Jim Backstrom – Dakota County Attorney, Where are the Black Folks in Your Office?

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Alright – so, unless you live under a rock, we have all heard the systemic problems from racism policies that are often subtle or not subtle towards minority communities. For those of us in the autism world, we also know how hard autism by itself is, then when you add bias and prejudice law enforcement then all hell can break loose. So, what does this mean and what can we as minority autism advocates do so that our children and our community get equal justice.

For starters, we have to understand how the system works. We always assume the police officers or state troopers are the problem. In my humble little opinion, they are the fish in a big ocean dominated by sharks. For example, the police chief who oversees the police is hired by the city mayor. Mayors also hire attorney’s to represent them and to bring justice for that city’s citizens. Then there is the state patrol folks on the highway who I am sure commit lots of racial profiling and they are under the state public safety agency who usually is hired by the governor. Finally, there is the county prosecutor and/or county attorney who are elected officials themselves.

This all means if minorities really understand this and connect it to their votes in a united and cohesive manner, then we can bargain with our votes. For instance, Dakota County which has lots and lots minorities including thousands of Somalis has a county attorney Mr. Backstrom who rarely has any competition and keeps winning elections, despite his horrible minority outreach efforts and hiring diverse attorneys to represent the diversity of Dakota county.

My take is Mr. Backstrom does this because he knows we are asleep, don’t understand the system and don’t make the connection to our votes. One group of folks, I really admire their advocacy is Jewish Americans. They don’t care if a person is democrat, republican, woman or man – they make their needs very clear and any politician that does not support them or deviates from it pays for it deeply politically.

Why can’t minorities do the same, especially Black voters. If we used our voting block power to push our issues – such as asking each and every county prosecutor or county attorney to hire diverse staff to reflect where they serve, then we would not have this high and shameful disparity in Minnesota and nationwide. We all heard of the saying a county attorney or prosecutor can indict or charge a ham sandwich, if they want to. I am certain that is true because if no one looks like us there, then justice will never be fair and equal. We also all heard that when Sen Amy K was an attorney, how her discretion led to high racial disparity. This can be corrected if states or there was a federal law that said we need to track how county attorneys and prosecutors charge or not charge and the race/ethnicity of those cases. I bet there would be a lot less bias if they know they are being tallied.

Dakota County attorney’s office is notorious for discriminating against minority communities because they know our voices and votes will never affect them. WE CAN CHANGE THAT. We can get a coalition with either Mpls NAACP and/or Council on Black Minnesotans as well as national agencies to fight the likes of Jim Backstrom, Eric Olson, Bob McCulloch, etc.

United we can bargain with our votes and voices. Divided justice will never be served and we will remain a community that is showered with injustice, despair, disparity, discrimination and bias policies.

As usual, above words do not reflect any agency, candidate or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate