The Dark Side of the Force in Duluth, Minnesota

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Whenever Joseph Moya travels around Duluth, Minnesota, the journey unsettles him. Back in Arizona, where Moya, grew up, he felt he was sometimes in the majority because he is Navajo. But in Duluth where a local foster family took him in four years ago, when he was 16, he feels trapped and exposed when he leaves select parts of town. “It’s like Star Wars, it has a dark side and a light side. Depends on what side you want to see it from,” he says as he fills out a job application for Applebees.

Moya describes Duluth’s lighter side as an upbeat place that draws tourism attracted by the city’s naturally beautiful perch above the lake. But he’s more used to the darker side. Since he moved to town he says he’s felt watched constantly by local police, business owners, and citizens when he enters the light side. “Stop following us in stores and stuff, dude. Stop calling us racist names. I didn’t come up to you and say, what’s up white trash…why would I do that, it’s disrespectful and hurtful.”

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