Judgmental Mpls map creator speaks out: "The whole thing is satirical"

Categories: Minneapolis
judgempls rect.jpg
Sarah: "We need to have conversations about race, but it's so touchy that we have to really calculate how we say everything."
As her submission to the "Judgmental Maps" blog became an internet sensation yesterday, the creator of the Minneapolis one asked us to remove her name from our post.

THE BACKSTORY: Judgmental Mpls neighborhood map might offend you, will probably make you laugh [IMAGE]

Sarah -- she asked us not to use her last name for this piece -- was concerned her controversial creation was "being misinterpreted by about 75 percent of folks." Later in the day, we connected with her on the phone and got her to expand on the point she was trying to make with her map.

"The whole thing is satirical," Sarah, a resident in the neighborhood of "wannabe hipsters" (i.e., Lowry Hill East) said. "Judgmental maps are supposed to look at a city and pick out something that's really judgmental and potentially offensive about a certain group and look at how people view each other. It can be really offensive and really illuminating."

Sarah said she went to pains not to use any racially loaded terms in her map, but understands why people were offended by her characterization of the northside as the "Compton of the North."

"So many ideas are intimately linked in our heads to other stereotypes that even when we want to take a step back and be more open and accepting, it's always there in the background," she said. "The vast majority of Minneapolis views north Minneapolis as this super scary ghetto that everyone is scared to go to."

That said, Sarah acknowledged that if she had any idea her map would blow up like it did, she "would've tried to put more thought into it."

"I put most of it together, went for a walk, and finished it," she said.

"Satire can be a very powerful tool to make a point, [but] it definitely was not executed in the most skilled way," Sarah continued. "I thought, I'm going to say something really funny to get people's attention. That's the place that inspired this, and I definitely wasn't trying to perpetuate racial stereotypes but I can see how that happens from this and I regret how that happened."

Reaction to her work has been generally positive, however, with critical comments counterbalanced by appreciative ones and thousands of Facebook likes.

"Nobody seems to be taking offensive to anything other than north Minneapolis, though a lot of it is more critical of other people and neighborhoods. 'That fucking K-mart' -- as many people like that as hate the north Minneapolis one," she said.

But ultimately, Sarah said people who are offended by the characterization of the northside as the "Compton of the North" should examine their own assumptions as well.

"I was referring to the crime and violence, to a neighborhood people have tried to turn around a whole bunch of times and failed. I looked at the current demographics, and the vast majority of people that live [in Compton] are races other than African-American," Sarah said. "I naively assumed that would help make clear that the link was between violence and crime and the complicated social dynamics of the neighborhood rather than just race."

"If you hear Compton and think African-American that's an association in your mind. I didn't bring that into it," she continued. "Race never goes away and it won't until we live in a truly equal society, but the people who took offense on racial grounds brought more associations to the table than I did."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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57 comments
ParticipateNWin
ParticipateNWin

This is a weak response. From what I understand, she is a good person who truly doesn't like stereotypes, and tried her hand at satire, but awkwardly stumbled through it, resulting in a clumsy, offensive product that's funny to mostly people who agree with the accuracy of the stereotypes ("it's funny because it's true"). If she really wants to change the way the "vast majority of people" think about North Mpls, why would she label the community from the perspective of those who stereotypes as opposed to taking a different angle? If it were called "What white people see: a judgmental map of Mpls," it would be funnier and less offensive. I like what Stefanie said in the comments - about giving the perspective of the people who live there. Instead of "too scary to explore...", she could have written "white people are too scared of us" or "f-ed by free-market capitalism."

The fact that the author left out race makes it even worse - it's like she's too scared to articulate the point she's allegedly trying to make. It's too bad that she didn't want to be associated with her own words, even after she was able to explain herself. I don't think it speaks very well to her convictions. 

There are people who are defending this idea that in this map, she's challenging the ridiculousness of stereotypes through satire. Where are their replies to all of the people who have commented on the accuracy of the map? Why are they only engaging the people who say it's offensive, but not the people who think it's accurate? Why are they not responding to those with racist comments? They seem to be a bit confused about what it is that they are actually defending.

I think it's safe to say that Minnesotans are largely uncomfortable talking about race, and don't have a grip on the impact of stereotypes. It's also safe to say this map didn't help.

Matt B

Keith Morris
Keith Morris

The scariest thing about North is how boring it is. Too many houses: not enough zombie dens.

