Report: Minnesota 2nd worst state for racial inequality

This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone paying attention, but Minnesota has serious racial inequality issues.

A new study by the finance and business news publication 24/7 Wall St. just underscores the problem.

To see the most glaring disparity, look at the prison system.

“The differences in imprisonment might be the most shockingly unequal outcome of ongoing race-related disparities in the United States,” writes Michael Sauter in his analysis for the report.

For every 100,000 Minnesotans, there were 111 white people incarcerated and 1,219 black people, according to the report.

Other highlights:

• Median household income for black families was $30,306. For whites, it’s $66,979.

• White unemployment rate is 3 percent. For black people, it’s almost three times that.

• The home ownership for black people is 21.7 percent. For whites, it’s 76 percent.

The only state doing worse than us: Wisconsin. Rounding out the top five were Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois.

  • kevins

    Ouch!! Well at least we beat Wiscy. Sad, Bigly.

  • AL287

    I have always felt that discrimination in Minnesota was always just under the surface.

    It would be interesting to find out the breakdown county by county.

    You can’t really fault the rural counties that have less than a 1% population of people of color.

    Houston County where I raised my son and where he still lives now had a population of people of color of 1.33% as of the 2010 census and that is adding all the different races together.

    I’m sure it is similar in Wisconsin for rural counties where farming is the primary occupation.

    • Kassie

      I feel like blame can be spread all around. Rural legislators fought against raising the minimum wage in Minneapolis, something that would help people of color greatly. Rural legislators fight against lots of things that would help reduce these disparities. Yes, Hennepin and Ramsey residents also have blame, but we can’t absolve rural residents just because people of color don’t live outstate in as great of numbers.

      • asiljoy

        Might be worth asking why they don’t want to live there too.

        • Gary F

          So why does the south rate higher? The minimum wage is lower? Are the rural white folks less racist than our rural white folks? I go to Atlanta frequently and there seems to be a thriving upper and middle class of minorities.

          Lots of states that the “white privileged” folks in MN look down on, actually rate much better.

          • asiljoy

            Could be any number of reasons. For example, could be that in the south there’s less of a middle class period. Regardless, the stats stated for MN are distressing to say the least and deserve action asap.

          • Gary F

            So more of what we’ve been doing, seeing all the success we’ve had? Just redistribute more money?

          • asiljoy

            The data pretty clearly shows that ‘redistribution’ over the last couple decades has been going to the top x percent of society. So that clearly isn’t working. Time to try something else. I’m not going to claim I have any expertise in this area, but clearly, continuing along this path is akin to beating our heads against the wall.

      • Guest

        IF you were a fast-food owner and paying $15, would you hire a suburban kid with a car, great work history and a splendid attitude or a local kid with a spotty work history????

        There are a LOT of great work histories willing to drive in for $15, that law may be a boon to high-quality applicants and another hurdle for low-quality applicants…..Note: I sincerely mean race is not relevant in this prediction.

      • Guest

        Sincere question: can you state possible reasons to object to the $15 wage that have nothing to do with color nor discrimination?

        I am sincerely asking if in your mind the only reason would be lack of desire to reduce disparities?

    • RBHolb

      A friend of mine (African American) once said that he had lived in Washington DC, Miami, LA, and Minneapolis. He thought Minneapolis was the most racist “because no one thinks they are.”

      • AL287

        Which was the point of my post.

        I’ve encountered the hidden racism at work more times than I can count and I’m Caucasian.

        I worked with a CNA instructor that was a champ at passive aggressive racial prejudice and that goes both ways.

        And the most frustrating thing about it was that we, her fellow instructors turned her in several times and absolutely nothing was done about it.

        The students lodged complaints as well but it fell on deaf ears.

        Sometimes it’s the department heads and managers that perpetuate an atmosphere of fear and distrust.

        • RBHolb

          It makes me wonder if the “microaggressions” that some like to sneer at are as harmful, if not more harmful, than overt expressions of racism.

          If some coward screams a racial epithet as he drives by, you know where you stand with him. If a co-worker makes some “joke” about how much watermelon you eat, that makes you wonder what else lies under that nice surface (call them on it, if course, and “it’s just a joke–sorry if you’re offended.”)

          • AL287

            It’s interesting you should point out the overt racial epithet because Kerri Miller interviewed a Southern author who characterized racism in America as “hot” racism or “cold” racism.

            “Hot” racism is what you encounter in the Deep South/Bible Belt. “Cold” racism is the microaggression you refer to that is more common in the Northern tier states.

            I agree that racism of the “cold” variety is far more harmful than the “hot” variety. You can challenge or avoid the overt racist whereas the introverted racist is harder to challenge or avoid because they refuse to recognize their behavior as racist.

            I had to teach a health class as a substitute health teacher when I lived in Baltimore. We discussed a lot more than the “n” word. We also discussed other epithets that are used to refer to Muslims, Hispanics, Asians and Jews.. It was part of a lesson on racial profiling and stereotypes. Those sting every bit as much as the emotionally charged “n” word.

      • Jennifer Kramer


  • LifebloodMN

    Why not also look at high school graduation rates, violent crime rates, victimization rates, youth exposure to victimization. And why are Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans not included in this? Let’s not act like there are only two races.

    • Kassie

      Yes, let’s look at high school graduation rates, another place where Minnesota is terrible. We should do better at putting resources where they are needed and closing the gradation gap. Programs getting students early intervention, internships with professional employers, tutors and mentors in every school, and free college for all that graduate from a MN high school could go a long way to closing that gap.

