Analysis #1- Identities of Northeast Minneapolis

I would like to say the identity of St. Anthony West and Logan Park as a whole is more likely to be a dynamic site. An official website of the Northeast Minneapolis described its own area like “industrial and immigrant heritage”, which I also found it so true. Most of interviewees I had met in At. Anthony West said this area has gone through the expansion of industrialization in the past also known as “revitalization” or “refoundation” which was the direct quotes from neighbors. It is hard to say, in addition, the Northeast Minneapolis (St. Anthony West and Logan Park, in this case) has distinctive history with omitting the history of immigrants.

When it comes to the industrial development in St. Anthony, the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls played an important role. Industrial demand for a huge resource of power for a few industries came since the late nineteenth century, (partly) according to Northeast River District. One interviewee, who is working in St. Anthony West for 20 years, named Rosen from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church- this, technically, is a part of Marcy-Holmes- gave a testimony that businesses grew and especially, this area developed along the river, which brings more people hoping to live there. Of course, there were more people that said the same regarding to industries other than Rosen. From this kind of research, I could be aware of how come people I met in this neighborhood saw St. Anthony urban area despite it doesn’t have many tall buildings and cars.

Surprisingly, plans for ‘revitalization’ are still going on exactly in St. Anthony West as a Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (MNRP) in order to improve housing and environment and reinforce community development other than industries as time passed. I believe these sorts of efforts contribute to St. Anthony West area in connecting old and new; past, present, and future; 19th century and 21th century.

I think a mix of immigrants is more important identity than industry in both St. Anthony and Logan Park. Thinking in relation to industry, these two parts of Northeast Minneapolis have a rich history as working class immigrant neighborhoods with most of its population, historically, came from Eastern Europe. Regarding this, a manager from Lebanese Deli, who introduced himself as a generation of immigration, said the majority of blue-collar workers are immigrant. They are well known for diversity that includes architecture influenced by Eastern European and immigrants of Polish, Lebanese, Ukrainian, and so on. The legacy of immigration is also shown in the design of the church. I found it interesting that all churches like Lebanese and Ukrainian have domes which are unusual characteristics in Western churches.


                             Architecture of the Ukrainian Catholic Church

By observing the demographics from Northeaster, main media in St. Anthony West, I was able to find a huge shift in the racial demographics. The Whites dominantly made up to 97 percent and 94 percent of its population by 1980 in Logan Park and St. Anthony West respectively; however, 61 percent and 80 percent by 2010. It clearly shows both areas have become a dynamic community embracing people of color- I don’t like to use this term that much but can’t help it- and new immigrants from Latin America and East Africa.

When it comes to more about identities of Logan Park, the ‘art’ needs to be added. An official website of Logan Park neighborhood illustrates itself as “the heart of the area’s Art District” as well as a center of the Northeast Minneapolis. As found in an interview at Lebanese Deli, young artists and urban professions are moving into this area, with over 170 artists and small business that offer more opportunities to shop for arts, furniture, and apparel to all residents.

I wrote the first paragraph saying both St. Anthony and Logan Park has an identity of dynamic site, on the other hand, they also represent pretty different identities despite both belong to the Northeast Minneapolis. St. Anthony particularly has an identity of industry heritage, but there are many things in common with Logan Park neighborhood as well. Overall, St. Anthony and Logan Park is a dynamic site even though it seems that a new desire to form reinforced community is required.


Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program

Demographics in St. Anthony

Northeast River District

St. Anthony 1857

Live MSP- Logan Park

Facing race idea challenge

Northeaster Census


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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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Final Reflection on the Northeast Minneapolis

When assigned to Northeast Minneapolis for Twin Cities Neighborhood Project (TNCP) three weeks ago, I knew nothing of it, seriously; however, after done with this project, everything changed. I can confidently say that I have learned a lot about parts of Northeast Minneapolis, especially St. Anthony West and Logan Park by going out to meet ‘real’ neighborhood in person! I have written a few research papers during my college life so far, but it was my first time to participate in collecting information and doing interviews outside the school.

Honestly, Intercultural Communication class was not what I expected at all since I thought there would be just a lot of conversations back and forth between Americans and International students and expected more discussions on race ethnicity. However, I was wrong. When it comes to ‘culture’, I used to come up with things about nations, but culture starts from our families and further neighborhoods. Moreover, I learned how intercultural communications, which often requires sophisticated skills, are formed in terms of identity and power as well as history.

Before unpacking the stories of Northeast Minneapolis, we need to address the definition of intercultural communication. According to, intercultural communication often refers to the wide range of communication issues that inevitably arise within an organization composed of individuals from a variety of religious, social, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

Understanding of certain culture means understanding of its contexts including history, politics, economy, and society. When I first stepped into the research on St. Anthony West and Logan Park, for example, nothing would have meant to me if I was unaware of its own history. St. Anthony was established by in 1849, which is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, and its name was given by St. Anthony Falls found by Father Louis Hennepin. With this one sentence of information, a well-known fact among residents here, I can easily understand one of the important characteristics in this area – there are a number of Catholic churches in the Northeast, which is relatively uncommon in the United States, originally a “Christianity” nation.

As mentioned above, I was also surprised to see cultural diversity with my eyes like Polish, Ukrainian, Lebanese, etc because it was really uncommon to meet people from those countries even in Minneapolis, the biggest city in Minnesota. Yet the history of their immigration in this area traces back to over 100 years ago, which means diverse cultures accumulated for a century shows represent current appearances of St. Anthony and Logan Park. St. Anthony was referred to as “First Wave” of Eastern European immigrants to the Midwest. Generally, Logan Park neighborhood has similar history to St. Anthony West, but it was named for Civil War General and U.S. Senator, John A. Logan.

 Contemporary contexts matters in intercultural interaction. Knowing of issues or concerns that people in the neighborhood care about; interactions between residents and its media publications provide profound understanding of culture as well. I found people in St. Anthony and Logan Park have been concerned with the crimes, traffics, and economy (unemployment). Moreover, what is most commonly found in media or neighborhood was there are a number of events that help people gather altogether for a sense of belonging.

As described above, after I became aware of these contexts of this neighborhood, everything mattered from architecture of the Catholic Church which came to me different from others I saw in my neighborhood and services provided in diverse language at church to the Mississippi River flowing from the side – great realization and founding to me during my research.

In brief, having a conversation without considering historical and contemporary context might not bring any profound understanding of a culture. I want to say culture is the sum of past (history) and now.

By seeing other students presenting on various neighborhoods like Marcy-Holmes, I found it interesting that space is constructed and boundaries are demarcated in ways that impact identity and power dynamics despite it is not that far from one another regarding to physical distance. All communities, generally, have in common with ethnic diversity, but it is shown in different ways. In case of St. Anthony West, for instance, I think it has the most distinctive ethnic or racial diversity owing to the earlier history of immigration from the Eastern European. I saw St. Constantine Ukrainian Catholic Church and could get information there that there is hundreds of Ukrainian coming to this church every Sunday and also met a Lebanese who is going to the Lebanese church across the Ukrainian one. Furthermore,

Especially, the Marcy-Holmes so close that I got confused a little bit with Northeast Minneapolis at first but it was pretty different. A culture of “Hipsters” or many college students are easily found in that area unlike St. Anthony West and Logan Park.

Overall, as newer immigrants and younger professions including artists are coming into here, St. Anthony and Logan Park is like a model of harmony of “oldtimer and newcomer” (Martin & Nakayama, 11). At first, I didn’t realize how this neighborhood is beautiful with Mississippi River and vibrant with young people, which I found it to be at second visit. It must be pleasing experience to hang out with friends and try some authentic cuisines from diverse immigration nations here. Plus, Logan Park in Logan Park neighborhood also has wonderful view and makes feel a peace as a resident named Maynard strongly said – this is such a good place to live and raise a family. I love it.

Twin Cities Neighborhood Project (TCNP) at the University of Minnesota was such a precious challenge and teach me how to do well on this kind of research project even though it was pretty tough for me. It deserves to be taken by more students in order to make them jump in and experience in person what intercultural communication is.

Intercultural communication will be a fresh challenge to everyone, I believe.


Retrieved from

Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. (2010). Intercultural communication in contexts.

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Final reflection: Summit-University

A lot of people may say, why do we need to learn about intercultural communications? Well, we are also exposed or influenced by the cultures of the community that were living in or we travel to it.  The twin cities are also becoming more and more diversity each day. Therefore, it became necessary to understand intercultural communications and factors that affect them such as cultural spaces, identity, history, social, economics, and power dynamics and so on.

Although I have lived in different countries with diverse cultures, and I have been exposed with different cultures, my view about the cultures and the intercultural communications is greatly developed during this class.  I am beginning to understand how the historical, economic, social and physical contexts are important to understand the culture and the power dynamic, how each cultural space is constructed through the identity and how these diverse cultures communicate each other and demarcated their cultures in a way that effected their identity and power in order to communicate and to form community, neighborhood and cities that can understand and live together.

Although my visit to the Summit-University neighborhood was a life changing experience, knowing the history of this neighborhood helped me to understand how this community came to be, because the history as driving force that shapes our understanding of culture.  It is also a powerful tool that connects us to the past and it plays important part our present lives. It determines who we are, were we come from, why and how we do what we do in every day. It helps to understand how the culture and how the identity of this community formed and changed through the time.

During my research about the Summit-University neighborhood, I found out that the people who settled in Summit- University around 1850 were European immigrants, white Christians and the dominant culture at that time was Christian culture.  Around 1880 many working class and middle classes also moved the neighborhood and build big houses in which mostly considered as historical buildings (Minnesota historical society

Due the immigration flow, the neighborhood became more diverse than ever, so the cultures, identities, and believes. We also observe this diversity during our visit of this neighborhood and when we asked one of the neighborhoods   as far as cultural diversity goes, is there a lot of that around here?  Oh yes, yea. That’s a good thing… to see different race, different people. And they’re actually helping each other out. Like, it was crazy at first. Africans and Somalians, we did not get along, for nothing. Now, we’re talking to each other. You know, we communicate. That’s good. The corner store guy, you know, he’s Somalians and we’re best friends. And it’s wonderful now, talking to everybody. It’s good.

Today the neighborhood contains diverse ethnic groups such as Asians, Caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, and even East Africans that live together and from community. As I observe during my visit, the community is well connected. It also has newspapers that connect within the neighborhood and other neighborhoods and the city.  , it has many businesses which are populated on a Selby Avenue. It also has historical places.

The factors that helped us to understand the forces that drove such interaction and intercultural communications between this neighborhood and other neighborhoods and the city are not limited to the history and culture.  The understanding of cultural spaces and boundaries also contribute our understanding about how such diverse community communicates.

As martin and Nakayama, the authors of a book called “Intercultural Communication in Context” stated, the cultural space can be physical such as home (a place where you grew up) or metaphorical such as internet. And there are some factors that contribute t it such as religious practices, food and so on.  The home is also defined by its location such as neighborhood, city, region and country and the relationship you have with.

The location that we are focusing on is the summit – university neighborhood and its cultural spaces and identity. As every community, the Summit-University neighborhood contains diverse ethnic groups such as Asians, Caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, and even East Africans. Each of these groups have different believes, values, food, and dress code.

Thus, the combinations of these factors create what we called cultural spaces and invisible boundaries.  Therefore, when communities with diverse cultures meet, they must develop intercultural communications and understanding of their diverse cultures. Thus, they must compromise and demarcated their cultural spaces and invisible boundaries in a way that affected the identity and but create a unique community that can function and live together. Thus, this community must compromise their identity and became multi-identity which in turn can lead multiculturalism which increases the communication members among the community and outside the community.

Understanding the history of the Power of this neighborhood became another important force that that helped us to understand interaction of community at any level such neighborhoods, cities, and even at government level.  The Power also determines what to be taught at school, what language will be taught or spoken in a particular community. Power sets and defines the rules and the laws.

Power is often hidden, but dynamic.   It changes through the history.  Historically the Summit- university neighborhood, white coo munity was he dominant ones and they are the ones that had the power. Although the power is changing, the white peoples till have the power.  This can be seen when you visit the work forces, schools, and hospitals.  You can also observe the lifestyle difference between the whites and people of color such us housing.

Another factor that influenced how the neighborhoods or cities interact and communicate is socio- economies which also tied with power. The minority people who live in this neighborhood are low income and due to their low economic level they have poor housing, less power when compare to the majority that live in this neighborhood.

Despite these differences, the neighborhood acts as community and almost gets along. They build a community that interacts and connected to one another. They have local newspapers, in which they discuss how they discuss safety, sanitary, education, and so on. Despite the negative press against this community, the community sees a positive community and it always considered as promising community.


  1. Ramsey Hill Association.
  2.  Summit University planning Council.
  3. Minnesota historical
  4. Martin and Nakayama. “Intercultural communication In Context” 1997.pages 110-133

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Final Reflection

         As an international student, I was thinking “intercultural communication” refers to basically the oral communication, or non-verbal communication among people from different countries, with various cultural backgrounds. Now I realize this is to narrow, there is much broader meaning for “intercultural communication”. From the content of our textbook, “Intercultural communication in Context” finished by Judith N. Martin and Thomas K. Nakayama, intercultural communication is related to factors like identity, power, language, nonverbal codes, history, context. It’s far more complicated than I thought before, and I strong believe that it’s super necessary to know more about intercultural communication from a professional way, due to the increasing importance of being a globalized person, also the significance of intercultural communication in a rapidly changing world, I appreciated the chance I got to studying in USA, since I have been in America for three years, I realized the value of cultural practice, also helps me better understanding the practice of “intercultural communication”,  as the example illustrated in the “Intercultural communication in Context”,

           “Living in another country widens your horizon. It makes you appreciate the things you have, and it strengths the family unit. You look at your country from a different view. We have learned not to expect everything to be the same as “at home”

            This is exactly what I feel recent years, also the reason I like New York City and San Francisco, diverse culture have relatively healthy environment to flourish here. People mostly agree that the place like NYC is a really cultural diversely; actually we also have lots of chance to get to know how intercultural communication works in Twin Cities Area. We got plenty neighborhood, which are really cultural diversely here, my partner and me are responsible for Phillips, one of the most cultural vibrant community that locate in the south of downtown Minneapolis, after the expansion of neighborhood, currently it’s a community consists of four neighborhood. For getting to know how intercultural communication works in Phillips, as well as how does it influence over the city, we did historical research, contemporary issue research, identity and power analysis, most importantly, the conversation with people live or work in Phillips, through the whole process, I got more knowledge about how these elements in community work together to influence intercultural communication in Phillips and Minneapolis.

            Getting to know the history of the community is always the first step to establish everything, after doing all the steps, I realize the influence of history can be really powerful, it relates to the identity of the community, decides the power which impacts intercultural communication, also some contemporary issue that is continued through the history. In Phillips, the most significant change was about racial composition started in 1920’s, during the period of the Great Depression, before that time, Phillips was famous for its rapid economic growth, various business, and great transportation, it was the organized residence area mainly for wealthy people, whites, many of them are immigrants from Europe, like Sweden, the rich, comfortable life of residents in Phillips still can be seen in American Swedish Institution, a museum aims to preserve the cultural of European immigrants in Phillips, which was originally the home for the most famous family in Phillips, that operated newspaper. As our exploration in American Swedish Institution, the luxurious life situation of earlier residents in Phillips is uncovered, which has strong contradiction to the current residents. Nowadays, most people living in residents are Blacks or Latinos, the demographic in Phillips had a significant change, and this lead to the shift in identity, give rise to new social problems. In the early times, the main social issue in Phillips largely differs from now, for one reason, racial composition changed a lot, it’s hard to see whites in Phillips, also, the expansion in boundaries enlarge the range of Phillips, which brings new cultural to the area. Unlike previously, nowadays, the hottest issue in Phillips is safety problem, according to the Minneapolis city network, Phillips is one of the most dangerous areas in the city, and high crime rate impressed many people, from the online discussion, one of the citizens published 

          “All I know is that a teenage kid got shot there by someone who wanted his bike. I’d say the odds you are safe is pretty good, but still, if you check MPD crime maps, there are incidents going on week in and week out. Look at the crime map I’m linking to. 6 armed robberies and 5 aggravated assaults in one week. To me, that’s pretty bad.”

            As we can see, safety issue is the major concern for people live in Phillips, people considered it as “dangerous area”, this is one of new identities associated to Phillips. The other problem relates to poverty such as unemployment, and education. There are still 13% unemployment rate in Phillips, declines 1.8% compare to 1990, currently, only 5.8% Phillips residents work in the Phillips area, 38.5% people work in other district in Minneapolis. Unemployment leads to poverty directly, even though the community keeps making impressive progress in economic development, poverty rate still stays much higher than the average rate in Minneapolis. See? Safety problem, poverty are new social issue as the change in demographics in Phillips, they bring the new identity to Phillips. To analyze what decides the development of Phillips, economics, race can be main power impact on Phillips, shift in racial composition lead to shift in culture directly. From the conversation we talk to people in Phillips, I found no matter the race, they have great loyalty to their own culture, therefore, the majority racial group has great power to influence the history. Judith Martin and Thomas Nakayama, writers of Intercultural Communication in Contexts, wrote:

        “Power is the central dynamic in the writing of history. It influences the content of the history we know and the way it is delivered. Power dictates what is taught and what is silenced, what is available and what is erased.”

            For instance, one of the old lady said: She strongly supports the expansion the protection of American Swedish Institution, she is the spring of European, and the museum is one of her favorite place.

             To summarize, the intercultural communication is a pretty dynamic process, any change in one aspect can cause the other change, and they are interlocked. To know more about intercultural communication, we can better understand the city.

Work Cited:

Marks, Wizard. Phillips neighborhood network. The Alley in May, 05 1990. Web. 26 May 2012. <;.

“Phillips Community.” City of Minneapolis. N.p., 27 09 2011. Web. 26 May 2012. <;.

Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. (2010). Intercultural communication in contexts. New York: McGraw-Hill.


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West Side: When Everything At Play Isn’t Enough

Three weeks ago, I knew nothing of the West Side. Give me a map and I would have never been able to point out the place. Ask for an adjective about the area and I would falter, unable to find an honest reply. A neighborhood in name only, St. Paul’s West Side was simply invisible, entirely insignificant to me and my future.

And then I was assigned to analyze the area inside and out, and everything changed.

Researching this region neither nuances nor complicates a contemporary understanding of intercultural communication. Rather, understanding particular city pockets supports current conceptions. According to Intercultural Communication in Contexts, positive and negative aspects arise when dealing with cross-culture relations. Examinations allow us to learn about others and ourselves concurrently, yet a proliferation of prejudice may be born from the very same interactions (pg. 4).

An absolute appreciation of culture requires an equal understanding of the interconnected contexts that shape it. The history of the West Side, for example, formed the initial impressions of America for all original immigrants who inhabited the area. Jewish citizens saw it as a mere stopgap, a simple settlement meant to be anything but permanent (Nelson & Lyons 2006). Finding sufficient finances to be the only ticket onto the train ride out, perhaps even the iconic Neighborhood House was created not as a community anchor (as presently described by the Twin Cities Daily Planet), but an exit. Assisting residents to succeed, the establishment effectively provided the priceless economic and interpersonal tools necessary for social mobility beyond the West Side.

Jews didn’t hesitate to take this opportunity, and soon the West Side became associated with Hispanic populations instead. Even when faced with total relocation as a result of redevelopment for the oft-flooded flats, however, this cultural group chose to embrace its heritage and secure a community with visible personality (Twin Cities Daily Planet). Thus, District del Sol was born with meaningful Mexican influences.

Although obviously oblivious to the outcomes at the time, the founders failed to foresee the long-lasting impacts of their good intentions. As discussed in our final presentation last Thursday, the West Side of St. Paul now falls victim to stereotypes as being exclusively Latino. Past presumptions of a poor neighborhood managed to survive for a century as well, as recounted during an interview with a young local: “Many times people refer to West Side as the ghetto, where there is a lot of violence and only poor people live.” Evident here, economic and social standing sprung straight from neighborhood history all act in tandem to determine today’s intercultural communication.

The West Side community is not only physically separated from greater St. Paul by the wide berths allotted to the Mississippi River, but the area is also socially segregated in terms of immigrant culture. Immediately, language literally prohibits communication out of a new resident’s home culture, impeding interaction with others in or out of the neighborhood. In this sense, Neighborhood House continues its historical mission for education through English classes, even encouraging intercultural communication among the locals in the process. When asked about interactions across ethnic groups, a woman employed at the Neighborhood House enlightened me with the organization’s contributions to the community:

“Well, I would say generally they stay with their ethnicities, with their people, so to speak. But in our English classes they’re all intermingled and they try to get them to know each other’s cultures well. So they’ll have cooking classes during English class and one week they’ll make Somali food, the next week they’ll make Hmong food, the next week they’ll make Karen food, the next week they’ll make…whatever! And so they each get a taste of each other’s culture, and then they’re like, ‘Oh, we really aren’t all that different! Oh, you use cilantro too! Oh, I thought only we used cilantro!’”

Previously as foreign to one another as the country they now inhabit, immigrants are able to break through cultural barriers through the facilitation of intercultural communication in a common context that everyone can relate to (in this case, food preparation). While only one example of many, this anecdote nonetheless provides an uplifting outlook to the potential ease of initiating free-flowing conversation between people with wildly different backgrounds.

The typical identity of a West Side resident (if there even is such a thing) is an entity torn by local pride and outsider observations. Driven by dark and dreary mass media (mis)representations, the neighborhood has received a serious stigma:

 ”The news only talks about the negative stories, the violence and the poverty…It sometimes makes me not want to tell people where I am from. I am afraid they will judge me as something I am not.”

A direct product of conflicting or incomplete intercultural communication, this reflection from the local interviewee mentioned earlier shows how poor understandings disempower these people. Natural identity development is forever at odds with what the world perceives a West Sider should be, and many are left lost between embracing heritage and casting aside culture to escape discrimination.

The topic of my previous post, political power with regard to the West Side provides a source of hope to maintaining one’s true identity. Influential government figures are actively invested in the support and improvement of the neighborhood, and outstanding organizations like the West Side Community Organization and Riverview Economic Development Association provide pathways for local engagement to enhance self-esteem. Still, is this enough? Can but two (admittedly important) politicians change an entire area within Minnesota’s main metropolitan area? While helpful on the individual and community scale, are pushes for personal pride making a measurable difference through the Twin Cities’ grand scheme?

Being the critical pessimist I’ve become (college is to blame, I’m sure), I have to answer “no.”

I have lived in St. Paul for nearly three years. I’ve explored the city, wandered its streets, and gotten lost for long lengths of time. And yet, I had never heard of the West Side.

As long as this problem persists, as long as outside populations are unaware of the unique diversity only seen in St. Paul’s West Side, intercultural communication is insignificant. Culture cannot influence communication between neighborhoods because communication doesn’t exist between neighborhoods. Like nearby nations refusing to cooperate with one another, these independent areas operate in lieu of any external interactions. Boundaries, whether physical or imaginary, contain more than our homes on a map. Entrapped in our own comfort zones, immersion in other sections, in other cultures, is out of the question.

