White Suspicion

I'm in Bellingham, WA which is 90 miles north of Seattle and about 20 miles south of the U.S. Canadian boarder. Bellingham is an interesting town, it's liberal like Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area but it has some interesting dynamics. According to the Census Bureau its population is around 70,000 and is 87% white. There's a Native American reservation right next to Bellingham called the Lummi Indian Reservation. Belliingham is a nice town with cheap housing but its also filled with a lot of meth and crack houses and drug addictions, according to people living here. My friend Joe (whom I'm visiting, we traveled to Bellingham from San Francisco by car) was attacked by a bunch of meth addicts last year. While that might be bad, the reservation is horrible. It's like a third world country, alcohol rates are extremely high, my friend Joe works at the local YMCA and many Native Americans will come in stumbling drunk at twelve in the afternoon. The whole situation is very depressing, no jobs, racist policies, etc. cause for high rates in alcoholism. I was there myself and there was a lot of run down homes, trash, burnt out cars on peoples lawns, etc.

But the main gist, or observation, of this blog is this. I was at a party a few days ago and the party was mostly filled with white college students from local campuses (mainly Western Washington Unviversity). During the party a group of Black kids showed up, some of them with shirts that said "I Can't Feel My Face," which is a line Bobcat Goldthwait says in the movie Blow in reference to his cocaine use. I was latter told by someone I meet up there that he was suspicious of the Black kids because he saw one looking into a room. He (a white male) stated, "He was probably trying to stake out the place to steal something. I mean, that's what they were probably all trying to do." Of course, he ignored the fact that people where looking in rooms all night since there was about 50-75 or so people at this party.

Also, during the party this one white girl was yelling at one of her friends claiming that some "bitch" stole something from her and she was pointing to a Black girl in a crowd of three or four Black kids at the party.

Latter that night a few other white kids were talking and saying, "Man, those were some nigs up in there, shit."

Another person said, "Naw, they weren't nigs...Well, I duno."

"No," said the other, "they were nigs."

Essentially, the whole time people were being suspicious because these people were Black. Some of them may have been wearing weird shirts but then that night there was a lot of weird stuff going on. On white kid was wearing nothing but a beach towel and nobody said anything about it. Basically, because they were Black and because they dressed in a different style (i.e. "ghetto" as some would say) they had suspicion thrown on them from many of the white party goers at the party. Yet they hadn't done anything and they were all just as friendly as the other party goers.

The fact was that many of these white kids were putting suspicion on these Black kids but they wouldn't consider themselves racist (in the classic sense of the term, KKK, etc.) and might even have friends of color, yet when it comes down to it, they hold suspicions of many people of color who don't meet the "friendly" stereotype. While they may not be racist in the classic sense, there is racism (in the contemporary sense) being put into play which has effected these peoples view due to negative stereotypes in the media, at home, etc. A few days latter I asked if anything had been taken from the house, and just as I thought, nothing had.

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Ursus Books and Prints