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The Melting Pot

The name “Seward” was almost a foreign word to me before this class. If you were to have given me a map, I wouldn’t be able to point out where it was located nor would I be able to tell you a single thing about the neighborhood. The only piece of tangible knowledge that I had of Seward is that it is the location that my Pizza Luce deliveries come from. Being that this neighborhood is so incredibly close to the University of Minnesota campus, it baffles me that more students don’t have the slightest clue what it is or has to offer. After an ample amount of time put into researching the depths of this neighborhood, I’ve come to find that the best way to describe Seward is that it’s a melting pot. My favorite and most truthful definition of a ‘melting pot’ that I found was from Urban Dictionary:

Multicultural surroundings where all the different cultures slowly become more uniformal generation after generation by adopting bits and pieces of other cultures and giving away some of their own traditions.

This definition touches on cultural context, history and the integration of cultures within a defined area. This is the exact depiction of Seward. All these aspects are incredibly important to consider while shaping a knowledgeable opinion about certain cultures and areas. Looking at the diversity in Seward today, one may wonder how and why it became so diverse. Studying the history helps paint the picture and give an understanding as to why Seward is the way it is. Being one of the oldest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Seward was the main attraction for “foreign newbies” (LIVEMPLS); which ultimately means immigrants freshly new to the country. Since Seward offered a large amount of low-income housing, it was also attractive to white families near the poverty line to move to Seward. Since Seward was born with a vast amount of diversity, it’s easier to understand why so many cultures are incorporated into this little neighborhood. Walking down the street you can find a restaurant and grocery store for almost any ethnicity.

Seward is unique in the sense that it is almost 50/50 for ethnicities. Many other neighborhoods in Minneapolis shy one one end of the spectrum to the other, never resting perfectly balanced in the middle. For example, Cedar-Riverside is predominately Muslim, where Dinkytown is predominately white. Seward is near 50% Caucasian and 50% Asian, East African, Muslim, etc (Zillow). What intrigued me the most about Seward was not necessarily the diversity itself, but the fact that such a diverse community is so incredibly tight-knit and warm hearted to one another.


In the book “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria” by Dr. Tatum, the premise is that adults both white and of color often hesitate to speak to children about racism for the fear that it will create problems where perhaps none exist. She uses the example of her son asking if he was ‘brown’ because he drank TOO much chocolate milk, this implying that he knows he different and he thinks that it is because of something he is doing wrong. The picture posted above is a great representation of the cultural openness of Seward. Seward is so incredibly packed with cultural variety that it would be hard to avoid discussing with your children the unimportance of race. Since the residents of Seward are so close and neighborly no matter what the race, it is a great place to raise a culturally-aware child. Children learn from example. If the child is raised in a predominately white neighborhood and only learns about different cultures by the stereotypes portrayed in the media and by what parents say and act about different cultures, it’s inevitable for the child to grow up with a partially skewed opinion about race. With that said, I feel the diversity and closeness of Seward is a perfect breeding ground to start shaping the minds of young children to understand that race is only a color and should not determine one’s personality or worth.

I also found it incredibly refreshing that Seward is made up of very artistic and “hipster” people. These type of people, though I am not trying to stereotype, are often environmentally conscious and incredibly open-minded. I feel that this may have a lot to do with the openness in communication within the different cultures of Seward. Having an open mind free from judgements and main-stream stereotyping helps immensely in learning about other people and cultures.

Being that I went abroad, I caught the curiosity bug and I enjoy learning about other cultures and ethnicities. I was raised in a suburb, in the mid-west, by a middle-class Caucasian family; diversity was not among one of the things I learned growing up. I had a sense of “white advantage” as discussed in class for most of my life. Though I was never aware of this, after learning about this in class it makes sense to me. The more I learn about other cultures, the more I learn about myself and my own culture. I used to think America had it all right and others had it wrong. Boy was I wrong. Learning about different cultures brings a whole new light on the way you see things in life, its an incredibly invigorating feeling that I hope everyone gets to experience some day. The more people learn about one another, the less room there is for judgement, prejudice and racism. I think we should all take a little lesson from the neighborhood of Seward and close the gap to intercultural communication. After all, we are all human.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel, Ph.D. Why Are All Of The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? N.p.: n.p., 1997. Print. 
Urban Dictionary from:
Zillow From:

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A little bit of chit-chat!

