Roll call

This post is for me to bring links together that I continue to reference in every single conversation I have with people making the following claims and/statements. It’s a work in progress. Let me know if I’ve erred, or ideas about additional points to include. Thanks for reading.

  1. If Michael Brown had been sensible and done what the cop said, he’d still be alive. Not necessarily. Eric Gardner was killed by a cop’s choke hold just a couple of weeks before Mr. Brown was shot dead.
  2. Looking like a gang banger | shoplifting a pack of cigarillos is reason enough to be shot by a cop. (Um, no, neither are capital crimes, he seemed to be dressed the same as many young men of many colors I see, and he did not, as far as I’ve been able to find, shoplift anything.)
  3. Obviously Blacks in Ferguson just need to vote and get their act together. This is almost the saddest one. I can only imagine the frustration of hearing this after years and years of desperate attempts to fix this, to get attention paid to the problems. Anyway, a link to the Missouri Attorney General’s report on racial profiling for 2013.

Just since Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson by Officer Wilson.

Eric Garner, 43, July 17, 2014 Please note this was just a couple of weeks before Michael Brown was killed. This news was still fresh and distressing for anyone paying attention.

Kajieme Powell, 25, August 19th, 2014 Compare to the case of Joseph Houseman. “A police officer repeatedly asked Houseman to put down his gun so they could talk, but he refused and accused the cop of ‘acting like a prick’ and being in a gang.”

John Crawford, 22, August 9, 2014 “And the next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’but he was already on the ground because they had shot him.'” Compare to open carry shows of force.

Akai Gurley, November 21, 2014 “’It was a pitch-black hallway,’ Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said of the Thursday-night shooting at East New York’s Louis Pink Houses. ‘The deceased is a total innocent.’”

And, Monday.
Tamir Rice, 12, November 24, 2014 Twelve.

Prosecutor McCullochs has, at best, a conflict of interest.

African-Americans were targeted for 92 percent of vehicle searches, though searches of white suspects were more likely to turn up contraband (34 percent of searches of white suspects found contraband, versus only 22 for black suspects).


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Seattle city gov: Doubling food stamp value if used at farmer’s market…

I was underwhelmed when I ran across this announcement in my FaceBook feed. Here is the response I posted with the reasons that immediately sprang to mind why it is is more feel-meh, then feel-good.

Food stamp dollars would need to be doubled, or quadrupled, to buy fresh food at farmer’s markets. I feel this is silly in that people who need food stamps, many mothers with small children,

  1. Can’t afford to go shopping to several different places to get their groceries;
  2. Farmer’s markets aren’t co-located with the people who use food stamps. Heck, we can’t even get a grocery store. “We won’t put a farmer’s market in Delridge because there aren’t enough people there who will pay 2 dollars for a peach.”
  3. Why does it matter where a person buys their fresh veggies? Yes, I get the “eat local” mantra, but who knows, really, how far away the farmer’s market vendors are.

One of the things that drives me a little nuts about Seattle, love it though I do, is that frequently our initiatives are more about us looking like we’re doing something that will make us (largely the middle- and upper-class, and white) feel like we’re doing something wonderful. I can well imagine the conversation going something like “surely the Somali woman with six kids, little English, often no car would love to shop at the farmers market. The only thing keeping her from it is that she can’t get 10 more dollars worth of produce at the farmer’s market.”

Maybe I’m wrong, and the people depending on food stamps were consulted on this. Please. Someone. Anyone. Prove to me I’m wrong, that the users were involved in this initiative.

Seattle City Council News Release: Council expands access to healthy food for food stamp enrollees.

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Zimmerman’s acquital of Trayvon Martin’s murder represents only the latest, most egregious betrayal of every Black American

It’s not surprising Zimmerman was acquitted of the Trayvon Martin killing. It’s simply the latest in a long erosion of civil rights. The Klan couldn’t be more pleased. It’s an ingenious strategy, though not new: try the victim, not the defendant.

