St. Cloud racism: when the word was given

St. Cloud
St. Cloud Elkman By Elkman/Wikimedia Commons

During the era of greatest influence in this country the Nation of Islam’s most influential figure was Malcolm X (el-Hijj Malik el Shabazz). Malcolm thought violence that was meant to control, eliminate or intimidate Blacks should be “reciprocal.” He said, “When you drop that violence on me, then you’ve made me go insane and I’m not responsible for what I do.” (“When the Word is Given,” 1964; Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, 2011.)

In St. Cloud, Minnesota’s most pathologically racist community, a Black man demonstrated the concept of reciprocity recently at Crossroads Mall. Although nobody was killed, greater “White Cloud” boasts at least eight Black men murdered, i.e. Preston Harmon and Tim Spenser (1988), DeAndre Daivs (1998), Howard Hines (2005), Russell Williams (2005), Renardo Holmes (2006), Keita Keletigui (2015), and Dahir Adan (2016).

Harmon and Spenser were victims of local law enforcement or White supremacists. City Hall claimed Davis committed suicide and his body was “taken care of” by local cops. Hines was killed by a skinhead sniper unable to escape. Williams and Holmes were murdered “under color of law.” As for Harmon, Spenser, Davis and Keletigui, no suspects were ever identified, much less charged. With Black jurors being carefully excluded from trials, racist killers won’t be convicted.

Based on St. Cloud’s history of pride-filled racism facilitated by Stockholm Syndrome victims of color, reciprocal or revenge tactics must be considered. (“Anti-Islam sentiment has flared for years,” Star Tribune, September 19, 2016). Although speculative, despite “White Cloud” constantly topping Minnesota’s FBI hate crimes lists, possibly none of the injured Crossroads Mall Whites were active racists.

However, none of them were known to be aggressive anti-racists. “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem” as Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver reasoned. Even “White Cloud’s” proslavery newspaper (first deceptively called The Union to avoid abolitionist raids, later renamed the St. Cloud Daily Times, then again renamed the St. Cloud Times), grudgingly admitted, “The racial incidents cited are the kind that arouse outrage and disgust among people of even the most meager racial sensitivities.”

More recent news headlines imply St. Cloud’s Black-targeted violence is escalating. (“Tempers flare at anti-racism rally in St. Cloud;” KNSI Radio, August 1, 2015; “St. Cloud’s tensions will last awhile;” St. Cloud Times, February 15, 2016). Nobody capable of rational thought would assume there would be no acts of defiance, retaliation or retribution against “White Cloud’s” carefully maintained and nurtured traditions of racism.

From letters sent to community college ethnic clubs and high school parent-teacher groups by two ex-Black SCSU faculty members (2002-2016), to the coup that toppled racist public school administrators by Somali high school girls (2010), to the Adan retaliation, racism has punished “White Cloud” like no other Minnesota community. In a community where racist White males assault Somali girls by grabbing their hijabs and walking on plates of Somali food in high school cafeterias, retaliation is as predictable as day following night.

The task now is pressuring investigations of ignored deaths of Blacks murdered in “White Cloud,” from Preston Harmon and Tim Spenser, to Keita Keletiqui, based on recent admissions of incompetence by former Stearns County Sheriff Al Patten. No wonder “White Cloud” is due for retaliation. It’s “reciprocal.”


Myrle Cooper is retired from SCSU but continues to closely monitor racism and expose a community resisting change. He welcomes reader responses to

2 Comments on “St. Cloud racism: when the word was given”

  1. Spencer and Harmon died of a murder suicide and nothing to do with racism. Drugs involved.

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