Isn't Seattle a progressive, accepting, open-minded liberal and therefore not-racist place? In a word, no. It's not.
I am not going into the anti-Black anti-Native anti-POC sentiments of our beautiful region, as others have done so well before me and Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project documents. But let me as an art historian think up just a few connections between our present crises and the past. I'm going to say it again. Gentrification is the new colonization. When you whitewash a person, a people, where does their 'flavor' go? Into an exotic, liminal abyss? To Whole Foods?
Few things to consider first, though.
1. The ongoing doucheification of the city. $$$ without limit, the lack of affordability for anyone not super rich. There is an influx of $$$ without critical thought or heart. Bezosland. The predominant demographic racially in tech white and Asian, in my experience, and also some recent African immigrants--just don't get it, or are anti Black (American) in some way. This has to do with success, a desire for personal uplift, assimilation. Efficiency. Finance above all else. This is Macklemore's city.
2. The inability of whites and people of color especially Black people to be real with each other. Just join any mom's group. Just host a party with your Black and white friends and see how it goes with both present. Just read Citizen by Claudia Rankine. The schism is real, people.
3. Statistics I've said it before. 75% of white people ONLY KNOW WHITE PEOPLE. That's why when I go to white church and compliment the pastor--not just the pastor, the regional bishop, on his Beyonce references (when he says God is "Crazy in Love" with us about 1000x in the sermon), it's an inside joke for myself and myself alone. LOL.
My personal position as a non-Black person of color is to recognize my own brainwashing. How do I stand against anti-Black racism in my own communities? Do you know *HOW* rampant this problem is in POC communites (See: My wedding. My family. My family's church). It's everywhere.
4. Classic (that is, standard) uncritical and/or selfish, selfish self-promotion based on the degrading and devaluing of Black women. Iggy Azalea. Norbit. Tyler Perry. Black girls at the pool. --
>Black girls at school. R Kelly. Bill Cosby. Clarence Thomas. Need I say more? I wish America had a reality check moment, sometime, like, ever, and instead of seeing our nation as built on some idealistic eagles and white ladies sewing, we just bore actual motherfucking witness to the tearing asunder of women's bodies through rape and slavery and Black families. (American as apple pie). Have you seen the statistics of an African-American genetic history? It's always a white man ancestor and an African woman ancestor. Nuff said.
I admire the Netflix series Master of None's ability (written by Indian-American Aziz Ansari and Taiwanese-American Alan Yang) to explore race politics from a non-black POC perspective--the telling scene displays the complicity of non-Black POC in anti-Black racism. Main character Dev grabs a condom from a white woman' cookie jar, but get this--it's a MAMMY cookie jar. This is hella fucked up, but he *knows* it. Then he acknowledges the racism of the jar, after having sex with the white woman, who obviously has no Black friends to check her on her cookie jar racism.
Recommended art-viewing/aesthetics in response to your own deep-seated anti-Black anti-Black woman psychoses and racial isolation:
1) Beyonce Lemonade
Solange Knowles A Seat at the Table
2) bell hooks (who dislikes Bey) anything.
-see Killing Rage, 'reading against he grain.'
-if you're in a stifling white environment reading teaching hope and teaching love
-if you're a woman of color recently navigating intersectionality, or someone trying to understand how a woman can also be Black, or a person can be Black and also a woman, ain't i a woman.
3) always read Anthem by Claudia Rankine. Always.
5) Being Mary Jane-center Black female experience. also so sexy.
6) Junebaby: eat there it's so good!
7) Dear white People
8) Janelle Monae music videos
9) I love my Hair (Sesame Street): Don't take white beauty norms for granted, people.
11) Maybe, Orange is the new black (it is about white women but has many other ethnicities of women including LGBTQ, which is rare in television, and asian anti blackness is addressed awkwardly in the poussey-soso relationship)
12) Black women i hear love Scandal, but I don't do political dramas.
13) Always Octavia Butler, Always.
14) the bell hooks and Melissa Harris Perry talk linked to above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OmgqXao1ng
15) Issa Rae! Insecure, so sexy and timely.
16) Chewing Gum: esp the episode with the white guy with a Black woman fetish
17) Paul Mooney on Hattie McDaniels
18) this all reminds me of a certain Mammy Sphinx in gentrified NYC and the white public art audiences' responses to it. :(
My heart is pained because my sisters are suffering. We are all to blame. If yours isn't, I ask, what's wrong with you?
|Mammy Sambo float at June 17th Fremont Solstice Parade. 2017|
|Coon Chicken Inn, Lake City Way (North end of Seattle) menu|
|Racist condom-holding cookie jar in Master of None, 2017.|
|Protest at Coon Chicken Inn, Lake City Way built 1929.|