Wednesday, January 11, 2017


I have been reticent to address “controversial” topics on social media.  Though I enjoy spirited conversations and healthy dialogue, I am by nature more reserved about expressing my views. I value family. I treasure friendships. I want everyone to get along and play nice.

 I respect the rights of all to choose when to speak, what to write, who to vote for, who to believe, who to trust, and who to love. Last year ushered in times like I’ve never known. Though I respect the rights of all to freely choose, I’ve concluded that every choice comes at a cost, and sometimes it’s a price tag we can’t afford.

So I’m using my voice now in the hopes that some will hear. I fear we will bankrupt our individual and collective conscience if we don’t heed the escalating signs around us. It is time to listen. And it’s time to speak. I cannot be silent.

 In my neighborhood, this week.

YMCA: One of Tillamook’s central gathering places. For the fit and firm among us, and for those aspiring to be, you can’t beat it. A place devoted to health and wellness. I’m deeply grateful for this grand place where my children “grew up” and where I myself have spent countless hours. A “safe” place for all, or so I thought.

I know this story through a 20-something young Hispanic woman whom I would trust with my life. She shared the following story which brought tears to my eyes and stirred anger in my heart, an anger I must heed. 

Her cousin went to the Y Tuesday evening sporting his Christmas gift, a new iWatch. After hearty exercise,  he went to the sauna, noticing as he went that a white woman was following him. As he sat down to relax, the door opened and the woman declared, “So you think just because you have an iWatch you’re not going to get deported now!  It’s just going to be a lot easier for them to track you.” And she shut the door. 

This is only one of the stories I’ve heard. Some I’ve witnessed, such as the man who told me in front of a Hispanic friend (completely out of the context of the conversation) that when he went to Tillamook High School in the early ‘60’s, “There were NO racial problems. None!”

I want to believe these stories are the “exception.” Are they? ONE is too many.  

I hear people sometimes say, “I’m not racist,” as though they must prove their beliefs and actions come from someplace holy. I like to think of myself as being inclusive and aware and caring and not like “those” bigoted “others.” Yet I must examine my own heart. I must humbly listen to the stories of people with skin different than mine, language not spoken in my home, attractions foreign to my own. 

When I search, I sometimes find those “hidden” areas with lurking prejudices that surprise me, those ways of thinking that betray what I value most—relationship. Sometimes I must say, “I’m sorry. Help me understand.” I pray for discernment and wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent, and for a pure heart to love.

So getting to the nitty gritty. Are these just fancy words, anecdotal stories? Tomorrow will I have forgotten today's passionate reaction?  Now is the time. It’s why I will talk to the YMCA director. It's why I will watch and listen and speak up in grocery stores and banks and schools and doctors’ offices and wherever I am. 

 Now, this moment. I must say, “No more. Not ever.” My friend’s cousin deserves it. Our vast human family in all its wondrous hue and color is worth the cost. 


  1. Thanks for speaking up about this, Sue! :)

  2. It is the possibility that this will become the norm that is both frightening and frustrating to me. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Sue,I just adore you. And your inability to enable hate is a big reason why. Thank you so much.

  4. Thank you for your passion and insight so we can be aware. I am happy to say I have not seen this and hopefully wont.

  5. Your father would be pleased and so would Mrs. Crays :).

  6. Congratulations! Your "sheltered" cousin met a racist woman in a sauna. However you and the racist woman have something in common. You both believe everything the mainstream media says. You both believe the misleading news and the downright lies the media spins.
    You both are very likely to believe the future president mocks disabled people(which has been completely debunked and proven wrong) while ignoring the actual recorded fact that his opposition treated disabled children with disrespect.
    Both groups, the sensitive and easily offended and the actual racists, have forgotten that our country is designed with checks and balances to keep potential deranged dictators under control.
    I have a great many minorities in my family tree. None of my relatives are worried about institutionalized racism or discrimination. They occasionally face racism in the street and in business and they deal with it.
    I know the first time you face racism it is shocking. Especially if you were raised somewhat sheltered as I was. But you deal with it and move on. I did, my sister did, and all 8 of my little nieces and nephews will and some have already.
    This little tidbit of a report is simply a small slice of an example of what happens every day all across this country and has been happening for years and years. This was simply your families turn. I suggest dealing with it instead of trying to turn it into a political statement that it is the sign of things to come because of the new administration. This racist woman needs to be held accountable for her racist comments.

    1. Hi Bryan,

      Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      I'd suggest you re-read my post as some of the "facts" you quote from my blog indicate you may have only skimmed the surface and made assumptions. For instance, I never referenced a "sheltered" cousin, or my cousin or family at all, other than our place in a "vast human family of wondrous hue and color." Facts are apparently important to you, as they are to me. It sounds like you have strong opinions about "truth" as you decry the "misleading news of the media." That said, I would suggest a more thorough reading before jumping to the conclusions you arrived at.

