Mitch Pearlstein bemoans Hennepin Avenue riff-raff

Categories: Civil Society
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Mitch Pearlstein, defender of the American Dream, wrote an Op-Ed column in the Star Tribune today. It bemoaned Hennepin Avenue and how it attracts minorities riff-raff, which in turn scare white women and old white men.

Maybe we can chalk this up to an old guy being an old guy. And who knows, maybe he remembers a time when black people were scared to walk around white folk. Change is hard to take.

But his article is dated and thin on perspective. He encourages folks to talk openly about racism without openly talking about racism. It seems his problem is he does not own up to the fact that young black men apparently scare him.

He counters this with:

"But would most everyone offended and scared still be that way even if everyone doing the offending and scaring looked just like them? You betcha."

No. No betcha.

He's jumping around the simple issue again and again: young black guys make old-white guys like him nervous.

It seems that Pearlstein doesn't want to wade through minorities on his way to cheer for minorities when the new Twins Ballpark opens. He welcomes the increased police presence downtown, but it seems like he'd appreciate an Anthropology store more.

Hennepin is magic because it's a place where economics, racism and cultural sensitivity collide. If you're a businessman looking to attract the purse strings of a rich un-traveled whitey, it's tragic for the same reason.

Maybe the solution to his problem is simple. Just nod to the young black guy. He'll nod back. Like all adolescents, and anyone else on the strip at night, he's there to get noticed.

Or maybe he's just waiting alongside his college buddies for something else: the bus.



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