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Race: Are we so different

A blog looking at the changing face of race around our region, created in cooperation with Pacific Science Center, the University of Washington Department of Communication and the City of Seattle Race and Justice Initiative

December 19, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Race project | Musician has strong opinions about race

To Kieran Harrison, 28, the information presented at the RACE:Are We So Different? exhibit wasn’t challenging. It was reaffirming, if anything.

Most of what was at his disposal already rests calmly in the chambers of his brain.

Still, his visit to the Pacific Science Center still elicited an emotional reaction — the kind of reaction you expect when the facts of racism confronts you.

He said his interest in studying racial issues stemmed from his curiosity in social justice.

As a youth growing up in Snohomish, which he described as “whitewashed,” he had one Asian friend. Harrison, who identifies as white, mentioned that seeing how people treated his friend differently ignited an interest in the history of race and the role it’s played in our society.

He thinks that our race predetermines our class and status in the world. In his opinion, we’re always looking for ways to separate each other based on race and class.

Even though he enjoyed seeing what the display had to offer, he thought areas of the country with more prevalent racial issues need this type of exhibit more than Seattle.

Harrison, who lives Greenwood, thinks his fellow residents are well-informed about race, so the exhibit might have more impact elsewhere.

He offered an interesting analogy: Seattle has plenty of musicians, including himself, so it doesn’t need any more. If he were to move to a place lacking musical talent, he’d be filling a void. In that sense, if the exhibit traveled to a place known for racism, it’d be filling a need.

Harrison is optimistic about ending racism. He believes we’ll witness its disappearance in his lifetime. According to him, though, it’s going to take a global effort.

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