Ron Smith and Dan McElroy discuss racism in political campaigns

Programs | Midday | Topics | Politics | Types | Interviews | Types | Call-In | Grants | Legacy Amendment Digitization (2018-2019) | Topics | Social Issue | Topics | Community |
Listen: 99436.wav

Rev. Ron Smith, co-pastor of University Baptist Church of St. Paul, and Dan McElroy, Minnesota state representative for Burnsville, discuss the campaign watchdog group organization "Political Racism is Offensive to All Citizens Task Force" (aka as Pro-Act). Task force monitors what it perceives as racism in Minnesota political campaigns. Smith and McElroy also answer listener questions.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

6 minutes past 11 today's programming is made possible in part by The Advocates of Minnesota Public Radio contributors include the Bayport Foundation, which is supported by the Andersen Corporation. Good morning, and welcome to mid-day on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary Acton. Glad you could join us for a legislative candidates are routinely quizzed on a wide variety of issues taxes education crime you name it borders want to know where the candidates stand? Well this year candidates will also be scored on how they talk about those issues members of a new nonpartisan citizens group call proact. Say the debate over welfare reform youth crime Indian gambling in the like they say that debate is often changed with racism and they're asking legislative candidates to sign a code of conducts calling on candidates to avoid exploding exploding racial Prejudice and tensions for political gain both DF Allen Republican party legislative leaders say they will ask their candidates to avoid any appeals to racism. Republican leaders. Steve swiggum says candidate should not be afraid to discuss potentially controversial issues such as gang violence and Welfare policy. Joining us. This hour is one of the members of proact. The political racism is offensive to all citizens task force Reverend Ron Smith joins us. He's the co pastor of Unity Baptist Church in St. Paul and former president of the black ministerial Alliance also with us a state representative Dan McElroy of Burnsville, the liaison between proact and a Minnesota house Republican caucus way, of course invite you to join our conversation as well as we talked about this new code of conduct and what it might mean. Give us a call or Twin City area number is 227-6002 276 thousand. I'll try the Twin Cities. You can reach us toll-free and that number is 1 800 to +422-828-227-6000 or one 800-242-2828. Robert Smith, thanks for joining us. Thank you for having me represent McElroy. Thank you for having me. Also. Let me start with you what led you folks to form this task for Steve to get the sense that there has been an increase in racially-tinged discussion in Minnesota. Let me Begin by saying that President Clinton called for a dialogue in rate on Race dialogue and discussion on Race several months ago a group of people met in Saint Cloud to talk about Minnesota could respond to that on nothing ever came of that. But when we look at racism and we understand it to be systemic politics plays a part in Madden and our goal is no more than to elevate the discussion that we need to look at the racial implications and impact on issues that involve the well-being of all, Minnesota. Does your bed in a practical sense a problem with us in Minnesota and I think oftentimes legislation gets couched and in code words and we talked about the racial implications of welfare reform and work to welfare and what people were really saying and weren't really saying when I consider the history of Minnesota and our American Indian population are Native American population, the whole immigration issue. Our gifts gifts has has the potential to have racial overtones and we just want to bring this this this discussion to a new level and admit that we have a problem talking about race, but also submit that together as minnesotans. And citizens that we can we can wrestle with these things. Is there a McIlroy is there any reason legislators wouldn't sign this code of conduct a it's a it's a fairly straightforward document committing candidates to be truthful and principled in their discussion and and to refrain from exploiting racial Prejudice intention to any reason not to sign on to this. I know there isn't although there are concerns because the first of all there a lot of codes and pledges and questionnaires that to come and they begin to water each other down and also this effort looks a little like the advertising effort that Lee Lynch had a couple of years ago. I think there's frustration particularly among Republicans that we felt that that wasn't always adhered to and when they were violations of it nothing happened. So does this when it's taken on its own face value you simply something we try to do. Anyway, I was most excited about it and anxious to a service liaison not because of the code of conduct be but because of the offer by those were participating in proactive serve as a resource to answer questions to discuss issues to help candidates from both parties avoid framing issues in a way that were insensitive where that had code words and then we may not know that members of minority Community regarded as code words. There's a fine line between and gratuitous political correctness and trying to say things without saying anyting and yet being sensitive to the feelings of all the people in the district and I think there are some issues that need to be discussed this in this year's campaign. That should be avoided that we shouldn't to pussyfoot around but the we also should talk about them in the way that they're sensitive and those are things and Reverend Smith mentioned some of the welfare-to-work after remedial education legislative auditor. Should we report saying we're spending $259 a year on remedial education in the most of its wasted. Well, most of that money goes to Minneapolis and st. Paul or a majority of it goes to Minneapolis. And st. Paul in many cases charter