Black In Seattle: 'Perceptions May Be Different Than Reality' | KUOW News and Information

Black In Seattle: 'Perceptions May Be Different Than Reality'

Oct 29, 2013

This week, we’ve been airing stories by reporter Tonya Mosley centered around the question: What is the black experience in Seattle? Below, hear Web exclusive interviews from more people Mosley interviewed for her series, Black In Seattle

Seattle Fire Department Chief Gregory Dean
Credit KUOW Photo/Tonya Mosley

Seattle Fire Department Chief Gregory Dean

After experiencing the riots of 1967, Gregory Dean worked his way up through the ranks of the Seattle Fire Department.

I learned the firefighters were responding to the address given to them, not just being insensitive. So it kind of opens your eyes that perceptions may be different than reality.

Marketing business owner Reggie Brown (left).
Credit KUOW Photo/Tonya Mosley

Reggie Brown

Reggie Brown found that growing up in a more diverse area of Seattle prepared him for the challenges of owning a business.

I think Seattle for anybody – and particularly people who got to grow up in mixed areas like the South End – your ability to navigate other cultures is far superior to people who have lived in other places that are mono-ethnic.

Jordan Richards.
Credit KUOW Photo/Tonya Mosley

Jordan Richards

His family calls him white, his friends call him black. Jordan Richards explains how he navigates defining himself.

Alexes Harris, associate professor at the University of Washington, department of sociology.
Credit KUOW Photo/Tonya Mosley

I often get categorized. Even to this day if my clothes are on the hip hop side or the rocker side I’ll get followed around the store. But you know that’s just people clinging on to stereotypes.

Alexes Harris

Professor Alexes Harris jokes that she’s a four-for: “I’m a woman. I’m black. I’m Filipino and I look Latina.”

So that created some barriers for me and made me realize there are key differences even though I have a mixed racial identity, I’m seen as African American, and that’s what I feel, and those are my experiences through life.

Share your stories of black life in Seattle on Twitter at #blackinseattle.

Funding for Black In Seattle was provided by the KUOW Program Venture Fund. Contributors include Paul and Laurie Ahern, the KUOW Board of Directors and Listener Subscribers.