I've been thinking for far too long about how to do something about the U-Washee laundromat on NW 5th Street here in Richmond, Indiana. I say "far too long" because I've known about its existence for years, and have only thought and talked with others about it, instead of taking action. I've been trying to figure out how to convert its overt displays of racism into a useful and transformative conversation in the community. Why does this place exist in the first place? Who patronizes it and what do they see and think about its imagery and stereotypes? How does our Asian population feel about it? Why isn't there more conversation happening already about U-Washee?
It was simultaneously a good and bad thing today to see that there are plenty of people talking about U-Washee outside of Richmond. A little more than a month ago, The Bilerico Project put up a great commentary with photos and really calls Richmond out for not taking action on this, but also ties it to larger trends of racism in the Midwest: