I get this question a lot: how diverse is Seattle? Do you feel comfortable living there? Are there black people? Or Latinos? How about Asians?
As someone who’s lived in many top US cities — New York City, Philadelphia, DC, San Francisco/Oakland — I can say that more people of color should not feel afraid to move to Seattle. The community is quite small, but because of that, it allows it to be more tightly knit compared to other cities. So even though I know fewer people of color in Seattle, I feel closer to them and actually spend time with them. Whereas when I lived in NYC, I took them for granted, and in reality, just hung out with the same 4 people over and over again. So, perhaps it’s a matter of preference.
What’s also cool about Seattle is that once you’ve formed a circle of friends, you can choose to live close enough to them so that it’s easy for people to visit you and vice versa. This practically guarantees the shelf-life of those friendships. I’ve lost count of how many amazing people I’ve met in “more diverse” cities but lost touch with simply due to the tremendous effort visiting each other took.
That said, here’s how to can infuse a little more black, brown and yellow into your Seattle life.
Live in more diverse neighborhoods
- International District/Chinatown
- South Seattle | Columbia City, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Renton etc
- Capitol Hill & Central District areas
- Far North Seattle | Lynwood, Martha Lake, Shoreline
- East side | Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Snoqualmie
- Almost anywhere except North Seattle ie. Fremont, Ballard, Northgate, Greenwood etc
- These neighborhoods have rich, Nordic white history, so unsurprisingly, you’ll be out of luck if searching for non-white diversity in North Seattle
Attend venues and events likely to draw a diverse crowd
- The Collective Seattle
- Culture Shock Curators
- Nectar Lounge
- Chop Suey, Slay Fridays
- Civility and Unrest Sundays
- Salsa con Todo; Club Sur
People of color are thriving in Seattle! Follow Seattle-based people of color and influencers to see what they’re up to.
Here are a couple to get you started:
Jennie Pegowski | Seattle-based model and actress, starred in Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You music video | Black & Asian (Thai)
Carolyn Yuen Marino | Seattle-based fashion blogger | Asian (Hong Kong)
Brittany Love | Seattle-based personal trainer | Black & Latina (Mexican)
Mollie Ruiz-Hopper | Seattle-based travel & food blogger | Latina
Uloma | Native Seattleite, engineer and fashion blogger | Black (Nigerian)
All this is not to say that Seattle is devoid of race-based issues; much like the rest of the USA, especially right now, there are many faux-liberals, Trump supporters and insensitive individuals living in Seattle and in its suburbs. However, it’s the same story for the Bay area, LA, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. So why be scared when we can be part of the movement to color Seattle with diverse perspectives?
What other questions do you have about moving to Seattle as a person of color? Let us know in the comments below.