schools that have high populations of minorities of people of color and I think we have to be willing to talk about that today talk about how that money should be used for if it should be reallocated or if perhaps we shouldn't spend it but to do so you talking about the effectiveness of the programs and not the value of the people who been receiving the help. I don't think anybody wants to waste money. But by the same token we want to address issues Indian gaming is also an issue that is very sensitive in many parts of the state and I can hear a candidate of Example perhaps criticized their opponent for having taken contributions from Indian gaming interest and having Native Americans say well that's racist and having a candidate say it happens to be a fact that Indian gaming may be controversial in our district. It may have been something that is important to people and if for example a hazardous waste issue or a landfill or an oil refinery Warren and a candidate accepted contributions from the oil refinery or the landfill or from a refuse haulers, I think we would expect their opponent to make that an issue by the same token in an area where Indian gaming is controversial. I think it's a fine line between The real exploiting racial Prejudice and talking about who took contributions from special interest groups. So this campaign has some opportunities to be either to fully address and deal with important public policy issues or perhaps sissy is class over them are afraid of being accused it does it does for sweetie issue if you will to a higher moral playing one of one of the one of the words represented back wherever it's that you used was minority and then you came back and took people of color. I'm not sick if we look at the population trends for Minnesota in for the metropolitan area. What in 1990 was the minority could possibly be the majority until we need to wrestle with the use of that language and all we're saying is in Correct. Subject goal is to get us to look at how we are treating each other politically how we are communicating politically and they try to create new language new values new framework in the new vision for Minnesota politics, isn't it true though that if if there's so much emphasis placed on there for example weather use a terminal already are people of color. The net result is that most people will simply drop out of the debate for either because they don't want to be hassled or they are afraid of offending anybody so they don't say anything and the net result is that you have less discourse political discussion in the state. Rocksmith I don't I don't have that concerned because I think the people of Minnesota are basically people of Goodwill and are not afraid of of tackling tough questions and tough and the challenges can we can we rise to that level and it'll be it'll be interesting and I think since the discussion of the code of conduct will begin with the Minnesota House of Representatives. That's the people's house and that's how they view themselves. And I think that this is a great place to begin this dialogue and discussion how politicians are afraid to tackle Fitbit Apple heart issues and tough issues everyday during the legislative session and and in all we're saying is that we need to bring an other people into this discussion that the outcomes will affect and how do we frame the language? We have a number of callers hear I get some callers, but I'm just To get a better reading yet on what were what we're talking about here representing McElroy raise the issue of gambling casino gambling in the state if I can stand up and say I wanted one to end the Indian Monopoly on casino gambling if I'm elected. I follow that all work to end this Monopoly now, is that a racist statement or is that just a statement of policy principal position? Gary if you're looking for me to an answer to that, I think we have worried about some people accusing a candidate of that being a racist statement and my advice to someone who's going to do that is to understand the issue as well as possible to know what the Indian gaming act the Federal Acts allow to know what what are part of compact to know what may be part of treaties and I am think it would be more constructive to be more specific and say did someone may be concerned about the impact on the County's economy of Indian gaming and want to see the availability of resources to pay for roads or Sheriff services or social services or they may believe in competition or they may not believe in gambling at all and one opportunity to see a another referendum on the lottery for example, but it is I think the public policy debate is sure if people know the issues they know some of the background and they try to do to be a somewhat objective in in should not be afraid to State their opinion. Once they know what they're talking about. I think we're with candidates got in trouble is really don't know a lot about an issue and make statements that may not be realistic in terms of what the the compacts with the Indian tribes are or what the federal Indian gaming activist or the federal tribal reorganization Act is and we know what we're talking about. We should be able to step right up and talk about these tough issues. But one of the things I'm excited about is the ability to have a conversation with people like the Reverend Smith oral early and Banker camper, lots of other people and make sure that were using language which is as respectful as possible. You raised the issue about people being afraid of other words they chose and my concern is that some people may attract to the use of the word minority communities other prefer communities of color others want people to be referred to as African-Americans and some other blacks and you may not be able to please everybody but we're going to be is to be respectful and try to be sensitive. But when the balance is struck between being politically correct and sensitive and yet to talk about the issues, I think the issues are terribly important. We should talk about them and that if A person knows what