Princeton professor talks racial tensions in Minneapolis

The Twin Cities has been no stranger to racial tensions recently and one expert says the only way to ease those tensions is through frank conversations.

Princeton University Professor Eddie Glaude appeared at the Westminster Town Hall Forum in Minneapolis on Tuesday. He is an author and head of the Department of African-American Studies department at Princeton. He told the packed house at Westminster Church that fear on both sides of the racial divide keeps change from happening.

“We dance this dance in America’s racial theater, so that you can’t be called a racist and I can’t trigger your fears,” Glaude told the audience. “We’re masking day in and day out, walking past each other, not really seeing the humanity of the person right in front of us. No wonder we’re stuck.”

Glaude said incidents like the Philando Castile case and research detailing economic gaps between whites and people of colors show that even places like the Twin Cities have work to do when it comes to addressing racial inequality.

“What we saw with the Philando Castile incident and what’s happened since [is] this a community that’s experienced serious trauma, not just because of police brutality, but the material conditions in which they live,” Glaude said.

Some in the audience called Glaude’s speech thought-provoking.

“His talk made me think what I could do to make a difference in my neighborhood,” said Connie Galt, who lives in South Minneapolis.  “There must be something I can do beside just live there.”

The forum was sponsored by the Hennepin County Library and MinnPost.