Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 10/07/2022

We have this lovely sign: 

That “fawn” looks awfully fast

I’ve never seen a fawn with such prodigious antlers, but apparently others have because they get mad at the person who shared this. They seem to assume that the poster thinks slowing down for fawns is silly. So they berate people for driving fast, and then we argue about the exact right speed to drive so that you don’t slow traffic but also don’t commit fawnocide. 

But there are other signs on Island we must discuss. Someone had a confederate (aka pro-slavery) flag on their car and house. I saw the post briefly before it was deleted. As I recall, the most hopeful interpretation is that the flag-havers are just deeply ignorant of American history and also have tacky taste in flags. 

But then there’s the possibility that they’re racist. 

And speaking of racism, we’ve talked about it a bunch this week. 

It came up because of a post by the Rants admin, letting us know that Facebook took down several posts and comments for bullying/harassment. If that happens often, the group will be shut down. 

Before I get into the racism bit, let me just say, PLEASE do not let the group shut down. It’s such good fodder for this column. I do not want to sift through hundreds of posts of old mattresses and crocs for sale to get enough meat to write about. When you’re about to write a mean, spiteful comment, think first, “Will this make Anna’s life easier or harder?” Come to think of it, this should be the guiding principle by which you, and everyone on Earth for that matter, make all decisions. 

Anyway, here’s how we got on the topic of racism. A commenter said, “If it’s calling out racism in our community, it’s not only a rant but a duty.”

I don’t know if this is meant as a general observation or if it’s a reference to a previous conversation, but someone got upset about this comment. Their response starts with: “shame on all you people who rush to judgment of others.” There’s a lot more in there, but the highlight is this bit, “I am not nor have I ever been a racist in my life. I do not see color.“

What does it mean to “not see color?” Though people may think it means they don’t judge people by their race, how it comes across is that they refuse to recognize a person’s culture, heritage, and history, as well as how a person’s experience can be affected by their skin color. Saying ‘I don’t see color’ can mean ‘I don’t see racism.’

Many people react to this post with kindness, trying to tell the commenter why their words might be hurtful and assuming they had no ill intent. One commenter makes a great point that some people don’t recognize racism because they expect it to be like Jim Crow, and the ways racism manifests today are different. The commenter cites the War on Drugs, racism within the Criminal Justice System, lack of access to health care, and defunding ESL in public schools, etc. (Ok, that last one the commenter didn’t mention, but it fits the pattern, so consider it my exegesis.) 

Racism has two parts- systemic/institutional, and interpersonal. The two types of racism are intertwined, as institutions are ultimately made up of people. If a racist person is in a position of power (such as a doctor, judge, or police officer), their racism can be amplified and have devastating effects. Moreover, if systems that were built by people who were racist persist, then the effects carry through over time, even if the people who built those systems are long gone. Take for example how the highway system cut up predominantly Black neighborhoods or how the Japanese internment during World War Two led to a diaspora where people lost homes, farms, and in many cases, didn’t pass on their language to the future generations.

What I’m trying to get at is that when people talk about racism in America, some talk about interpersonal racism while others talk about systemic racism. And when people are talking about racism in fundamentally different ways, there’s a lot of room for confusion and misunderstanding. 

Some people think we write about and talk about racism too much. I have an amazing life hack for people who don’t want to read about racism. Simply don’t read about it. The world is full of more writing than you could get through in your lifetime. If you do most of your reading on Facebook, then yes, people discuss racism a lot. If you read Haruki Murakami, you’ll read about truck drivers who can talk to cats. 

This picture is for Haruki Murakami, in case he ever happens to stumble across this post. Stranger things have happened, possibly. 

We have a planned protest. An islander says, “ If someone…hopefully King County Historic Preservation… does not acquire the Portage Store and rescue this gem by January 1 2023 at midnight,  I will chain myself at low tide to a vintage 1971 exercise bike on KVI beach.  Join me if you are with me!!!”

Another islander informs us, “There’s a 6:15am low on Jan 1st.”

That sounds way too early to get up on New Year’s Day. Maybe if you’re still awake and a little drunk, then you could manage it. Not me though. I like to ring in the New Year by doing my all time favorite thing- sleeping. 

Some of us worry that the Portage Store is susceptible to the rising waters of climate change. But maybe it isn’t?  It might be the only part of the isthmus God spares. It’ll be the ark that carries forth Vashon culture after the floods. We’ll fill it with old mattresses and outgrown Crocs. 

An islander posted this picture of Vashon with 3 feet of sea level rise. 

The Portage Store may be our only hope now that the barge is gone. 

Some of us are thinking big. One islander says,  “That property includes waterfront…has anyone considered re-making a dock there that could service passengers to Des Moines?” 

Finally, we have this rant.  “Hocus Pocus 2 sucks! Dammit Disney stop screwing with my childhood!”

Disney truly has gone downhill. If I walk out of a Disney movie and I’m not traumatized and afraid of being orphaned and forced to get by on just my charisma in a world filled with dark magic where spoons and knives contain the souls of stilted servants, and my best hope of survival is being trapped in a relationship with someone who was a warthog just 30 seconds ago, then something is wrong. 

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

1 thought on “Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 10/07/2022”

  1. Elizabeth Ripley

    Thank You so much for your commentaries on Island life — You are a treasure! This weeks rundown is absolutely delightfully brilliant!!

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