those the issue and is expressing some Goodwill. And since I'm set some sincerity that the call that would come is is a knot that you made racist comments. But that would like to talk to you about your choice of word for a some suggestions or provide some education. What is going to happen Reverend Smith set up a hotline going to have a hotline set up. So people can call into to let you know if they hear something they don't think it's appropriate. It is not a hotline is a phone line and it's it's it's set up first of all to assist candidates in the education process. If a citizen hears or believes that there has been a deliberate blatant covert overt attempt to out something in racism. Then we're asking them to call in as well. There is a action taskforce of proact that will contact the candidate. And and review the situation evaluate the situation and see if we can reach some kind of common ground to work through some language issues to work through maybe the way something was was framed and I appreciate what someone said yesterday. We do not see ourselves as the race police but we see ourselves as concerned concerned task force to citizens who want to elevate the greater possibility of us finding common ground in Minnesota politics in the shower with the Reverend Ron Smith School pastor of the Unity Baptist Church. He is a member of this new nonpartisan citizens group call proact, which is asking legislators to essentially raise the level of debate in this state and try to eliminate racism from a legislative campaigns joining us as well here in the studio state representative Dan McElroy of Burnsville, who is a republican from Burnsville if you'd like to join our conversation, give us Call 227-6020 area number to 276 thousand out side the Twin Cities one. 802-422-8284 Scholars for Mankato Paul. Thank you for letting me be a part of this today. I'm looking to the conversation. I'm concerned that there is not substance to talking about racism in this regard and I'd ask their comments. There are the problem as I see it. Our people who are covertly racist or you are racist in are not aware it in that regard. They may become politically appropriate but never really deal with their racism. Certainly Wii Mini soda has been a racist state in regards to for example in the forties having quotas on Jewish doctors how many Jewish doctors could even practicing in Minneapolis? That certainly is true of the country. They all work racist who is a hater of anybody different than white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are their own colored at least deserve pretty paranoid. I'm troubled that you're not really talking about. How are you going to deal with the quote good people who may in fact are racist and don't know it and need to be informed and not humiliated by if they make a mistake in regards to their verbage. Thank you. Thank you for your for your call. Good question is I look at racism. It is over Culvert and systemic part of coax. Step is to address it from a systemic level ain't it that the legislature in last session people are very concerned about some systemic racism that that was that was good. Play down and no one knew how to call it to the 2 to the Forum. And and with that. We hope that this will be an offensive proactive not a reactionary step in in a dressing that are educational step is to educate candidates for the house for the Minnesota house prior to the election and then through the educational process through the educational process do that throughout the legislative session. What did you what did you observe at the legislature last year that would qualify as systemic racism things and people Define gangs the first thing when you say gang that comes to people's mind is African-American South Minneapolis, and we're afraid of crime when there are more than African Americans. Gangs are more than Asian gangs in in in our state when when people talk about welfare. What do and I hope I use this phrase when people talk about welfare Queens the image that comes to mind is an African American female with X number of children. That is not what what what are the demographic information talks about provides on Minnesota to which banks Let's Get the facts right and watch reframe some of this some of these issues. I want to educate well in terms of the games would we just stop talking about gangs and we talked about crime? Can we can we call it crime and not necessarily call it call it gay. If no one has a problem with crime crime can be I mean we talked about crime we talked about blue-collar and white-collar crime, but when we talk about gangs I my mind in the mind of many minnesotans comes this picture of an African American male with his hat on backwards with tennis shoes and on and baggy pants sagging down to his, you know, anybody's position on this but for example, we had this gang task force look like gang task force set up to deal with what the supporters said. We're some specific problems associated with groups of individuals operate in collectively billing criminal things collectively, not just individual thugs running around doing bad stuff. So you would it be inappropriate to refer to those people. Acting collectively is a game. I want to make something about the word Thug with a person of color. I mean, I remember when we were first as a country talking about Shane and I told Khomeini we called them thugs. Okay, that's that's the one and and and the media has the power to frame mat and people get an image from that framing but the interesting thing about the gang Task Force if you will is the composition of that game castles that is not a group of All European males 40 and above but it is made up of officer who are people of color until there is an Asian. There is a Chicano Latino. There is an African American and we are doing things differently in order to address the problem of Youth violence. or youth crime in the community give me the problem is we don't want to refrain things we week we think that the way that we have done business is a right way the way that we've done