St. Cloud council member joins Trump to block refugees

(MGN Online)

St. Cloud City Council Member Jeff Johnson submitted a resolution calling for a temporary ban on resettlement of refugees in St. Cloud. This move appears to be in accord with President Trump’s plans to cap refugee admissions to the United States at 45,000 over the next year. Johnson’s resolution is an action associated with the anti-Muslim speakers who have been touring Minnesota and have recently held an anti-Muslim session at Granite City Baptist Church.

The racial composition of St. Cloud, with a population of 68,000, is about 84 percent White (largely Catholic), eight percent Black (mostly Somali), four percent Asian, three percent Latino, two percent mixed race, and one percent Native American. A few Blacks lived in St. Cloud before the Civil War when St. Cloud’s first mayor, Sylvanus Lowry, held them as slaves in 1856. But the Black community did not emerge until the 1980s when a small group of Black Americans settled in the city.

I am a Black university professor who has lived in St. Cloud for over 28 years. I was part of that early small Black wave in the 1980s, which encountered strong anti-Black hostility. We were generally treated as intruders and threats to Whites’ safety and quality of life. I witnessed and experienced how St. Cloud earned the dubious reputation of “White Cloud.”

I believe that Jeff Johnson’s resolution calling for a temporary ban on resettlement of refugees in St. Cloud is aimed at Somalis who are under attack in St. Cloud because of their race (they are Black), their religion (they are Muslims), and their immigration/refugee status (they are perceived to be untrustworthy aliens).

The City of St. Cloud, historically a very conservative White town, has only recently become home to a significant population of about 6,000 Somalis who represented about eight percent of St. Cloud’s population of 68,000 people in 2013. There has been a series of hateful attacks against the growing Somali community since they began arriving here in the 1990s.

In the 1990s, Somalis began to trickle into the city and now they are probably the largest Black ethnic group, surpassing the number of Black Americans. Like Black Americans, they also experience intense racial and cultural animus. As compared with the White population, Somalis are sharply different in four categories: race (White European vs. Black African), religion (Christian vs. Muslim), citizenship (American vs. refugee/immigrant), and culture (Eurocentric vs. Afro-Islamic).

This is a very volatile social mix. The Somali community continues to suffer numerous attacks at various levels and in all areas of social life including schools, stores, workplaces, housing, and the media. We should keep in mind that the attacks began before the tragedy of September 11, 2001, when America’s anti-Islamic fervor reached hysterical levels. In November 2002, the Somali Center, a local headquarters for Somali culture, was vandalized. A racist message was spray-painted on a newly opened Somali market, a mosque, and a community center in south St. Cloud. Furthermore, Somalis have been stigmatized as terrorists, pirates, religious fanatics, and bad neighbors. This historical background will help us understand the racial undercurrents of Johnson’s planned resolution.

The animosity against Somalis reflects the sentiments of a significant segment of conservative White residents in the city of St. Cloud whose views were politically expressed by their right-wing extremist ex-congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, who represented Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District from 2007 to 2015. Bachmann was a staunch advocate of barriers against immigrants and their culture. Her voting record on anti-immigration legislation is graded A+.

The point is that racism and religious intolerance are deeply rooted and still prevalent in St. Cloud. We need to make our demand for justice and human rights a top priority of city government. We can do that by lobbying and pushing city government officials to provide resources to support our refugee neighbors.

The mayor and city council should take positive action to deal with the toxic anti-Somali climate and institutional racism and address the legitimate grievances of the Somali community instead of pretending that systemic racial problems are aberrations. City officials need to develop a strategic plan based on genuine diversity and social justice; one that is dedicated to systemically advocating, building and maintaining respectful, collaborative and reciprocal relationships.

A good strategic plan can help dismantle racism in the city. The reality of the growing Somali population and the accompanying racial tensions will eventually compel city officials to make some accommodation. However, without progressive political leadership, racial tensions will continue to fester, thus undermining the vision of a vibrant multicultural city. Will the city officials work to change the image of the city from “White Cloud” to “Rainbow Community?”


