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Washington's new congressional districts, as expected, are designed to protect incumbents. (Caveat: while many, including myself, are treating these as though they are final, the commission hasn't voted on them yet, but they are set to do so within days, and I expect them to be approved.)

Rick Larsen, who beat John Koster by only two percent in 2010, was given the 2nd District by removing almost all of its rural areas. Similarly, Dave Reichert's 8th District was made more rural, solidfying his chances of reelection. So the 1st District -- which has no incumbent, as Jay Inslee is running for governor instead -- picks up the rural areas of the 2nd, and some of the more urban areas of the 8th, and kept some of its existing urban areas. And the new 1st happens to be where Koster, 2010's toughest challenger, lives.

Interestingly, although Koster (a Republican) has an Arlington address, he lives outside the city, in the unincorporated area northeast. Larsen also is originally from Arlington, though currently "lives" in Everett. Yet commissioners saw fit to put Arlington -- where Koster beat Larsen by double digits -- into the 2nd. It seems to me like it's a bit of a poke in the eye to Koster by Democratic redistricting commissioner Tim Ceis.

The most offensive part of the redistricting to me, however, is the new map for the ninth, which was carved out deliberately to give "ethnic minorities" a majority. I can't stand this sort of institutional racism.

Yes, I called it racism. This district is designed to get an "ethnic minority" candidate elected. Oh, they don't say it outright, but it's obviously true. They say they want to "[encourage] people of color" to participate, make them "feel their votes matter -- that they have the ability to swing future elections," and that the new representative will "be a champion for their interests." I happen to think that voting for someone -- even in small part -- based on ethnicity is racism. And the Redistricting Committee is making it a part of our electoral institution. So it is, indeed, institutional racism.

Granted, the extremely pale incumbent, Adam Smith, is going to be on the ballot in 2012, but the proponents of this district believe it will become more "ethnically diverse" (read: "nonwhite") in coming years, so when Smith is gone, they hope to replace him with an "ethnically diverse" (I mean, "nonwhite") candidate.

Y'all don't think the proponents of this new district will be satisfied if they continue to be represented by Adam Smith or some other paleface, do you? If they would be, then why bother with an "ethnic minority" district in the first place? It's obvious that Smith can be a champion for their stated interests: comprehensive immigration reform, and disparities in education and health care. So why is this change so important, since they already have someone who is working for their interests? Obviously their interests are not merely in the issues, but in actually having a nonwhite representative.

So if they think that voting based on ethnicity is important, then if no white candidates runs in the new 9th District (in the future, since Adam Smith is running in 2012), I am considering doing so myself (even though I am not certain I am actually white, I appear that way to most people), just to give white resident-citizens of the 9th a choice that the designers of this district map seem to think is so important.

I do not believe that there is any value whatsoever in grouping voters together by race. Some race-lovers may disagree, but I know plenty of conservative "ethnic minorities" who would rather live in a conservative district than a left-leaning one, regardless of its ethnic makeup. Playing to race just further instills in us that "people of color" are different than people of ... white? Non-nonwhiteness? No color?

Honestly, I don't even know what the hell these race-lovers are talking about half the time. But as for me and my house, we will ignore whatever color you think you are and I am.

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