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A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota
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A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,682 ratings  ·  283 reviews
Essays that challenge, discomfort, disorient, galvanize, and inspire all of us to evolve now, for our shared future.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by Minnesota Historical Society Press
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Linda Owen
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The authors of these essays have nailed us, "us" being the white "Minnesota Nice" majority. Turns out our "niceness" masks a clueless indifference that in some ways is worse than the Confederate flags of the South. And it's not just black Minnesotans holding up the mirror in this volume. Asian, Native and mixed-race people of all origins are also yearning to have their identities and struggles acknowledged. This is fascinating but often painful reading. Nearly every author recounts an experience ...more
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having read, listened, and learned about experiences of people of color in America and knowing that racism is alive in MN, I was still challenged by these phenomenal, raw, and moving essays of the experiences of Micro Aggressions for someone living in MN and being a person of color. Especially in situations and institutions that seemed like there should be a better understanding of race and racism like the English Dept at the U of M. Highly, highly recommend to anyone and everyone, especially wh ...more
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Collection of personal stories about race in Minnesota across racial lines. MN nice isn't always so nice. One author, Taiyon Coleman visits Alabama for the first time for a college interview and is shocked and disturbed by the Confederate flags everywhere. Yet after enough microabrasions in MN, she "longed for the Confederate flags of the South, because at least the South has clear lines of demarcation and warning." Thought provoking. ...more
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"...It's easy to take the moral high road on a social issue when your personal commitment to the principals you espouse remains largely untested. It's easy to point a finger at the egregious violation of basic human rights going on elsewhere in the country and ignore the widespread, if less obvious, violations going on in your own backyard.

"Contemporary Minnesotans are often genuinely shocked to hear that there was active, ongoing slavery at Fort Snelling from the 1820s through the 1850s- and t
I appreciated Taiyon J. Coleman's insight about how one's perspective changes when one ceases to be the only person of one's demographic in a space: "Like a flat balloon inflated by air, together [we] helped each other take shape and form." I was struck by Heid E. Erdrich's theorizing a connection between the concept of owning land and the concept of owning other human beings, and between both these concepts and the concept of "standing one's ground." David Lawrence Grant's contribution to this ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, eminently readable collection of thoughtful, thought provoking essays.
Maureen Mahowald
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an important book that everyone should read-even if you're not from Minnesota. Many painful experiences are recounted. The essay "People Like Us" by David Lawrence Grant, was written with a keen insight into the dominant Minnesota culture and offered a path forward for bridging various cultures. ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a powerful book and should be required reading for every Minnesotan. I feel like the struggles we have in our state exist throughout the country. As Taiyon J. Coleman said, "...there are Confederate flags everywhere, even in places where we can't see them." Do yourself a favor and read this book. You won't stop thinking about it. ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was devastating to read--to know what the experience of living in MN has been for people of color. It included varied experiences from many different ethnicities. This is a wake up call to me and my privileged class. A must read!
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: minnesota
Peeks past the surface of Minnesota Nice and reveals some of the too-often unspoken pains and tensions beneath.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Terry by: St. Michael's Lutheran church
This collection of articulate, mostly firsthand observations of the accumulating legacy of the insidious racism present in Minnesota is both a welcome revelation and an uncomfortable indictment. Pushed beyond acknowledging the most obvious racism manifesting itself today, I am forced to ask myself questions the answers to which I don't always like. ...more
Heidi Bakk-Hansen
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read for a SURJ Book Club, totally required reading for any Minnesotan.
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This, I feel, is a very important book, especially now. A collection of essays by writers of color living in Minnesota, A Good Time for the Truth was published this year by the Minnesota Historical Society. As the visibility of the persistence of racism in our culture rises, now is definitely a time for the truth regarding race and racism in Minnesota. After I began reading it, this became all too clear as Philando Castile became the latest victim of police violence in the United States, again s ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The white people here don't like controversy or conflict. They like insisting that things are just fine. But in 2016 America, no one can discuss race without controversy or conflicts coming up, with tension arising. So many white people here subscribe to the following tautological wheel: The only time we encounter racial tensions is when the use the of race comes up. So the way to keep away tensions is to not talk about race. If no one is talking about race, then that must mean racism no longer ...more
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most essay collections are hit-or-miss, and you read them hoping for a few gems and expect mostly solid pieces and a few duds.