Dr. Luke Tripp is a professor of Department of Ethnic and Women’s Studies at St. Cloud State University



6 Comments on “St. Cloud council member joins Trump to block refugees”

  1. It does nothing of the sort. The “welcoming” Resolution was not passed, and the council were in violation of the MN Open Meeting laws.

    The racists in this area all “teach” at SCSU and are true race-baiters as their livelihoods depend on it.

  2. This is a typical attack made by liberals who automatically attribute resistance to refugee resettlement as being motivated by “racism.” It is a cowardly shibboleth which dismisses the very real problems created by this wildly out-of-control program that pits a financially incentivized refugee resettlement industry against the citizens who must pay for its excesses. Refugees bring: high levels of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, alien cultures very often at odds with American culture who have demonstrated an astonishing attitude of entitlement – sometimes accompanied by violence – against those footing the bill. Refugees use welfare at astronomical rates which remain uniquely high even after decades in the U.S. and despite a very advantageous program of employment and business subsidization. Finally, the accusations of “oppression” are a joke. Most such incidents turn out to be fabricated by the refugees themselves. And I haven’t even begun to talk about crime and terrorism, both legitimate concerns that Dr. Tripp seems to believe irrelevant. This is why liberals are losing in elections everywhere. They will continue to do so as long as they persist in the arrogant, insulting, and willfully ignorant attitude so effectively articulated by Dr. Tripp.

  3. The basic premise of this argument as I view it is this.

    Somali Muslims are neither here as immigrants nor refugees because they have no desire to assimilate into our culture as immigrants would do; as well, they appear not to be refugees because they are able to return to Somalia at will without fear of arrest or persecution. Somali Muslims, at best – are simply a people-group and nothing more who are squatters living off the dole of the taxpayers. If this is not true, a moratorium to check the issues surrounging the influx of this people-group will bring this to light.

    The race card has been played enough over the recent past because when that card appears it means that the “player” has no desire to dialog or debate the issue and/or what they ‘bring to the table” is wanting. We know that the past eight years prior to our present President have been rife with those who cry and moan about abuse and persecution and they have been protected in their activities by complicit individuals who, apparently through “white” guilt – continually blame the predominant culture as a whole; it is erroneous, not a fact, and blown out of proportion by those who seemingly have a “dog in the fight” either through the need for power or money or simply out of fear and therefore placate the status-quo of issue.

  4. PS… How dare you put the lives of my children and grandchildren at risk, and in serious danger now, in exchange for your political career, or as support of your professorial ideology..


    The Minneapolis FBI office is presently looking for 8 ARMED & DANGEROUS Jihadis from our Minnesota community of imported Somali’s.. NOW! 10 others were sentenced to prison just last year by Ramsey County Judge Davis.

    2 Muslim brothers were caught in N Minneapolis this past May – up here from Texas – and likely from Chechnya or Bosnia, or wherever… One was arrested last December – HERE – having possession of an unlicensed handgun at that time. (Another open Minneapolis FBI Office investigation as we speak) They had the following weapons and armaments:

    * hand grenade
    * AK47
    * thousands of rounds of ammo
    * Bomb making equipment
    * drone parts
    * multiple handguns

    What is wrong with this picture? Do we want what all the insanity which has been imported in to all the European cities now, and what has been brought in to their communities, and in to their lives now?

    September of 2016 was a banner month in Minnesota for “nuts” (Thank you General Anthony McAuliff – WWII – Bastogne, Germany for that reply). Then there was the rampage of a thousand Somali’s (unannounced) at the Mall of America (a celebration they say – See it for yourself on YouTube – and that one scared the “hot-dish” and “lutefisk” out of the other patrons and shop keepers to be certain). …The near riot at the Cedar-Riverside area of Minneapolis (an inter-rival dispute about an HBO presentation), …and then there was the brawl in the Minneapolis gym, at their own bloody (literally) political caucus. Then there were the months of insanity preceding September 2016, and the months after as well…all just plain “NUTS”.