legislation is the right way and what all we're saying is we need to look at that again. You look at those things again. Gary I'm concerned as you expressed earlier that if we spend so much time debating the semantic Sweden won't debate the issues in the real issue here is crime among juveniles and perhaps it's organized crime among juveniles. But if people like the Reverend Ron Smith or Lillian Baker camper others would rather than in the legislature we talked about juvenile crime rather than gang crime and they and it raises last flag for provides us obstacles to change the terminology. I think we should do that and not waste time and get out of talking about the issue in the parallel I think of is that in the fifties and sixties when La Cosa Nostra or Italian organized crime was a major issue Italian Americans were offended whenever that term La Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia are very Stern be used because most Italian Americans were law-abiding and reputable and had absolutely nothing to do with organized crime. Most African-Americans have absolutely nothing to do with organized juvenile violence or organized juvenile criminals. If they prefer that we talked about juvenile crime, let's do it and get on with talking about how to prevent it how to keep kids in school how to solve problems and not waste a lot of time on the semantics John you're going to question place. I'm a bit concerned because as soon as we got to the relatively innocuous term like gangs and in regards to race political correctness about who we can't use that term but I would submit given the rise of or end by gangly mean organized you use violence with membership rules initiation rites gang is a whole different kind of crime than merely arbitrary or intermittent individual use prime. You've got the areas in North Dakota that never heard of games, but now have games coming in from as far away as the West Coast. So I think it does a great disservice to the debate to avoid the term gang. I think they're him gang any long Anyone meme black youth Gang has enough experience with the Asian gangs is Hispanic gangs and white music in NM. We may be getting down to you know, I think we need to get past the semantics and get into the the meat of the debate in that. How do we prevent that from happening? But one of the interesting words that the colonies was we need to get into the debate or the dialogue and that's all proact wood would have us do I wonder and this is not to talk about esoteric things. This is an esoteric Siri, but I wonder if the terms that are used Affect the the policies that are adopted and I'm I'm thinking of this and bringing both ways. But for example, if you are not to bog down here on the word of the use of the word gang, but if you approach a problem like this purely as individuals doing things they aren't supposed to do as opposed to organized activities that would lead to different policy conclusions. Would it not in terms of how you respond to the crimes are being committed? Yes. I think it would it certainly has an issue and things like Interstate law enforcement or task forces across jurisdictions, or the question of when crimes committed by those under 18 to be prosecuted by it as adults or the use of federal statutes as opposed to State statutes, but if the terminology organized youth crime or youth criminal businesses, and that's what a lot of Gang like we're ganging organization. Sorry. It's so criminal Enterprises. They are a business is organized to sell drugs or extort protection money or that commit some other crime and I think we should get beyond that what we call it and talk about ways to to solve the problem. But girl you raised a good point. We have to also use language that's descriptive and there is a difference between mischievous individual not organized youth crime and organized crime and if we have to come up with some new terminology that isn't regarded by some as the races code word. We should work on doing that but not lose sight of the real issue, which is how do you keep people safe put truly dangerous people in prison, so they're not out committing more crime and hopefully keep young people from being exposed to the influences that might lead them to join organized criminal activity. I get frustrated when I've been on housing tours in Lowell. Top neighborhoods and in for more meeting after meeting that we see women and their children with very few men present and I would talk to a nine or 10 year old boy who may never have met an adult male who had a job and that maybe one of the challenges that we have to deal with in dealing with organized youth crime. Is that the role models that some young people have seen particular neighborhoods that have great concentrations of poverty the most successful people. They've met may have been drug dealers in the nicest cars. They've seen may have been driven by criminals and those are frustrations that I or core symptoms of challenges that we had a deal with and not waste a lot of time on the semantics. Let's take a break here and we'll continue our conversation and just a moment are at this hour the Reverend Ron Smith call Pastor Unity Baptist Church in St. Paul a member of this new group proact also with a state representative Dan McElroy of Burnsville more colors in just a moment. I'm John rabe. And on the next All Things Considered gubernatorial candidate Jesse Ventura on welfare reform for the poor and the not so poor. If you were middle class person who comes on Hard Times you view get no support at all. You you can go down there and then until you're blue in the face and you'll get nothing and I don't think that's right either. It should be a safety net for all all things considered weekdays at 3 on Minnesota Public Radio. Reminder over the noon hour today second hour of our midday program. It's off to the National Press Club political satirist. Mark Russell is at the Press Club today. That should be fun and we'll have live coverage at noon today programming on Minnesota Public Radio is supported by Ecolab A supplier of