Author Archives: larse608

The Final Take Away From An Inspired Student

After studying the Seward neighborhood for the entire semester, I have come to better understand what impact culture, status, social, and economics had on a particular neighborhood. This course has made me a better student and person for opening my eyes to the reality taking place around me.

Intercultural Communication

To better understand communication between cultures, we should first define intercultural communication.

According to Buffalo State, intercultural communication is defined as, “communication, and the study of it, among peoples of different cultural, ethnic and tribal backgrounds. Because of the inherent differences between the message sender/encoder and the message receiver/decoder, the risk of misunderstanding is particularly high in intercultural situations.”

As I have continuously spoken about the communication between the community members of Seward being very positive, despite the variety of cultures, this allows me to understand intercultural communication in a much different way.

Growing up in a small town that was honestly 100% white, my views of other races and cultures were formed by television and movie portrayals, due to the lack of diversity in the town.

We spoke often about how we understood other races to be and why we formed these conclusions. Many others came from very similar situations and I, and contributed this to simply hearing stories or stereotypes and not actually socializing with different cultures.

Other venues, such as Disney movies plug inaccurate stereotypes into young children’s minds without knowing that this information is not true. This allows them to form their own views early on, possibly taking away their rights to make their own opinions by interacting with different races.

A video documentary we viewed in class provided many examples as to what videos are doing this. Another video I have watched is a YouTube video featuring different character portrayal and the voices used. Take a look for yourselves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hCTI6JYtuo

The reason why I am saying this is because I want to attribute the back and forth views of culture to how we are raised and bringing the inaccuracy, in many cases, to the attention of readers.

Having said this, I feel that the vast variety of culture and race in Seward has allowed the community members to better understand each other, rather than forming stereotypes about their neighbors. But if members of surrounding neighborhoods or even people like me that live in the suburbs and have heard certain things without actually visiting the area, we often being to believe the things that we have formed. Because of this, we then begin to feel as though we have too many differences from one another and do not feel as though they can communication with each other.

How are we suppose to understand how to communicate with other cultures when we feel as though we cannot even relate to them?

History and Now

I think we can all agree that history very much shapes where we are today. This is very much true for neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, including Seward. Seward was built up from immigrants and is still being populated by many of those cultures. I believe the history of Seward to be the reason why it is viewed by other communities, because people understand that it may have areas that are low income or cultures that do not have the best of reputations, but because it has been like this for so long but continues to thrive and is a positive part of the cities, we see it in a much different way than we normally would.

Everyone is human and will make their assumptions about others different or even similar to them, and much of this is related to how others view them, what their interests are, where they came from, ect. We are creatures of habit and are attracted to those like ourselves, so when we view people that go against that, we believe to form that barrier that does not allow us to speak in normalcy to them.

I think we can all relate to this; when a friend tells us that a town is full of “ghetto” people (just an example!), that is instantly imprinted into our thoughts and we forever view it this way until we are thoroughly convinced differently.

We often find it hard to adapt to new and unfamiliar things, so for many people who are not familiar with a certain culture, we will hold on to that created stereotype often for a very long time.

My Take Away

From this course, I have learned that many of us have unfairly and inaccurately form stereotypes about other cultures and have not allowed ourselves to go out of our comfort and get to know the reality of different cultures. Talk to people, be open and understand, because even though they may be different in some aspects, much of the time, they are more like us than we even realize. I have found myself that I have done this and I now have the intention to spark conversations in unfamiliar territories.

(n.d.). Intercultural communication. Retrieved from http://faculty.buffalostate.edu/smithrd/UAE Communication/Unit5.pdf

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One Community. One Power.

In previous posts, I have talked about power and what that power control can do in certain situations. With the question, who is able to carry on the history of a culture, our class came to a consensus that often it is that who is in power, because they have control over others and have the ability to get their way.

When applying this to the Seward neighborhood, I ask myself what power is held in the community and how that affects the neighborhood as a whole.

With the neighborhood being such a mixture of cultures, about 5/8 Whites and the rest an uneven number of Blacks, Asian, Hispanic, and others (According to city-data.com), I initially thought that there would be a large power struggle and search for the true identity of the neighborhood. Who would believe that a community with this mixture would be able to live in harmony around each other anyways, right?

What Power?

I believe Seward to be the gem that defies all norms and has been able to surpass the stereotypical division of neighborhoods so diverse, but Seward has done just that, in my opinion.

I partially attribute this to the work done by the Seward Neighborhood Group. They have created an avenue for everyone living in Seward to live as one, eating, drinking, and visiting the same places in the neighborhood, thus the opportunities to truly get to know one another.

I also believe this was something that possibly was not created but actually helped initially build the neighborhood, as it started off and was created widely by immigrants in the first place.

But…is there really no higher power controlling the city what so ever?

I would be lying to you all if I said that there was no power being used what so ever, as everyone puts out power. I am saying that Seward has been able to create a community without the rulings of one person or group of people.

Some may say that the Seward Neighborhood Group may have some power, as I believe they do, but they are able to manifest this is a positive nature, to better the community rather than control it.

They are also able to maintain relationships between the different age groups that reside there.  With the median age being 32 years old for males and 35 years old for females and an almost 50-50 gender ratio, there still is not a known power struggle between the people.

Its relation to other neighborhoods

Because of the lack of power struggle, it has lead to quite positive relationships with the surrounding neighborhoods. Had there been a problem with power, I believe that this might upset those neighborhoods and greatly change their views and relationship with Seward.

We often see rival communities when there are strong differences between the two, but the positive and constant relationship of Seward and also creates stability.

I viewed a YouTube video filmed by a Seward resident, covering the murders of 3 neighborhood residents in the community. In this video, it shows hundreds of people coming together to support Seward, but not all in the crowd were neighborhood residence.

ONE.

A couple of quotes from the people in the crowd also led me to believe that they all see each other as one and when something happens to one of their own people, they all come together to support one another.

For the most part, the equality of the people helps in creating the regulation of power. Had they not been able to stabilize the upbeat and positive connection with each other and shared their love for Seward, power may have been present.

 

 

 

Seward neighborhood in minneapolis, minnesota (mn), 55404, 55406 detailed profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Seward-Minneapolis-MN.html

 

Seward neighborhood group. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sng.org/

 

UPTAKEVIDEO. (Director) (2010, Jan. 8). Two communities grieve 3 killed in a store 24 hrs earlier. YouTube. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JS0MK7zxZQ

 

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by | June 6, 2012 · 11:03 pm

All Hale Seward!

Throughout my journey into the research of the Seward neighborhood, I have learned many things about many dynamics of this seemingly normal community. But I now believe that to be the very opposite, being something very special.

I have previously written about the history of Seward and feel that I have a grasp on what the community is about, but I would now like to explore why they are what they have become and how they created such a tight knit neighborhood.

I came upon the website of the Seward Neighborhood Group, a group formed by neighborhood residence, which is very much a symbol of the relationship that Seward has with everyone living there and how proud they are to live in that neighborhood.

With the slogan, “Making Seward a better place to live, work, and play,” I get the strong impression that they not only see this as they place that they live, but really something that they consider their home, more so than just their house. Rather than traveling into the center of the city, they would rather visit their local restaurants, art galleries and also work in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood as a whole considers itself a community, even though the culture make up is very diverse. Not once in my research did I see anything negative about a certain culture or ethnicity, but rather a celebration of its people.

By this group being so active in the community, this tells me that they are giving it their all to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood. It seems to be important to them that people outside of the community see them as a community to respect but also visit. As an outsider, I would often feel intimidated to enter an unfamiliar neighborhood, but this group has very much made me feel welcome.

After many discussions in class, I have come to the conclusion that the communities relationship with one another very much speaks about the future of the neighborhood. As close and proud as they are, I see this community growing and maintaining its history.

According to About.com, Seward is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the cities. Not to be a broken record, but the identity of the neighborhood has been preserved because of its celebration of its culture and its past. There is a large portion on the SNG website dedicated towards the history and past of Seward, contributing to that preservation.

As the SNG website states, early on in the development of Seward, many immigrants made up the growing population of the neighborhood. With this, it has been understood and known as the community of many cultures. This is not a new development, but rather one that has come from the very beginning. Had the history been different, such as only one culture making it up, then its identity today would absolutely not be the same. We may still see it as the neighborhood made up of many cultures, but this would not reflect its history.

During our interview with a resident of Seward, we asked her the question, “If you had to describe the neighborhood to someone who has never been there or heard of it, what would you say to them?,” she responded by saying, “I would say that it is neighborhood in the cities that is kind of small but nice. Has a lot of shops and restaurants and everyone is nice. Kind of old, lots of different people…” Her comment about their being many different people living there shows that it is being recognized, but was never mentioned that this is a bad thing.

