Excellent article on the white supremacist march in Idaho ("Their Own White Idaho," 8/6). In spite of the racism and intolerance expressed by some of the residents of Coeur d' Alene, the dangerous revelation of the article is really the state of denial they exist in with respect to their racism: "I don't consider myself a racist. But I'm glad they're here, because they keep the blacks out."
Besides Potato Head racism in Idaho, maybe us "Golden People" in the Puget Sound area ought to check ourselves. With recent events such as the racial discrimination suit filed against Boeing by African-American employees and the New York Times expos頯f police harassment of African Americans on Mercer Island, we should investigate the "Nazis" in our own backyard.
Junior high journalism
Alice Wheeler's August 6 article, "Their Own White Idaho," is the exact type of sensationalist knee-jerk fluff worth of a B- in a junior high journalism class or a half-hour special edition of American Journal. The author clearly did the bulk of her research on the fly, relying on very unprofessional methods like thoughtless blanket statements, i.e., "They [residents of Coeur d'Alene] tell racial jokes but insist they are not prejudiced," and that ever-popular journalistic cop-out, the Unnamed (and thus unverifiable) Source, in this case a mysterious Coeur d'Alene waitress.
Wheeler's greatest mistake was her self-portrayal as a Promethean heroine who "pushed past the barricades" and braved searches from scary redneck cops all in order to bring the truth about "the demonstration Idaho didn't want you to see" back to respectable Seattle society. We are asked to believe that if not for fearless champions of truth like Wheeler, readers of Seattle Weekly would be left alone to ignorantly drool into their lattes in suburban cul-de-sac kitchens, forever unaware that "Coeur d'Alene didn't want the world watching when the Aryans marched." The article fails to discuss the First Amendment considerations (and not small-town lodge-brother racism) that convinced the Coeur d'Alene City Council to let the Aryans march and that most locals did not even attend the rally. Their absence was a form of protest and the distribution of free movie passes not an attempt to hide an embarrassing blemish from the media. The people of North Idaho simply preferred not to waste a beautiful July morning legitimizing the views of a fringe hate group with their presence. It is disappointing that Wheeler did not do the same.
Eric Scigliano's short take on RTA light rail (Quick & Dirty, "This Train Is Bound for Nowhere," 8/6) is a concise and compelling analysis of the awful truth, a real "Best of Seattle" public policy commentary.
John Niles, Dick Nelson, Jerry Schneider
Public Interest Transportation Forum
Flow with the show
Nice review of the Beasties Boys show ("World-class Sampling and Licks," 8/6). Just a couple of little corrections:
1) The kid that got up on stage and shot photos of Adrock and Mixmaster Mike did not get caught. In fact, he was the only sign of intelligent life from the audience to grace the stage the entire evening—he stage-dived to safety and the audience roared with approval.
2) Many of us Beastie fans appreciate very much the fact that the B-Boys continue to play the hardcore and punk stuff that got them started in the first place. It diversifies the show, allows them to exhibit what a dynamic band they are, and provides due respect to their roots (something many bands forget when they go big). It's necessary, and I think it's one of the reasons that so many of us have stuck with them for so long. So, please beware of sounding like a rookie fan and a one-dimensional music lover (electronic/DJ music rocks, but it ain't the only thing) by making comments about a song by an artist—especially when these are songs by that artist—disrupting the flow of their show! A Beasties show is more than "old hits, tracks from the new record, Hello Nasty, and full-band instrumentals." That stuff alone wouldn't be nearly as exciting.
The music editor responds: Mr. Keegan's points are well-taken, and he's certainly correct about the stage diver. We obviously have different views of the Beasties' strengths: I think that their hip-hop output is stellar while their punk output is merely average; my comments on the set list stem from that opinion. One more thing: Not all of the punk songs the Beasties played at Key Arena were their own—one was a Minor Threat cover.
Putting on the squeeze
Bravo! As an accordionist here in Seattle I applaud your article on the accordion's resurgence in popularity ("Global Squeezebox," 7/16). You did an excellent job of covering the much-neglected accordion revolution which is taking the country by storm. There was one glaring error, though: In the third paragraph you mention that Petosa Accordions is the only remaining maker of accordions in the US. While it's true that many accordion companies went out of business after the accordion boom of the 1950s, it's also true that there are still many companies scattered around that produce high-end accordions. Spano Accordions, located in Kent, is one of them. This year marks our 50th anniversary in the accordion business. In those years we've been initiated many accordion milestones: Joe Spano's design of the original Tonaveri accordion, teaching four national champions and one world champion, the creation of the Northwest Accordion Teachers Association, and the creation of the Day of the Accordion. We hope that in the future you'll remember Spano Accordions in your accordion features.
What, me hate?
Typically, I would not bother to respond to any nonsense that I see in your pages, but a recent item borders on libel, and it is difficult to avoid a response.
Brian Miller, in his review of several public access television programs (At Large, "Remote Possibilities," 7/23), called me a "TV personality that loves to hate."
I can think of three articles written for the Weekly that would argue otherwise. In 1993, Rick Anderson borrowed rather generously from a videotaped interview I conducted to pad out his cover story on extremist Bo Gritz. Subsequently, I wrote a carefully researched piece for you on the tendency of local Democrats and others to too quickly jump on the anti-hate bandwagon, and to label some conservatives as "haters" (it went unpublished). I also spent a nearly a year on a piece for you on the subject of the FBI's failure to investigate military arms trafficking to extremists at Fort Lewis, which then went unpublished when your chief executive (Mr. Berger) objected to my unwillingness to hand over my research on the Kurt Cobain homicide to a Seattle Weekly reporter who thought the subject's name was "Keith Cobain."
Obviously, as a journalist I have developed a considerable knowledge of the local phenomenon of "hate." Its principal feature is an unjust labeling of individuals so that nothing they say or do is to be seen as worthy of note by anyone, except perhaps snide humorists.
Rick Anderson responds: I borrowed conservatively, if not right-wing conspiratorially, with credit to the man whose 1997 City Council candidacy was summed up by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as: "Lee denies being 'loony.'"
Tighter than genes
I read Cooper Moo's article with great eagerness ("My Brother and Me," 7/23). I'm the architect of my own brown and white family, and I was fascinated to read the adult child's perspective.
I heard about the Black Social Workers' position paper while waiting for my first child to arrive from Korea. It sent me into a bit of a panic; if having white parents wasn't good for black children, what about Asian children? It made me question my instincts that this adoption would be a good thing for all of us.
Eleven years have passed, and my gut instincts have proven right. I now have three children, two by adoption and one homegrown. We are family. There is no stronger bond.
Many times over the years people have asked me what it's like to have adopted children—do I love them as much as the child that I grew? I explain to them that most people marry people to whom they are unrelated, and no one doubts that unrelated love in this context is possible, even desirable. Too bad it's such a foreign concept to love a child just for the sake of loving them, not their lineage.
Family is the only place that transracial barriers can truly be broken down. Only when groups of people cease to live in isolation (promoting fear and misunderstanding of one another) can we begin the process of sharing a common history. For in the end, it is our history, and not our genes, that binds us.
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