Hamline University

Recent Articles

Tired of long-term plans to close the achievement gap?

SkyLearn promises ‘significant improvements’
By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Minnesota’s educational disparity isn’t just a gap, it’s a chasm. Unless you’re stupid enough to believe all those children of color are that dumb, common sense dictates it is a deliberate, system-wide act of institutionalized racism, pure and simple, one that attacks Black communities in the one area that historically has strengthened us — social progress achieved by sticking your head in a book and applying what you learn to prevail, even in the face of discrimination. Do something serious and concrete about the educational disparity and you remove a grim disadvantage that keeps our kids behind the proverbial eight-ball as would-be students shunted to society’s sidelines to become statistics for the prison system and welfare rolls. In this light, consider Sky Learn, Inc. a resource with which to reckon in the interest of, beyond salvaging these youngsters, enabling them to empower our communities. “With 40 hours of on-line instruction, students have experienced the mastery of reading and math,” asserts president/CEO Jesse Overton in a statement at Skylearn.net, “and are able to participate at grade level with a 85 percent mastery of the basic skills.”

Quite an extraordinary claim at a time when extraordinary measures are exactly what’s called for to counteract the chronic discrimination that has educationally crippled generations. Continue Reading →

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The Good Wife Works – On belonging

“Racism poisons civic life and denies the worth of human beings because of their color,” Michael Eric Dyson wrote. We know that racism destroys a Black man by ignoring his gifts, overlooking his presence, and demeaning his manhood. Larry Holmes, pugilist, said it: “It’s hard being Black. You ever been Black? I was Black once — when I was poor.” John McWhorter echoes Holmes: “Poverty is a tragedy, not a lifestyle.”

The opportunity to advance — in order to escape poverty — is approached through job skills training and education when privilege did not come through the accident of birth, but there is more to discuss in Black culture than poverty. Continue Reading →

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Central prevails over Washburn on the gridiron








St. Paul Central’s football team made a serious statement last week during its 47-25 nonconference football victory over perennial Minneapolis City Conference power Washburn. Before a surprisingly small but enthusiastic crowd at James S. Griffin Stadium (Central’s home field), the defending conference champion Minutemen dominated the Millers, last year’s Minneapolis champs, in every phase of the game. Washburn came in with the state’s top recruit in running back JEFF JONES. Jones came into the game with 16 touchdowns in three victories but was held to 17 yards. Continue Reading →

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‘Harlem Shake’ videos spark effort to ‘resist the fad’



News Analysis

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer


On March 13, Hamline University in St. Paul hosted a forum titled, “The Harlem Shake as Blackface: A Critical Look at Cultural Appropriation.” The forum was a panel discussion about a recent YouTube phenomenon and its relation to racism and people who identify themselves as White appropriating elements of cultures created by people of color. The panel of nine was made up of scholars, professors, students from Hamline, local artists, and others described as being nationally known speakers and activists connected to either hip hop culture, the city of Harlem, privilege, or appropriation who can share their experiences and expertise to shed light on why the “Harlem Shake” videos are a problem. For those who are unaware, the “Harlem Shake” being addressed is not referring to the dance made popular by Harlem youth in the 1980s; instead, it refers to a track created by a producer named Baauer, who named it “Harlem Shake.”

The track itself is not what is necessarily causing the commotion. It is the fact that it is used in videos uploaded to the Internet showing people moving around wildly to the track, and that it has created a sort of phenomenon, having influenced many different people to create similar videos. Continue Reading →

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Message to student-athletes: ‘No means no!’


Apparently based on recent events, two suggested prerequisite courses for all college studentathletes at all three NCAA division schools should be, first, an English class on the true meaning of the word “no,” and second a class on “making right choices.”

A former Hamline University men’s basketball player was recently charged with felony second-degree assault after he allegedly hit a woman in the face while in Spokane, Washington on New Year’s Eve. When she heard about the incident, Crystal Flint briefly chatted with one of her sons: “I told him that no one knew how it was going to turn, [but] somebody has to do the morally correct thing and go…at least tell somebody,” she recalls. If Flint, herself a former University of Minnesota student-athlete, is successful in convincing her youngster to do the “morally correct thing,” it will help eradicate the notion of individual willfulness embedded in too many young people’s minds that falsely tells them that whatever they do, rightly or wrongly, is acceptable these days. This notion we adults have somehow, consciously or unconsciously, planted and watered in them, thus enabling them and bankrupting them morally. This is even more so if the young person has been tagged a “star athlete” in his or her formative years, depriving them of understanding and of consistently hearing the word “no.” Sometimes we see a dangerous pattern developing and allow it to go unchecked. Continue Reading →

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Media justice activists develop racial equity pledge


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Nearly 50 persons attended “A Gathering for Media Justice” held last weekend at Hamline University for community members and local non-mainstream media representatives. Sponsored by Community Action Against Racism (CAAR), Main Street Project and KFAI-FM, the December 8 half-day “conversation-based” event discussed media justice issues with an emphasis on local mainstream media coverage of communities of color. “People came [to the Saturday event] because they have a real hunger to see things different,” said Main Street Project Community Organizer Danielle Mikali. “I think oftentimes we feel frustrated and we don’t know where to turn. “As a media justice organizer, but also as an African American woman and mother, too often I don’t necessary know where to look in terms of the really great independent media outlets that are sharing stories,” Mikali said of the various local media that were represented at last Saturday’s event: the Cities’ two Black newspapers, the Twin Cities Daily Planet “and even cable — there were some cable access show hosts that were here,” noted Mikali. Continue Reading →

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