Archive for May, 2010

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The Coon Chicken Inn in Seattle

May 30, 2010

I’ve just had an unpleasant experience of the abstract becoming concrete. I learned something new about Seattle’s racist history and it has shaken me up.  Close to where I  live in Seattle is where the Coon Chicken Inn served  chicken “the way [it] is cooked by the real, old-fashioned Mammy”  in the 1930s and 40s.  Visitors to the restaurant would enter  through the mouth of a  twelve-foot grinning ‘Coon’ head.

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Abstract and obscure conversation? Private business ought to get to discriminate? Whiteness speaks.

May 22, 2010

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul criticizes Rachel Maddow for bringing up an “abstract and obscure” topic during his appearance on Maddow’s show where she questions him about his position on the Civil Rights Act.  The abstract and obscure topic?  That would be the desegregation of the Woolworth lunch counter in the 1960s.  The arrogance of whiteness speaks. . .

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I’m going to beat the (expletive) European (expletive) out of you whitey.

May 12, 2010

Shocking?  How about if the slur is accompanied by a swift kick to your head as you lay face down on a concrete surface. How about if five police officers are standing around you as you lay there? How about if another one of them comes over and stomps on you?

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Doing our own work; anti-racist white people learning together

May 10, 2010

I have often heard from my friends and colleagues of color their desire for white people to “do their own work” in addressing racism.  I’m excited to be co-facilitating a Doing Our Own Work seminar this August in the Seattle area with Melanie Morrison, founder and Executive Director of Allies for Change .  If you are feeling pulled towards taking a next step to be an effective change agent and ally in anti-racist work, join us as we learn together in a supportive environment at a beautiful retreat center on the Hood Canal.

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What does a real Indian look like?

May 7, 2010

I was recently in Wenatchee, Washington when I drove past this disturbing caricature of a Native American with eyes that rove and occasionally wink. It is called the Skookum Indian. Skookum Indian video.   According to nwpics.com (source of this picture) the Skookum Indian, on the top of Office Depot near the corner of Wenatchee Avenue and 5th Street, has has been around for well over fifty years, although only about a decade at its current location. It was once mounted on top of the apple packing warehouse that shared its name.  I was curious about the story behind this.

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Afraid to stay on the phone too long

May 7, 2010

I recently talked with a Latina student who explained how nervous her job reference person was when he (a Hispanic man) received a call about her.  “He gets anxious because sometimes he gets calls that aren’t legitimate.” When her prospective employer called him, he abruptly made an excuse that he couldn’t talk right then and said he would call back.  Then he called her to check out that the call was on the level and to calm the instinctual anxieties that arose before he returned the call.  This made me curious so I asked some more questions.

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