On our second trip to Seward, my partner, Courtney, and I brought my friend with who grew up in a neighborhood close to Seward. Funny thing is, he came with at first purely because we had a work meeting to go to after. It great surprise to find out that he knew the area and could help us with our research.

With that said, the exact wording to the interviews may be altered since we were unable to record all of it.

Our first interview was with a young woman named Deidra, who recently moved to Seward from Cross Lake, MN. We spotted her wearing a University of Minnesota shirt at the Seward Co-Op, this was an easy person to approach.

Q: Why did you and your family decide to move to Seward?

A: My Dad got a job offer last year that required him to move to Minneapolis. I had to finish one more year of high school so my Mom, siblings and I were finally able to move down with him. I am going to the University of Minnesota in the fall so the location is perfect.

Q: Do you know why your Dad chose Seward?

A: He told us when he was looking for places to live he stumbled upon this neighborhood. Being from a relatively small town, the big city is a huge change for my family. He always had the assumption that Minneapolis was gang oriented and I wouldn’t be able to walk the streets without a gun (haha). He chose this neighborhood because the crime rate was a lot lower than the other areas of Minneapolis. Plus, he thinks the prices of housing in Minneapolis are ridiculous and Seward was close to the price we paid up north.

Q: Do you feel that Seward is diverse or do you think there is a predominate ethnicity?

A: Oh my goodness, Seward is incredibly diverse. Coming from a small town I am definitely not used to so much diversity. My parents had a hard time with it at first but now they are friends with all of our neighbors on the block! Only one other family on our street is white, it’s really awesome to see my parents adapt so much. Since I’m going to the U of M soon, I expected this and know that this is the same way the University is.

Q: Do you feel safe walking alone in Seward?

A: I typically don’t walk; I usually ride my bike everywhere like most people here do. I do feel safe; since I’ve been here I haven’t heard or seen anything strange or dangerous. Like I said, my Dad chose this neighborhood based on safety and everyone has been so welcoming and nice to me that I find it hard to believe anyone in the neighborhood will do any harm to me.

Q: Will you live with your parents’ here still when you go to school in the fall?

A: Absolutely not. Don’t get me wrong, I love Seward. It reminds me a bit of home, just extremely close to the city. But I have been excited about college and being on my own since before my Dad even got his job offer. I plan to live on campus like most freshmen do. It will be nice to be so close that I can go home for food and laundry though!

Q: Have you met a lot of people here your age yet?

A: Well, I’ve only been here for a little over a month. I have seen people my own age on the bike paths and usually here in the co-op, but I haven’t really had time to meet people or explore more of Seward.  I look forward to doing that this summer. I also can’t wait to bike the full Grand Rounds bike path- I’ve had so many people tell me how beautiful it is!

-We then wrapped up the conversation talking a little bit about the University and what to expect then we thanked her for her time!

The other interview we conducted was a young Asian family- a husband, wife and a little baby. We approached them when they were sitting on the bench at Matthews Park.  Obviously our initial questions entailed asking if we could ask them questions, etc. The bulk of the interview is as follows (the English was a little hard to understand keep in mind):

Q: How long have you lived in the Seward neighborhood?

A: We’ve lived here for almost 8 years now. 

Q: What do you feel about the neighborhood?

A: We love it. We love all of our neighbors and all of the events that go on. It never gets boring and it is very safe for our baby.

Q: What is your favorite part of Seward?

A: We really like the art festivals and all of the people are always in action. There is never a dull moment here. 

Q: Has Seward changed a lot since you moved in 8 years ago?

A: Not at all. Seward is pretty much the same as it was back then, very friendly and neighborly

Q: Do you feel there is a divide within people because of the diversity?

A: No. We all get along very well and take care of one another like family.