We then asked her, “I see that there is a lot of diversity here, would you say that that changes the dynamic of the community?,” she said “Totally, it’s everywhere. My neighbors actually moved here from Laos, I think. They are Hmong. It isn’t just a bunch of the same people, makes it really different.”

This interview sealed my views on Seward, as I now believe that the identity of the community stems from is history and remains true to its roots. Thankfully, the Seward people are proud and continue to keep is history and culture alive.

 

James, C. (n.d.). The seward neighborhood. Retrieved from http://minneapolis.about.com/od/minneapolisneighborhoods/p/seward.htm

Seward neighborhood group. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sng.org/

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To talk about race or to not talk about race…that is the question…

Black, White, Asian, Latina…I’m talking about race, arguably one of the most difficult topics to talk publically about. But why? I would like to state that the following is meant for educational purpose and is not meant to offend anyone.

I think that I can comfortably say with no hesitation that many of us hesitate when the conversation of race arises, but it is so interesting to me why this is. I should also say that I am no exception.

During this past week, our conversations and readings have focused on our views of race and how we talk about it. In lecture, I noticed somewhat more silence than usually, less people contributing to the conversation, and this is absolutely because of the awkwardness of not knowing what would come off as offensive or simply opinion.  I attribute this to the main reason why we are so scared to talk about this topic. In a discussion in class, it was also brought up that many times, white people feel as though their privilege takes away their rights to criticize or simply converse about race.

After reading the book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, by Beverly Daniel Tatum’s, many of my classmates began to open up about their feelings of other races criticizing their own race. In this book, the author, who is an African American Psychologist, broke down the many ways that each race in represented in the media and what we think about each. By this, I mean how we view one another. She predominantly talks about white privilege and shares her views of why white people are so defensive.

I believe that this was a good book to read, because we far too often hear only one side of the story, but hearing from another race opened my eyes to how they feel when white people act a certain way, allow I found I agreed with little that she said.

But now that we are open to discussing this topic, should we continue to do so?

I believe that if we use kindness and understanding, any topic should be open to discussion. No hatred or ill feelings are appropriate for this topic in particular because at this time, we still have sadly not reached a complete understanding of one another and this will continue to build on those feelings. But if we do use kindness, I believe that we will be able to open up with other races and really discuss how we are feeling and learn from each other.

The conversation of race should be one we are all open to, but it will take small steps.

My assignment to you today is talk to someone about race and take something away from it, whether it be good or bad and allow it to improve upon your view of race.

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A Real Look Into Seward Through a Real Resident

On May 26, 2012, during our visit to the Seward neighborhood, we walked the streets that were occupied with both neighborhood residences and locals. At this time, we had the honor and opportunity to speak with some of these people.

The following interview was conducted with a 27 year old white woman named Sarah, who lives in the neighborhood. These are the questions that were asked, but the answers may be summed up as we were not able to write everything down.

After we introduced ourselves and explained that we are students studying the Seward neighborhood, we began asking our prepared questions.

 

Q: Do you live in the Seward neighborhood?

A: Yeah I do

Q: How long have you lived here?

A: Oh gosh, well my family moved here from Missouri when I was in the 2nd grade…my aunt, uncle and cousins lived here and my mom wanted to be closer.

Q: What kind of living situation are you currently in?

A: I’m still living with my parents…can’t beat free rent, right? I graduated from college and haven’t found a real good job yet so this is good for now.

Q: If you don’t mind me asking, how would you describe your home?

A: It’s not bad, kind of an older house.

Q: So, you stayed in Seward, you must like it?

A: I love it, it’s so close to the night life but not too close you know? Sometimes it gets a little old knowing so many people that live in the area too but I guess that is nice at the same time.

Q: If you had to describe the neighborhood to someone who has never been there or heard of it, what would you say to them?

A: I would say that it is neighborhood in the cities that is kind of small but nice. Has a lot of shops and restaurants and everyone is nice. Kind of old, lots of different people. It takes some getting used to.

After her confusion on my questions, “What would you say Seward has to offer for its residence or visitors,” I then clarified my question.

Q: What is there to do here?

A: There is a lot of art stuff, some good restaurants. I don’t know, the normal stuff I guess. It’s nice!

Q: Do you think you would stay here and raise a family?

A: Yeah, maybe. I really like it here but I think you either are set on staying or want to try something different. We’ll see.

Q: I see that there is a lot of diversity here, would you say that that changes the dynamic of the community?

