Geography Plays Vital Role in Race Relations in America

  • Share
  • CevherShare
  • Share

By Sepeedeh Hashemian

Edited by Lila Ojha Dhakal

After living in Washington State for 13 years I can honestly say when it comes to race relations, they vary from state to state. Being from Sammamish, Washington (a suburb of Seattle) I remembered going to school where the population was predominantly Asian and White. In a lot of ways growing up in Sammamish we were living in a protected bubble. It wasn’t until I moved to Phoenix for college that I saw a different dynamic in race relations.

photo 1
A shot of the Seattle skyline from Pier 57

For instance, when 9/11 happened I lived in Woodinville, Washington in a predominantly White neighborhood. I recall my neighbor, Ms. Appleby, telling my mom to let her know if anyone at school picked on me for being Middle-Eastern so she could go to school and talk to the administration.  Fortunately in school I didn’t experience any moments of hostility from my peers. I know that when my cousin went to school in Minnesota he experienced something very different than I did.

Both my parents are originally from Iran, and in 2003 my mom received her US citizenship. The day my mom was sworn in as a citizen, our next door neighbor who was a police officer bought my mom a congratulatory flag-shaped cake. This isn’t to say that tension between races doesn’t exist in Washington but that in my experience I have seen more harmony than conflict.

In the case of Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin which take place in the southern region of America, race relations are very different. Considering southern states tend to be conservative and were formerly supportive of slavery back during the time of the civil war there still seems to be that animosity between different races. I would say to a certain degree animosity between different races is ingrained in Southern culture. This is not to say that people in the South are inherently racist because that’s an inaccurate generalization but more that it is part of the South’s past and unfortunately those roots are hard to break free from.

2 Comments on “Geography Plays Vital Role in Race Relations in America”

  1. Hi Sepeedeh,
    . The concept of racism, though relatively new to me, is not completely alien, especially for me, being a black.
    But that’s not the issue, i am glad for you that you have been spared that.
    I became emotional, when i read about your next door neighbor, the police officer who bought your mom a congratulatory flag-shaped cake. We are all humans and should live in love for another like that.
    Your point that GEOGRAPHY PLAYS VITAL ROLE IN RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA is another eye opener for me. I think it is possible that there are some people, who though they exist in the present geographically, are still locked in the past, subconsciously, in the time of racism in America, and so are racist against others, unconsciously, or doing it yet denying it because it is frown on now.
    Your Piece is nice 🙂

  2. It seems so obvious now, but for some reason I had not put much thought into geography influencing racial tension. Being from Washington state–a place where there is a large and diverse group of immigrant communities–one would expect harmony. Compare that to the south–a region with a history of distrust and aggression–and there’s racial strife.
    A whole different situation plays out here in Arizona. There strangely are not many natives–there are a lot of people who moved from the East coast and the Midwest, and a number of people who immigrated from south of the border. However, as we see in the politics of this state, the white community has tended to claim historical ownership of the state, even though that might not exist.

Comments are closed.