A dialogue in Seattle's Racial Epicenter

Most of the things we fight against, or for, have to do with the relative position of our racial group in America's economic and political pecking order. Seattle's Rainier Valley reflects that reality. You can find the worst and best here in about the same proportion as the rest of the nation, and we have a mix of people that any social scientist studying racial diversity would covet.

If there is a void someone will fill it, and we end up complaining about how other people see us rather than projecting our own images of who we are.

Who we are must be followed by what we are going to do, and that question cannot be answered until we clarify whether or not we're Americans.

If I don't believe I'm an American, and many of us have our doubts, it's difficult to take ownership in this nation, state, city or even the neighborhoods we live in. Sometimes it feels as if every neighborhood has become an extension of the slave quarters and every authority figure a slave master.

But this column is not about past pain overwhelming future progress. It's not about how bad we are doing as a race and why everyone is treating us so mean.

It's a column about how a race is beating some tremendous odds to become the moral and physical foundation of the greatest nation the world has ever witnessed. It's also about racial understanding and the role that all of us must play to make America the nation it still can, and must, be.

African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and European Americans must find a way to heal past their scars while bringing down the barriers that hinder their current, and future, progress.

The Bottom Line will remind you what the obstacles are, no matter how graphic, while daring to propose solutions, no matter how radical. Within our neighborhood borders, South Seattle has all the problems of America and just the right mix of racial groups to come up with some novel solutions.

An honest dialogue about race is a rare conversation in America. I cannot think of a better place for this kind of dialogue then South Seattle and Beacon Hill in Seattle, the city's racial epicenter.

I look forward to the dialogue. Let's talk!

Charlie James may be reached at editor@sdistrictjournal.com.[[In-content Ad]]