Discrimination in St. Cloud

This morning, I was shocked by an act of blatant racial discrimination while stopping to grab a cup of coffee and a donut at the local Holiday station by my apartment building. As I drove up to the parking lot, many thoughts rushed through my head, with the most prominent begin the fact that I was late to a meeting, and needed to make this stop as quick as possible. Working with UTVS and holding the position of Managing Editor, I am honored with the task of assigning weekly challenges to our Producers, with the hope of making their newscasts more interesting and competitive. Last week, the challenge was story length, and the winning day of the week was Monday. With that said, they were in for a treat, and what better than a bag of fresh donuts from the Holiday gas station!

In my rush to our morning meeting, I found it important to take time out of my morning, and grab their prize before coming in to the station. It made me feel good inside to know that they would be happy and smiles would fill their faces when they found out the results from their hard work and dedication the week before. The overabundance of variety in the donut case made me very overwhelmed, because that is that type of person I am. When it comes to choices, I become extremely stressed out and nervous about what someone will think when it comes to the final result. This is petty in life, and something I need to work on and hope that this Mindings Collage can help me with. Life is too short to take time out of my day to worry about little things, instead of taking the time to stop and be thankful for all the good things that do happen and the positive things about each day.

With that said, I made the donut decisions as quickly as possible, with the clock ticking away and the thought of my colleagues being upset about my tardiness. As I approached the checkout in the Holiday station, I was faced with an obstacle in the trail that would hold me back a few minutes but also make me stop and realize that time needs to be made when life gets difficult. A Middle Eastern mad was in front of me, beginning to checkout with a new pair of warm gloves for the chilly morning that was bearing down on Central Minnesota. The man seemed very nice, and respectful when I held the door open for him at the beginning of my visit to the station. As I grabbed my donuts, this man was thinking about how he would keep his hands warm, and how he could obtain a new pair of gloves with a small budget to work with. Now we were meeting once again, but this time I did not come into contact with him. The checkout lady in Holiday was nice at first to the man, telling him his total, and waiting for payment. This is when things changed during the experience, and it was obvious that the woman was not interested in the man’s business, or his race/ethnicity. I have experienced this type of discrimination before in St. Cloud, but never have I witnessed it to the point of this embarrassment. My eyes were truly opened up when the woman began rolling hers as the man asked for his total to be repeated, and fumbled through his pockets in search of his wallet or any type of payment. It made me sad to see that this was taking place right in front of my face. Working with the campus news station, we try to stay up-to-date on these acts of discrimination and racism that take place across the area, but it’s different when witnessed in person. The woman started to glance back at me, as I was the next person in line to checkout. I couldn’t believe myself when she looked at me and rolled her eyes once again, smirking with a look of disgust on her face in reaction to the amount of time this transaction was taking.

Soon, the man found his credit card and gave it to the clerk who swiped it viciously in her machine, giving it back to the innocent man and passive aggressively telling him to have a nice day. The transaction wasn’t over, as the man fumbled around to find a place to put his new possession, eventually motioning to the woman and asking for a bag. She seemed confused at first, then realized what he was asking for, proceeding to question his request for a bag. Quickly the woman placed his new gloves in small plastic bag, and the man left, walking back into the cold and segregated city where he has most likely moved to with the hope of finding a better life.

This experience shocked me, and made me very upset about her action and how she handled this encounter. I am choosing to write about this because I think it really touched my heart, and made me realize that even though we live hectic, busy lives, we must take time out of our day to settle down, and realize that we are all in this crazy book of life together. Everyone I come into contact with on a daily basis is treated with my respect and kindness, because I see everyone the same through my eyes. Over the past few weeks, the City of St. Cloud has shocked me with just how segregated some people in this area really are.

Below is a story that my colleague Rebecca David at UTVS News did this week, regarding the St. Cloud Community coming together as one.

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