeneity means Minneapolis has never dealt properly with the conflicts brought by racial diversity, and it’s fails now to the extent it tries…” My paraphrase.
You know me, the recalcitrant conservative…. I am going to stand on my non-epidemiological, know it when I see it gut instinct here and say…. The Twin Cities are exceptional for a certain prosperity and pleasantness, and that both commercially and governmentally most things go right. To deny that on its face would be to… be some kind of unworldly denialist.
And the understanding of our exceptionalism does have a scholarly underpinning. The Politico article that ranked MN first comes from a blend of many meaningful quality of life indexes.
So what’s to be made of how poorly minorities are doing here? I don’t know. I do believe in such a thing as structural racism. Structural racism might bar minorities from opportunities in the way naysayers say . But I will posit something else, and this possibly having the feel of ignorant bloviating.
Understand first, the mid-20th century ethnic homogeneity of Minnesota is a fact, it was very much that way. And then grant that the way you’d like to see generational progress is a familial ladder climb from say poor, blue collar labor to educated white collar middle class affluent. My (white) family did that in MN over say the 30’s thru the 80’s. I think some multitudes of white families did that here.
Here’s my un-academic, bloviating, speculation: Most ‘original’ (for real lack of a better term that captures the nature of somewhat homogenous European settlement here since the 1850’s) white Minnesota families completed that transformation, and middle class abundance in MN was achieved so consistently that we wouldn’t have hardly any poor people left at all if we didn’t import them. And so we imported them. Black people from Chicago, who wanted to escape Chicago because it’s got hell hole ghettos. Hmongs from Laos who were refuges from the war. Somalians from Somalia who were refugees from the war.
Now it’s fair and a duty to acknowledge structural racism, but the other thing going on is that most of Minnesota’s minorities are relative if not true newcomers, and a couple generations behind on the social progression that might be expected from migration.
Just to say… I think this naysaying is a bit excessive. Minnesota is fairly fiscally liberal, with a reasonably generous social safety net and education spending. I can’t imagine we fail to do something here out of some xenophobic malevolence whereas some other city or state succeeds because they don’t have that regional character flaw.