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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday February 22nd 2024

A Short, Silent Encounter With Racism


On Thursday, November 30, 2023, a friend and member of my church (St. Constantine’s Ukrainian Catholic Church) went to a screening of the film Holodomor: Voices of Survivors- Ukrainian Famine/ Genocide (2015), a horrific tale of Stalin moving in on the Ukrainians refusing to give up their farms for collective farming in 1932-1933. There were interviews with some survivors (from the diabolical forced famine) and from those stories told by descendants of their forefathers and foremothers. Much of the dialogue had a Minneapolis connection (namely through St. Constantine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church), although many in the audience probably were not from either church. It was $20 and I made a last minute decision to go. My friend gave me a ride to St. Anthony Main Theater. I was the only Black person there (I’ve been in that situation numerous times in Minnesota). I took notes during the film like I always do when I review any movie. The pastor for St. Constantine was there along with two other sponsors. After the Q&A the crowd spilled into rooms beyond the concession stand. I spoke briefly with my pastor and to a young man (also a parishioner) and a hello to the man (also a parishioner) serving food. Beyond that, the crowd acted like my friend and I were invisible. They showed their racism without batting an eye. I’m well aware that white immigrants in particular, but not by any means exclusively, have an aversion to Black people – many from Africa and Asia also share a virulent Negrophobia. If it wasn’t for the grounds laid through excruciating work by foundation Blacks, it would be much harder for these immigrants to come here. To conclude: The actions (or lack thereof) I experienced is a disgrace to this city that only has a window-dressing of tolerance.

Howard McQuitter II is a longtime movie critic. He has been reviewing movies for the alley since 2002. You can see his column, ‘Movie Corner’ on page 10 of this issue.

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