The toxicity of prejudice in Seattle is often blanketed by the excuse of its strong practice of liberalism. “Thank god the northwest is this liberal” escapes thin lips, almost as if it were an excuse for our racist, corrupt police department, explicit housing violence, and the displacement of people in our supposed centrally located queer haven. White people in north Seattle are notorious for riding on this statement, giving themselves a pat on the back for fervently spouting trivial activism upon their homogenous peers and communities.
The misconception that Seattle is a diverse, non discriminatory paradise that prevails because of white liberalism. The Seattle Police Department has been under federal investigation for racial profiling for multiple years. King county is the whitest out of the nation’s 20 most populous counties, and the unfortunate addition is the undeniable displacement of non white residents, immigrants, and queer people, as well as the segregation of our neighborhoods by race and class. Is the gentrification that’s taking place in central and south Seattle really a gateway to socioeconomic integration? It’s been much too long for queer, disabled, non white, immigrant, financially unstable, and any intersection to assimilate and establish with haste. The issue with white people congratulating themselves for simply being in a place adjacent to these achievements is that it proves the invisibility of the people shoved into the periphery, as well as the prejudices that construct their lives.
Roosevelt is certainly a place for this. There have been countless times where, unnecessarily, I’ve heard white, economically stable people dismiss the voices of people who have systemically legitimate reasons to feel unsafe in Seattle. The supposedly sensitive topic of race is contradicted by the commodification of black culture, queer people, as well as the appropriation of ethnic groups, poor people– the list will go on. While the objectification of systemically suppressed people continues as simply a layer of their maltreatment, white liberalism is still evident as a defense for our city’s ‘purity.’
So to the white, cishet people who applaud Seattle’s tolerance, your actions and cover ups aren’t nearly enough to handle the exponential oppression against non white people, the queer community, the disabled community, as well our city’s seemingly advertent attempt to displace them.