Racial inequality in Seattle

Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Racism has existed throughout human history. It may be defined as the hatred of one person by another because of skin color that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that person. It has influenced wars, slavers, and laws.

There is racial inequality in Seattle that creates a very big income gap and a divide between the races created by the history of discrimination. For most of its history, Seattle was a segregated city, as committed to white supremacy. People of color were excluded from most jobs, most neighborhoods and schools, and many stores, restaurants, hotels, and other commercial establishments, even hospitals. In 1950, 94% of the population in Seattle were white and 70% still are white. Starting in the 1920s, covenants in force throughout the region allowed only white people to own property in most neighborhoods in Seattle.

Young protesters take part in a Black Lives Matter march in Seattle

Among the 200 biggest school districts in the U.S., Seattle has the fifth-biggest gap in achievement between black and white students. Seattleā€™s white-black gap is also the biggest in Washington. White students in Seattle public schools are doing great by performing two grade levels above the national average on standardized exams. But it’s different for the Black kids. They test one and a half grade levels below the U.S. average. Compared with their white peers in the city, black students lag by three and a half grade levels.

From the 1910s through the 1960s, many Seattle neighborhoods and King County suburbs performed total racial exclusion. White-only clauses and other restrictions can be found today in property deeds for many neighborhoods. Explore race and residential patterns in the interactive map below. Move through the decades from 1950-2010. Select a race category, either by the number of residents or the percentage. Click a census tract for detailed information about a neighborhood which appears in the “Tract populations.”

If you want to know more…

There is an app that can inform you about racism in Seattle and raise awareness about the issue. I wish people will consider traveling to Seattle after they download this app so they can have first-hand experience to feel the racism history in Seattle. This app connects the user with organizations to make a change in this world. This will give users the opportunity to get involved in working against racist systems that oppress us all such as donate and volunteer to spread the need for change.

Click Here for Works Cited

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  1. April 26, 2019 by Eugenie.Park

    Hi Julia,
    I live in Seattle, and this was a really interesting read for me! Especially because Seattle is generally seen as a “hyper-liberal” city, the achievement gap between white and black students was extremely surprising to me. That being said, I’m not sure whether achievement gaps or demographic statistics are necessarily a direct gauge for racial inequality. For example, I find it hard to believe that Seattle has more racial inequality than some of the cities in the South – even though none of the statistics necessarily would suggest that. I am not at all denying that racism in Seattle doesn’t exist (it definitely does), but I think it’s a hard thing to quantify with just numbers. Let me know your thoughts. Again, thank you so much for writing this!

  2. April 27, 2019 by Everett.Honour

    Hey Julia. While racial inequality is apparent throughout all of the United States, I never really thought about it being in Seattle. Your presentation really brings a new light to a large issue in a location people don’t think of having said issue.

  3. April 28, 2019 by Olivia Hebert

    Julia. I think this topic is important and needs more awareness. What are some ways to spread awareness about the racial inequality in Seattle? How can we begin to end the racial inequity?

  4. April 29, 2019 by Janina.Troper

    Hi Julia! Great job on this project! Racial inequality is an extremely important topic that needs a lot of awareness and media coverage. I wondering what you think the world should do to mitigate racial injustice, whether that be governmental policies or school educational programs etc.

  5. April 29, 2019 by Luis

    This is a wonderful presentation. Many cities that characterize themselves as liberal face the same issues. I’m from Boston and you can see the inequality just by looking at where people live. It is extremely segregated. Do find this to be a trend in liberal cities with high costs of living?

  6. May 02, 2019 by Larson Palmgren

    This presentation has some of the most engaging and interesting sources and evidence I’ve seen on almost any of the websites so far. Also, what specifically caught your eye about seattle?

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