Tag Archives: white supremacy

Heather Griffin on Why White Parents Shouldn’t Be Threatened by Ethnic Studies

by Ari Robin McKenna

This is the fourth in a series of articles featuring the words of local ethnic studies educators who are doing work to address systemic racism in our classrooms. To read the first, on Amanda Hubbard, click here. To read the second, on Bruce Jackson, click here. To read the third, on Shraddha Shirude, click here. To read the series intro, click here.


Editor’s Note: The following article includes a discussion on the racist attitudes some teachers harbor towards BIPOC students. This content might be disturbing, so we encourage everyone to prepare themselves emotionally before proceeding. If you believe that the reading will be traumatizing for you, we suggest you forego it.

If ethnic studies were to become an integral part of Seattle’s K–12 public education system, as Heather Griffin hopes, it could result in a profound shift away from systemic racism, led by youth, towards a more equitable future for this city. But for this to happen — sooner rather than later — Heather knows many of Seattle Public Schools’ white parents will have to reckon with their doubts, reason through their concerns, and reach for an understanding of the deeper fears they may be gripped by but hesitate to give voice to. Heather Griffin knows, because she has.

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OPINION: Fighting Racial Dialogue Fatigue

by Ralina L. Joseph


While I was facilitating a racial dialogue session today, a white woman expressed what so many of us are feeling around racial justice work right now: she said she was exhausted. In response, a BIPOC participant respectfully sighed, “I’m tired too, but I don’t have the luxury to lie down.” 

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OPINION: Black Lives Matter More Than White Feelings

by Jasmine M. Pulido


Catering to whiteness has been a survival mechanism that’s difficult to put down.

It was why I hesitated in anxiety before I sent that email to the white woman coach who was using my stories as a Person of Color to profit, thereby showcasing herself as the white ally doing good. I told her she no longer had permission to use my testimonial and to stop using POC stories like mine for her white benefit. I feared what she might think of me or how she might respond, the way I always did when I considered confronting whiteness. 

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Persist PAC: Centering Black Women on the Campaign Path to the Washington State Legislature

by Melia LaCour 

This article is the first in a series of articles following Persist PAC’s efforts to support Black women running for the Washington State Legislature. We will follow their process and explain the tools used within the campaign process so that anyone can learn how to support candidates running for office.


The poisonous roots of white supremacy are anchored in every system in the United States. Its pernicious shoots thrive on systemic racism, secrecy, and confusion. Among its many destructive goals, white supremacy deftly obscures the path to power for Black people while clearing and paving a road for white people. 

One need look no further than the Washington State Legislature as evidence that the path has been obstructed for Black candidates. Currently there are only two Black women legislators, both in the House of Representatives. Representatives John Lovick and Jesse Johnson, both Black men, are also in the House of Representatives. There are currently no Black people in the State Senate. 

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Rest, Healing, Celebration, Accountability — Repeat: Persistent Resistance

by Alex Garland


In these unprecedented times, change that once seemed improbable now appears inevitable to many in Seattle’s activist community who have spent years fighting for systemic and structural transformation. As protests and an expanding awareness of racial injustices endure across the nation, several of them find themselves hopeful of finally leaving behind a status quo that dehumanized and marginalized communities of color, LGBTQIA+ folx, and people with disabilities, to name but a few.

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Artist Distrust: Open Letter to Artist Trust Demands Accountability for Sudden Dismissal of Majority POC Jury

by Mark Van Streefkerk


On July 6, a POC-led group of over 50 community members published An Open Letter to Artist Trust, a nonprofit arts organization that provides funding and resources for artists in Washington. Each year, Artist Trust offers annual Fellowship Awards of $10,000 to eight artists, and two $25,000 Artist Innovator Awards, but this year the longstanding organization abruptly cancelled the Fellowship Awards without any community consultation. The cancellation included a unilateral dismissal of a majority Women of Color jury panel and rejection of that panel’s selected award nominees. The open letter demands accountability for these actions and calls to center Black and Indigenous leaders and artists within the mostly white Artist Trust leadership. Those in agreement with the letter’s demands are able to endorse it by electronically signing their name or the name of the organization they represent. Since the open letter was published, half a dozen women have also come forward calling out the sexism, vulgarity, and rape culture perpetuated by Program Director Brian McGuigan, behavior they say is ignored and protected at Artist Trust. 

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SEEDCast: Indigenous Ways of Being — Reclaiming Authenticity in Storytelling

by Taylor Hensel

Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Powerful, prophetic teachings can be found in our stories which explain reality but also give us the momentum to imagine and make urgent change. Among these lessons, there is one that tells of a time when Mother Earth will be in pain and Indigenous stories and teachings will be needed for healing. I firmly believe we are in that moment now. In the midst of a global pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, the world is on fire and we are faced with the challenge of confronting deep truths about inequity and injustice. This challenge must be met by a solidarity between Indigenous, Black and Brown peoples speaking up for change. In this spirit, the South Seattle Emerald is proud to launch a new monthly column in partnership with Nia Tero as a creative platform for Indigenous voices and narratives. Our first story is an op-ed, by colleague and Indigenous creative Taylor Hensel (Citizen of Cherokee Nation), who brings light to the power of story and the storyteller. Her analysis of narrative as power encourages us to ask — What new stories can we tell to help create the better world we desire?

—Tracy Rector, Nia Tero Managing Director, Storytelling


One of the most effective ways to disempower a group is to disturb its unity. The ongoing systemic attempt to erase Indigenous peoples through division has deep roots in the foundation of government and most western constructs, including storytelling. As a Cherokee filmmaker and journalist, this is a reality I know to be true. 

For centuries, false narratives imposed on Black and Brown people about themselves and their communities have been used as tools of disempowerment. In the midst of a pandemic and civil rights reckoning, the need to rebuild and reform systems that continue to promote injustice is clear. One of the ways institutionalized oppression is continually reinvigorated is through the misrepresentation of marginalized peoples. This is done through the stories that have been told and continue being told about our past, present, and future. 

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OPINION: What Teachers Should Know About the Experience of Being a Black Student in Seattle Public Schools

by Ramone Johnson 


My name is Ramone Johnson and I’m 17 years old. I’m from Illinois originally, and ever since I’ve been to school out here in Washington, any situation in school has been blasted way out of proportion. I want to share my experience to help students and teachers understand each other and learn to value every student and make schools a better environment for everyone.

I started recognizing I was being treated differently as one of the only Black kids in my Seattle middle school. The school administration and security guards came as hard as they possibly could towards me. If I called out the way they were treating me differently than other students, they would call me disruptive and send me out of the classroom. It’s like they wanted to prove a point when I refused to adapt to their environment. I watched them give some students extra time to finish assignments, and they wouldn’t do the same for me. What made him better than me? We were both students that needed help. Instead, they’d treat me like a terrorist. They’d have the cop and school security guard following me around all day and blame me for things I didn’t do.

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On Making Sense of Anti-Blackness in America as an Immigrant Person of Colour

by Ruchika Tulshyan


It was apparent to me from the moment I immigrated to the United States in 2012 that civil unrest was coming. The seeds of despair were sown in this country long before any of us were born.

Moving to Atlanta eight years ago forced me to confront social inequities I didn’t believe existed in the West. The last time I’d had to examine them so closely was when I lived in India two years prior. 

It was clear that there was a wealthy (white) Atlanta and a poor (Black) one. At lunch, the media organization I worked for was divided into Black tables and white tables. As a Brown Indian woman from Singapore, I was often caught in the middle. Many wealthy CEOs I interviewed as a business reporter would make off-the-cuff remarks about how “Atlanta was doomed because we can’t have a good white mayor” and how I should “stay away from Black people.”

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Ethnic Studies Educator Bruce Jackson and the Beautiful American Story Never Told

 by Ari Robin McKenna

This is the second in a series of articles featuring the words of local ethnic studies educators who are doing work to address systemic racism in our classrooms. To read the first, click here. To read the series intro, click here.


When Bruce Jackson was a child, his household was swept up into a greater story that still reverberates across the world today. His uncle, Zayd, was killed defending writer and civil rights activist Assata Shakur during a confrontation with police on the New Jersey Turnpike. A documentary about Shakur’s life ends with the following words regarding her chosen surname:

“It is a name that I took to carry on the name of Zayd Malik Shakur in honor of his family, and in honor of the forces of beauty and good on this earth which I’m grateful for. That is my name.”

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