African-American and Somali Students Clash at Roosevelt High School

January 15, 2001

Source: Star Tribune

On January 15, 2001, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on the "frequent fights and verbal conflicts" between African-American and Somali students at Minneapolis' Roosevelt High School. Student council member Matt Oxendale attributes the conflict to the Somali students' "trying too hard and too fast to fit in." Senior Fred Powell said the Somalis "think they're better than us." Another senior said that the fact that both groups are the most populous at the school sets up "a subconscious power struggle...Junior Nimco Ahmed said she believes that the problem is based on cultural and religious differences" that can easily be misunderstood." Other students think the problem "is just plain 'lack of respect for each other.'...Some African-American students say there is resentment among them because they think teachers regard Somali students as better behaved and give them preferential treatment." Principal Michael Huerth said he thinks "'the reason why my African-American and Somali students fight is because most people with similar characteristics fight with each other.'...He said a forum for discussion of the problem is in the works."