LETTER:Racism

The reaction of the Port Angeles City Council to a multiracial family’s complaint of racist graffiti (“Graffiti sparks PA council discussion,” PDN, July 25) is well-intentioned as long as it emphasizes local, not national, racism.

Racism against African Americans and other groups is a well-documented legacy in other parts of our nation.

Along the Pacific coast the indigenous peoples became targets of racism after white settlers first arrived, across the North Olympic Peninsula in the 1850s.

Natives were marginalized socially and economically.

There has been progress: the 1974 Boldt decision, which give Indians their fishing rights back; removal of the Elwha dams, 1992 – 2014, where Indian pressure advanced a massive federal project; Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s ongoing commercial emergence and the unearthing of Tse-whit-zen Village, 2003-2004, where Indians halted the project at the cost of local jobs.

To advance the discussion, Councilmember Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin’s recommendation of “Breaking Ground: The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Unearthing of Tse-whit-zen Village” by Lynda V. Mapes is a wise choice because the book recounts examples of local racism.

That should be the focus of local dialogue; the discussion of national racism involves many non-local voices, and best handled elsewhere.

The best solution to ending local graffiti is to paint over them as soon as they appear.

That way the artists will stop eventually, and, if so inclined, take their anonymous venom to the internet, where they’ll have lots of bad company.

John Kendall

Port Angeles

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