Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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White Kids Terrorize Ethnic Neighborhood, or: Another Long Night in Minneapolis

When we moved into this neighborhood some 35 years ago, it was dying. The storefronts on Lake Street were mostly boarded up.

Call it the American miracle. Immigration from Mexico, Central and South America, and Somalia turned this neighborhood around. Little ethnic mom-pop shops resurrected Lake Street.

Now every single one of those businesses is gone. Over the course of the past four nights, I have watched my neighborhood be systematically dismantled around me.

Last night it was the white kids' turn.

Hundreds of angry white kids—let me be nasty and say trust-fund anarchists from the suburbs—defied the governor's curfew orders and marched through a largely ethnic and immigrant neighborhood already traumatized by three nights of fires and looting.

I live just a few hundred feet from the epicenter of last night's destruction. More buildings and businesses—virtually all of them Latino-owned—were pillaged and torched. Four of them are still burning as I write this.

Truly, a mob is an organism with many legs and no brain.

“Why don't these kids all go back to the suburbs and leave us alone?” my next-door neighbor said to me as we stood on the sidewalk and watched the noisy march. Penny, who's African-American, is the block matriarch; she's lived here longer than anyone else.

If it weren't for the violence that accompanied it, it all would have been kind of funny. The whole thing had a defiance-for-the-sake-of-defiance “I'm not going to bed and Mommy/Daddy can't make me” feel to it.

Eventually, of course, the trust-fund anarchists went back to their apartments in other (quiet) neighborhoods, leaving behind them more burning buildings and more mayhem in a neighborhood already traumatized by its own destruction.

I have not the slightest doubt that the vast majority of those folks last night honestly want justice for George Floyd (1974-2002), an African-American man brutally murdered on Memorial Day by a white policeman only blocks from here. Believe me, so does everybody in this neighborhood.

But your protests, even the quote-unquote non-violent ones, invariably drag in bad actors who leave in their wake more trauma for minority communities already traumatized by entrenched social injustice. Believe me, you have nothing whatsoever to say that anyone in this neighborhood doesn't already know. For you, it's a social issue; we've been living it for years.

People in this neighborhood are frightened. Now that all the businesses are torched, are they going to be coming for private houses next? That's what I was hearing my neighbors whisper about last night. For many of the hard-working immigrant families of this neighborhood, their home is their savings. To lose it would be to lose everything.

So to all the trust-fund anarchists of the Twin Cities and their friends, let me say now what I wanted to say last night:

Take your damn protest back to your own damn neighborhood.

We don't want you in ours.






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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien Saturday, 30 May 2020

    So sorry to learn of this, Steven. As I watched the conflagration I was wondering how close it was to your house. Now I know, and I find it infuriating and heartbreaking. Stay safe. Much love, Macha

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Saturday, 30 May 2020

    11:30 on Saturday night, and it's quiet in Minneapolis except for the military copters overhead, thank Goddess. Now that the police don't have their hands full with marchers, it sounds like they are actually catching the out-of-state agitators who, it would seem, are perpetrating most of the destruction.

    Well, back to my all-night front-porch vigil. Mabh keep us all safe, and you in particular, my dear one.

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Saturday, 30 May 2020

    I used the Facebook and Email buttons to repost your blog on Facebook and mail it in to my local newspaper.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 31 May 2020

    Thanks Anthony.

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