Seattle Times Wants to “Get Rid” of Critics; But We’re Not Going Anywhere!

The Seattle Times has once again demonstrated it’s breathtaking tone deafness to issues of growth in the city. Recently¬†they published a guest editorial by Jade O’Neil who was born and raised in Seattle’s Central District. In the editorial, O’Neil describes an incident between her and a resident of the neighborhood in which the neighbor tells her, “You need to leave!” In the editorial, O’Neil ascribes this to her being black and the victim of what I would call a privilege issue: occupying public space depends on how you look, your race, and your standing in the economy. It’s a real thing. I spoke about it with Brice Maryman in the interview I did with him. But O’Neil’s heartfelt expression of her own experience gets twisted by the Seattle Times; the Times slaps a picture of a new house above O’Neil’s writing. The message is unmistakable: the source of the problem is new housing.

When I criticized this, Gene Balk the Seattle Times’ FYI Guy said, “There’s just no getting rid of you, is there?” I think that’s what he said, but I’m not sure because Balk came back and deleted the comment along with my response. Someone was fast enough to get a screen shot though.

The right thing for Balk to do would be to apologize in the thread or at least acknowledge that he crossed a line. He could have rephrased or whatever. I would have accepted that. But for a journalist or someone claiming that designation to imply that he’d like to be rid of me is truly disturbing. I wish I had a screen shot of the exchange. I don’t. But I wanted to post this here, and express my genuine concern about what O’Neil experienced on the street. I know exactly what she’s talking about, and it is true that racism is alive and well in Seattle. But it isn’t caused by housing. And I think the person who lives in that house should be outraged that their home would be used that way by the Times. I’d demand they take the picture down. The implication might be that the person who owns this home is the one who profiled O’Neil. That’s unacceptable.

And if anything happens to me, well….

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