Molly Phillips
Molly Phillips

It's darling that she googled Compton and found out other minorities also live there. Regardless, I'd be hard-pressed to believe that the intent of "The Compton of the North" wasn't "Where the Violent Minorities Live."

cruhland
cruhland

I think it's funny and I laughed at them all, but I see the point of critics. It's a little like telling short people jokes and expecting the short people to enjoy. 

tcsteveb
tcsteveb

Those of us who live in the "too scary to investigate" neighborhood are probably a little too sensitive, but with good reason.  People repeatedly judge a diverse and primarily residential area without ever having been there.  I have made great friends in my nearly 20 years in Camden, and know most of my neighbors by sight, if not by name.  At least in my part of Camden (specifically, the Cleveland neighborhood) people still stop and chat over the fence, work in gardens, have kids and pets, just like they do in other parts of the city.  The map also assumes that every corner is just like every other west of 94 and north of, well, Bryn Mawr.  Using that same logic, Franklin and Chicago must be just like 32nd and Hennepin. (After all, they're only 2 miles apart.)  It says more that she painted a whole quadrant of the city with 2 titles and 1 note of fast food restaurants, while individual neighborhoods in other small neighborhoods in the city get their own designations. 

Deana Poland
Deana Poland

I live in the "Too scary to investigate" neighborhood", which is obviously bullshit. The crime rate in Edina is higher than my neighborhood in North Minneapolis. I think that's what pissed me off about the whole thing, I get tired of blanket statements about this part of the city when I spend so much time defending it.

lund519
lund519

My God! What is this, the P.C. crapstorm of 1993?  Get over yourselves if you're offended.  Chances are you say and do things that offend other people as well.  If you can dish it out then shut up and let others have their fun.  

Stefanie Megan Brown
Stefanie Megan Brown

Humor is funnier when you put the humor in the victims hands....if you named part of it..."wrecked by tornado...still ignored by government".....or "white people still live here" ....or "owned by US Bank"....you could still poke fun at the system rather than those targeted by it.

Stefanie Megan Brown
Stefanie Megan Brown

She would've been fine if she had more than ALL of north listed as Compton in bold letters....and for the other community to be listed as too scary....now you sound like a white 20-something hipster or yuppie who considers themselves a Minneapolis expert....but all you know is white Minneapolis. I thought the map was funny as hell (that fucking Kmart!) But could've done way better

MarcelloErnetti
MarcelloErnetti

EXCELLENT Job Sarah!

To those criticizing the characterization of North, if you were making a satirical map of Minneapolis what satirical label would you put on it, or the areas within it?  "Misrepresented and misunderstood community" would be absolute shit in its ability to get grins and chuckles.

Truth is you don't have much senses of humor because if put up to the task you'd likely be unwilling to make fun of the neighborhood or would be unable to do so in an amusing way (at least in an intentionally amusing way, I'd actually likely find your attempt to poke fun at the community in a PC way to be a treasure of unintentional amusement).

Adam_S
Adam_S

WOW.

You offended people need to get a grip. Comedy, and esp. satire, often times, by which I mean almost always, involve/s mockery. It becomes bad news when one group or person is mocked at the expense of everyone else. This woman made fun of everyone and every neighborhood. 

Get over it. Good grief. 


Melissa Barnes
Melissa Barnes

The link is blocked by Facebook for being abusive. Lol

Anna Gonzalez
Anna Gonzalez

You can't compare it to other states though that's why is just a Minneapolis map not a us map. No one is comparing ” where real hipsters live” to Seattle and saying oh that's not hipster at all.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

she fucked up , where is Little Mogodishu

Kent Erickson
Kent Erickson

Jane I know it's a joke and I think it's funny, but I was only responding to people being serious in their comments saying North is a ghetto by telling them to go to the cities I listed if they want to see a real ghetto. I don't live in North or anything, just pointing out how small town a view it is to call North a ghetto.....it's proof someone never gets outside the state much,

Oscar
Oscar

I hope the original author Sarah does not feel bad about this at all. All these people whining are pathetic. Literally, they are pathetic and i can't believe there life is so sad they find need to bitch about this article. I lived in uptown for a few years and wasn’t a 24 year old target employee living in a luxury apartment. Should i be offended by this stereotype? Are you f'ing kidding me people.  

Mary Jo
Mary Jo

OMG, I think this map is funny! Get over yourselves! She is making fun of everyone on this map!

David Kaiser
David Kaiser

My ex girlfriend lives in 'tarts'. Accurate.

Tara Walden
Tara Walden

Sensitive Susies lol this is ridiculous

Joel Kvenvolden
Joel Kvenvolden

I used to live in "Drug Deals". That part is pretty accurate. And I laughed hard at "That Fucking K-Mart", as I've said it to myself and others many times before. People need to just take a joke better. It was a pretty funny broad-assumption piece that people are getting a bit too butt-hurt over. Laugh at it or not and be on your merry way, nobody is calling anybody a piece of shit. Jeez!

Jane Jaeger
Jane Jaeger

the comments from people on all of this are crazy! I never knew people were so easily offended...it's a joke!

