Ignite Op-ed: We Can’t Work Together Until We Understand Each Other

We Can’t Work Together Until We Understand Each Other

Truly “getting along” without adequately understanding one another, is a false assimilation ideal that gets us nowhere.

Helping Hands final 2

Written by: Chris King

The words of Rodney King can be interpreted in several ways. Most of us remember the questionable police tactics in subduing Rodney King, caught on video. All of us should remember how Eric Garner died over illegal cigarettes while not offering any resistance whatsoever.  But we should also remember how Daniel Shaver — a white man — was in my opinion murdered by an evil and psychotic police officer in a hotel hallway. We should also remember the story of Liko Kenney and an entire town of largely white people who were terrorized by a white cop in the ’90s and early 2000s as I noted in my Unity Rally speech this summer in Arlington, Washington.


The only way to grow our country, grow our progressive unity, is if we all grow our understanding of others’ individual lived experiences. This means accepting and understanding the true history of this country, which is indeed steeped in racism. And acknowledging that our current institutional systems operate off of that ingrained racism. Obviously not every job termination or every abuse of police power inherently involves racism, but I have investigated enough of these incidents as a journalist, trial attorney and human being to know that some of them certainly are based in racism. I’ve got top-producing video clients being called “moolies” (it’s an eggplant reference) at New York Life and having New York Life admit that the phrase was used but having the gumption to claim that race played no part in the termination of agency. That is clearly a joke, right? It’s not and it’s a crying shame.


I am working with a number of people who are responsible for exposing mass corruption and racism within the Washington State Liquor and Control Board (LCB). LCB is an entity that does not even truly have the power to enforce the law and I intend to prove that in our upcoming federal lawsuit next week. You can read the concrete examples there as you ponder how it came to be that Seattle has approximately 50 licensees right now with zero — 0 — Blacks holding licenses. There were Black people on the medicinal side before I-502 but LCB has pushed them out of business and refused to approve paperwork for current BIPOC applicants like Black Excellence in Cannabis. Executives from Black Excellence in Cannabis can testify that it was only when a white woman walked their paperwork in and got immediate approval from the same reviewer who denied them, were they able to progress with their business operations licenses.


I have many more examples of government abuse and racial government abuse.


In today’s socio-political climate growing our “country hood” means truly recognizing the past and present pernicious effects of all -isms and -schisms with an eye toward the larger picture. In my opinion that includes intentional economic abuse of the ever-shrinking middle class. Below is a list of events that exhibit this pattern as each event served to further destabilize a decreasingly potent and vibrant middle class. Consider these and how each one either affected your wallet, your individual and/or our collective freedoms.


1980’s S&L scandal 

1990’s Enron

2000’s 911

2010’s Mortgage/Financial Crisis (still ongoing)

2020 COVID19 and its attendant ills…. working stiffs get $1,000 (some get unemployment, true) and congress — BOTH PARTIES — are busy helping themselves to periodic pay raises and often helping their buddies in Fortune 500 companies get economic help that they need.


It’s the same ole, same ole and we are tired of it. It’s been highlighted so many times and is worth reminding. Change at this level doesn’t happen from top-down regulations. We have to drive change from the bottom-up. We have to start local and progress upwards to drive the policies and legislations we want to see – the policies that we know will help the common person.


The candidates who find their way to the Rise Up WA are not part of that soiled trickle-down cloth. They bring a new and welcomed dimension in politics that seeks to truly give all citizens an even and fair shot at equality. One that cultivates an environment that supports citizens achieving their personal goals despite being in a world that embraces corruption, hatred and big money and power.


We can drive more change through working with each other than working against one another.

About the Author


Christopher King is a former Civil Rights lawyer who has written for the daily press. He was also a photojournalist for weekly press routinely shoots courtroom video designed to expose corruption and abuse of power and authority. He has also worked on the Presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson ‘84, Dick Gephardt ’04 and the 2010 Massachusetts Governor campaign for Deval Patrick before relocating to the Greater Seattle area in 2013.

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