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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This Saturday me and my DH had to go to the cities to get fingerprinted for the adoption. No biggie we go to the cities maybe 5 times a year and have never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. So as we start driving down the 2 1/2 to 3 hr trip I thought of all you MDC twin cities mommas.
We needed to go to the INS office which is on the corner of University Ave. and Hamline I beleive. We got there at 7:15 just to be safe that we could find it and extra time for any road construction, you know how it can be. I would never consider DH or myself to be racist in any way, but for some reason both of us felt as if we should get back in the car and lock the doors. We needed to stand in line for 45 min. until they opened. The line got to be about 80 people or so long and we were the only caucasian couple there.I've never felt uncomfortable among people who can not speak English. I find it almost soothing to listen to them talk in their native language. Yet standing in the middle of the line, with cops in the building looking out at everybody I suddenly felt very on edge. This has really been bothering me ever since. I don't know if it was just too early in the day for me, if I was out of sorts have gone through construction and detours, or if I really did have a valid reason for being nervous. Can anyone give me some insight?
 

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You were right in my neighborhood


I've lived here for 6 years and I've become more comfortable every year. At first, I was concerned about Midway's reputation as crime-ridden, and I tried to avoid walking down to University alone. Now, I go anywhere by myself and/or with the kids, but I don't walk around at night for the most part - just not too comfortable with that idea no matter where I live.

I think that a lot of what caused your discomfort was the negative vibe from all the people being sick and tired of waiting in line. Between that and you being in a place you're not familiar with, with hardly anyone speaking English, and police officers watching over you, I can understand feeling uncomfortable.

I don't think you had anything to worry about. The crime rate here is low (most arrests directly on University are for drugs or prostitution) and people are generally friendly. Maybe you should come back another time when you're not on a mission to deal with the government and just check out the neighborhood - you'll see that it's pretty nice here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response. I was really bothered by it all weekend. And yeah we did get some funny looks looking back now they were all probably wondering what we were doing inline with them, most of them were trying to renew their work permits it sounded like. I think I've been on University Ave before when I was younger but then I was like 10 and with my parents. It was suprisingly easy to get to. We exited off of Snelling and onto University. Let you know when I'm there next time.
 

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Starr, I had to go to the same office last year, although I work near that neighborhood and live in a pretty diverse area, so I'm more used to that part of it. What I felt uncomfortable about, and I'm sure you noticed this too, is that the folks there for adoptions got to go breezing through the line and get fingerprints and get out of there, while the other folks were waiting and waiting for various things - visas, work permits, etc. The whole BCIS experience for us was relatively friendly and positive for us, but I'm sure much less so for others...

This was also our experience at the Embassy in Guatemala. The white, adoptive American parents got "special" treatment (our own lines, windows etc.) while the Guatemlanas applying for visas, etc. appeared to have a much longer wait.

If you would like to know about a couple of friendly and interesting places to visit when your daughter gets home, I would suggest Centro Mercado, on Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis, and the Center for the Americas, also on Lake Street and 27th Avenue in Minneapolis (a couple miles east.) They have a great bookstore and cafe, and Centro has some great little shops and restaurants, all Latino-owned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Diane B- Thanks for the great tips of where to take her, where we live in MN (Alexandria) there isn't much of a hispanic or latino population, and we've been looking for ways to incorporate diverse cultures in.

DH and I also were flabbergasted at the different forms of treatment we received. We were the 5th couple in line, from getting there so early, and when the others before us went in line the staff would quite loudly I thought tell them to go, sit down, fill out papers, and go into another line. We had t o do the same thing as well but they were like"Good morning", "Do you have any questions?", they didn't offer to help anyone else. It was so sad
. The lady that fingerprinted me though wasn't so nice
: . She kept making me stand in different spots and kept saying "Don't fight me on this" (as she was rolling my wrist) and then "You need to cooperate". We were out pretty quick though. Now just waiting for 171H form to come in.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Starr

DH and I also were flabbergasted at the different forms of treatment we received. We were the 5th couple in line, from getting there so early, and when the others before us went in line the staff would quite loudly I thought tell them to go, sit down, fill out papers, and go into another line. We had t o do the same thing as well but they were like"Good morning", "Do you have any questions?", they didn't offer to help anyone else. It was so sad
. The lady that fingerprinted me though wasn't so nice
: . She kept making me stand in different spots and kept saying "Don't fight me on this" (as she was rolling my wrist) and then "You need to cooperate". We were out pretty quick though. Now just waiting for 171H form to come in.

I had almost exactly the same experience. I was appalled at the way we were treated (with courtesty) vs. the way POC were treated when first checking in at BCIS. It made me very upset.

As for feeling afraid/uncomfortable in the neighborhood, i'd guess it was probably because you were out of your comfort zone. It was a strange situation, you didn't know how the immigration process would go, and you were in a place that you're not familiar with. I think it's completely understandable.
 

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Geeze, if you hadn't already said it was the INS, I would have guessed you were at the DMV!!! :LOL

At any rate, I think it really stinks that they treat people like that. I am going to guess that they aren't properly trained to handle people with language barriers, or maybe they are just all a bunch of racists?
 

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Hi, I'm new here---my name is Judy and I just moved to St. Paul after years in south Mpls.

Anyway, I know the feeling of being the only caucasian and all that. When we have moved to nicer neighborhoods (less crime, etc.) throughout the years, I've noticed that I feel different when I go back to visit. I notice things that were just part of life when I lived there. We've gotten used to all sort of things when living in certain neighborhoods---be it drug dealers standing on the corners, or just being the only caucasian folk from time to time.

I think it's normal to feel that way, but when I feel that way I take it as a sign that I am not keeping myself as exposed to different things as I'd like to. (of course I'm not talking about getting used to drug dealing
)
Also, the more my daughter wants to talk to me about different types of people she is seeing...well, I make a mental note that I need to get her out into more diverse areas more and expose her to more. Idealy I'd like her to be in any environment and feel comfortable with the people around her -- even if she's the only little white girl there.
So far I feel like we've done fairly well on that but now since I'll be homeschooling I'm a bit concerned that we may not have the diversity I'd like to see her be around.

I have found that a trip to the laundromat to play with all the kids while I wash the comforters is a good thing. Last time she played with several kids who spoke little english and where from a few differnt countries. She had lots of funa dn was sorry to go.
 

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I know the area well and believe that you were perfectly safe. It is natural to feel intimidated when we are in unfamiliar territory seeing unfamiliar people. So, all the more reason to expose ourselves and our children to the richness and diversity in our cities.

The unequal treatment is unacceptable, and happens all the time. What were you planning to do about it? Are you going to write a letter, make a call? The people being treated that way have little recourse whereas our voices are much louder and more likely to be heard.
 
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