Spokane Better than Tacoma: My "Response"

As of recent, I’ve taken an interest in local bloggers. I love the city I live in, despite its reputation as being undesirable and what better way to discover it than to read the work of the people who write about it. My stalking doesn’t stop there, I also actively seek them out on social media—AKA twitter. I generally appreciate what they have to say, and love the opportunity local bloggers give me to explore ideas I’ve never encountered.

Occasionally they cover difficult topics. Recently Dan Rahe, of Post Defiance fame, published an article with the provocative title “Spokane is Better than Tacoma”—obviously the title is sensationalized, but the article more than makes up for it by presenting a lot of concrete information on certain aspects of why Spokane outshines Tacoma. Allow me to paraphrase, Rahe believes that Spokane is cooler but Tacoma can catch up—we just need to demand excellence to do it. While there are many aspects missing from the analysis, it is still a fairly good critique.

One commenter took great offense to the article, because it failed to analyze diversity in relation to the culture of the cities and how that influences the statement “Spokane is Better than Tacoma.” While I agree that diversity can’t be left out entirely and perhaps the author might have mentioned it a bit, it wasn’t really the point of the article. Of course Tacoma is more diverse than Spokane—both cities are predominately white, but Tacoma has more minorities by a large percentage—but is bringing this up in every article necessary? Is calling out an author and an entire blog as pandering to “white-folks” appropriate? I also fail to see a slipperier slope than the conclusion “[n]o wonder only people that live in the North End & or near Post Defiance read this blog.”

I don’t live in the North End. I probably never will. I grew up on the east end of Parkland, a place that people hear about and cringe. I read Post Defiance. It isn’t because I’m a rich white man. I’m not rich and I’m not poor—I am white but that has nothing to do with why I read Post Defiance. I read Post Defiance because it is one of the few high quality blogs about Tacoma.

Criticism is good. I love when people give me feedback, it only makes me a better writer and a better person—claiming that a blog is uncultured simply because one author on the blog left out race from an article is not criticism, claiming that it’s because they’re white is racism.

Tacoma is a wonderful, diverse city with its own problems and its own strengths—diversity being a member of both of those categories. Nobody will deny that different races experience different upbringing even in the same city—of course an article written by a white man is going to come from a different point of view than one written by a black man or a latino man or an asian man, and there is nothing wrong with that. You can’t embrace diversity without embracing the fact that we’re all different and we all have different views of the world we live in. Tacomans need to recognize that our diversity doesn’t have to be one of our problems and frankly, pulling the race card in an argument makes you part of the problem.

P.S. Spokane is not better than Tacoma.

Stephen Battey

Stephen is a 25 year old amateur photographer, blogger, and husband from Tacoma, Washington. He shares a cute ass house with his husband, cat, and two dogs. He generally hates all weather patterns.

Tacoma, WA