Alright – so, when it rains it pours. Chair of Public Safety and Crime Prevention in Minnesota House of Representatives seems to be confused about what happened in Minnesota to yet another Black man. You see Philando Castille was not a THUG nor a criminal. He was actually a productive member of society who worked years at the same job. Rather than ask and wait for facts – Rep Cornish puts his mouth in his ass. Now this guy is no average Jack. He is the one in charge of the public safety committee in the state. In other words, whatever bills or legislations he wants only get through and become law in Minnesota. He has a pretty powerful position in the state. Yet, he sounds like an immature toddler. Clearly he has no clue about Minnesota’s horrible racial bias statistics from the justice system to education to health.
In response, there has been many folks that have been vocal and wrote back. I think that is waste of time and quite frankly worthless. The best thing is to figure out how to either A. defeat him at the polls this year or B. demand that he is removed from his post as chair. Both are doable, but it must be carried out strategically. To defeat him means someone else has to run against him in the district he represents which does not have a lot of minority voters, but if his racist message and stupidity gets to the voters, it may work. The other way is to pressure Speaker Rep Kurt Daudt to take his chair position away which he may do if pressured intensely. Rep Daudt can be reasonable and needs every vote he can get to keep the house this year.
This would be my advice to Mpls and St. Paul NAACP and other minority leaders in Minnesota to demand and push. In other words, if all we do is to just complain with no plan behind then nothing will happen. Protesting and complaining without a plan of action is really waste of time and resources. I am hopeful that maybe Mpls NAACP President Nekima will do it. I am not so sure about the St. Paul one. He is usually not up to speed on social justice in a manner that is meaningful. In parallel, I would recommend asking a legislator to write a bill that would collect racial data for county and district attorneys in how they prosecute or not as well as individual cop statistics. Currently, we don’t have any law requiring that. For example, word on the street is Sen Amy K was notorious for putting away and prosecuting Black defendants but we have no proof because there is no data collection. A legislation could be written requiring all new police officers in the state to go through cultural competency training and how to de-escalate situations especially situations involving persons of color as most White police officers have no idea. Getting body cameras for everyone and in every police car would take the guessing of what happened out. Assuring grand-jury selection reflects the communities they serve would take out the implicit bias that exists currently. Another suggestion would be for minorities to run for county & district attorney positions. Currently, out of the 87 counties in Minnesota, only one is minority in Ramsey county and zero, zilch, zip are Black.
A legislator could also write a bill that requires police officers must live in the areas they patrol which would then create a true community policing. Imagine if the police officers in minority communities actually lived there. They would have more empathy and understanding. Final suggestion would be to pressure Commissioner of DPS Dohman to hire more minority state troopers as well as middle and upper management in Minn Dept of Public Safety. Currently, their racial stats suck (not a typo). Don’t get me wrong, I like Dohman and even admired her standing behind Gov Dayton when he made that speech stating racism is alive and well in Minnesota but action and doing always speaks louder.
By the way, the Senate chair for the public safety committee, Sen Dibble who chairs the Senate public safety committee is no better than Rep Cornish, except he is more educated, more civil and probably more polite but his civil rights and equal justice record is just as bad. In Africa, they would say, Rep Cornish is a loud hyena and Sen Dibble is a quite hyena. The question is which do you prefer a loud one that barks when he is coming or a quite hyena that smiles at you while he still eats you. As someone that was a hard core DFLer that is until I came to Minn and met the likes of Rep Norton (queen of autism discrimination) and others like her, I would advice voters of color to not vote blindfolded. For example, guess what the district attorney for Ferguson that refused to charge the killer of Michael Brown was – that is right a DFLer who even won again after his bias decision. Guess who else is a DFLer – the Hennepin County Attorney who also sided with the White defendant rather than with the Black victim. And, he is up for re-election again soon. Hip Hop Republican wrote an eloquent op-ed on this that is very true to this sentiment. In other words, just because they say the right things, sound educated, are polite and even seem genuine DFL politician, don’t assume their actions are fair, equal, right or even accurate. In fact, most areas with the highest racial disparities in health, education and justice are led by White DFLers. Not kidding.
Finally, what does this have to do with autism as I have no desire to be the Jackie of all trades. Simple answer – if you think racism only exists in the justice system – think again. Let’s explain this in another way. When Gov Dayton said if this man was White – this incident would not have happened as it did. Well – if so many Black children with autism were White then racist providers like Lovaas and MEAP would’ve provided therapy and treat all children equally and fairly..
Folks use your votes wisely and negotiate with it.
More info on Minnesota’s racial profiling going back years. And, it is still happening – racism exists and is alive and well in this passive aggressive state of 10,000 racial disparities.
Above words do not represent any committee, agency or candidate.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate