The Heart of Whiteness

Ijeoma Oluo traveled to Spokane, Washington to sit at a kitchen table with Rachel Dolezal, who is jobless and living in a month-to-month rental, hoping her new book will start something, anything, to get money coming in.

Source: The Stranger
Published: Apr 19, 2017
Length: 17 minutes (4,300 words)

‘Let’s Suck This Week Less Than We Did Last Week’: An Oral History of The Stranger

Twenty-five years after its debut, here is the story of an independent newspaper in Seattle that spawned Dan Savage and won a Pulitzer Prize.

Source: The Stranger
Published: Oct 12, 2016
Length: 14 minutes (3,636 words)

The Audition

Brownstone talks to women in Seattle who say that a man posed as a female porn recruiter to trick them into having sex with him. Can these women find justice?

Source: The Stranger
Published: Jun 8, 2016
Length: 14 minutes (3,631 words)

How Listening to Music and Fighting with Susan Sontag Helped Me Cope with Chemo

An essay about dealing with stage IV cancer and developing coping techniques.

Source: The Stranger
Published: Jan 21, 2015
Length: 24 minutes (6,152 words)

Unraveling a Mystery in Storage at the Seattle Art Museum

The search for a little girl, “Liberated African Charlotte Turner,” who hand-stitched a sampler during the 1800s slave trade.

Author: Jen Graves
Source: The Stranger
Published: Nov 8, 2014
Length: 11 minutes (2,872 words)

Being Gay in Iran

What happens when a young man in Iran is outed by a documentary:

“May I ask you something personal?”

I know what’s coming.

I look at my aunt as she takes her time to assemble the correct words. She is a tiny, sweet woman wearing a loosely draped head scarf, staring at me with shining dark-brown eyes. I love her more dearly than anything in the world. Of course I will tell her the truth. I can’t think of a reason to hide from her. It isn’t as if she might murder me or run around spreading my secret. She’s not one of those closed-minded, brainwashed people who would automatically judge me. She spent most of her life outside of Iran, living and working as an architect in Norway and Germany. If there is anyone out there who would understand me, it’s her.

“Are you gay, Feri Kitty?” she asks.

Source: The Stranger
Published: Jun 1, 2014
Length: 11 minutes (2,984 words)

What I Want to Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars

Porn star Conner Habib on the negative beliefs people have against porn actors:

It can’t be factual. The reason you hate us, I mean. It’s fine, not all emotions have to be based on facts. We’re human beings, after all. I just wanted to make sure you knew it couldn’t be factual.

You might think the thing that upsets you about us is that we’re ruining society. And there are studies. You like to start sentences with the phrase, Studies show that…

But listen. The facts? You’re going to have a hard time with them.

Every in-depth study that looks at how porn affects people ends up either supporting porn or rendering it neutral. Now, I know, I know, you’re going to say, “But what about THIS one?” and point to a study I’ve never heard of. It’ll say that porn is somehow rearranging our neural pathways or that such-and-such part of the brain lights up when we watch porn. But those studies are routinely debunked. Did you know that most of those anti-porn neuroscience studies don’t have much evidence to back them up? Or that they have leap-of-faith conclusions? Don’t take my word for it. Just look it up. Not right now? You want to keep reading? Well, all right.

Source: The Stranger
Published: Mar 19, 2014
Length: 21 minutes (5,356 words)

When Domestic Violence Becomes a Mass Shooting

Mass shootings tied to domestic violence aren’t as uncommon as we may believe them to be:

“A woman being killed by her boyfriend is a horrifying crime, but it’s not unusual. Domestic-violence deaths, especially with a gun, are relatively common occurrences—two-thirds of women killed with a firearm in the United States are killed by an intimate partner, according to federal crime statistics. What splashed this story across national news was the death count—a domestic-violence homicide that became a mass shooting.

“At the same meeting where Sumpter retold the night’s events, a parade of city leaders stepped up to the podium, trying to assure the terrified crowd that the city was safe. Federal Way deputy mayor Jim Ferrell, a longtime King County deputy prosecutor who worked with the late and much beloved King County prosecutor Norm Maleng, spoke. He quoted Maleng as saying that ‘domestic violence tears at the very fabric of our community,’ and said Federal Way would ‘bind the fabric of our community back up.’ Ferrell also said that in 18 years as a prosecutor, he’d “never seen or heard of witnesses” being taken out like this.

“Which was odd, because there have actually been quite a few recent mass shootings on the national news that escalated from domestic-violence situations.”

Source: The Stranger
Published: Jun 12, 2013
Length: 16 minutes (4,011 words)

The Woman in 606

An inquiry into a neighbor’s suicide leads a man to discover links between heavy marijuana use and psychosis among people who suffer from mental illnesses:

“One afternoon recently, I met Dr. Roger Roffman, professor emeritus at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, in his office up on Roosevelt Way. He has a calm demeanor and a cozy office set up for counseling sessions: He has been studying marijuana dependence for nearly 30 years. I had sent him the police report about Rosado in advance. He offered me some tea and then sat on the couch under his third-floor window and said, ‘The research would tend to indicate that she was loaded for an explosion.’

“The moment he began to speak, it began to rain.

“He said what loaded her for an explosion was being sexually abused as a child and then using marijuana heavily and then experiencing psychosis. Citing data from UK researchers published in Psychological Medicine in 2011, he said, ‘In some case examples where forced nonconsensual sex occurred during childhood, there was a risk from that experience for later psychotic illness, and that risk was exaggerated, made even greater, if the individual used marijuana.’ In the data, researchers found that if an individual’s sexual trauma and marijuana use both began before the age of 16, their chances of being diagnosed with psychosis later on was ‘over seven times’ greater. The researchers wrote that among other stress factors thought to contribute to psychosis—like ethnicity, employment, drug use, and family history of mental illness—sexual trauma was one ‘few researchers had acknowledged.'”

Source: The Stranger
Published: Aug 21, 2012
Length: 26 minutes (6,578 words)

The Bravest Woman in Seattle

2012 Pulitzer Prize winner: A woman testifies about her rape and the rape and murder of her partner:

“She understood, sitting up there on the witness stand, why people might need to imagine her window coverings. But this is not what the survivor of the South Park rapes and murder had come to talk about. The mechanics, both psychological and practical, of how the attacks might have come to pass were now well beside the point. In any sense that would satisfy, they are probably unknowable.

“The reason for her sitting on the witness stand of a packed and sweltering eighth-floor courtroom at the King County Courthouse on June 8, in jeans and a short-sleeved black blouse, hands clasped over knees, a jury of strangers taking notes, a crowd of family and friends and strangers observing, a bunch of media recording, was to say: This happened to me. You must listen. This happened to us. You must hear who was lost. You must hear what he did. You must hear how Teresa fought him. You must hear what I loved about her. You must know what he took from us. This happened.”

Source: The Stranger
Published: Apr 16, 2012
Length: 21 minutes (5,349 words)