The pain of race

Guthrie poster for blog.jpg

The city of Minneapolis is encouraging residents to read Michele Norris’ book, The Grace of Silence, as part of One Minneapolis, One Read. In her book, Norris describes growing up as the first black family on the block in a south Minneapolis neighborhood.

Norris, host of NPR’s All Things Considered, appeared at the Guthrie last night with MPR’s Kerri Miller to talk about her book and her RACE card project. She asks people to condense their thoughts about race into six words and write them on a postcard.

The responses tend to be provocative:

If only I were white.

Bi-racial means neither race accepts me.

Race is another excuse to hate.

But I voted for Barack Obama.

The audience at the Guthrie was no exception, and shared stories of the pain they’ve experienced. A black woman told of being denied rental housing on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue, because she and her husband would “use too much water.” An Indian woman said her mixed-race nephew couldn’t understand why he was called an Oreo. And a white man ended the event with his race card statement: Race is only skin deep.

If you missed it, we’ll broadcast the event Wednesday at 10 on Midmorning.

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