Category Archives: Analysis #2 — Power

Powerful Factors Affecting Northeast

Among the number of elements that shape the Northeast Minneapolis, the most powerful factors of composing the neighborhood are its geography, components of the population, and religion. These factors obviously have strong impacts to this neighborhood from the past to presents, and they will continuously add more influences in shaping Northeast Minneapolis’ distinguished culture and context physically and non-physically.

Since power has a close relationship with identity, these factors also could represent the how identity forms. Having its own identity and power is very critical matter for the neighborhoods to have its unique style of culture and contexts. For example, Geographer Gillian Rose describes as

“We develop a sense of place when we are in an area that we fit in, and that sense of place changes, just as our identities change, when we move to new areas.”

“Our ethnicity is centrally developed from our places, and things like ethnic neighborhoods and cultural restaurants develop when people migrate and settle in a new area so they can keep their identity and welcome others with similar ones.”

Once again, it is crucial to acknowledge the relationship between power and identity. If there is no identity, there will be no power as well.



The above picture is Northeast Minneapolis

Historically, the heart of St. Anthony was a separate city from Minneapolis. St. Anthony, with Mississippi river and the growing Mill industry, developed so quickly, and it was founded as a city prior to Minneapolis. However, due to its slow economy after the development, it was affiliated to Minneapolis only after 12 years of its foundation. Therefore, it was quite distinguished and isolated from other neighborhoods. However, as the freeway constructed such as I-94 North and I-35 West, the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood became very interactive with other neighborhoods quickly due to its convenient access. For example, the proportion of population became more diverse. Currently, there are more African American immigrants, more Asian international students, and more Hispanic immigrants.  For this reason, geography is one of the important powers.  Geographical changes cause changes of the neighborhood.



The picture above is Kramarczuk’s sausages

Demographic in Northeast Minneapolis has been changing for years. When this neighborhood was first established, there were mostly Eastern European immigrants and Native Americans. Due to the Mill industry, the residents were mostly a working-class. However, during recent years, there was a big revitalization to make the neighborhood better. Moreover, after the freeway was proposed, demographic of Northeast Minneapolis became more diverse and younger. In addition, there were many young artists moved near the Art district. After changes of the components of the population, the neighborhood became more dynamic. It doesn’t mean they lost their historical culture and identity, but it means that they added a dynamical and more diversified environment. I would say Northeast Minneapolis became more diverse, more energetic, and more artistic with its originality.

Side effect

It is not always good to have changes like this. Demographical and geographical changes brought some side effects. Mainly, the crime problem occurs more often than before. The northeast Minneapolis neighborhood used to be a very safe place. However, due to its changes, unfortunately, the crime rate has been growing up year by year. Many residents worry about the neighborhood becoming dangerous and unsafe.

Changes in Demographics could bring good and bad results as I described above. Therefore, this is another factor that has power which could change the living environment and culture.



The picture above is St John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church

Northeast Minneapolis is also known as a religious part of Minneapolis. There are many churches and several cathedrals in this neighborhood area, and many churches and cathedral were built with its own nationalities. For instance, there are Ukrainian church, French church, and Lebanese church etc.  It is very unique that each church has its own nationality.  The churches around this neighborhood are also very active with community.  For example, they open the bible schools, and they also have many gathering events for elders.  It seems like that religious influence their culture crucially by communicating with the neighborhood’s society with the provision of social services.


The power, include geographic, demographic, and religion, gets strong relationship with the northeast neighborhood Minneapolis’ culture. Although it seems like there wasn’t a very much relationships in the past. However, with recent changes, the Northeast Minneapolis became more interactive with other neighborhood. I think it has a potential risk of losing its own unique identity due to the changes of the factors of power I mentioned. But, if its changes can be used in a beneficial way, it could keep the originality with the new and fresh changes in an environment of living, which it is now. In conclusion, geographic, demographic, and religion are the important factors that construct the power of forming the neighborhood, and in its intercultural communication. Therefore, we need to keep our eyes on these changes, and see the influences to the Northeast Minneapolis.