      I don't know you, nor do you know me. To make sweeping judgments of the experiences of others without walking in their shoes, living in their skin, knowing their stories, insults the reality of the lives of those you do not know, and perhaps even of those you do.

      I'm a 60-something white woman, with my own life's experience. This is certainly not the first time I've witnessed racism, though it never ceases to be shocking. I hope it continues to shock me, to move me to action, as it should.

      It sounds like you have secondarily experienced racism in your family system, and "dealt with it" in ways that you didn't share. Eight nieces and nephews! I suspect they are our friends, with the father a refugee who arrived in Canada from Viet Nam as one of the “boat people”, who became a dentist. Good people. If so, you are a lucky uncle! People who I have great respect for.

      In my family, we, too have a wide ethnic diversity, so I am not immune to the reality of what some minorities face, up close. (However, my story was not about my family, though I could have shared their stories as well). My family is the richer for the diversity within. I am humbled and I thank God for each one.

      You seem adamant that people must "deal with it." That's exactly what I'm doing to the best of my ability based on who I am. You're right, racism has been around for "years and years." Because it's been around for millennia doesn't make it acceptable. (What if earlier generations has said, "Well, Small Pox has been around a long time. Deal with it!). Ask Native Americans, Muslims, African Americans, Hispanics, and a host of “others” how they’ve dealt with atrocities such as genocide, lynchings, crosses in yards, or even a woman who verbally bullies a man in a sauna.

      All the more reason to say "enough is enough" and do what I can within my sphere of influence to root it out of self and do what I can to bring change. You state, "This was simply your families turn." I am flabbergasted! Though it was not my biological family of whose experience I wrote, it it was certainly my "family" in a much broader sense. Racism should NEVER be anyone's "turn." I recoil at the thought that this should be a shared experience for a select few, or for anyone, including your family and mine.

      I don't understand what you mean by trying to make a "political statement.” If you see my views about our current climate in the country regarding the treatment of all those included in our human “family” as a “political statement”, so be it.

      Peace to you, in pursuit of life, liberty, and justice for all,

    2. When it comes to racism. I don't see it happen often to minorities. But I see it happen and hear about it happening a lot from minorities.
      My adopted sister(mexican) can tell some good stories that show it well. In college the racism a white person experiences first hand from "entitled" blacks is a learning experience to be sure. That was in MI. Helped me appreciate the NW just a bit better.
      Anyone who experiences some nut job being racist to them and gets all "shocked" is "sheltered"! My terminology and my use needs no reference from you. Just saying. My first experience was directed against me and I found it "shocking" as a late teen. I was sheltered as a kid but I grew some "skin" real fast. Now days I ignore such people if and when they attack me. Well mostly. I think I told the last one to grow up!
      These days everyone wants to make a political statement and in particular, try to blame it on Trump. Making a huge deal out of every case of racism is one way to push that political agenda. You want to get my attention tell me what he should do and can do about it. Tell me what you think I should do about it if it happens to me---again. Be part of the solution and not part of the sensationalism. Cheers.

  7. And, yes. Donald Trump did mock a disabled reporter on camera for all of us to see. To say this has been debunked is either naivite or downright denial of available evidence. The President-elect has encouraged racism by his labeling everyone in a culture with the wide swath of a paintbrush! Just as there is diversity in any culture, all Mexicans are not drug dealers and rapists, and all Muslims are not terrorists! This has to come to a stop before there can be a common meeting ground for peace, love and support! It is a political issue, so sweeping it under the table only lets it grow, warp, and transcend all reason. Sue, you did and are doing the exact right thing. You are engaging in self-examining, and holding yourself and others to a higher standard. I am moving to Tillamook soon, and want my sister, Romy
    Carver, to introduce me to you! I loved your letter, and felt it was right on! Lynda Jordan

    1. He mocked the reporter for trying to go back on his earlier news because it didn't fit their narrative that Trump was a liar. But Trump never mocked the man's disability which was what the media was desperate to claim. All the media did was take Trumps mannerisms and used it against him. However Trump has used those mannerisms many times with many people who were not disabled. This shows the liberal hypocrisy and how far they will go to smear someone. Telling lies and bending half truths. Sounds to me like you don't even know how the story got started or why the media needed a distraction from their own lies. Apparently you applied a common mannerism Trump has for anyone backpedaling and trying to cover for their own screwups to a handicap like the media intended you should. I suggest you educate yourself before making yourself look more foolish than ever.
      You can start here. This isn't the best synopsis I have read but it covers the basics. The best one was written by a psychologist but used similar sources.

  8. Looking forward to your moving to Tillamook and to meeting you! Romy is an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for your kind words.