When Aaron Rupar ran this article, he probably shouldn’t have included this link. Here’s the context of the link:
The advertisement says, “STAY AWAY STAY ALIVE,” with the Xcel Energy logo and banner printed in much smaller font in the top corner.
The reference, of course, is meant to be to power lines, not the area’s reputation for violent crime.
This isn’t Rupar’s first brush with controversy. This is rather incendiary, too:
“Progressive black congressman / But we also got Michele Bachmann,” he rhymes in “It Ain’t the Prettiest,” intending to paint a yin/yang picture. That’s hardly the shocking part. In one line, he describes a scene where “black bodies dangle off the pole at night,” and then he goes on to say this about the Twin Cities’ alt-weekly newspaper: “City Pages cover what the poets write / But call a dead black baby the N-word overnight.”
The latter lyrics stem from coverage of the fatal June shooting of 5-year-old Nizzel George in north Minneapolis. Amid the many reports in the days after this summer’s most disheartening local tragedy, City Pages staff writer Aaron Rupar dropped in a reference to “nizzel” being Snoop Dogg-propagated slang for the N-word. Rupar later wrote an apology, but Ali and other activists still fault editors for backing out of a public discussion of the incident on the North Side. Ali said he was extra-miffed since he happened to adorn the cover of City Pages two months later. He claims he granted the interview/photos with the stated intent of discussing the topic in the interview, but his statements on the matter were left out of the article.
Despite Rupar’s brushes with controversy, the DFL just hired him:
Announcement: I start Apr 27 as @mnhouseDFL’s digital media coordinator. Grateful for the opportunity & excited 2 get to work at Capitol…
Why would the DFL hire someone who’s had this many recent brushes with controversy, especially racially sensitive statements like these? This is the opening of the article Rupar referenced:
Inside a white-trimmed blue duplex on Minneapolis’s North Side, Catrice Champion sits in a pristinely decorated dining room across from a portrait of her son, a chubby-cheeked boy named Charles Woods-Wilson, better known simply as “Chuckie.”
“I’m thinking this child is the sweetest kid,” says Champion. “At the beginning of the day, he was sweet to me. And even at the end of the day, he was sweet to me. But my child was another child when he left the door.”
Eight years ago, when he was 17 years old, Chuckie helped start the “DTs,” a violent clique still prominent in the city today. On Halloween 2007, Chuckie’s street life caught up to him: He was found murdered alongside a friend in a north Minneapolis crack house.
Why would Rupar drop in a reference to gang violence into a story about a billboard warning people about power line safety? That’s the question that the DFL hasn’t responded to thus far.