cleaning and sanitizing products and services sunny skies are forecast for all the Minnesota today Twin Cities included highest today ranging from the upper 70s in the northeast of the upper 80s in the southwest right now in the metropolitan area. We have a sunny Sky 75° episode of Dan McElroy and the Reverend Ron Smith are our guests. The shower is we talked about a new code of conduct that legislators have been asked to abide by one which is designed to eliminate racism from politics here in the state of Minnesota and a next caller is from St. Paul David. Go ahead place by Gary Oliver Smith and represented McElroy. A lot of this has been couched. The idea of language to talk about sensitivity and people you'd be using insensitive language and I think that the core problem here is that frankly some of the the people that are using this language should frankly be outed as bigots and I think that whether we thought were talking about Indian fishing rights or Indian gaming or where they were talking about how people migrating a to this state or from other Midwestern inner-city areas. The people who are were most presently using this language in end and using these issues are are using the language that they are using specifically because it does charge people up and it does have latent racist or bigoted attitude on the part of European descended minnesotans, and they're doing it deliberately. It's not a matter of being insensitive. If you believe that wasn't making me believe that black people are coming here simply because of welfare instead of perhaps trying to escape a dangerous situations and their own neighborhoods or trying to tap into this great economy that we are so eagerly are beating artesa that all the time and the great education system that we have here. Then that's fine. If you believe that then that's fine. But that probably does make you a bigot like it or not. Do you know there are people who do that and it said historically that's that's what those on politics people play the race card all the time. When I want to get your reaction to her again this year you during the legislative debates next year if somebody stands up and the legislature are on the campaign and Trail and says by golly. We've got to have those residency required. That's right for a welfare program, right? Because people are moving here to take advantage of our more generous welfare benefits. Is that a racist statement? I think I think what is more interesting is that we use the word bigot and you got baited. Okay, Gary and so the tension raise and we had a who's in power who's in control Pro Max desire is to build community and not polarized and so I don't want to play the throwing the rock Game Pro X goal is to bring diverse groups together to have this discussion proactive goal is to find common ground and in and and we don't need to get faded off into you're right I'm wrong, but we need to find a way to have the discussion and that's all we're saying now for David you through the first rock and and that's how we don't mean by calling a person a bigot and not saying that racism is a learned behavior that racism is systemic, but that we can be created anti-racist attitude. That's what we're trying to trying to move to iatan until we get caught up in the in the stuff of the past and all that history and don't look to the future but in terms of advice for a candidate in all out, if you're a legislative candidate, you really want to do the right thing here. Can you make that argument about the welfare magnet business my suggestion for a candidate who is struggling with those issues is that he or she or his campaign person call 222-4288 and the the team that's that's designed to look at campaign literature campaign messages will will assist them. Represented McIlroy. What the what do you say? Well, I agree with Reverend Smith the the No one likes to be called a bigot no one likes to have themselves called names or up people jump to conclusion about their motivation. But if your legislative district includes Mille Lacs County or the city of an Amy are the city of Garrison and the impact of Indian treaty rights on a Resorts and restaurants in and gas stations on the value of property is a big issue in your District. I think you're doing your constituents a disservice by not talking about it if however your district is someplace in the southwestern Minnesota and it's not really but you bring it up because you know, you can stir up some emotion that may not be as appropriate occasionally in campaign schools will talk about the difference between substance in red meat and you can occasionally throw gratuitous red meat into a speech just to rile up emotions, you know, where there without advancing the public policy discussion of an issue and I think what the Smith is getting at is the proact wants to encourage people to tackle tough issues tackle things that are issues in their District caught tackle things are constituents want to know about or learn about or talk about encourage the dialogue but refrain from exploiting issues for political advantage. John you're a question place that the candidates for the call to find out what day she talked about and what they should listen to the people they represent and why refrain from the debate debate and just because you're tough on welfare and tough on crime, you know, when he says that bring up images of you being tough on Black Ops address that issue why it does that image come up with that. You know, there's a problem that's not her friend at the bait and let's talk about the truth. This is going to look for the morrow grown up. Now. I read because people are going to be at you you're introducing fear and political correctness and taking out the truth and you know, if there's a problem with gang let's talk about the attacks deer in the border and I want people to talk about the truth and I want this to be a society that color blind everybody's an American. Said to refrain from the debate. We have not said let's refrain from the debate. We we want the debate is John said to be open