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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

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November 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Race project | UW struggles to pace national diversity amid affirmative action debate – draft

Jillian Stampher, Special to The Seattle Times Members of the Duwamish Tribe and University of Washington officials break ground on the Intellectual House, set to open in October 2014. (Courtesy photo: Anastasia Stepankowsky, senior at the University of Washington) Just 10 months after the University of Washington opened a newly remodeled Ethnic Cultural Center, the Seattle…


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November 22, 2013 at 6:04 AM

Race project | A peek inside America’s naval future

This Battle Ensign not only belongs in the US. Navy’s Historical Records (it is), but is also a source of pride for the students. The room was awash in khakis and black jackets, brass blinking in the morning light, as “Good Morning, Sir” rose in unison from the chairs. The class is as diverse as…


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November 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Race project | Race matters to an adopted child

Angela Tucker speaks to other adoptive parents at African Caribbean Heritage Camp in Denver, Colo. (Photo courtesy Bryan Tucker) Angela Tucker doesn’t look like her parents. She’s still deciding what that means to her. “My identity is really confusing and mixed and changes over the years,” the 28-year-old African-American woman said. “As a child, I wanted to be…


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November 20, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Race project | The Celebration and the Graveyard

As he sat in a café in Wallingford, surrounded by mostly white patrons and servers, and across the table from this white reporter, David Shields picked at two scrambled eggs and talked about race with an honesty that can grow awkward. The 57-year-old author will fess up to acting extra friendly toward black people so they…


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November 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Race project | Homelessness in King County: Blacks suffering the most

Homelessness is more than a poverty problem. It is also a color crisis.

According to the United Way of King County, blacks occupy nearly 30 percent of shelter beds  but comprise about seven percent of King County’s general population.

Because homelessness is primarily an economic issue, it is no wonder that more than a third of African Americans are living in poverty and they make the lowest median household income.

The statistics are daunting. But, numbers only tell part of the story.

Meet Nick Maxwell. At 54, Maxwell spends most of his days selling Real Change newspapers, a street publication sold by many homeless vendors.


“This gives me my job, my friends and my family,” says Nick Maxwell as he holds the newspaper on the corner of 4th and Madison. (Photo by Marika Price)

The 6-foot, 5-inch self-proclaimed “gentle giant” greets me with a warm smile and firm handshake. In person Maxwell exudes heartfelt commitment and infectious energy. But on paper Maxwell is nothing more than a black and Hispanic ex-felon.

Maxwell grew up in the Bronx before moving to Hollywood to pursue acting. With no steady income and no home, he roamed many urban areas and was sucked into a cycle of drug abuse that led him to jail.


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November 19, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Race project | Beyond Racism: The Gradation Scale

Colorism. This word is so unused that even my word-processing program doesn’t recognize it. This element of discrimination, which assigns value to one’s skin tone instead of race, is hard to publicize or rally against, simply because it’s often so personal and subtle that it goes unnoticed by everyone except those who experience it. It’s hidden in families and social spheres; less of a volatile hate than a cascading gradation of worth — implemented by whichever end of the “scale” deems themselves better. In many cases, it’s the lighter side, but not always — as in case of Jordan Cañas.

(from left ) Parents Jesse and Julia Cañas, Jordan, Jordan’s husband Scott, her half brother Jason, and full brother Josh. (Photo taken from Cañas wedding album, courtesy of Jordan Cañas)

(from left ) Parents Jesse and Julia Cañas, Jordan, Jordan’s husband, Scott, her half-brother Jason, and brother Josh. (Photo taken from Cañas’ wedding album, courtesy of Jordan Cañas)


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November 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Race project | African American English a valid dialect

“I was worried that I wasn’t welcomed because I didn’t talk properly,” said Alicia Wassink, as she described her experience as a kindergarten student in 1973. “At the same time, I was worried that I would be scrutinized even more . . . because people were waiting for me to fail.” “Switching back into African…


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November 18, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Race project | Between Two Worlds: America’s 1.5 Generation

I first heard the term “1.5 Generation” when I was working on a story last year about an undocumented student.

Tania Santiago moved to Redmond from Mexico City when she was 5 years old. From the very beginning, the circumstances of her arrival made her hyper-aware of where she came from and where she’d ended up.

While she was born in Mexico, she’s spent the majority of her life in the U.S. Logistically, it means she’s not entirely American.

But culturally, it means she’s not entirely Mexican.

As a result, she’d grown to identify herself as just that — something in between. She called herself a “1.5er.”


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November 12, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Race project | A “Tiger Mom” Experiment

[do action=”custom_iframe” url=”” width=”640″ height=”360″ scrolling=””/] “A-? It’s just like a F! In our family everybody gets an A!” So, I bet you think this is something that most Tiger Moms would say to their children. And yes, you’re right. I can’t even remember how many times my mum said it when I was younger. In the More

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November 11, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Race project | White privilege is not a thing of the past

  Scott Anderson, 47, of Renton says that his race makes hisstory “the dominate story.”(Photo by Rebecca Gourley.) “I don’t really have a story,” says Scott Anderson, a Presbyterian pastor from Renton and an avid researcher. “It took me a while to figure out why don’t I have a story; and it’s because my story is the dominate…


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