I wish that Mr. Irigon had gotten his wish to have appointed an Asian Pacific Islander to Seattle Police Command, but I am not persuaded that Chief Kathleen O’Toole’s response to unanimous recommendations should not brighten the day of a woman who faces what she often calls “very difficult” and “no-win” decisions. I commend Mr. Irigon for being demanding in the name of transparency and am affirmative of a little fragmentation in advancement for Asians in Seattle. Anything that opens a window to the Chinatown-International District (CID) brings light and air to our society. It is thanks to men like Mr. Irigon that the civics of CID are gold, that Black men and women are relieved to be back on the blocks here as well. They know an underdog culture that stand up for themselves with such passion and dignity can only do well by everyone else.
Very rarely have I ever been told that CID is not for me because I am white and old (not never). I am a phantom who found my salvation in CID, but the clerks, the bakers, the people in the stores, library, streets, and elsewhere who see me and know me well, understand that I come here so often as an appreciator, not as an intruder or occupier. CID could stay just as it is forever and leave me perfectly content. I have always felt very honored to be allowed to comment in Northwest Asian Weekly on the most remarkable neighborhood I have ever seen. I don’t care to be famous or popular because almost all of us are content to be invisible and a little bit Buddhist in our approach to life. Our real stars are so exciting to us because they don’t seek a greater stage than the CID.
Now I know what the issues in this exchange are, at least insofar as being important to our community.
There are three that absolutely must be addressed and never forgotten: fairness in opportunity, cultural destiny, and priorities — the last of which is the most important. There is no place for discrimination on either side when it comes to our district’s safety. Our seniors must be kept safe and feel safe. First responders must bring to their job a protective instinct. I know that Asian Weekly wants new stars. They miss the flamboyant charisma of Ruby Chow, the wry existentialism of Uncle Bob, and personal charms, talents, abilities of others I could name who either I knew, or by grace, were preserved for me by remarkable chroniclers like the Asian Weekly. But underlying all that happiness in celebrating who we are, not one of us would care whether he or she was a mangy and flea bitten old dead eye detective if they caught the man who killed Donnie Chin.
So, while I know there is bitterness anytime someone feels Asians have been conveniently excluded in the name of the greater good, and that morale deeply depends on the forthrightness of men like Frank Irigon, the fine new people, Black and lesbian, on Seattle Police Command can and will make it up to us. I’m sure.
Best to you,
— Mac Crary