A couple of years ago, King County changed it’s logo.
Named for a Vice President nobody’s ever heard of, the name “King County” always had faintly Canadian overtones, making one think of our northern neighbors and perhaps evocotive of our shared history. It made one imagine Seattle as a jewel in the crown. One envisioned the “Gateway to Alaska” and “King County” and the loggers and pioneers and gold diggers saying they were from such an illustriously named place. It had pride.
Then they decided to chuck the VP, the logo, and all that history and say it was named after Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now, first off, the dishonesty of this is staggering. New transplants see the logo and hear King County and think the county was named in the 60s, or maybe in the 80s when his federal holiday took off. The logo does not, after all, say “Rededicated in 2007″.
Secondly, the hypocrisy. To name oneself after a man in order to piggyback off of the worthiness of his cause forty years after he’s been shot dead? Doesn’t that just nullify (at best) or negate (more likely) any claim you might have had on his virtue? If it is indeed the right thing to do to name yourself after the man, the fact that you couldn’t do it for forty years obviously meant that your county didn’t want to, meaning that your county should have no claim on it. Right? Or you just admit that it never occurred to anyone until now and you rather like the idea of appearing virtuous rather than appearing to endorse slavery (presumably this VP, being from Alabama, was a slave owner).
So, thirdly, because no one ever heard of the VP, their imaginations, and the logo, filled in the gaps. Now all they think of is a man who died forty years ago on the other side of the country and who fought for civil rights for, who? A population less represented here than just about any other major city.
Which leads me to this article I discovered last night:
The progressive paragon of Portland [note that Seattle is just a hair away from Portland, so consider them interchangeable] is the whitest on the list, with an African American population less than half the national average. It is America’s ultimate White City. The contrast with other, supposedly less advanced cities is stark. …
This raises troubling questions about these cities. Why is it that progressivism in smaller metros is so often associated with low numbers of African Americans? Can you have a progressive city properly so-called with only a disproportionate handful of African Americans in it? In addition, why has no one called these cities on it?
As the college educated flock to these progressive El Dorados, many factors are cited as reasons: transit systems, density, bike lanes, walkable communities, robust art and cultural scenes. But another way to look at it is simply as White Flight writ large. Why move to the suburbs of your stodgy Midwest city to escape African Americans and get criticized for it when you can move to Portland and actually be praised as progressive, urban and hip?
The relative lack of diversity in places like Portland raises some tough questions the perennially PC urban boosters might not want to answer. For example, how can a city define itself as diverse or progressive while lacking in African Americans, the traditional sine qua non of diversity, and often in immigrants as well?
Imagine a large corporation with a workforce whose African American percentage far lagged its industry peers, sans any apparent concern, and without a credible action plan to remediate it. Would such a corporation be viewed as a progressive firm and employer? The answer is obvious. Yet the same situation in major cities yields a different answer. Curious.
It’s stupid of them to include all of King County. Most of the county has nothing to do with Seattle (just pays for it) and includes Redmond. I’d bet you a fortune most of that bar is Indian immigrants, all of whom work at Microsoft.
This history and resulting political dynamic could not be more different from what happened in Portland and its “progressive” brethren. These cities have never been black, and may never be predominately Latino. Perhaps they cannot be blamed for this but they certainly should not be self-congratulatory about it or feel superior about the urban policies a lack of diversity has enabled.