Anyone who has ever visited Minneapolis knows that is a lovely city, especially if you were there in the summer. It has many lakes and a variety of parks. Minneapolis is the location of the corporate headquarters for 16 Fortune 500 companies and it has a rich history of cultural, athletic and entertainment events. It provides so much for its residents that they are willing to put up with bone-chilling winters that can last for six months.
So, why was Minneapolis the scene of a horrific police murder of an African American man that has led to protests, civic violence and brutality to and by police? There is a serious racial inequality in terms of income in Minneapolis that is not present in any other major city.
In urban areas throughout the nation there are differences between white and black median household income, yet the data for Minneapolis reveals a harsh difference. In black households, the median income is about $43,000 and for white families this number is about $86,000.
Black income in Minneapolis is similar to what is found in New Orleans and Cleveland, but in these two cities, white income is significantly lower than what white families earn in Minneapolis. In Atlanta, where median white household income is very close to that of Minneapolis, the black income is about $20,000 more than Minneapolis.
There must be some underlying cause for the disparity. Typically, cities with greater white income have greater black income. An investigation is required to examine the reasons for the racial income disparity. There are additional facts which might further explain underlying racial tensions in the Twin Cities.
In the 1950s, the construction of an interstate highway in the region avoided white neighborhoods while wrecking an established black community in St Paul, destroying churches and community centers. At that time, white families could purchase their first home using federal loans which were not available to African Americans. This has led to about 76% of Twin Cities households headed by a white person own their home, compared with 24% of black households. So, it is not simply police racism, it is a community with serious racial conflicts.