Editorial: In Response to Jacob Wohl

A response to racist ideologies promoted by Jacob Wohl regarding Rep. Ilhan Omar

By Gabriel Wright

Minneapolis skyline. Photo by Makenna Heitman.

The recent midterm elections and their effect in Minneapolis have been widely debated throughout the nation. Safety in Minneapolis has been in contention due to the election of Ilhan Omar, as well as the increasingly high number of refugees that live in the city. Political pundits on both sides of the spectrum have been questioning the safety of Minneapolis. The editorial staff of the Northerner feel that pushing judgement and placing blame onto a local refugee group for crime or unsafe living conditions is both unwarranted and unfair. While there is crime in our neighborhood, we do not feel that it is fair to pass judgement on an entire community based on the ethnic makeup of our neighborhood, community, and city.

Those who criticize and pass judgement towards Minneapolis communities, notably Cedar-Riverside and those represented by Ilhan Omar, generally point towards the amount of refugees in Minneapolis as well as the high crime rate relative to other cities. They cite the fact that Minneapolis has the highest amount of refugees per capita and relate it to Minneapolis’ 25 place ranking in highest crime rates per capita. However, correlation does not mean that there is causation. We feel that certain politicians as well as political commentators such as Jacob Wohl are creating a false narrative within our community. We know, as members of the Minneapolis community and the Elliot Park neighborhood, that such fear mongering is unwarranted. The Elliott Park neighborhood has statistically lower crime rates than the surrounding neighborhoods, which is indicative of the quality of life here and the general safety that we feel as members of the community.  Additionally, a large number of reported crimes in our neighborhood were not committed by refugees or immigrants, but by those native to the cities.

The Northerner editorial staff recognizes the general fear that persists in living in a high population area such as downtown Minneapolis, where there is inherently more crime. We also recognize that most women feel a greater fear when passing by men on the street, and that their fear is not based on skin color but rather gender. The women of the Northerner editorial staff do not feel more fear on the basis of skin color or refugee status and encourage making a strong effort to not be fearful of someone based solely on their skin color. We holistically condemn discrimination of any people group due to their legal status, history as a refugee, or skin color. Additionally, the Northerner editorial staff denounces any mindset among the student body that is racist, xenophobic, or Islamophobic in nature. We believe that diversity has a positive impact on our community and that we as students of North Central can contribute to the diversity and unity that exists in our neighborhood. We can do this by continuing to engage in tutoring programs that enable and educate our communities, as well as by doing more to interact with the surrounding refugees and immigrants without the pretense of helping them.

        In light of the recent shooting of two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 49 people were killed in act of hatred, the Northerner editorial staff wishes to offer it’s condolences to members of the global Muslim community. It is exceptionally timely and important that we denounce white nationalism, which inherently lends itself to the hatred of people groups based purely on race. No ideology that encourages or justifies hatred or mistreatment of any group based on race or religion is exempt from this dencouncement. We believe our differences in regards to our religious beliefs should have no effect on the value of other’s lives.  As members of a Christian university, we recognize that our faith is different than that of our Muslim neighbors and we condemn, in the harshest of terms, any ideology of white nationalism or racism that may exist here.“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31.

About the author: Gabriel Wright

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