Q: Would you recommend Seward for people to live?

A: Yes. It is for both people who like small towns and also the big city. It is very nice having the city so close to us. The neighborhood is very safe and fun too!

-The interview was cut short because the baby started to cry and they had to go. Jake (the friend I brought with) gave us a little insight on things in Seward. He said the Co-op is one of the best places to go grocery shopping because of the variety and prices. He explained some of the ethnic restaurants that lined the streets, included what Halal meant (Kosher for Muslims). He showed us where the Grand Rounds Biway started and told us some of the reputations Seward has. He said it’s very hipster and artistic. He also noted that there is a high foreign population and also the neighborhood isn’t very expensive to live. He said he hasn’t heard bad things about it either and he grew up 5 minutes away from Seward. 

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Seward: Home for anyone!

Being that this class entirely pertains to intercultural communication, I feel that the neighborhood of Seward portrays the fundamentals of this class greatly. This particular neighborhood has an array of ethnicities that form together to create an incredibly tight-knit community. Compared to many neighborhoods that are predominantly white, over 50% of Seward is made up of ethnicities other than white (  The amazing thing about Seward is that those ethnicities are not frowned upon or discriminated against, but instead celebrated. Neighbors don’t clump into childish high school cliques like the suburb I’m from does; instead they ban together to create a wonderful place for many to live.

Part to take blame for the smooth operations and relationships of Seward is The Seward Neighborhood Group. This group was formed 1960 with the missions to create a unique place for people to live, work and play (  I feel after the amount of research I did on this neighborhood that The Seward Neighborhood Group did an incredible job implementing that mission and is still holding strong to it.  One particular thing that I find very interesting is the Seward neighborhood block clubs. These clubs were created for each block by The Seward Neighborhood Group to help neighbors get to know one-another and establish relationships to ensure proper communication for anything from an unexpected crisis to fun community events.  There are over 50 block clubs that make up the Seward neighborhood ( 

Seward is home to many different attractions. According to an interview done for, Annie said:

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!”

After looking up the abundance of attractions the small community of Seward has jam packed within its boundaries, I couldn’t agree with this statement more. There is a wide variety of restaurants of all different cuisines, antique shops, boutiques, incredible grocery stores, movie theaters, bars, dance and yoga studios, bike paths, neighborhood gatherings, an immense amount of art galleries and festivals and my particular favorite: home of The Cabooze venue. I have gone to countless concerts and shows at The Cabooze, they play a concert almost every night of all different genres of music to fit anyone’s style. 


Besides just having fabulous relationships and things to do in this neighborhood, Seward is known for being one of the most politically liberal neighborhoods in Minneapolis. Being that communication is a key factor in good relationships, I think having a neighborhood that predominately agrees on one of the most controversial topics helps the relationships flourish. It’s easier to run smoothly when most of the neighborhood agrees on what is happening; this helps alienate conflict. 

The demographics of Seward tend to shy more towards the poverty line, however. The median household income is around $37,000 a year and Seward is known for having vast amounts of low-income housing. Despite lower incomes, the residents of Seward have a high graduation rate with over 87% of school attendees graduating from high school or higher ( This is even higher than my predominately white, higher-income, suburban school. Most of the tenants of Seward are between the ages of 18-35 also, which creates a younger scene. This also helps with patterns of communication; it is often easier to communicate with peers of similar ages, this creates more similarities despite races in Seward. 

Overall, I think Seward is a perfect example and other neighborhoods in the area should follow their lead. Seward has figured it out, to say the least. They found a way to have an incredibly diverse yet close community that all the people I interviewed were proud to call home. I would highly recommend this area and the people in it to anyone! 

Minneapolis neighborhood profile retrieved from:

Seward Neighborhood Group retrieved from:

LIVEMPLS retrieved from :

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The Tight-Knit Clan of Seward Neighborhood

I chose this title for a very obvious reason: I’ve never known of a more community-driven, neighbor-oriented neighborhood than Seward. Being from a suburban town, community involvement, neighborhood celebrations and block parties are nothing new to me. However, many people make the assumption that city life usually entails a whole lot of individual secrecy and people carrying on about their lives with no extreme concern for their neighbors. Seward is a city neighborhood that proves that stereotype so wrong it’s almost like it backhands you right across the face.


