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About "Tracking the Gaps" Blog

We "track the gaps" in "The Big 7" of inner city Minneapolis: Education, Jobs, Housing, Public Safety (including tracking the war on young Black men) E nvironment, and E thics (of access and opportunity, of liberty and justice for all). In doing so we also track the failures of the post 60s Civil Rights Movement and the failures of Black organizations like the NAACP, who have taken their eyes off the prize. Hence our efforts to provide solutions.

We track the gaps 4 ways, through:

  1. This blog
  2. Our weekly column, Through my eyes, The Minneapolis Story Continues, which appears weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder newspaper
  3. Our archive of the weekly columns on this site
  4. Our solution papers that are archived on this web
  5. Our book, which started it all, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes.

We started with the book. But the Black so-called leadership forum/ministerial alliance told people not to read or buy it. The mainline press (Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press) refused to cover the book (not to mention two Black weeklies). Only the Black newspaper weekly The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and the white alternative paper City Pages reviewed the book and provided front page coverage.

And the NAACP? They expelled me from the local and national NAACP because of my being critical of their stewardship (book, Chapter 14) in terms of both their moneys and their missions. They have never refuted anything that I have written. They just didn't want truth spoken in public.

So when the Minnesota Spokesman-Recoder offered us a column, with the name The Minneapolis Story continues , we jumped on it. And when our publisher invited us to try this new form of communications, the web log, or blog as they are now known, we accepted. We are old school. We are not tech savy. So we appreciate the support for enabling us to do so.

Our blog, column, archive, solution paper, and book are all geared to bring the themes of the gaps in these 7 areas into the open and to provide workable solutions. Working in conjunction with our publisher, Beacon on the Hill Press, we have done just that.

We track the gaps between Minneapolis' inner city minorities, especially Blacks, and the Whites of the greater Minneapolis area, gaps we view as caused by purposeful public policy blockades instituted by both White and Black bureaucratic professions, doing harm with their sense of good, in the Big 7 of America.

Please understand this: we are NOT about being victims. And we are not about raising the spectre of white guilt.

So understand this: what we ARE: we are about fairness and justice, which we translate as equal access and equal opportunity (NOT equal results, but equal access and opportunity).

For those who want labels, I am a Nellie Stone Johnson Democrat. Read more in my book's Interlude 3. For more on Nellie, read Nellie Stone Johnson: The Life of an Activist, and Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights and the Transformation of the Democratic Party.

She lived to her 90s, spanning most of the 20 th century. She founded and led the Farm Labor Party. Humbert Humphey and his smaller Democratic party asked if they could merge parties. Yes, she said, if we don't lose our name. Hence, in Minnesota, its is the DFL (Democrat Farm Labor Party). She was my mentor. She would be pleased with much of the progress. She was never pleased with the way the inner city was treated. And despite being a close advisor to several governors, leading Black organizations of tossed her out, as the Democratic Party would do later. Why? Because the DFL believed in a state political party in control and Nellie believed in the community, in the grass roots, or in what some now call the "net roots."

Many Blacks have done well in this country. We leave alone the prejudice and racism that exists (every group has its own stories, for and against them). What we will not leave alone is the discrimination that can occur because of the racism and prejudice, especially on our Big 7.

Many are still being left behind in the inner cities, their only purpose to warehouse Democratic votes come election times. Inner city Blacks are treated as Blacks in the "Middle Passage", piled on their wooden bunks awaiting for the next landfall: the next election.

We also raise the stakes: "Tracking the Gaps" is also about tracking the failures of the civil rights movement, a failure that is primarily the fault of whites, as they control the policy machinery, and, as the Democrats control city politics, the problem of most inner cities is because the Democratic Party maintains an almost unbroken line of Plantation mentality, from when they wer in charge in slave days, to their Jim Crow period, and now in the post 60s civils rights period governed by the 1968 Kerner Commission report stating we can't make it on our own, and thus must be wards of the state.

Not that Republicans or Independents or Greens are off the hook. They have stood by and given their assent. But those in power were and are Democrats.

So this is not a blog of Democrats (nor of Republicans). Nor it is a blog of the left (nor the right). Both parties as well as people in power all along the political spectrum, left to right, have contributed to the gaps we track. We support any program or effort of those willing to work to close the gaps, left or right, democrat or republican.

This has not been easy. Two the most noted Democrats and liberals from my state, my fellow Minnesotans on whose presidential campaigns we worked, Hubert Humhrey (as an advance man in California in 1968) and Walter Mondale (1984), both blamed Blacks for their losses in those presidential elections. They cried victim. We are not victims although we have been victimized.