A: Totally, it’s everywhere. My neighbors actually moved here from Laos, I think. They are Hmong. It isn’t just a bunch of the same people, makes it really different.

Q: If you do not mind me asking, do you often interact with different races here?

A: Kind of, like I talk to them when I am out, but I’m not friends with a lot of them. They are really nice though, they don’t cause any problems.

 

At this time, Sarah told us that she needed to get going, so we ended our interview. Although we wished to have spoken to her longer, I think that she gave an interesting perspective of someone who actually lives and is familiar with the neighborhood.

She seemed to live up to the information we have learned about Seward, although I did notice she wasn’t extremely “proud” like I have previously learned.

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Seward…a proud and close neighborhood that can’t be touched!

When many think about the Twin Cities, I think many of us see the bright lights, busy roads, and fast paced lives. Although a lot of that is true, we are missing such an important part of the city, such as its urban neighborhoods, that although they may be considered part of the city, actually are a night and day difference from one another. The Seward neighborhood is no exception to that, defining the very meaning of the quite but upbeat neighborhood in the cities.

“Live MSP” describes Seward as a, “diverse, vibrant neighborhood… [with a] mix of residential, commercial, and industrial areas [giving] the neighborhood the feel of an urban village within a large metropolitan area.”

In a newspaper article, published by the Star Tribune, they describe Seward as, “[A] home to educators, students, medical professionals and even government officials. It’s also a place where lots of low-income people live: More than a third of the housing units are federally subsidized, and only about one-third of the houses are owner-occupied.” They attribute the close community and support of their neighbors to this struggle, bringing them even closer.

The title of this article, Spotlight on seward neighborhood // it’s been called a suburb of minneapolis’ west bank area, says so much with saying so little. Most people believe the suburbs to be full of families with great jobs and quite living. Saying that Seward is like a suburb of Minneapolis leads me to believe that many of the Minneapolis people see this neighborhood much differently than other neighborhoods in the city. This must also mean that they believe it to be a nice area, which is exactly how the neighborhood wants to be portrayed.

Other stories presented to the media included the shooting and murders in the local market and also deaths of some of the more well known residents. I understand that the murders would make the news, but a particular article caught my eye. With the title, Seward won’t let shootings steal corner, says to me that although something very tragic happened, they would not allow this to bring the close community down. I was also very surprised to see articles written about “ordinary” deaths. Much like a small town, a death of a community member is important enough to be presented to all in the area through this large media source.

When I simply “Googled” the words, “Seward Neighborhood Minneapolis,” I was pleasantly surprised by the vast amount of information that was presented to me. This instantly made me think that this little neighborhood in the cities has much more to offer than I had thought.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Seward Neighborhood Group, obvious to its name, a neighborhood group that provides information to the public about its history and events, forms communication with its neighbors and provides them with information, and much more. This fabulous website is able to provide both of those with and without knowledge about Seward the ins and outs of the entire neighborhood.

With the formation of leaders to each committee, neighborhood safety, events and activities, and maintenance has been something that has allowed the community to thrive and keep their history alive.

As I already stated, they are very proud of their community and this committee proves this. I also got that feeling when I was search their website.

When questioning the type of people who are living in Seward and how they feel about their community, I came about this quote while visiting Live MSP, “If Seward were to secede from its surrounding neighborhoods, we would not only survive – without question – we would thrive. Seward has everything it needs to allow for all residents to fulfill every wish and every essential need – and will continue to develop in this direction!”– Annie [unknown]

This quote really spoke to me because it really shares the deep love and respect that many on the community members share for the neighborhood in which they call home. While living in the suburb of Woodbury, I have begun to question how many people can say this about the area that they live in.

It is this neighborhood and its people that allow a community to continue to thrive and grow, while its history remains with integrity untouched.

 

 

 

 

 

Live msp: Seward. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.livemsp.org/neighborhoods/minneapolis-neighborhoods/111-seward/206-seward

Seward neighborhood group. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sng.org/

Buchta, J. (1995, 02 11). Spotlight on seward neighborhood // it’s been called a suburb of minneapolis’ west bank area. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp1.lib.umn.edu/newsstand/docview/418620984/1370B035EFD33861210/1?accountid=14586

Tevlin, J. (2010, 01 10). Seward won’t let shootings steal corner. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp1.lib.umn.edu/newsstand/docview/458883054/1370B035EFD33861210/6?accountid=14586

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