    Our Minneapolis mayor, the ever so incompetent, Betsy Hodges, installs a hate speech (against native Minnesotans only) snitch hotline”..after 30 Somali men attack women by chasing them off the beaches – 3 days in a row – on Lake Calhoun (very affluent area of Minneapolis) and threaten to “kidnap and rape them”.. Result? Not even a parking ticket! (MPD police report sites “terroristic threats”…)

    Then we have the resent arrest – AGAIN – of an 87 year old Somali man in St Cloud, for serially sexually assaulting – ANOTHER CHILD. He was convicted several years ago for the same offense, and sentenced to 20 years PROBATION at that time.

    And, you just can’t say enough about the recent creation of the St Cloud MN “Somali American (men’s) Gun Club”, last year.. Just how did the vetting and “background check” process unfold? . ..Yo! Mogadishu authorities, is this a good dude or dude-et? What say you?

    There is so much more… Can you see where this is going?

    This is not “hate speech”! It is the truth, and this is about survival, people.

    The St Cloud Health Department is being forbidden by the St Cloud immigrant restaurant owners from conducting lawful health code inspections NOW. …and getting away with it! Meanwhile, Minnesota leads the nation (80%) in the imported measles outbreak, and 19 additional diseases (some quite lethal) identified, are likely here in the same numbers.

    …In Minneapolis, 40 year old Justine Damond’s MPD (officer Mohammad Noor) killer this past July, still has not been charged with anything. She made the 911 call, and paid the ultimate price for it.

    There is so much more…sadly.. This is pathetic!

    Moratorium? How about knock this off before more people get killed, raped, bullied, or contract more lethal diseases?

    My children and grandchildren are at stake for me in this. How dare you put their lives at risk, for the sake of your political career, or because you are now too afraid of what you have imported into the gates of your city, or to demonstrate enough courage to face this problem directly and honestly, for the sake of the good people who live there.

    Good for St Cloud City Councilman, Jeff Johnson! It is about bloody time someone with a brain and some courage and common sense spoke up..

    15 years ago, all of this was unimaginable! Let alone acceptable…

    “Welcoming community” my backside.. Are you suicidal?

    As for the rest of you in St Cloud, Minnesota, running the political show and circus up there, may God forgive you all, including the mad hatter professor at SCSU.

  5. My family moved to St Cloud when I was in my teens. I have always called it the City of Red Lights. I moved to rural west central MN when I grad from HS. I moved back to St. Cloud last year and am in my 60’s. I have some concerns about refugee resettlement. I have seen refuge families when out about town. They are usually in native clothing and not speaking English, seem friendly and polite. I did meet some on election day wearing modern clothing and speaking English. Enjoyed visiting with them. There seems to be a problem with simulation. A lot of things have changed to accommodate their diet, etc. New things in grocery stores, dept stores, Asian type stores. Some things I’ve heard thru heresay and news include large populations of refugees in public schools, and College, changes in menus, increased food waste, filthiness in restrooms(BM not in toilets), refuse not in waste baskets. Increased disrespect/hostility for others. Demands for release from classes for “prayer”. If prayer has been banned from school, this should be done outside school hours and workplace. Islam has Sharia Law, which is different from our laws. There has been blood shed when young females genitals are mutilated. Rumor has it that sex for sale is a way for students to pay for their college education, possibly 25%. Why is this allowed to happen in our city? Protest groups have disrupted/cancelled meetings. If refugees choose not to asimulate and desire to become US Citizens, recite our pledge of our American flag, they should seek refuge closer to their homeland. We have a right to know how refugee settlement is affecting and costing our community. We should not be paying for their places of worship, schools to teach Sharia Law, building segregated settlements.

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