Finally, before repeating our excellent summary of what we do (Blog entry #5 of 2006), and stating how we originally defined our blog, a final word about those Blacks in Minnesota who have exemplified themselves in sports, which we have covered in our book, our columns, and our blog. Minnesotans seem to have a problem with the outsized success of Sports figures (coaches and players, collegiate and professional). Both White organizations (especially the press) and Black organizations (especially so-called civil rights ones) have resented their success and attempted to bring them down. Rather than celebrate them as favorite sons they treat them, literally, as the "black sheep" of the Minnesota family. And the lastest, of course, is to continue to favor non-slave descended Blacks over slave descended blacks. We will continue to follow all of these issues and urge our readers to stand up for justice and fairness as defined by equal access and equal opportunity for all.

America's Big 7

(from our Blog entry #5 of May 27, 2006)

The goal of Tracking the Gaps blog is to influence public policy and personal morality in order to contribute to ending the access/opportunty gaps imposed on inner city minorities, and to positively influence Black organizations (even the NAACP has taken its eye off the prize) and to positively impact Black males . In our book, The Minneapolis Story, through our eyes, we describe in detail how Minneapolis works to keep inner city Blacks "in their place". Minneapolis is not alone. Minneapolis is showing Seattle, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, L.A., S.F., New Orleans, Newark, etc. how to do so. Our book, stands for TRUTH & JUSTICE , FREEDOM & LIBERTY. Our book and web site's unique approach to tracking the gaps through our site's Blog , weekly columns, and solution sets, will continue to tell the story of Minneapolis, which is also America's story. Which cities will lead in tearing down the "walls" and machinery that work to keep minorities "in their place"? Which cities will continue to erect such "walls" and machinery to sustain and increase the gaps? Use our Book and CD and Blog and Building Blocks and Solution sets to impact your global concerns (including 9/11) where it counts: in your city, so together, we can all be part of the solution and challenge those who remain part of the problem to work with us to resolve conflict, to reconcile solutions and achieve the dream.

Our original "Tracking the Gaps" statement from 2004

Tracking the Gaps... education, jobs, housing, the State of Emergency for Black inner city Youth , the obstructing of equal access and equal opportunity for minorities; and searching for solutions through the use of the Golden Rule (Book's Chapter 5), the use of The Minneapolis Building Blocks and The Seven Key Solutions to create fairness, justice, and reconciliation so that all can acquire assets and build wealth. We can do so implementing four freedoms," articulated in FDR's 1-11-1944 State of the Union speech , in which the freedoms of speech and of religion and the freedoms from want and from fear would be the four freedoms for everyone in this country and for everyone "everywhere in the world," offering Higher Hopes For Youth Than Hip Hop by, together, working to reduce violence in our schools and communities, offering not Jeffersonian democracy but MLKing Democracy, offering our inner cities what JFK offered the world (to "bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty"), and doing so, as Lincoln urged in his 4-4-1864 Inaugural Address , "with malice toward none; and charity for all, ... let us strive on to finish the work we are in." Let us close the gaps, fulfill the dream.

Policy regarding the inner city in Minneapolis, as in many cities, is driven by the racist conclusions of the 1968 Kerner Commission Report (see analysis is my book): that Blacks are different from other immigrant groups, that their "special" circumstance of not coming voluntarily to America leaves them unable to make it on their own, and that therefore they must be wards of the state (the conservative 1998 book "The Bell Curve" that Blacks are too dumb to make it on their own and thus must be wards of the state brought us full circle).

This well meaning conclusion (make them wards of the state) has resulted in the flip side: don't waste money on those who "can't" make it. Thus inner city minorities are provided with substandard education, jobs, and housing, backed by laws that kept it that way (as they are too dumb, dumbed down education; de facto policy regarding hiring and the city flat out not following its own hiring compliance statutes; and "red lining" - until recently, red lines drawn around minority neighborhoods on bank maps - indicating who not to offer loans to) have all contributed to the current situation in the inner cities. Black organizations acquiescing to funding for them and their staffs has contributed to Black youths believing there is no hope, and instead of joining volunatary associations of old (schools, churches, community), they have joined gangs. As a result, public policy as destroyed inner city community and family life and contributed to the increased gaps in education, jobs, and housing.

Thus, Minneapolis has served as a "last outpost" that has mastered the harmful political and economic machinery needed for keeping minorities "in their place." This has led particularly to a war on young black men.

Many traditional Black organizations, including the NAACP, have taken their eyes off the prize and become middle class job banks like much of modern government and education.

The alarm bells should be tolling in our minds anytime one community takes it upon itself to side step the Individual Rights of other communities, blocking their opportunities by denying them equal access

Let us close with the words of Nellie Stone Johnson, from the Delon book:

Somebody asked me...what I thought was going to happen when we founded the DFL Party. I said I thought by now we would have taken over the whole country. At the time, I thought our politics were so good, so pure, so equality-minded that it didn't make any difference where we went, people would flock to us. That hasn't been the case.

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