and honest, but we want us as to be to be sensitive to each other in terms of language. The issue of proactor having a pro at doesn't make it less likely these issues to be talked about. I think it might make it more likely perhaps not so much in this campaign is in future campaigns if proact functions. Well in 98 John's, right? It would be a disservice to voters. If a candidate wouldn't talk about gangs in in a district where that's an issue because they were afraid of being accused of of being a big head or being racist, but you can talk about organized juvenile crime if that's more sensitive term and still get to the issues still get to people's fears and I'm up I'm firmly convinced that were more likely to have successful discussions on these tough issues in the future. If there's some resource that a candidate or their campaign manager can go to and get start of the sensitivity background check before they talk in public or give a speech to write a brochure or submit a newspaper article and if the difference between saying it to sensitively Is to refer to organized juvenile crime as opposed to gangs that's better than not saying that at all and I think if I were talking to to John that I think we're going to get a better discussion not less discussion. Your next card worth is banned them to turn around public housing and they'll come up right up in the meeting is in fact, there was one in peers or they said they didn't want them now. They want to keep those people out and never return to wealth in a single parent family is well from others and minority's and I think it's a stomach and it is encouraged. Or at least I'm approved. So you're all in favor of this kind of an effort. Oh, yeah, I'd like a nice place to live also Jerry before I ran for legislature. I was mayor and before that in the city council and we certainly heard people who I had an investment in a home had lived in the neighborhood was important to them and when there was a proposal for housing nearby that didn't look like their housing. It was a natural I think for your emotions to rise and the suggestion we always made to the developers of new housing was to bring pictures of those houses in other communities that they built and not without the residents to bring pictures of the of the families that live there in the little kids in the bicycles and if it was less expensive homes or Townhomes or subsidized homes. Let's talk to the people and once we did that and changed up blueprints. The real faces a lot of those concerned that the this lady raises can be. What but the concept of NIMBY issues not in my backyard or up ones that the political leaders always have to deal with and you try to provide as much information as possible. The unknown is always scary and it is easy to characterize something you don't know is being negative and a better job. We do in the public policy debate of changing knowns and unknowns in two knowns think the better the discussion is Michelle. Your next is one issue. But in the course of that I discussion on semantics does seem important to me because earlier Evan Smith talked about the way that a lot of these things are systematic and when we start talking about language, we realize how much racism is institutionalized and if we can deal with that in addition to dealing with the issues, of course, I think that's a really important step but it hurts for people to realize how how much is is a part of their lives and how much is a part of of the way were socialized and raised to deal with race but might my point why the reason why I called is its it seems like this race discussion is is often narrowly defined we're talkin about Really black and white picture of of race in America and I'd like to hear more earlier you talked about welfare reform. There is a really big issues regarding welfare reform and in the state that the deal with Asian American population and the Asian immigrated the Asian immigrant population, and how are these things going to be brought into the discussion? Strange Matter What proactive intentionally done in terms of the way we are structuring our table is to build as an inclusive table as we can until there are representatives from the Asian Community. There are representatives from all communities of color as well as white people of Goodwill and and and it's a struggle but we we we got to struggle with it in terms and in looking at the issues through a new set of lenses that include all segments and all Fabrics of the community. And an end and that's our goal. I think we're way. The race problem has been framed historically is if it has been done and in terms of black and white when I look at the Native American population in they say see that they're excluded from many conversations unless it has to do with gaming when you look at the Asian Community. They're excluded on when it comes to the discussion on education and went in and when it comes on on the issue of gaming until we need to build a a multiracial inclusive table to talk about these issues at and that's you know, one of the long-term goals Samoan. So I had to say that one of the things that concern me most when I heard about this initiative from Pro-X was that it be fairly narrow and what it attempts to do and what I believe that it should attempt to do is is Just address words that offend because that's actually that is that's so old. We should know that by now, but that it should really address helping the legislatures to realize the limits of their individual experiences and Aunt because when they speak only from those limited experiences, that's when you start to hear some of the stereotypes come out to examples NPR's. We doing very fine job of talking with the candidates about their beliefs on different issues. I'm driving in my car and I hear candidate Ventura say, he looks back and thinks of the good time or or schools being at their best in a Capri desegregation time or when they were neighborhood schools was an African American woman. I know but that was not the best time for schools for so many students here. And so