      Same with violent crime rates. Why are people of color more likely to victims of violent crime? It is terrible. And they can’t report them because then they risk the police coming in and killing someone. We need to put more money and programs in neighborhoods with higher crime. Jobs, education, better parks and recreation, better access to wealth, better access to both physical and mental health care, better access to transportation all would help that.

      Oh yeah, and let’s look at the other races. They too have much worse outcomes in Minnesota than whites. We aren’t just racist against black, but the other races too (though Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race, just to nitpick a little.)

      • Gordon near Two Harbors

        Good parenting is the best way to make sure your kids graduate from high school. Schools can’t, and should not, be substitutes for parenting. Bad choices always lead to bad outcomes.

        • Kassie

          And that’s exactly the attitude that puts it near last in rankings like these. Somehow a parent, who was also failed by the education system, working two jobs just to make rent, has all the responsibility to make the kid get through school and become a white collar professional.

          And let’s be clear here, we are 2nd worst. That means 48 other states do it better than us. It isn’t like parents here are the 2nd worst in the country, parents are pretty much parents everywhere, some are good and some are bad. This it the system that is broken here, or as BLM points out, the system that works perfectly at keeping people of color down.

          • Guest

            YES, it is the parent who has the responsibility to ask “show me your homework” doesn’t take much time. It is NOT society’s job to raise a child.

          • Kassie

            What good does “show me your homework” do when the parent is functionally illiterate? Or doesn’t speak English? Or doesn’t have any idea how much homework a kid should have? Again, 48 other states have figured out how to do it better, why can’t we?

          • Guest

            THAT is what parent-teacher conferences are for. Most teachers will say the F-student parents do not show up like the A-student parents do.

            Do other states do it better or have a different MIX of factors leading to success?

            IF the parent is functionally illiterate I can’t think of a better use of time for them both to do homework together. If not speaking English, then ask neighbors to help.

            IF you had a magic wish to give a student, would you use yours to place the student in the district with the most resources (spends most per child) or would you use your magic wish to give the child a family that CARES about education????

            All that said, I will admit changing parents is not a lever most districts have. However I can see government policy could have a lever to improve how much parents care about their children at least showing up for class.

          • Kassie

            This isn’t a child here and child there that isn’t succeeding. This is entire neighborhoods and communities.

            And fine, let’s say it is all about the parents. Great. Then how do you get the parents into a position where they a) have time b) care and c) have the skills to help?

            And if the parents aren’t willing or able, then well forget it, the kid isn’t worth it? You seem willing to complete abandon children with crappy parents as if it is there fault instead of trying to help those children and stop the cycle of poverty. But let me guess, you consider yourself a Christian…

          • Guest

            ABC are all valid points. So how about looking for the best bang for the buck. Nobody asked if free pre-K for everyone was better than paying for mentors 1 on 1 with the same dollars.

            DO Head-Start kids graduate at a higher rate?

            What if every F student got assigned 5 hrs a week homework help with his / her own tutor?

          • Gordon near Two Harbors

            Ultimately, the problem is, once again, bad choices. Regardless of your race, if you have kids when you can’t afford them–or with someone who won’t commit to providing for them for 18-plus years–the outcome will be bad. No amount of money can fix that .

          • Kassie

            And so a child should be punished and not afforded the same opportunities as another child because they have bad parents? I think society has the obligation to provide all children as much education, support and opportunity as needed to reach their potential regardless of who their parents are.

          • Gordon near Two Harbors

            The opportunities are there. Whether or not they are utilized is another story. I live in a rural area with high levels of poverty. By far the biggest predictor of student outcome is family, followed by community culture.

          • Guest

            So if society has the obligation, what are the obligations of the parents?

    • Barton

      fairly certain if we added Native Americans our numbers would be significantly worse than they are with just Black Americans.

  • Karen Olson

    Ouch, I’ve had enought problems as a white woman, so I knew it had to be worse for POC, just not aware how bad.’

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    The question that needs to be asked is: if Minnesota is such a racist state, why the hell would people of color want to move here? Makes no sense.

    • Guest

      Check out the income based benefits compared to other states.

  • Guest

    Take a look at our minority middle class compared to minority entry-level.

    Lets be honest, we have had a large influx of minority folks who struggle. Other states have a well-established minority middle class.

    A survey of crime victims will show most crimes (where the criminal’s race is known) are over-represented by black criminals. High school drop-out rates, single-parents, are also over-represented by minorities.

    DRILL DOWN by education, number of parents, household income, speaking English as a native and most any other factor and the cause becomes clear.

    Not every gap is proof positive of discrimination, sometimes it is the MIX of factors.

  • Guest

    DRILL DOWN into the factors that make for success. I bet the better predictor is MIX of factors rather than skin color.

  • Guest

    Why are my posts being deleted? What am I doing wrong?

    • Guest

      feeling foolish here, just found them 🙂

  • Guest

    Would you please remind all posters what rules need to be followed to avoid deletions?

  • Kassie

    Yes, but that’s the case nationwide. Why is it harming people of color from Minnesota much worse than those from other states? We are doing something wrong.

    • Guest

      What is the MN graduation rate for people of color compared to nation wide rates, Single-moms, English as a second language???

      DRILL DOWN to the mix of factors rather than saying MN is worse.

      Everybody talks about the gap and never says if MN whites are above average or MN blacks are below national averages.

      DRILL DOWN and look, don’t stop at the first statistic.