Above is a photo that I feel represents the tenants of the Seward Neighborhood impeccably. At first glance all you see is a congregation of people in a park. Take a closer look. You see the diversity and passion within this community. There are people of all ages, races and social types getting along and socializing as if all of the differences between one another don’t matter. Because honestly, they really shouldn’t and they don’t.

Not only is Seward a tight-knit community, they are also very eco-friendly and a little on the artistic side. As quoted by the Seward Profile blog (yes, they have a blog that was created to keep residents updated about current affairs and events):

“”Most Hipster Neighborhood”: That’s the designation City Pages recently bestowed upon Seward. According to CP’s “Best of” issue, we’ve got the “lumberjack look” down, the “bike obsession” big time, the co-op thing going on, plus a hipper than hip music and theatre scene. A sample of their tongue-in-cheek assessment: “The Seward Co-Op is always a hotbed for dudes in flannel shopping for pomegranate seeds and hummus. And how do they get there? This is the Seward, not the Wedge, so they come by bike, not by gas-guzzling SUV.”

Seward is home to almost 250 artists (Twin Cities Daily Planet) and numerous annual art festivals. When I drove through Seward, I noticed most buildings and shops had art painted on the side. No, I’m not talking about trashy graffiti vandalism, I’m talking intricate murals and designs.


Seward is also renowned for the mass quantities of bike/pedestrian trials, particularly the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway that runs along the gorge of the Mississippi River. According to, Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is the country’s largest continuous bike path that runs over 52 miles around the river, parks, lakes and numerous trails. The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway has been prominent attraction in Seward for over a Century.

Being one of the oldest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Seward is also home to one of the first neighborhood committees called “Seward Neighborhood Group”. This group was created to ensure the communities safety, regulation, repairs and overall moral of the neighborhood. The website include numerous amount of information from weekly news and announcements, to plans of restoration and everything in between.

When I googled “Seward Neighborhood news” I couldn’t find anything that was worth writing about; there were no violence stories, robberies, nothing really that put Seward on the radar for news coverage. With that said, it proved to me that everything I have learned so far is very much so true- the members of the community take care of one another. The fact that even Dinkytown and campus have weekly alerts of crime and Seward, being not protected by campus security, has very minimal. I found vast amounts of coverage on their annual art festivals and the Seward co-op, making Seward extremely appealing to me. I came across a quote when being asked about how it was to live in Seward from LIVE MPLS:

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

After all the research I’ve done on this little neighborhood, I couldn’t agree more with Annie. LIVE MPLS also described Seward as:

“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.”

It definitely has the characteristics of a suburban town inside a big city. I am a  big fan of Seward and I don’t see this neighborhood going anywhere, anytime soon!

TC Daily Planet retrieved from

Seward neighborhood group. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Live msp: Seward. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Seward Profile Blog. Retrieved from


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The Impact of History

The subject of history is often looked past until it’s staring you straight in the face, this assignment being one of those times. I don’t know about everyone else, but for myself I have completely accepted what my past and history is and I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought until recently. Yes, there are times where I am caught wondering why I have certain traits and I often catch myself tracing back to my past to figure it out, but that’s usually the extent of it. Thinking about my own family history is incredibly boggling as it is, but if you factor in the history of my city, state, country, world and even the universe…My head starts to spin a bit. 

As I started doing a little digging about how other people feel about the concept of history, I found an abundance of quotes on history. This particular one was my favorite among them all: 

“…everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.”- Chaim Potok, Davita’s Harp

I couldn’t agree more with this. Though I noted that I don’t often dive into the depths of my history, the more I study the topic, the more I see the vast importance of being educated on the past. I also agree with the statement “history repeats itself”, thus why I think there is a need for history education. This is where I see the most debate however. Who is in charge of deciding what we learn? How much of history is hidden due to our education? One of my favorite questions was asked by Burch and Sutherland; “What does it mean to be human?”. All of these questions stir up questionable debates about history and how it’s portrayed. 

