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January 11, 2011 6:33 AM   Subscribe

Today, the first Somali-American to hold public office in Minnesota, and likely the nation, will be sworn in. But he prefers to be known as African-American.

Local news reported that according to US Census data released December 14th, "[n]early one in three people with Somali ancestry in the United States now live in the Minnesota, which has the largest concentration in the country".
Minnesota's Somali Community [PDF] (from Minnesota Department of Human Services website)
posted by jillithd (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 6:43 AM on January 11, 2011

The Minnesota indeed
posted by wheelieman at 6:43 AM on January 11, 2011

Ha! Yes, wheelieman, I saw that, too, but that's quoted verbatim from their article so... *shrug*
posted by jillithd at 6:45 AM on January 11, 2011

Yeah, is that a typo or is Minnesota sometimes known as THE Minnesota?
posted by molecicco at 6:45 AM on January 11, 2011

Well, I mean, there is only one of it, right?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:02 AM on January 11, 2011

I guess this is the part where we pull the scab off of the argument over whether immigrants from African countries are African American?
posted by 1adam12 at 7:09 AM on January 11, 2011

This article might be the only context in which you could read the phrase, "We don't have a lot of gangs like Minnesota."
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 7:09 AM on January 11, 2011

I be in a gang?

But seriously, living in Mn is akin to engaging in political bi-polar hopscotch.

Welstone - yay
Coleman - boo
Ellison - 1st (still only?) Muslim in congress - yay
Pawlenty - boo
Hussein Samatar - yay
Bachmann - boo
We had a legislative switch from DFL to wacky republicans - boo
We have our first (liberal) DFL governor in decades - yay

I know all states have similar, but it can be downright neckbreacking here sometimes.
posted by edgeways at 7:31 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]

MPR missed another Somali-American candidate. Sadik Warfa ran for state representative in Minneapolis this past year. He lost handily, getting 876 votes of 7571 cast in the race, but he did beat the Republican, who got 746 votes. (Can you tell this is a very Democratic district?)
posted by hoyland at 7:48 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

nebulawindphone, the world couldn't handle more than one Minnesota!

I grew up in MN in the 1970s & 1980s among tons of Hmong kids, and also was told that the Twin Cities represented one of the highest concentrations of Koreans outside Seoul City. In the past decade (?) Somali immigrants were the newcomers. Who'll it be next? Other than pasty descendants of northern Europeans, I mean.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:50 AM on January 11, 2011

MN,oddly diverse in unexpected ways. It ain't just the weather, it includes people like Jesse the Body, Prince, & Louise Erdrich.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:02 AM on January 11, 2011

I'm pretty sure I could handle more than one Minnesota. They could put the second one down here near Texas, and then I'd be able to get decent Ethiopian food and go contra dancing with my friends more than once a year.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:12 AM on January 11, 2011

While I disagree with much of the 'mainstream' Minnesota (or really the Metro) political scene, I am thrilled to live in a place where we have so much diversity and real debate among not only our politicians, but our citizens. The whole "Ellison - 1st (still only?) Muslim in congress - yay; Pawlenty - boo" thing makes me kinda sad. I'm probably not the prototypical MeFite or Minnesotan, but to me the best part of both groups is that we can all discuss things rationally and actually work together.

I had hoped that MN could be an example of how such diverse groups could work together and come to some kind of a middle ground, but every day it looks more and more like there's a growing division and I want no part of it. I listen to talk radio and read newspapers from all (read: NOT both) sides of issues daily and I can see good people and good ideas everywhere. I guess I just don't get it.

I'm getting off my soapbox but really, can't we discuss things without so much labeling and politicking? I guess we probably can't.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 8:29 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

"[n]early one in three people with Somali ancestry in the United States now live in the Minnesota, which has the largest concentration in the country"

From this, students, we may infer that one in three people with Somali ancestry - or their ancestors - arrive in the United States thinking, "I never want to be that hot again."
posted by el_lupino at 9:08 AM on January 11, 2011 [7 favorites]

I understand where you are coming from Wreckage, and a mere 6 months ago I was at a similar point, albeit from the other side of the center, however I truely feel we have moved away from the Arnie Carlson era of Republicans, where you might not fully agree with them, but you can respect them. Listening to Carlson nowadays makes him sounds like a DFLer.

Mind you, a big caveat is that I was writing for myself.

In the era of the Tea Party I have found over the years I have moved enough to center that I can't accommodate further shifting. When the Governor goes for a center right to right wing because he has delusions of running for higher office, when a former senator drags a recount over months are stalling tactics, when the longest serving, most powerful Representative we have is thrown over for someone who have never held political office, when Michelle Fucking Bauchmann is reelected twice I will say boo.

I do like the diversity in politics we have here, that is nice, but the trailing edge of modern conservatives is too poisonous and too out-to-lunch for me to give any quarter to.

I am sorry if that seems offensive, and from your tone we might actually get along just fine on a 1:1 basis, but the current crop of Republicans have done more to make me a party-line voter than anything the DFL has ever done. I am not so much a DFl-er, as an anti-Republican. I can see a time where that might change again, and I may be open to at least listening-and-respecting. But it won't be for a good long chunk of time.
posted by edgeways at 9:11 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]

edgeways - You have just proven to me that there are still good, reasonable people here in MN. I was not attacking you in my previous comment by any means, just the divisive attitudes that are becoming ever more prevalent here and everywhere.

I don't actually consider myself a Republican (anymore) but more of a Libertarian-leaning Independent. I take no offense to any of your comments because they were on-issue and reasoned. I appreciate your response as an example of exactly what I was trying to say that Minnesotans were (and can again be) a shining example of. You took no shots at me; I took no shots at you (I'm sorry if any were inferred, I truly meant none); and we can discuss.

I agree with so much of what you are saying, but still can't get on the DFL bandwagon. I also agree that we'd get along great 1:1. I look forward to it at a meetup someday.

Thanks for making this state and this site better for your understanding and reasonable comments. You may never know how much you've buoyed my spirits today.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:32 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well, there is that other Minnesota, but we won't talk about them.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:54 AM on January 11, 2011

cheers Wreckage
posted by edgeways at 11:48 AM on January 11, 2011

to Clinging & edgeways: By your exchanges up thread, I'd be pleased to have more Minnesotans leading the public discourse. Polite & willing to engage non-combatively; you're making me miss living up there!
posted by ms.jones at 2:30 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fun fact: you can drive directly from Dallas to Minneapolis.
posted by delmoi at 7:41 AM on January 12, 2011

Funner fact: you can drive directly from Laredo to Duluth
posted by edgeways at 8:28 AM on January 12, 2011

Less fun fact: Interstate 35 is evidence that Satan's minions walk among us.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:12 AM on January 12, 2011

Just put it all out on highway 61.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:26 AM on January 12, 2011

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