race and equity | KUOW News and Information

race and equity

Dr. Jonathan Kanter, associate psychology professor at the University of Washington
KUOW/Megan Farmer

Racism takes many forms — it could be a white supremacist rally or a racial slur — but more subtle forms, called microaggressions, happen every day.

Dr. Jonathan Kanter wanted to learn more about microaggressions from a white person's point of view. The associate psychology professor and his research team at the University of Washington found that people who are more likely to make subtle racist statements are also more racist in other ways.

He told KUOW's Emily Fox that the researchers began by asking black students what they thought were microaggressive behavior.


Turns out Siri might be racist

Sep 19, 2017
Siri on an iPhone.
Flickr Photo/Karlis Dambrans (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/njdYn7

We use speech recognition every day, like providing captions on video for the hard of hearing and voice-to-text apps on our smart phones. But when it comes to how well the software understands various accents or dialects, Caucasian speakers are understood much better than people of color. 

Former Mayor Ed Murray at a press conference in the University District in September 2016.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Let’s be clear. The mess that culminated in the resignation of Seattle’s ex-Mayor Ed Murray should not be celebrated as vindication that “the process works.”

White supremacy is behind America's original sin

Sep 14, 2017
Dr. Jim Wallis, author and social justice advocate
JP Keenan

Katherine Banwell of KUOW's Race and Equity team talks with author and social justice advocate Jim Wallis about white supremacy which features in his latest book, "America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America."

Wallis will speak about racial reconciliation at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 at Seattle's McCaw Hall. 

Seattle police officers observe marchers moving down 4th Avenue during the Black Lives Matter rally in Seattle on Saturday.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

The Seattle Police Department says bias and hate crime reporting continues to rise in Seattle.


Tommy Le's family and attorneys announce their decision to file a $20 million wrongful death and civil rights violation lawsuit against King County, the King County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff John Urquhart.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The family of a 20-year-old Burien man shot dead by police in June is suing King County, the county Sheriff's Office and Sheriff John Urquhart alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations.

They're seeking $20 million in damages.


Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett talks to reporters, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Renton, Wash. The Seahawks will play the Atlanta Falcons in an NFL football NFC playoff game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 in Atlanta (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett said he has retained an attorney after Las Vegas police assaulted him.

In an open letter on Twitter Wednesday morning, Bennett said he was ordered to the ground outside a casino and held at gunpoint by police after the Mayweather-McGregor fight on Aug. 26.

Kent schools act after Muslim staffers get hate mail

Aug 31, 2017

Hate mail sent to Muslim staffers at Kent schools prompted a response from the district this week as students returned to class.

This past weekend a Muslim woman who is an assistant principal at an elementary school received a hateful email.

Nobu Koch / Sealaska Heritage Institute

When Bruce Jacobsen moved to Seattle in 1986, he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. He wanted to express his appreciation with a piece of Native art, and found one at a gallery Pioneer Square: an antique Chilkat robe.

"I just thought it was so beautiful, and it was like nothing I had seen before," Jacobsen said.


Flickr photo / JoeinSouthernCA http://bit.ly/2wlFEJW

On the surface, the city of Seattle seems to celebrate diversity, but Seattle's Garfield High School tells a different story.

From the effects of historic housing discrimination, to the current academic tracking program that separates Advanced Placement from "regular" classes, and the drama department's production of a Latinx play with a non-Latinx cast, current and former students talk about how racism manifests at the school. 

Why more Native Americans are homeless in Seattle

Aug 18, 2017
Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club.
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

The number of Native Americans on King County streets is greater than ever. A recent survey found that there are more American Indians and Alaska Natives than a year ago.

Colleen Echohawk said there are many reasons for that, but the most important is that Natives are nervous about trusting the current system of finding houses for them.

Storme Webber's  'I Cover the Waterfront', a 1950s photograph of the artist's grandmother, 2016. Digital prints modified from original.
Courtesy of Frye Art Museum/Storme Webber

For much of the 20th century, Pioneer Square was the heart of Seattle’s gay community.

Artist Storme Webber grew up lesbian in Seattle and often went to Pioneer Square with her mother – who was also gay.


President Donald Trump talks with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg upon his arrival on Air Force One at Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, S.C., Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Update 11 a.m., 8/16/2017: Two more CEOs — from 3M and Campbell's Soup — quit President Donald Trump's manufacturing council Wednesday. Trump then announced he was disbanding the council entirely.

Co-director of HYPE, Charissa Eggleston, center, shows off a yogurt parfait that she made during the Federal Way Youth Action Team program HYPE, at the Federal Way Boys & Girls Club on Saturday, August 5, 2017, in Federal Way
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Last summer, worried parents gathered at Federal Way City Hall. There had been an uptick in violence in the city -- including three gun deaths that May.

Most of the kids being referred to the courts were black. The chatter was that the city was ill-equipped to reach kids of color, and it was time for the community to step in.