“It’s an injustice” is empty and inadequate. If only the nation, with one clear voice, would shout out that this is a betrayal of every Black person in America and will not stand. But it won’t. We won’t. We are just comfortable enough, just scared enough, just cowardly enough to think, in our secret hearts, “Thank God it wasn’t my son.”

If you say that, then you are one of the betrayers. The betrayal of the last, small hope that this country could work toward the principles its founders, imperfect in themselves, framed. Some of us have decided, or accepted, that it’s too uncomfortable to be faced with our own failings in comparison to our ideals, too hard to change those aspects of ourselves that keep us from reaching up, too easy to pretend everything is just fine. Others of us have decided there is no hope, never was any hope, and, anyway, every hope is betrayed in the end.

Congratulations Floridians, those who support “stand your ground” and twist it to mean “it’s okay to shoot a young black man down in the street.” You must be pleased. Lynching WAS terribly awkward. It must be much easier to use a pistol. Anytime, anywhere. It’s open season.


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Response to Stephen Fry suicide interview shows attitudes are slowly changing

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When can a White person say the “n” word: a primer

I’m reaching out to fellow White folks today. Do you find yourself thinking it’s not fair that a Black person can use the “n”-word, but a White person gets all kinds of grief? If so, then it’s clear an explanation would be wasted on you, so I offer this simple rule-of-thumb:


Hope this helps!

Please note that if you are, for example, an author writing vernacular dialog for a racist character, then, obviously, you’ll use the word, but you won’t be wondering about the unfairness I mention.

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“No” means no.

Blaming a woman for being raped is like blaming a man for being mugged.

  • Why were you out at night by yourself? Where was your spouse or parent?
  • You were asking for it, dressed like that, carrying your wallet in your back pocket.
  • You weren’t injured. You must not have fought very hard, so you must have wanted to be mugged.
  • You were drinking?! Well, no wonder.
  • You were too drunk to recall the details? Well, then, how do you know you didn’t +give+ the mugger your wallet?

Rape is assault. Rape is a crime. Anyone can be raped, just as anyone can be mugged.

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Delridge Skate Park Construction Contract: Re-bid so disqualified contractor is qualified?

Here is the text of an email I sent today in reaction the notice Matt Johnston posted about the construction contract for the Delridge Skate Park.

The email was sent to Kevin Stoops (

Dear Mr. Stoops,

This email references the information summarized by Matt Johnston in this post.

I am a neighbor to the skate park site. I’m not a skater, nor do I have children who are. I’m writing you because I’m concerned that the selection of the construction contractor seems to be headed toward selecting an unsatisfactory construction contractor.

The Delridge neighborhood has been supportive, even active, in helping to move this park forward. Part of our concern has been that the park should be designed and built to be a long-lasting, excellent city feature so that skaters will take pride in it and help maintain it, and so it’s not an eyesore for the neighbors and other park users. The design is excellent and reflects the broadest spectrum of community consensus I believe you’ve had in any skate project. The public meetings were without rancor and the process has been smooth—at least with regard to the community.

Part of our willingness to support the project was based on the Parks Department assurance that the specifications for the construction contract would ^be written to solicit reasonable submissions from well-qualified contractors—not just cheap. That only contractors with extensive experience and good reputations building skate parks would be considered.

I was dismayed at first that a contractor with a poor reputation for quality work had been selected. Now that he has been disqualified, I am given to understand that instead of awarding it to the next best proposal, you are considering rewriting the RFQ with lesser standards.

If the specifications are changed in mid-stream to include the disqualified contract, then I’m dumbfounded. How is this different from simply awarding it to a contractor without going to bid? How is that fair to the other respondents? How would that satisfy the promise the Parks Department made to us to build the best skate park possible?

I urge you to reconsider. I’m sure you have only the best interest of the budget in mind, but a contract that seems cheap up front can end up costing far more in the long run. This will be a major city feature for many years. I will have to leave live across the street from it. Let’s make it something that we’re all proud of. I don’t want to regret encouraging my neighbors to support the park and process.

Nancy Folsom
Member of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council

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