the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


Why I will never move to Richland

I try to persuade people to understand that my hometown area is not The Ass End of Nowhere, not culturally deprived, etc., but then ugly racism like this suddenly rears its head.  The kind you'd like to think is from a small town with small minds, but no.  It's in a city that was irrevocably changed by the Manhattan Project, and by that, our area used to have the highest concentration of PhDs (most of them engineers) in the state of Washington until Microsoft rose to power.  Hanford area contractors still employ a significant number of people in Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco.  My father still thinks Richland citizens are elitist (although others tell me such has faded in recent years).  I think he means cultural snobs, but maybe this is more what he means.

To summarize: People believe that a flag hung upside down outside a Mexican restaurant run by Mexican-American residents is an unintentional insult to the national pride of the U.S.  Although the owners claim it was a mistake, they protest loudly, although the city chief of police, among others, believe them.

No offense, but I see political whackery in Richland.  If someone's staging a political protest, the majority of the time it's in Richland– in front of the federal building, or along George Washington Way, which is the main drag through town.  It's not always the right wing, but more often than not, it is.

Perhaps I should share another example.   This is the local NBC/Fox affiliate sharing excerpts from letters they received.  Claims of reverse discrimination.  Implications of excuses and lying.  A thinly veiled suggestion that someone flying a flag upside down somehow insults the troops.  Oy…

I've worked for that city hall.  As far as I could see, everyone was pretty nice.  And yes, it's probably true that the city council cares not a whit for the desires of its citizens, but, I do have to wonder… is what they want necessarily good for them?  As far as this– no, no, I don't think so.

I e-mailed Tim Wise about this; I had to be sure to let him know that another white guy isn't just closing his eyes and pretending he's discriminated against, and that there hasn't been a sense of entitlement. But, then again, depending on how many labels stick to me, I'm not exactly a good, wholesome W.A.S.P. either.

By the way, I was going to restrict access just to avoid backlash, but… that would be covering something that shouldn't be private.  I guess we'll see how many come along to tell me to kiss their…

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Inferiority complex (quick addendum)

I forgot to mention Kellelah's response to QotD: Annoying Slang got me thinking on this a bit.  (it was quoted for [culture is good])  She was objecting to the overuse of "ghetto".

Excerpt of my reply (edited for rambling):

All I can say is: right on, and yes, I do know where you're coming from, albeit from the white side.

My little family and I live in a low-income apartment complex. We got out of a four-plex– and we had QUITE the stories to tell after moving out of that place...

This apartment complex, I'd say, is the nicest available to us, but when my mother first visited us here, she said, "I bet this place will go ghetto in about 10 years." What the hell?

I remember relating this to one of our African-American neighbors at the time, and his first sentence summed it up pretty nicely: "This is nothing."

…Last week, my baby sister and her new husband visited, and she openly fretted about our upstairs neighbors– young, male, scruffy, smokers, etc. To be honest, I wasn't completely sure why she was worried– the young and male part I guess I can understand…

Here's the odd, or not so odd part: Yes, there's a lot more shades of brown complexions around here– we've had or currently have African-American and Hispanic neighbors, right across the breezeway.

See, my sister and my mother have worked with Hispanics, at least…both are fluent in Spanish…and yet I could just feel the racism and the fear of impoverished culture coming from them.

The post and the comments, overall, are very worth a read.

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