Dana Elyse Nicole Maher
Dana Elyse Nicole Maher

I'm not sure what's so "scary" about North. You've obviously never visited a legitimate scary part of a city if you think North is so terrible. Sure, there is more reported crime and police activity in North as compared with some other areas, but to be afraid of being here? It's ridiculous. There are pockets of good and bad in every area of the city. "north" describes a huge area and thus there are more pockets in a larger area... Imagine that. The majority of crime is domestic... I don't hang out with people who would rob/injure/kill me if we had a disagreement. If you do, your problems will be traveling with you out of north Minneapolis. That being said, I don't understand why any gives a fuck what some "artist" (and really, putting text over a map isn't exactly art) said or did. The only reason anyone really noticed it is because CityPages posted it... Maybe it was a slow news day and they were trying to stir the pot. Who fucking cares? It's a stupid map by a talentless hack.

swee2th
swee2th

You can always count on City Pages for a few things... Stoking the flames of racism on a slow news day, and marching lock-step with the anti-gun crowd.

OliverTwist
OliverTwist

There is no worse crime in Minnesota than criticism. Especially when there's a dollop of truth in it. 

Kent Erickson
Kent Erickson

Geoff, bad by Minnesota standards does not make North a ghetto. Like David said, go spend sometime on the south side of Chicago, East St.Louis, Compton, pretty much all of Gary, Ind, Newark and etc if you want to see a real ghetto.

Matt Pahl
Matt Pahl

JUST BECAUSE THE AUTHOR CALLED NORTH GHETTO DOES NOT MEAN SHE OR ANYONE THINKS NICE PEOPLE DON'T LIVE THERE. (This post is turning into a census for nice northsiders to out themselves. Hilarious. I lived there for five years, btw. Lots of nice folks. The vast majority of them. Still, it's the shittiest part of town. That's just the way it is.)

Heather Kuikka
Heather Kuikka

I have an awesome house and awesome neighbors on a quiet street in NoMi. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. There are a lot of us who take care of our homes and try to be positive influences in the community. The news only portrays the bad, rarely do they report all the good that goes on.

Elisa Maria
Elisa Maria

It was funny. North is scary, sorry.

swee2th
swee2th

Slow news day, Aaron?

Dean131
Dean131

Lighten up, Francis.

John Fena
John Fena

my favorite part about living north is that it's still void of lemmings. the only reason i didn't like this map is because it was obvious, not amusing.

Amanda Moore
Amanda Moore

I will agree that north is bad (I'm a north minneapolis resident) but what a lot of people don't realize is there's a lot of great people in north. Just take a stroll through victory memorial parkway or talk to the people at cookie cart over on west broadway. Something about north I've noticed that even in the worst parts go into a corner store or grocery store (like let's say so low foods) people treat you with small town courtesy. Everyone is so nice and neighborly, unlike in other neighborhoods that are higher income where everyone seems to be only focused on themselves and won't even give you a smile or say hello.

Geoff Carl
Geoff Carl

North is bad. Look at a crime map for facts.

carnivalminds
carnivalminds

This map is funny.
If it wasn't made by a local person, but made by fill in the blank edgy political comedian these wankers would be calling it "real, man". She got "hippster wannabes" wrong, it should also be called "drunks". In between Hum's and Lowry Hill Liqour stores and about 9 bars. I protest!

byork00
byork00

@Deana PolandWouldn't it be safe to say that this map is widely a play on not wholly accurate stereotypes of each neighborhood?  Perhaps it's pointing out the ridiculous nature of how these neighborhoods are perceived in a comedic fashion.

Onan
Onan

@Tom Brennan LOL - Minneapolis is not a "large city."

ParticipateNWin
ParticipateNWin

@Amanda Moore I appreciate your thoughtful response, Amanda. It's funny how people will say "it's just a joke" and then say "it's so true," suggesting the stereotype is accurate, in the same comment. They can't have it both ways. This is a horrible attempt at satire. 

byork00
byork00

@Amanda Moore  Wouldn't it be safe to say that this map is widely a play on not wholly accurate stereotypes of each neighborhood?  Perhaps it's pointing out the ridiculous nature of how these neighborhoods are perceived in a comedic fashion (definition of satire)

ParticipateNWin
ParticipateNWin

@byork00 Sure. They are merely stereotypes. But if you look at a lot of the comments, people are saying "spot on" and "you couldn't be more right" and the such. It's perpetuating these ideas, regardless of the intent, which isn't really funny to begin with. 

knittinginmpls
knittinginmpls

@byork00 I suppose it would be comedic if the first question after I tell people I live over North wasn't "how many times have you been robbed?" So, no, I don't think this is funny at all. People really think the North Side is as dangerous as the news makes it appear and frankly I'm sick of it. Everytime I hear someone has been shot I cross my fingers that it didn't happen on the N Side.

Oscar
Oscar

Most shootings that occur in Minneapolis occur in North Minneapolis. This is a cold hard fact. So what's so hard to figure out here?

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