Bobby WorldWide Approved AAA

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights

Ed Murray, Mayor
Patricia Lally, Acting Director

810 Third Avenue, Suite 750, Seattle WA 98104-1627
(206) 684-4500, TTY (206) 684-0332
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
Wheel Chair accessible on the Third Avenue entrance

Director's Writes

By Germaine W. Covington, Director
Office for Civil Rights

Growing Problem: Predatory Lending

This letter appeared in "Letters to the Editor" section of the P-I on April 24, 2002, in response to an article about a protest at the office of a local mortgage lender.

Coalition will address issue of predatory lending

Your recent article about predatory lending was well timed, since April is Fair Housing Month. Unfortunately, unfair lending practices are not isolated occurrences in the Seattle area. The problem has grown so prevalent that the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and the Seattle Office of Housing have spearheaded a coalition to address the issue.

The Seattle-King County Coalition for Responsible Lending consists of government agencies, non-profit organizations and representatives from the banking and mortgage loan industries. The coalition's mandate is to research the extent of the problem, educate the public and find remedies to prevent people from being victimized. Our efforts are based on the Freddie Mac Foundation's "Don't Borrow Trouble" campaign, and have received funding from the foundation.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights can investigate charges of unfair lending practices within the City under current anti-discrimination statutes. For more information about fair lending practices, contact SOCR's predatory lending specialist at 206-684-0300.

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More Thoughts On White Privilege

The following op-ed appeared in the Seattle Times on February 4, 2002. It was a response to an earlier piece by Times columnist Lance Dickie entitled, "Unconsciously racist? Me? My bleeding heart breaks."

Dear Mr. Dickie,

Thank you for your honest and personal piece on January 18 about Martin Luther King Jr. Day and White privilege. I appreciate your willingness to speak openly about these difficult issues.

If I read you correctly, you acknowledge the reality of White privilege, but you deny its usefulness as a way of analyzing our American dilemma. You describe White privilege as, "Long on explanation and short on remedy . What I hear is something akin to the granting of a perfect excuse."

I'm guessing you mean to say, "A perfect excuse for African Americans to avoid accountability, to ignore education, to play loud music in Seward Park" - to reject the "Bootstrap Theory." Mr. Dickie, White privilege is not an excuse for anyone's bad behavior - Black or White. It is no one's free ride.

The phrase, "White Privilege" is simply a way to describe the bias that pervades all the institutions that shape our society, from the government to our schools and banks. "White Privilege" summarizes a lengthy list of institutional perks available to only some of us in America: