Category Archives: Analysis #1 — Identit(ies)

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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What makes the unique neighborhood like Northeast


Throughout exploring the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood, I have been collecting information of its history and contemporary context. By using the factors of this information, in this post, I would like to introduce the identity of the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood. Having an own identity gives the standard or measure that makes it differentiated compare to other towns and parts of the city

According to Northeast Minneapolis Online (NEMPLS), they defined the identity of the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood as:

Northeast Minneapolis is a community of neighborhoods. Each has a distinct character, but all share a common identity. With neighborhoods vibrant and cosmopolitan, historic and walkable, or quiet and residential, every lifestyle finds a home in Northeast.

Identity is usually made or formed with the mixture of history, location, environment, and the types of people live. In the case of the northeast neighborhood, as it has been changing a bit by bit, the factors of identity of the neighborhood had slight changes, although its essence has been steady.  You can think it as the core of the earth stays same, but the mantle of the earth has little influences by some outside effects.

Historical Context

The historical context plays a very important role in influences that the neighborhood had. To briefly recap the history of the neighborhood, St. Anthony (the heart of Northeast Minneapolis) was found as a city even before Minneapolis was founded. However, 12 years after its foundation, St. Anthony was affiliated in Minneapolis. From that time, it has been known as the part of the northeast neighborhood. One thing to be cautious about the location is that don’t get confused with “St, Anthony Village.” St. Anthony Village is not same as St. Anthony; there is no relationship between them. Traditionally, there are many smaller houses, and it is more packed due to a big portion of the working class neighborhood.

Historically, from the time when the northeast neighborhood was found as the city of St. Anthony in 1855, there were a lot of Eastern European immigrants. As a result of this, Northeast earned its nickname “Nordeast.”

As the Nickname, “Nordeast,” implies, Eastern Europeans and their culture are very influential to the neighborhood. According to the website of RFMAX, the 1st mayor of St. Anthony was elected with a huge support by tavern and bar owners who are from the East Europe area. Likewise, even during the recent years, there are still strong influences from Eastern European residents. For example, one of the most famous and oldest restaurants that were established in the earlier period serving East European foods, such as Nye’s Polonaise Room and Kramarczuk’s Sausage Company are still doing good with new businesses established on the districts. This restaurant business brings new energy that makes the neighborhood more energetic.

The picture of Nye’s Polonaise Room


Contemporary context

As I mentioned earlier in this post, some of the changes in recent years slightly influenced the identity of the neighborhood. Changes in the composition of the population, and the house reconstructing process are the two major changes and issues that strongly affected the identity of the neighborhood.

First one is the changes in the population. Although population was seems pretty much stable, the composition of the population had a big change. After the freeway i-94 North and I-35 West were proposed, there were many young people have moved into the northeast area. Especially, the students from the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, largely moved in the neighborhood. For that reason, the population age became younger. Moreover, the ethnic groups of the population became more diverse. For example, increases in Asian international students, Latino immigrants, and Somali immigrants made the northeast Minneapolis more diverse, which used to be predominantly composed with white people. In addition, the restaurant business has been developed with an increase of the student population.

Secondly, another main issue of the Northeast neighborhood is revitalization with the housing construction.  Due to continuous immigration of Eastern European at the neighborhood, during 20th, Northeast Minneapolis started reconstructing the houses. This revitalization, remodeling and reforming of the existing houses will be continuously progressing due to the higher demand for housing, and there will be also new houses and apartments will be constructed to satisfy the people who hope to live in Northeast Minneapolis.

As a result of these two effects, the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood is not as quiet and safe as before. More young people and an increasing population in the neighborhood instead made the town more energetic.  Moreover, many artists have been moving into the neighborhood area, there are many events relate to Arts.  However, there is a side effect too. The northeast neighborhood was known as a very safe place to live, but, during the past several years, the crime rate has been grown up so quickly. Some residents worry about if the neighborhood becomes like other unsafe neighborhoods. This is a serious problem, and if the crime rate is keep increasing, it will lose its title of the safety place. Meaning to say, that will cause a big change of the identity of the Northeast Minneapolis.

The picture of Art district


In conclusion, I would say the identity of the Northeast Minneapolis includes hostorical and modern sites simultaneouly. The contemporary contexts may influenced the identity of the neighborhood. However, the essence of the identity that has been built throught the century did not change. Northeast Minneapolis, “Nordeast,” is the alive legacy in Minneapolis.




Art District Website

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Who Needs Integration?