Being that I am American, most of my history classes entailed everything about America’s history and very minimal about anything from other countries (unless the United Sates were involved somehow). Our history textbooks have taught me that America has had few mistakes but always triumphs in the end, making our country seem flawless even when it’s truly not. When I lived in Australia, I took an Australian history class. The class I took was taught a lot more open minded about the flaws and mistakes Australia has made along the way. They also had an entire unit on world history, I learned a lot more about the world in that one unit than I did in the mass combination of the history classes I took in school. With that said, I feel like this puts an inevitable strain on communication with people from other countries. Quite a few Australian people I met along the way were open about the fact that they think of America as arrogant and self righteous based mostly on the way we focus on our own history and news. Even minority cultures in the United States; they typically receive education emphasized on America opposed to the places that they come from. I can see why other countries sometimes consider the United States as arrogant, we are obsessed with our own history. Other cultures, mistakes, etc. seem to become “absent history”. In the textbook, the author describes “absent history:

“Absence  history, of course, does not mean people didn’t exist. …… One important way this happens is when government forbid access to documents that would give us better insight into the past”.

I feel like this consistently happens around the world but especially in the United States (mostly because I’m most familiar with our history education). As discussed in class today, most history classes consisted of the wars, certain social movements and the political history of the states. Things such as the Korean War and slavery are not touched on in most classes. It’s nearly impossible to understand the way of life for a slave because most of that documentation has been destroyed. Same with Native Americans or the hard ships of immigration into the United States. We are taught the main and mighty points of America’s history with little acknowledgment to our failures. Which is my point in case: who decides what we learn in history? I think integration of other cultures is one major thing the government needs to do for our history education programs. This I believe will truly help mend the hostility between cultures in the United States and help bring different cultures today with more understanding of one another. Everyone’s history is important, not one is greater than another.

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Seward History

Before this project, I had no idea there was a neighborhood named Seward in Minneapolis. In fact, I was unaware of quite a few of the neighborhoods. I was born and raised in the suburbs of St. Paul so to me Minneapolis had only Uptown, Downtown, Dinkytown and Northeast and everything fell under just those categories. Seward is located southeast of Downtown and is defined by a triangle of land that is bordered by Hiawatha Avenue, the Mississippi River and Interstate 94.

Before my partner and I visited Seward, I did some digging around on the internet about the neighborhood and how it came to be. I was a little taken back when I figured out that Seward is actually one of the oldest neighborhoods in Minneapolis. The history of Seward starts at the first rapid expansion of the city in the late 19th Century. Seward developed rapidly after the main commercial thoroughfare and cultural cornerstone was created: Franklin Avenue. Along with that, growth emerged with the construction done in 1870 to the Iowa and Minnesota Division of the Milwaukee railroad. According to LIVE MPLS, By 1930, Seward was a fully functioning and developed city.

As the years passed on, the neighborhood of Seward began to deteriorate. Community members soon realized they would need to work to renew the neighborhood for the future. In 1960, the Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG) was formed to build the first school-park facility ( Due to the success of the SNG, the efforts encouraged more activism with the residents. In 1970, the community became politicized during the urban-renewal period in Minneapolis, mobilizing to ensure National Historic Preservation status for the small working-class homes that lined Milwaukee Avenue.

Milwaukee Avenue low income housing today:


One of the most prominent stories from Seward’s history is of the Milwaukee Ave housing. Around 1880, when the neighborhood was growing and the flow of people were consistently making Seward their home, Seward needed low-income housing for new immigrants. The street was originally an alley with the street name of 22 1/2 Avenue (Wikipedia). The street kept the ‘1/2’ until 1906 when the residents petitioned it to be changed because they felt like they lived in an alley and didn’t matter to the community as a whole. The petition passed, thus the name Milwaukee Avenue emerged. By the time World War 2 was over, the houses on Milwaukee Ave were plummeting into disrepair. Many of the houses didn’t have plumbing or electricity and the upkeep was neglected during the Great Depression. The city wanted to completely wipe out all of the houses and rebuild but the community of Seward protested against it. The community formed the Seward West Project Area Committee (PAC) in order to save the homes. They argued that the homes held significant value and needed to be preserved for Seward history. The PAC won and the houses were all repaired and restored instead of demolished. The Avenue is now only bike and pedestrian friendly, cars are prohibited.