Dr. Sapna Cheryan, Psychology Professor at the University of Washington
Courtesy of Nikki Ritcher

People who are chubby or fat often experience prejudice. 

But a recent study out of the University of Washington found that for Asian Americans, being fat correlates with being viewed as belonging in the U.S. Dr. Sapna Cheryan is a psychology professor at the UW. She talked to Kim Malcolm about the study's results.  


Marty Jackson
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

Marty Jackson runs the Southeast Area Network of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. For years, she had worked with Stephan Stewart, trying to keep him off the streets.

And her efforts appeared to be working.


Suspensions and expulsions are down in Seattle Public Schools. The district's discipline rates mirror a statewide trend.

For Elijah Brown, the Rainier Community Center and Playfield in Genesee is a paradox — a place that nurtured him and terrified him growing up.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Elijah Brown was 9 when he saw a man get shot dead.

Suham Albayati, right, originally from Baghdad, arranges items on her table at the Kent East Hill Farmer's Market on Friday, June 30, 2017, at Morrill Meadows Park in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It's not easy to find quality produce in the East Hill neighborhood in Kent. For the low-income immigrants who live in the community, it's a trek to ride a bus or walk to and from a grocery store.

So Living Well Kent came up with the idea to start a farmer's market. Once a month the community-led organization partners with groups like Washington's Tilth Alliance to offer organic produce and locally made crafts.

Katherine Banwell of our Race and Equity team visited the market recently and has this audio postcard.


Diontae Moore-Lyons, 17, right, is escorted back to his unit by manager Shawn Northcutt at Green Hill School in Chehalis, Wash., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Green Hill School is a medium/maximum security, fenced facility for teenage male offenders.
KUOW Photo/Dan DeLong

When black youth enter the criminal justice system, most of the people in authority they come into contact with — social workers, lawyers, the jury — are white.

Diontae Moore-Lyons, 17, is currently incarcerated at Green Hill School in Chehalis, Washington, the state's maximum security facility for juveniles.

Earl Lancaster of Earl’s Cuts & Styles, used to be surrounded by other black-owned businesses, and a working-class community. Today, most of those businesses are gone.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Earl Lancaster has been cutting hair at the corner of 23rd and Union for a quarter of a century.

"Some of the highlights have been cutting some of the Sonics, Mariners. Cutting young kids and turn into fathers and cutting their kids’ hair. It’s been amazing," Lancaster said as he glided his clippers along a man's scalp.


Kendra Roberson, lecturer at the University of Washington School of Social Work.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

When 30-year-old Charleena Lyles was shot and killed by Seattle Police, her death became part of a legacy of trauma absorbed by the black community. Brain scientists are only now researching impacts this kind of violence has on the psyche of African-Americans and their involvement in the criminal justice system.  

Kendra Roberson, a lecturer at the University of Washington School of Social Work, provides therapy services for black school-age girls. She told reporter Patricia Murphy that young people experiencing long-term trauma can begin to believe that bad things will happen to them.

Temple of Justice, Washington Supreme Court, Olympia
Flickr Photo/Aidan Wakely-Mulroney/https://flic.kr/p/dsJvKb

The Washington State Supreme Court has raised the bar for removing jurors of color from an all-white panel.


Stephan Blanford, Seattle School Board member
KUOW: Megan Farmer

When Stephan Blanford ran for Seattle school board four years ago, he won 89 percent of the vote.

But he often felt stuck as a member of that board and now says he won’t run again.


Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/fuH8hN

A Seattle School Board resolution calls for the expansion of ethnic studies in district classrooms.

The Seattle-King County chapter of the NAACP first made a similar proposal last winter. 

Santa Anigo, 30, poses for a portrait during a rally at Westlake Park on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On Sunday morning, two Seattle police officers responded to a reported burglary. That call ended in the fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles, an African-American mother of four.

Just days after, black women in the city are feeling the impact. 

Brettler Family Place, part of the complex at Sand Point Housing
Solid Ground

Charleena Lyles lived in housing owned and operated by Solid Ground in Seattle's Magnuson Park. The nonprofit organization manages a campus with 175 housing units for people who have come through the experience of being homeless. Mike Buchman is the communications director at Solid Ground. He told Kim Malcolm that a neighborhood has been created at Sand Point for hundreds of people. 

Jenny Henderson, Seattle mental health counselor
KUOW: Kara McDermott

The African American community in Seattle is in shock after city police shot and killed 30-year-old Charleena Lyles. Jenny Henderson is a therapist in Seattle whose clientele is mostly black. She tells Kim Malcolm that Lyles' mental illness was not taken into account. 

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle police officers are heard on an audio tape yelling “Get back! Get back!” before firing a volley of shots that killed a woman who had called in a burglary.

Charleena Lyles was shot Sunday morning. Police said she brandished a knife. But family members say police knew Lyles had mental health issues.

Laurelhurst Elementary in northeast Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a gray day last October, teachers across Seattle wore a shirt that read BLACK LIVES MATTER.

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