With a fine-tuned four stage process, chapter five in Intercultural Communication in Contexts simplifies the development of identity for individuals belonging to minority groups in a straightforward step-by-step structure. From an “unexamined” state to the ultimate goal of “integration,” this (literally) by-the-book approach is allegedly the most common course followed by the nondominant sectors of society.

But what does this say about the unfortunate few who fail to follow the rules? What if this plan doesn’t pan out like it’s supposed to? For an area like St. Paul’s West Side, separation and misrepresentation deeply divide the district between insightful insiders and the preconceived public. A neighborhood nestled in the middle of the textbook’s progression with no motivation to move on, maybe integration isn’t always the absolute answer in the search for true identity.

A single city or worlds apart?

The West Side’s impressive immigrant presence is exemplified through my previous postings. Historical contexts created a region rich with recent international residents, and the contemporary culture keeps the people connected to their origins. An enlightening conversation with a local employee and long-term tenant to this distinct territory revealed not only the large number of national newcomers in the neighborhood, but also the diversity of different cultural groups among them. Though formerly comprised of a heavy percentage of Mexican-Americans, the West Side is now seeing a rise in Asian and East African ethnic groups as a display of a dynamic identity that is very much alive.

Current conditions are so comfortable, in fact, that it may seem like the citizens have no need to assimilate at all. Similar backgrounds not seen in other sections of the Twin Cities ensure residents are forever at ease expressing their native traditions and tongues without worry of odd stares or awkward encounters with an established dominant majority.

The implications of this accepting atmosphere cannot be overstated. As detailed by Gloria Anzaldúa in an essay concerning the priceless importance of language in identity development, she writes, “Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity — I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself” (pg. 2951). Freedom of a preferred form of expression throughout the West Side glues personal and community identity together. With that intact, it is all but impossible to pull a person apart.

Immigrant influences are everywhere.

Both personal pride and collective support in the neighborhood become clear by examining the West Side Community Plan. Years of active citizen engagement created an outline for a resident-driven overhaul, with strategies set to improve an array of aspects within the area. Working toward a common goal, community members are imbued with an irreplaceable sense of togetherness and cohesion that only expands upon the West Side’s existing cultural strength.

These unbreakable unifying bonds were brought to life with my most recent visit to the neighborhood. Surrounded by magnificent murals and liberal splashes of Hispanic influences in language and architecture, I was stricken with the feeling of something fresh…but decidedly foreign. I am likely not the first to experience such a phenomenon, and perhaps these happenings have led to the present perception of the West Side as an independent “other.”

Physically separated from the greater Twin Cities region by the Mississippi River that bounds its many blocks, the neighborhood is no stranger to receiving judgment. As described by Historic St. Paul, early immigrants were quick to move out of the area when enough money came in (Nelson & Lyons 2006). These original notions of a neighborhood made up exclusively of poor immigrants might be the fuel behind the external views of inferiority still seen today, as shown in my contemporary coverage of the community through popular media outlets in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Separated by more than a river.

Anzaldúa may speak of the significance of language, but our interviewee identifies the barriers and setbacks that an unusual tongue tends to produce: “[T]hey don’t know the language. So a lot of people are like, “You’re stupid because you don’t know English,” when really, just because they don’t know English doesn’t mean that they’re stupid. But people don’t see beyond that.” Like any repeated phrase, consistent calls relating one’s inability to speak English with their intelligence can eventually lead to a victim that actually believes such ridiculous allegations. With language tied so tightly with West Side culture, citizens no longer need a fear of flash floods to flee the neighborhood. Now, removing oneself from this saddening stigma is reason enough.

Or what if the residents rebelled, and rightfully refused to reach out into a society with such a vocal opposition?

Cultural identity within the West Side could not be even a sliver stronger. Entering the area is to be engulfed in an openly expressed heritage that hearkens back to a collection of ethnic homelands. The experience is extremely exciting, but the feeling unfortunately falls away the instant you cross the bridge back to downtown St. Paul. As long as that’s so, the West Side will always be different, an “other.” A beautiful bubble with a collage of cultures, its citizens may never reach total integration.

But considering the satisfaction of staying home and faced with a foreign frontier full of Minnesotans with mistaken understandings, why would they want to?


Anzaldúa, G. E. (1987). Borderlands/la frontera: The new mestiza. (pp. 2947-2955). San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books. Retrieved from to tame wild tongue.pdf

Nelson, P., & Lyons, L. (2006, June 1st). Tour Saint Paul: West side. [No longer available online.]

West Side Community Organization (2011, December 7). Community Plan. Retrieved from

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