Geographer Gill


picture of kramarczuk

St John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church


Northeast River district


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West Side Power: A Plea For Intercultural Communication

Power & culture: Two identities tightly tied to such a degree that my previous post on identity proves to be a near-perfect parallel to power relationships involving the West Side of St. Paul. To be true, historical, economic, and geographic aspects act as ongoing constraints keeping this neighborhood from having a fully-realized influence. However, these barriers are born from an undeniable diversity of cultures at the core of this district’s contested power dynamics.

A downtrodden history paved the way for the present power problems pertaining to the West Side. The geographic separation from the greater city of St. Paul marks the origins of still-seen societal oppression, and past widespread poverty among the area’s residents continues to affect outside perspectives. Prevalent populations of various immigrant groups only add to the perceptions of the West Side as being an “other,” some foreign land to fear and avoid.

Separated by more than a river

Modern media representations of the region seek to strip its citizens of personal power. As I state in my struggle to search for even a singular news story painting the West Side in a positive light, it is almost impossible to discover anything but derogatory details dealing with the neighborhood from every major network. When crime is all they see, it’s easy for outsiders to extrapolate these isolated and incidental behaviors to the entire population.  Rosa, a young West Side lifer with invaluable insight into this issue, reflects in her own words:

 “The news only talks about the negative stories, the violence and the poverty. No one hears about the Cinco de Mayo celebration or the welcoming residents that live here…[N]ow that I am working outside West Side and meeting new people, it is hard to be proud. Many times people refer to West Side as the ghetto, where there is a lot of violence and only poor people live. 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.”

As a direct consequence to these unfortunate feelings of punctured pride for one’s own community, motivations to take action in support of the area are minimized. More so, migrant groups are often at odds with the English language. Described to deeper depths in my identity piece, a local employee explains common Minnesotans can be quick to judge individuals with poor speaking skills. With unfavorable presumptions already in place and an inability to communicate a rallying cry against injustice, West Side residents could be a people without any power at all.

Could be, if not for the incredible institutions and progressive politicians dedicated to fighting for the subtly persecuted West Side.

With a significant Spanish-speaking minority, the West Side is well-represented by two Latino men in positions of power (as outlined by the Twin Cities Daily Planet). Filling a seat on Minnesota’s House of Representatives for more than 20 years, Carlos Mariani is mindful of protecting underprivileged minority populations statewide. What’s more, his presidential status within the Education Committee further focuses his extraordinary efforts on enhancing educational programs. Similar to Mr. Mariani, Rafael Ortega is also of Latino descent and acts as the 5th district Commissioner for Ramsey County, an area inclusive of the West Side. Cited by the Daily Planet as being, “one of the most power(ful) political positions in the state,” Commissioner Ortega is able to appropriate considerable funding as he sees fit. As the very first minority on Minnesota’s County Board, Ortega surely ensures his West Side constituents receive the appropriate attention.

Ignoring misunderstandings from the Twin Cities at large, the West Side’s internal power is in line with my last analysis on cultural identity. Disheartening depictions do not exist within the tight internal neighborhood community. Cultural exhibitions are embedded into the very environment, providing a sense of place and repairing pride lost to less-than-positive opinions from the outside. A conversation with a West Side worker at Neighborhood House examined the importance of the institution as a beacon, with the power to attract ambitious immigrants and build broken self-esteem by boosting essential understandings of the English language. The previously mentioned Community Plan and organizations like the Riverview Economic Development Association do wonders for the West Side, empowering residents with a variety of assistance and encouraging individual actions for change.

Capitol protest against immigration injustice

Drastic differences between internal and external positions and perceptions of power mimic the West Side’s identity to a “T.” Like culture, these relationships are actively affected by media representations, yet are additionally offset by a strong sense of inner community. In the end, power depends on and speaks to the societal  structure of the Twin Cities, and (I imagine) much of the United States. We need to approach oppression with an open mind. We need to experience an environment for ourselves before blanketing a stereotype to everyone within its boundaries. We need more transparency, more truth, and more tolerance.

We need intercultural communication.


McDonough, S. (2010, April 21). Latino leaders: A new political force in Minnesota. Retrieved from

Riverview Economic Development Association. (2012). About reda. Retrieved from

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