My name is Susanne Marie. I first came to know about St. Cloud, MN in 2004 when my daughter moved here from St. Paul for affordable housing opportunities. When she first left St. Paul and moved up to St. Cloud, she lived in her car and worked at Old Country Buffet. She worked her butt off to get settled here!
Unfortunately, she has never felt so hated as she did when she came St. Cloud. She has had to fight every step of the way from getting the housing she was desperately seeking to finding employment. Along the way, she continued to encounter racism in her everyday life. She literally had people afraid to touch her hand when she worked the counter at Wendy’s.
As the next generation of my family has started school in St. Cloud, they have had to live through years of school profiling One of my grandsons is now being tested for depression and is labeled as a “problem child”. On the other had, one of my granddaughters is an honor student at a local high school. I believe my granddaughters will do better and have it easier here than my grandsons.
As a grandma, I’ve had to have “the talk” with my grandsons about the reality of black boys/men and the police. To talk about this with my ten-year-old grandson breaks my heart – but, I have to talk to him about it – because if anything happened to him, my heart would shatter.
Truth be told, nigger gets loudly spoken anywhere I’m eating with my family. I have heard wetback shouted while with I’m out my Hispanic grandchildren. My granddaughter, who is Native American, had her History teacher say in class that “natives using leather blankets was weird”.
I’m saddened that 1950’s-style racism is alive and well in Saint Cloud and that my family has to continue to navigate through it.