A Good Time for the Truth is unusual in that the essays are consistently well-written and each has a distinctive voice. I can hear many of the writers in my head now and they aren't blending into one perspective, which sometimes happens with these collections. The essayists are all Minnesotans of color or Indigenous Minnesotans and they write about the particular experie
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for anyone who lives in Minnesota (and anywhere else in the U.S., but it is very impactful to understand the experiences in MN). These essays contain deep, personal stories that challenge the idea of how we view Minnesota and how we talk about race in Minnesota.
What does it mean to live in a state that is considered "Minnesota nice" while experiencing subtle racism and mirco-aggression in varying day to day settings?
This book is to help us listen, understand and reflec
Tom Jorgenson
Read this. Absolutely essential reading for working to understand the nuances of race and racism in Minnesota, both today and throughout history. Includes writers from a variety of different racial perspectives, which seems important for understanding what diversity means. Each person has a different story to tell. From David Lawrence Grant's essay "People Like Us": "Listen. If you fail to value a people's stories, you fail to value *them*." ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While you can't often walk a mile in someone else's shoes, by listening and reading their story, you can engage in their experiences.
This amazing collection of essays shares perspectives that both humble and challenge the reader. Read, learn, be better together. Change is the responsibility of all of us.
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book two or three years ago and finally made time to read it—wow! This IS the most important book I’ve read this year and I think it should be required reading for ALL Minnesotans. It isn’t easy to read but the writing is beautiful and poignant and so personal because it is MN voices sharing their experiences as people of color in MN.
Kristin Boldon
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For Gods & Monsters October 2016. As with any anthology, some essays were stronger than others, but this was necessary, sometimes painful, often lovely, always moving education for me, a white woman of privilege in MN. I'd recommend it to everyone. ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A powerful collection of essays in which each author offers their own perspective on race and the experience of living as a person of color in Minnesota. I learned a lot from reading this book, and would highly recommend it to others.
Shannon Mccarthy
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An eye opening account that should be required for all Minnesotans. My eyes have been opened to privilege for a long time and this book opened them even wider.
Becky Ahlstrom
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Powerful. As a white Minnesotan, I want to extend genuine gratitude to these writers... I truly hope Minnesota can do better, be better.
I'm a Minnesotan. Through and through. Even though I moved to Germany 18 years ago, I still over-pronounce my 'Os'. I can't say 'boat' without betraying where I'm from. I swear I also bleed purple - not only for Prince but also for the Minnesota Vikings. And as every Vikings fan out there knows, our hearts bleed every single season. And if you ever hear me ask for a soda, please know it's a cry for help and that I need a one-way ticket to Minnesota immediately.

So - reading this book was painful.
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quality of life rankings, both objective and subjective, usually place Minnesota somewhere in the top tier of our fifty states. For most "white" Minnesotans there is good reason to feel self-satisfied, perhaps even a bit smug, about these high ranking report cards. But, as the essays in this compilation attest, for Minnesotans of color the picture is not so rosy. Each of the authors of these seventeen articulate essays, Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native, relate case after case of microaggressio ...more
Lee Cornell
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Published in April 2016, this book is perhaps even more valuable today.

As an old white guy, I need to hear all the voices, although the white voices I hear talking about racial difficulties only have value in that I can see the truth of what is being said by the writers of these essays. (Find various sites where there are ratings of this book. Read the one and two star reviews. You can see clueless white voices.)

I gave it only 4 stars because there were clearly some stellar writers here, which m
Clare Wojda
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING. Speaks for itself. A MUST READ for any white Minnesotan who wants to transcend the way we often think ourselves morally superior when it comes to matters of race and racism. This quote from one of the contributing authors sums up that perspective poignantly: "But it's easy to take the moral high road on a social issue when your personal commitment to the principals you espouse remains largely untested. It's easy to point a finger at the egregious violation of basic humans rights going o ...more
Sara Dovre Wudali
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I took my time reading this collection of essays. Discussions of race and how it intersects with Minnesota culture have been hard to come by until very recently, and white Minnesotans--me included--are often completely oblivious to the ways in which Minnesota Nice protects privilege. I enjoyed some essays more than others, but all were valuable and required much self-analysis of my reactions as I read. Also, the community discussions that the editor and contributors have participated in have bee ...more
Jessica Parkhurst
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection of essays on race in Minnesota come from a variety of diverse authors. Each provides a vital perspective on the issues facing the community and help build the knowledge needed to understand the breadth of race issues in Minnesota. Unlike most essay collections, I felt this was cohesive yet distinct. I highly recommend for anyone living in Minnesota or anyone interested in the real issues that exist even in a liberal state.
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Sun Yung Shin's first poetry collection is Skirt Full of Black (Coffee House Press 2007); she is also the co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (South End Press 2006) and the author of the bilingual (Korean/English) book for children Cooper's Lesson (Children's Book Press). Among her awards are a 2007 Bust Artist Fellowship and a 2005 Minnesota Arts Board Grant. She is als ...more

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