I wonder what is the basis of him saying something like that and I know this the limit of his experiences or hearing a candidate Mondale say We need to understand why are all these folks coming from Mississippi and Arizona? What does he know that does has he looked at the data? Does he do that? Those are in fact our most difficult cases. So it seems to me that all of these stereotypes and other issues come in when the candidates speak from the limit of their experiences. So if everybody brings their their best knowledge the best research to the table then to me that would help us to talk more accurately. Well, certainly Robert Smith part of your part of your effort here is to work with people on Anis en complex issues Beyond just suggesting alternate ways to say something. Right but the goal is to educate educate candidates again as they are running for office but to also educate them and do some understanding defining and dismantling of of racism in it and it in can't happen overnight. And I think I think the members of proact need to be commended and encouraged for taking the first step in and I appreciate both the the dfl house caucus and the Republican house caucus for their willingness to embrace. If not just struggle with this issue as as we go forward into this campaign season referring to something at the Simone brought up now that again neighborhood School Chalk neighborhood schools here obviously different people have different ideas and different opinions about the concept of the neighborhood school is are we to believe now that there is a correct position to have on neighborhood schools. And if you don't have that position, you are at least a closet closet racist. I certainly hope not that debate is very much you're still going on. I think people are running for school board have different opinions of it to Consultants have different opinions and what I see happening in in the Twin Cities particularly if some experimentation to see what works in Minneapolis is forging a blend of neighborhood schools Magnet School special-purpose schools International Baccalaureate program, and they're going to experiment to see what where they have the best results. That's also happening in Suburban districts. Suburban districts have had neighborhood schools has more of a factor, but because of the distances they offer student Prophet bus to them regardless of whether they were neighborhood or not. But getting back to something. Someone said Gary and that's brought the experience of candidates candidates by Nature are going to speak from their own experience or what they've done so far and one of the things that I think proact offers, it's an opportunity for candidates to talk to people. They haven't had that chance to talk to you in the past prior to proact existing if somebody were to say, who do I call to learn more about how someone from a community of color might hear what I'm thinking of saying I wouldn't have known who to suggest that they call now there is a resource in an opportunity that hasn't been there in the past and I think I hope it lasts. I think it will be somewhat effective this year but in its second or third or fourth or fifth campaign Cycles more likely to be affected. Robert Smith is your group pretty in terms of etiology pretty broadly based D. I mean conservatives liberals that kind of thing increase increase the table and because we are not coming with our organizational representation, but we are coming as individuals to this table. I think that I think they look good cross-section of of Minnesota at the table and I think we will continue to grow. We got time for at least one more call taking my call. I'm wondering if if the term gang or other terms like gay. Why maybe there is something to this. I know when I walked through the black community and I hear the music. I heard the same thing in the white Community the people in the community with a duck tone that down. Well what I don't know quite how to respond to that my I guess my answer is if the language itself gets in the way of discussing the issue change the language if we can't discuss the issue at all. Then we have another problem that you separate from the language. Thank you, and the other problem we may discover is that racism is sister, and that only we can can prevent it. Thank you for having us. Well, thanks so much and rev up before you go if people want to get involved in your organization get in touch with you about what's best way to do that is to call proact and the telephone number is 222-428-8222. Area code 651-222-4288. Thank you, Reverend Ron Smith. Call Pastor of Unity Baptist Church in St. Paul former. President of the black ministerial Alliance state representative Dan McElroy from Burnsville has been with us. He is a Republican and a served as the liaison between proact and Minnesota house Republican Cincinnati again proact stands for political racism is offencive to all citizens task force. This is midday coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio and will continue in just a moment. I'm Ray Suarez as part of the United Nations the World Health Organization has a daunting mission statement the set Global standards for health and improve the quality of life for people worldwide this year the who celebrates its 50th anniversary and welcomes its first female director general doctor Gro Harlem brundtland joins us to talk about the old and new challenges confronting the who on the next Talk of the Nation from NPR news. Begins at 1 here on Minnesota Public Radio. Now over the noon hour today. It's off to the National Press Club should be a lively Press Club luncheon today political satirist, Mark Russell is speaking at the Press Club. And of course, mr. Russell has lots of material to work with these days. So we'll get off to our live coverage right after the news headlines right now. It's time for The Writer's Almanac.


Digitization made possible by the State of Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, approved by voters in 2008.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>