Interview of Kenneth Rance
Interviewer: 00:11 Alright, so first we’ll just ask you what’s your first and last name with the spelling?
Kenneth Rance: 00:16 My name is Kenneth Rance and that’s K-E-N-N-E-T-H R-A-N-C-E.
Interviewer: 00:24 Alright, so this will be a fifteen minute interview.
Kenneth Rance: 00:27 Sure.
Interviewer: 00:33 On the map, do you see where you live and where you work?
Kenneth Rance: 00:38 Yep. So I live in Lin Park, so on this map, it would be closest to 14th street and Lyndale
Interviewer: 00:50 So thinking back to that area today, what changes have you seen? Positive and negative.
Kenneth Rance: 00:58 Well, I’ve seen more gentrification of whites in my neighborhood. I have seen the property values go up. I see how the north loop is growing and rising exponentially and I believe that some of the carry over is spilling across Plymouth Avenue and down toward the Washington business corridor. What I think is most tragic is that there is a lot of drug activity from the corners of Lyndale and West Broadway from West Broadway to let’s say Penn Avenue. And I think that it is a travesty that the fourth district of the Minneapolis Police Department is not doing enough, in my opinion, to curtail some of that negative drug activity.
Kenneth Rance: 02:11 When you take a look at the Fourth Precinct crime statistics which I receive from who is our community liaison, you will see that from 18th and Lyndale to West Broadway in that area on the Near North is just a hotspot with Cub Supermarket. I applaud Cub for being in the community, unfortunately in a lot of urban communities you have food deserts and more lack of opportunity for them to buy fresh produce, things of that nature. So I think that they should be applauded for continuing to remain on the north side, but it goes without saying that it does have its challenges.
Kenneth Rance: 03:01 But my qualifier is this, born and raised on the north side, I love the north side. There is no other place I’d rather want to live. I have the resources to be able live in other communities, but I have made a very conscious choice and decision to live where I do.
Kenneth Rance: 03:27 Those are some of the changes that I have seen on West Broadway.
Interviewer: 03:32 Alright. Why do you think those changes are happening?
Kenneth Rance: 03:35 Well, I think that with gentrification some of it is strategic to let some of the property values go down and then have whites move into the community. And there has also been some economic development taking place on the north side.
Kenneth Rance: 03:59 When you take a look at the number of millennials that live in the Near North and they’re going to put a elementary school in Downtown East. What that says to me is that those families are not going to have children and those children have to have places to go. And so I think that, when you take a look at the real estate market here in Minneapolis and you take a look at the lack of affordable housing, okay, a two-bedroom apartment on average here is about $1200, right?
Kenneth Rance: 04:32 So North Minneapolis is one of the last few, I think, bastions of the city of Minneapolis where people can really afford home ownership. South Minneapolis is saturated, right? You’ve got the Phillips and some other areas, but really you’ve got the lakes and so on and those are very expensive. Also too, when you take a look at some of the pernicious ways a lot of these banks have refused to loan to people of color for them to be able to even afford homes, that is very strategic in locking them out. That’s why Minnesota is 50th out of 50th for black home ownership for people of color. That’s horrible. And we have the resources and the ability to do that and so now you have more of an influx of people moving in to Near North, Willard-Hay, Jordan, Cleveland.
Kenneth Rance: 05:32 You have all this development through the Greenway project, from the that’s gonna come right through north Minneapolis. It’s also bridging the gap between the Van White Bridge and the Kenwood area over there by The Blake School, right? You take a look at what they’re doing with the-
Interviewer: 05:50 I was looking for the lady at the front desk.
Kenneth Rance: 05:58 So you’ve got all that going and what I think it’s gonna do is it’s gonna disenfranchise more people of color through increased property taxes and higher rents and values and it’s gonna be harder for them to live within the city.
Interviewer: 06:19 Yep. So this is a long question, so I’m gonna sum it up. So policies such as housing, transportation, I know you mentioned product development and the war on drugs and other things that was happening in the 1990s. How do you think those policies impacted the community or even
Kenneth Rance: 06:43 Well, look, so when we talk about Ronald Reagan’s the War on Drugs and if you read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander it does a very great job of kind of laying out what’s taking place. So when there are racial biases in this war on drugs and locking people up is not the solution. It’s been proven that drug [inaudible 00:07:10] is on par in black communities as it is in white communities.
Kenneth Rance: 07:14 If you take a look at the ACLU study of Picking Up the Pieces in 2012, you find that north Minneapolis District Four are policed at a much higher level than they are in other aspects of the city. So you lock up a father or a mother and that has an impact on their ability to earn and take care of their children and you then have them displaced and so you have more transient and you have more homelessness. Those stresses can lead to substance abuse problems.
Kenneth Rance: 07:50 And then the amount of bias that takes place in the Minneapolis public school system where they have concentrated schools and community schools for people of color and so they’ve had all the concentrated poverty in schools on the north side whereas, when we take a look at the schools on the south side of the city, they’re more inclined to put those students out or make it more challenging for them to be able to have access to the school. So they take out busing for high school, so now students then have to go to schools that are closer to them just due to the fact they don’t have the transportation. For middle school students and elementary school students, well if the parents have resources, like my family has been blessed to do, then we can afford to drive our children outside of the local schools they have more opportunity.
