TRITON Magazine Fall 2020 - Page 55

The forthcoming book by Yelena Bailey , PhD ’ 16 , uses the lens of marketing campaigns , literature , hip-hop , film , and television in order to better understand the cultural meanings associated with " the streets ."
data , Black households in the Twin Cities earn 44 percent of what White households earn — the second greatest income disparity in any metro area in the nation . Similarly , only 1 in 4 Black households own their home . In contrast , 76 percent of White households own their home , one of the highest homeownership rates in the country . Despite these gross racial disparities , Minneapolis and Saint Paul continue to be labeled the most livable cities in America . In fact , Saint Paul ’ s city slogan is “ The most livable city in America .” The irony of this label is not lost on me . The recent attention to police violence and the death of George Floyd raises the question : livable for whom ?
The persistent threat of violence and the social and economic disparities in the Twin Cities are symptoms of a plague affecting hundreds of thousands of people . Long after we ’ ve found a vaccine for the coronavirus , long after the news cycle and social media have moved on from George Floyd ’ s murder , Black people like myself will be left trying to figure out a way to continue protecting ourselves against an ongoing pandemic .
Yelena Bailey , PhD ’ 16 was a professor of English and cultural studies in Seattle before becoming the Director of Education Policy at the State of Minnesota ’ s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board . She is the author of the forthcoming book , How the Streets Were Made , which examines the creation of “ the streets ” not just as a physical , racialized space produced by segregationist policies , but also as a sociocultural entity that has influenced our understanding of Blackness in America for decades .