The community effects of prejudice

October 13, 2022

In the past year, prejudice within Edina has never been more evident.

In early March 2022, a racist and antisemitic video produced by Edina High School students was publicized on social media. The video depicted the students mocking East Asian accents and one student performing the Nazi salute while the friends laughed. Superintendent Dr. Stacie Stanley sent an email to families and students on March 10, standing with Asian and Jewish communities.

“I think it’s also just, not everyone at our school is accepting of Jewish people, as [the video] showed,” senior Sally Rendleman said. “And I think the most striking thing about that video was the fact that I deal with [it] weekly, daily.”

On July 18, Edina Community Center’s tennis courts were found covered with derogatory anti-Asian, anti-Black, anti-Hispanic, and anti-LGBTQ slurs. “I was actually very shocked [by the graffiti],” senior Richanta Pollard said. “I knew Edina has been known to [be] racist and like, and oftentimes it can be, but I didn’t think it was to that extreme of a level.”

About a week after the graffiti incident, on July 26, a noose was found in the courtyard of the Edina Community Center. In response, the district sent out a statement to the community citing the noose as a symbol “long known for its intimidation, harm, and violence against Black/African American and more recently towards non-dominant groups,” and condemning racist hatred. The Edina Police Department further investigated the hate crime, asking citizens of Edina to identify a suspect via an email blast and Twitter. Two suspects were identified but the city of Edina cannot further release information on this topic.

The news impacted community members personally. “My heart dropped. It was like a sense of isolation because I am one of the few Black people in the school. And then it was frustrating because [it] meant that my brothers would have to deal with this as well,” senior Kayla Thomas said.

While Edina’s discriminatory culture only makes the news a few times a year, minorities throughout Edina face the sentiment every day. “We live in a city especially that has a horrible culture addressing people of color and while we can make it seem better at the end of the day, it’s a cultural issue that people aren’t willing to change and that there’s no other way to change that type of generational change,” Co-President of Asian American Pacific Islander Student Union and President of Student Senate Sabeehudeen Mirza said.

Jewish people have remained a target of discrimination in Edina. “It’s just been a consistent lack of knowledge on students’ [parts], teachers’ parts, and administration’s part on how Judaism works,” Rendleman said. “[Antisemitism] didn’t get attention until that video came out and even then, it consistently felt like Jewish students were pushed to the side.”

Edina’s stereotype also plays a vital role in how people perceive the city. “I feel like the face of Edina is like what people think of us is, very snobby, and rich and stuff like that,” Thomas said. “And I feel like those are sometimes the people that have represented us in the past, but we’re really a community, and we’re just trying our hardest to make friends and get through high school.”

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