Fortunately, the problem is a potential solution.

Intercultural communication can open doors, build bridges, and facilitate relationships between detached groups like those sprinkled across the Twin Cities. Pulling from the Neighborhood House employee’s recollection again, all we need is relatable common ground to create connections. As an Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management undergraduate student, I do not have all of the answers, and cannot provide a checklist to achieving a society of honest and open relations. I do, however, know the end goal. My power post ended on a simple and straightforward but significant statement, and I believe it belongs here as well:

We need intercultural communication.

Now how do we get there?


Almli, M. (2011, February 07). Videos feature history, culture of St. Paul’s West Side flats and District del Sol. Twin Cities Daily Planet. Retrieved from

Nelson, P., & Lyons, L. (2006, June 1st). Tour Saint Saul: West side. Retrieved from

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Northeast Minneapolis, the last story…

From the beginning to end, Northeast Minneapolis has been always intrigued me with its unique history and culture. The culture they have today was not just formed all of a sudden. It was formed with its long history, environment, geography, demographics etc. These factors all had a crucial role to make the unique and nice neighborhood. 

Here is a good description that explains how does culture form usually. Sulekha.Com described culture as

A society or a nation has traditions, customs, social norms, values and forms of creative expressions. All these belong to culture. Therefore, each individual is a constant creator of individual, national and world culture. Thinkers and philosophers of a society influence millions of people with their thoughts. Our parents and neighbors hand over their traditions and customs to us. This is our heritage. When we are children, our culture is almost nonexistent except as inherited through past karma. Slowly we grow up and strengthen ourselves by cultivating values and creating a path for our lives.

This quote gives you an idea of how culture gets formed, and it explains well how long it takes and how it constantly and continuously changes as time goes on.

However, culture is not the only factor that determines or represents the neighborhood. It has other factors, such as the space of neighborhood. For example, the northeast Minneapolis is composed with 13 composing smaller neighborhoods. Therefore, the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood is large compare to other smaller neighborhoods. Historically, the heart of Northeast Minneapolis, St. Anthony, was a independent city and it was founded even before Minneapolis was founded. Although it is incorporated to Minneapolis as a neighborhood, with that reason, it is a larger neighborhood. 


The picture above is the Northeast Minneapolis space and its boundaries:

Again, historically, there were a lot of immigrants from East Europe, especially, Poland, Ukraine, and Lebanon. And this neighborhood is also the oldest settlement by a non-native Americans. For that reason, the culture of the neighborhood was largely influenced by the Eastern European culture. For example, there are many Eastern European restaurants, bars, and organizations. Moreover, there are so many churches and cathedrals that have their own nationalities. Some of them are now owned by third or fourth generation of the first immigrants, which is very unique and historical.

However, recently, there are some changes. After the government proposed the freeways, such as i-94 and i-35, there have been so many younger group of people have moved in to the neighborhoods due to its safety and quite environment. The large proportion of people of the younger group is student, and mostly they are studying at the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities. Younger people brought an energetic environment to its local business. For example, the restaurant business is doing very well recently. So the average age of the population went down big time. Moreover, the ethnic groups became more diverse. It used to be at least 90 percent whites in this neighborhood, but it became very diverse these days because we can find that the proportion of white population went down significantly. 

Many people here are in a working-class. This fact impacts in the political view greatly. There is even a case fore it. In its history, the first mayor of St. Anthony when St. Anthony was a separated city, was elected with the power and influence of the Eastern European people who were in a working-class. Many people were the bar owners. Therefore, we can’t never ignore the power of resident’s working class. It might have been changed because the population became a lot younger and diverse.

In conclusion, culture and the living style of the neighborhood gets formed with a variety of factors. Nothing is useless to be used to construct the its own culture and living style. Even a little rock may have a potential or actual influence to culture. Therefore, nothing can be ignored, especially in the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood because it has been changing a bit by bit every year, and, now, it has its historical form, but with changes. However, they keep protect the originality. In other words, it’s a mix of modernity and historical context.

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