Let’s Talk: Black Professionals in MN


If you are a Person of Color living in Minnesota or another predominately White region, this topic is very familiar to you. You often talk about how to get along, get in, or get through the challenges of working and living in a culture where relatively few people look, talk, or act like you.

However, I recently came across two online discussion that prompt me to take a deeper look at this subject. Plus, I consistently meet Black folks who are sick and tired of being sick and tired of Minnesota and are ready to move.

What do you think?

African-American professionals are a small community in Twin Cities with seemingly little visibility or influence. Additionally, across industries, many Black professionals are not happy with the social supports we have in the workplace and in our communities.

Am I wrong? Is everything just fine with Black folks here? Or are we simply facing issues that cross economic and cultural lines?

As a community, are Twin Cities Black professionals having a tougher time than our counterparts in other metro areas?

Let’s get a dialogue going. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

How can we change things?

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15 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Black Professionals in MN

  1. It would be nice if Oscar O would share more about his background. It’s great that he’s doing well. We are doing well when our focus is entirely on ourselves and not noticing what reality really is for African Americans especially in the state of Minnesota. If people really want to know the prosperity or the problems blacks face here in MN, they will find it if they research or bothered to care. Vic, shows the ignorance that exist in the white race. They do not teach the truth about the American history in the school system which is unfortunate. It is a past that will never rest until it is faced. As far as your article, people are not ok here in this state. There is nothing here for them, not yet… but that will change.

    • Thank you for your insights, Marva.

      I agree that Americans are not taught the full US history we all need to understand our current social, political and economic systems and situations. Knowledge is power. And as long as most of us are left in the dark we will simply ask “What can we do?” instead of knowing what actions to take.

  2. Wow!! I am a black professional man planning to move Minneapolis area. I am native to the east texas area. I honestly thought things would be different there. After doing research, it seems IIke more of the same daily issues. However this is done a little nicer.

  3. I’m a black man living in silicon valley, experiencing a similar life here. This area has a diminishing black presence, intensified by an exploding preference for Indian labor, a flourishing asian presence, and “color-blind racism.” Thanks for bringing this topic up. I had always thought that Minneapolis was very liberal and represented a land of opportunity for qualified black people. Is this not the case? Others have said here that discussing these issues is not appropriate in this open forum, but I disagree. There is no better place to air out the various experiences than on an open forum such as this. So by all means, let it all hang out. It is informative and enlightening for everyone. I certainly plan on sharing similar experiences in Silicon Valley. I would love to read about all the experiences any black people have living in an area that is predominately white. Please share.

  4. I am from Minnesota,Minneapolis…South side..3 generations of family, and I dont even think it is safe to share in this open forum ALL I have experienced as a African American woman professionally, and in the community, it is indeed a tell all book waiting to be written. Not sure if I have met you in person, Denise, but I would like to based on what you writing.

    I cannot say that other cultures are our biggest problem in the work place, and here in Minnesota “WE” tend to be our worst enemy. In a crustacean kind of way. Also known as crabs in the barrel. In the Non profit social service arena, I keep running into African American men, in control of systems that affect poor, African American women with children on government assistance, who make it obvious they have self-hate issues,reject and despise African American women,with no shame in being public with their preference, and no compassion in their work. They hold the positions for years, rake in large professional salaries, and the more income they make the less they care. They are embraced by their colleagues because many have a great number of stereotypes they operate on about Black Women, and how we need to be handled. You can be President or the President’s wife(literally) and all those stereotypes are often still mentioned when you are not there. The ANGRY Black Woman,the maid, the cook, security,too loud, too colorful,tooooo ethnic..too natural,too intimidating…… And then there are some of us that really back up the sterotypes and at a certain point,for those in social services those cases are the only ones the majority sees. Sometimes my people just make it harder for those who really are trying to do something with their lives, but they are still my people. The Black man in charge thinks he needs to laugh when the White people laugh at us, that he needs to degrade his own race along with them. At every opportunity he begins to tell a sister just how much he thinks she is worth. But because he is Black NO ONE suspects he could be destructive, uncaring? abusive,contrary?? Oh no.
    Not many African American women being heard as leaders in Minnesota.
    That’s all…don’t get me started.

    • Hi Denise,

      Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your thoughts. You are right, an open forum like this is not the right place to have an in-depth conversation in this topic. But I did want to open it up to hear from people like you and me living this situation.

      This issue has many, many, many layers. What you bring up about black men and women is interesting. I will be connecting with you offline to discuss more.

      Keep looking up,
      Denise

    • wow that’s harsh as hell. There still aren’t that many brother running things on that level. Maybe that’s just how admnistration is everywhere cold, heartless and out of touch sometimes I feel like blaming other people particularly of color for there lack of understanding when maybe my needs aren’t meant. The workplace is that just a workplace and being proffesional causes us to put up wall often

    • I walk in to professional social hours in Minneapolis as a black women, black men in Minnesota walk right past me. I feel invisible to them. They prefer non-black women. I see black men with white, Asian, latino and indian women, with no regard for professional black women or black women in general. I am mixed half black and white but I culturally identify more with black people… they sense that about me and avoid me like the plague. In fact, most of my friends are black, if they see a group of black women walking into an establishment most black men wont bother to even say hello. If they do talk to me, the first thing they ask me is what are you mixed with… wow! Just floored how lame Minneapolis is and the self-hating men deplorable. Black men here tell me love has no color – I sware I am too loyal to the men in my race. Is just wanting to be with a black man bad? Should I feel bad for saying that? Minnesota will make you feel that way and if that is your preference… your choices are limited. Prepared to be alone.

      • Thank you for sharing your experience. You are not alone in your observations. The social scene here weighs heavily in deciding if African American transplants plan to stay in Minnesota and/or if African Americans from Minnesota choose to continue to live here.

  5. I will view this from my personal experience, I am a black man in my mid to late 20s, I know how hard it is not only to be black but also to be a minority, but this is something that we as a community should have learn to live with it a while ago.
    In the summer of 2002, I graduated from highschool, got a job in a factory, bought a big truck, move out on my own, and started partying( I was 18yrs). Btw 2002 summer to 2002 chrismass, I was arrested 4 times, suspended from driving, revoked and had to spend 3 days in jail.
    My 3 days in Jail changed my life for good, I pledged to myself to do everything I can to be free, discriminate me or not, nothing will make pull me away from my goals. Its been 8 yrs now, Four years ago I graduated from college with a BS, I have been to the top of the mountains and I have seen the promise land, my current resume includes, Intern Investment banking analyst, Piper Jafray, Investment analyst, Wells Fargo, Sr Actuarial consultant, Unitedhealth Group.
    Please let stop feeding our kids with Oooh! discrimination this and that, we rise first as an individual then as a community!

    • Oscar — CONGRATS on turning your life around!! You have worked hard to achieve your goals despite obstacles.

      You make a good point “… we rise first as an individual then as a community!” I wonder if there is more we can do as a community to pull together to help and support young adults like yourself who are trying live positive lives.

      Keep looking up,
      Denise

  6. * I’m not a person of color.

    I find this issue discouraging to read about, and my lack of awareness, perhaps shows how naive I am. I thought we’re moving past this. To help me gain a better understanding, what are some of these “issues that cross economic and cultural lines”? It may provide me (and others) ideas as to how to make the situation better (first step in problem solving).

    I believe ““the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens” (Bahá’u’lláh) and hope my actions reflect this idea.

    Thanks for starting this conversation, Denise.

    V

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