Kenneth Rance: 08:45 You also have to take a look at where the resource is going to. Where are the better teachers? Where are the teachers that are more seasoned and experienced? I believe that if the Minneapolis school system did a better job at dispersing whether it’s- not Title 9- Title 1 students, free and reduced lunch, and the entire school system had to proportionately kind of deal with those students with those specific needs or what not, I think we would have more equity, we’d have more balance, and we’d have better educational opportunities for all of our students.
Kenneth Rance: 09:36 And when it comes to economical development, the development is coming, but will we be a part of that? And public transportation has a lot to do with that, as well, when you take a look at the Bottineau Line.
Kenneth Rance: 09:53 When I grew up, there are people of color living in places in Minnesota that was just unheard of. Chaska and Burnsville and Apple Valley and Champlin and now that Section 8 volunteers aren’t in fashion anymore in the city of Minneapolis and they’re literally displacing of and just putting us anywhere.
Kenneth Rance: 10:23 And so as long as there’s a functional bus line to be able to take them from there back into the city to be able to work for low wage jobs is, for some people, it’s sufficient. The problem is is that right now, living in the city of Minneapolis, one out of every four people is a person of color, but as we grow towards a minority majority, the population of whites in Minnesota is declining. The future growth will come from minorities and immigrants. Well, if it is not deceptive to immigrants and if there are not opportunities for people of color, how will the state of Minnesota maintain its quality of life? And I think that there are some people in leadership that are aware of those analytics and those metrics, but it’s disturbing that not enough is being done fast enough. Because you cannot have all these people here without healthcare, education, and employment opportunities and expect to have a functioning civil society.
Kenneth Rance: 12:00 Did that answer your question?
Interviewer: 12:03 Yes.
Kenneth Rance: 12:03 I know it was a lot.
Interviewer: 12:04 It was a lot, but it’s good. That was good. Okay, what changes have you seen in the community that you have concerns about? Anything.
Kenneth Rance: 12:16 The gentrification is one thing. You have a lot of seniors that are living on fixed incomes that cannot continue to maintain their homes and now they’re selling them. And then you have people from other communities coming into the neighborhoods and they’re trying to change the culture of that community and I think that that can be very dangerous, I think that can be very rude, that can be very disrespectful, I think that that can cause a lot of conflict. I mean, take a look at the case with the gentrification that’s taking place in the Shaw-LeDroit Park area in Washington D.C. and Howard University and the residents want to walk the dogs on campus and they wanted to stop the Go-go music that’s been playing there for the last twenty years. Those things are not good and when you take a look at law enforcement and how heavily policed we are and taxes here.
Kenneth Rance: 13:26 I think what they’re doing with Northpoint I think is just awesome and with 150,000 people a year they see. I mean, it’s just enormous the amount of great work that Stella’s doing over there and the 70 million dollar project and the are all things that need to be supported and with these Promise Zones and Opportunity Zones and these Green Zones and I strongly encourage leadership in the city to be able to provide opportunities for people to have affordable housing and then the corporations need to do their fair share as well in being able to make home loans affordable to people of color and not pricing them out. And also being able to provide more public private partnerships and more access to jobs with livable wages. And a greater respect for our environment here and so what concerns me is that there’s empirical data that shows that if Minnesota doesn’t get it together, they’re going to have some serious problems on down the line with the number of Baby Boomers that are retiring. And it’s very expensive for retirees to live here, but people of color have to have their opportunities as well.
Kenneth Rance: 15:26 One last point, the state of Minnesota, I believe, had over a billion dollars worth of contracts last year. What percentage of them went to black businesses? It was less than a tenth of one percent. Yet, businesses in the state of Minnesota are skyrocketing. How is that equitable? It’s wrong and there’s certain mandates and laws on the books that say otherwise, that certain monies are entitled to those disenfranchised communities of color, but they have not the leadership, the governor to others have not been held accountable.
Interviewer: 16:25 I’m gonna ask you one last thing.
Kenneth Rance: 16:26 Sure.
Interviewer: 16:29 Do you have any last words? How would you wrap it up?
Kenneth Rance: 16:41 How would I wrap it up? I just think that there are certain powers that do not see the value of black people here in this state. And I think that it is time that they be recognized and be given a fair shot and opportunity to, as Snoop Dogg would say, “Live their best life.” You know what I’m saying? And, unfortunately, there are powers at be that are day in and day out trying to impede our progress, that are trying to snuff out our community, that are trying to displace us, and it’s wrong. And with all of this Minnesota nice that we talk about, it’s really Minnesota ice. And the numbers and the populations are growing and they’re changing where it has been shown, I was reading a study from Deloitte, that companies who embrace diversity in thought and in leadership do better.
Kenneth Rance: 18:39 Just the bottom line, they do better. And Minnesota will do better when they have equitable opportunity around the table to be able to take a part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and all of the values and virtues that we pride ourselves on as a nation. And if they don’t, we’re in big trouble.
Interviewer: 19:14 Alright, well thank you, we enjoyed your time.
Kenneth Rance: 19:16 Thank you.