As far as history goes, the Seward neighborhood swings on the side of uneventful. Being that it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, I found it incredibly challenging to find a whole lot on the history of Seward. Today, the neighborhood still remains one of the most politically liberal communities and the residents share a level of passion for their community that is indescribable.

“What changes does the future have in store for Seward? Only time will tell. The beginning of the new century has already seen a new influx of immigrants who have brought their energy, imagination, and diversity to the neighborhood, and the next several years will see the introduction of a light-rail line that will run along the neighborhood’s west side. Whatever happens, Seward is sure to remain a unique place for people to live, work, and play.” – The Seward Neighborhood Group. After my brief visit and information digging, I couldn’t agree more with that statement. (Seward Neighborhood Group) (Wikipedia) (LIVE MPLS)

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Reflection paper #1: Cultural Spaces

Upon receiving this assignment, I had a hard time narrowing down exactly what I think my cultural spaces entail. I like to consider myself a floater; very free spirited with limited ties to anything permanent.  Point in case, this is why I find this particular assignment to be perplexing. Beyond the obvious factors of being female, Caucasian, a student at the University of Minnesota and heterosexual, I am a complex person with a vast variety of “cultural spaces”.  I have studied abroad, I was a part of Delta Gamma for a significant portion of college, I have had 3 internships (including being a Global Ambassador for the U of M) , I am a waitress, I’m a dancer, I have a perpetual desire for traveling the world, I am an Advertising and Communication major, I was raised in North St. Paul, I snowboard, I surf, I enjoy yoga and I adore to paint. With that said, each one of the cultural spaces I mentioned comes with an abundance of different people, different places and different opinions.

Engaging in conversation with those that are “different” from me is actually a passion of mine. I fully enjoy learning about other cultures, religions, cities, etc. This is why I consider myself a “floater”. I don’t have any distinctive characteristics that stick out like a sore thumb and I thoroughly enjoy people, no matter what the background.

Given that I have to think of examples of cultural spaces and how they influence me, I will use my abroad experience first and foremost. I studied abroad in Australia, probably the closest country to United States anyone can think of, right? As similar as they may be, I was still discriminated against while I was there. I remember the first restaurant I ate at, I asked for a refill of soda and the waiter looked at me and said “Does this honestly look like an American dinner to you? Go back home”. Being that it was my first night, it threw me through a whirlwind of emotion, since I thought Australia was just like us. Turns out, most of them actually hate Americans; they think we are rich, obnoxious, get everything handed to us and have nice teeth. Seriously on the teeth thing, they talk about our dental care incredible amounts. Anyways, that was one of the hardest things I had to get used to. I was also rejected to multiple clubs and bars once they saw my state ID. I eventually started telling them I was Canadian so they would be more polite to me; it worked. Which brings me to the biggest cultural space I have to show for and will forever remain: being American. This signifies so many different things to other countries. In America, we all have sub-categories of cultural space from what state, city, neighborhood, school, family to individual hobbies and we often forget about the larger scheme of things. I know it is a little far-fetched to compare the discussion in class that we had on the Cedar-Riverside to my experience of discrimination abroad, but the word discrimination signifies exactly what my point is. Being that I assumed “White Privilege” would prevail in a country that white is also dominant and that proved to be false, I understand a little more about how discrimination feels. Cultural spaces of others also shape what we feel about them and vice versa. I could even use a “Mean Girls” example: nerds sit with nerds, skaters sit with skaters, mean girls sit with mean girls. I feel that holds validity in the real world, as well. Cultural space means a lot more than most make it out to be.

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