The Day White Folks Reconsidered Their Whiteness: A Police Procedural | by Fredda Jaffe

Posted Tue, 5/17/2016 - 4:36pm by  |  Category:

Seattle is one of the whitest major cities in America and, in fact, is becoming slightly whiter.
—Charles Mudede

King County Superior Court, Case 97531, Exhibit A: Handwritten Note

Follow the trail of broken crockery and bits of bird nests
note there are more bees this year than last
gaze at the stand of Giant Sequoias who witness more
than you imagine, who sense your emptiness  and pain
even when you are unable.

King County Superior Court, Case 97531, Exhibit B: Interview With Man on Couch

A: You look like a solo version of Crosby, Stills & Nash posing for an album cover.
JB: Spot on! Except I sing the blues.
A: Is it possible for white guys to really sing the blues?
JB: Why not? Everybody grieves.
A: What about the danger of cultural appropriation?
JB: Artists devote themselves to stealing ideas.
A: Do you remember the first time you knew you were white?

King County Superior Court, Case 97531, Exhibit C: Recording of African-American Child

What are you looking at? I haven’t done anything bad.
Do you want to play? I’m collecting grass angels for my mom.
One.two.three.four.five.six.seven, all good girls will go to heaven.

King County Superior Court, Case 97531, Exhibit D: Video of Two White Children with Dog

Girl attempts to photograph naked brother who resists being photographed.

Dog barks. We behave better when we know we are being filmed.

King County Superior Court, Case 97531, Exhibit E: Cessna Parked on Front Lawn

If you’ve ever flown in one of these two-seaters, you know it’s equal parts
nail biting and amazement. The closest you’ll ever come to spreading your wings.
White plane, white door, white man, white lies, fictions and discrepancies,
distortions and denials. Color is a social construct. Do not attempt this stunt at home.


Leading up to our Lit Series event on Friday, May 20, we asked for writing on the same topic that our visiting writers were assigned: “The Writing’s on the Wall.” Fredda’s was chosen to be published on our blog for its innovative structure, eerie and beautiful vignettes, and socially conscious sensibility.

f_jaffeFredda Jaffe‘s poems have enjoyed traveling throughout Puget Sound on buses, wading in the Skagit River while studying salmon habitat restoration, and look forward to appearing in Switched-on Gutenberg in Fall, 2016.