Offensive Language

This is written for my family. It contains offensive language. If it offends you then it offends you. 

I am tired. I am tired of the violence. I am tired of racist people. I am tired of the lies being told by our racist president. I am tired of ignorance. I am tired of straw man arguments and being told there are two sides to everything. I am tired of so many things. 

To set the record straight I have thought, said and done racist stuff. I see myself as a good person yet my history is my history. It is my job as a human being to be a better person and to change for the better.

Disclaimer – I am going to use racial slurs but not to promote these words but to put it on the factual record. To everyone who is not white I apologize for the hurt I have caused. I use the actual language to own up to it and I do not want to offer a lame euphemism for anything. If this is vetted by social media at some point I ask you to consider the context in which this is written. This is Doug Marshall, a white man, taking ownership of his past, taking ownership of his white privilege past.

Here are a few examples of my racist history. 

When I was a child I would participate in a selection process with other kids;

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo

Catch a nigger by the toe

If he hollers, let him go

Eeny meeny miny mo 

My parents told me I should say “tiger” but I don’t remember them explaining to me what the problem was. This is my earliest recollection of my racism. 

My maternal grandmother (Nanny) often read me the book “Little Black Sambo” when I was a child. Nanny was kind hearted and being so young I was not an active racist however the book did plant some seeds.

In Junior High School in New York City my group friends often joked with each other about our ethnic heritage. We regularly called each other Spic, Wop, Polack, Kraut and because my origins were from Scotland and England they just called me Mutt. We did not have black friends in our circle. 

I do not believe I ever called an African American a nigger to their face. On occasion I used it to refer to them though. That’s being a coward. Something deep inside knew it was wrong even though I was not aware it was used as a term to put them in “their place.” I know better now.

When I was young I did not believe an African American man had the intellect to be a quarterback in the National Football League. Where did I get that idea? Many people thought it. On TV it was not what they said it was how it was said. The message was delivered and it was what I believed. That was around 1969, 1970 or 1971 when I first became interested in football. Today it is intensely evident I was stupid, ignorant and wrong.

In Canada our family used to tell Paki and Newfi jokes. The latter bothered Nanny because she had family from there. I thought she overreacted but we laid off those in her presence.

The church I grew up in struggled with racial issues in the 1960’s and the 1970’s. It did not know what to make of the Black Power movement and thought of Black Evangelicals as “Black” Evangelicals.” I have written proof of this from a letter in 1982.

Every church I’ve been associated with has never actively confronted racism. That is White Privilege. 

In the same church we held our missionary family to The Belgian Congo in high regard. These black people needed saving and it was our lily white obligation to make sure it happened. Red and Yellow, Back and White, all are precious in his sight.

I only had black friends because we played on the same sports team. In ninth grade I ran for student body president and won. The girl who ran against me was black. She would have made a much better president. But I was white and pretty much the whole school was white. I saw her as loud and defiant. She should have known her place. Where did that come from? I am trying to remember her name. Deep down in my soul I knew I was wrong for running as the great white hope. 

If there was one moment I could change, just one, I wish I could go back to Junior High in 1973 and tell the student body that my opponent should be elected Student Body President. I remember knowing at the time it was what I should have done. White Privilege won that day.

The black students in my school had a long bus ride back to where they lived.

In my twenties I once had an argument with a pastor in New York about how it was wrong for a person to marry outside of their race. For the record he said it was wrong. I argued the other side. But I did think of white women who dated and married black men to be promiscuous. Really? Why did I think that way? It is because I saw an African American person as a different kind of human? I was not any different from him.

And also in my twenties I sometimes labeled babies at niglettes and chinklettes. This was not an innocent thing although I thought nothing of it at the time. It simply lifted me a little above a person of another race. Imagine if a black person referred to my son as a vanilla pop.

My friends are white. Most of my interactions are with white people. I belong to West Seattle Golf Course. It used to exclude minority people and when the City of Seattle made it illegal the club figured out a work around. This was many years ago. It has long since changed and our “club” remains mostly white.

In my adult years I have failed to confront white friends when they used racist language in conversation. This is White Privilege. I have participated in the effort to put others in their place by not saying anything.

I did not see the harm in the symbolism of The Confederate Flag. I did not see harm in the symbol of the noose. Seriously, this is how blind I was to these symbols telling people of color to know their place.

All of these experiences have been in the shadows. None of them are overt.  

And I am writing this now while people protest because they are tired of the killing of men and women. Should have writing this long ago. This is my work to do. I’m not telling anyone else what to do. My work is to be Anti-Racist. The work is not only to be personally less racist. The work is to fight against racism and be Anti-Racist in all its forms.

There is no way I’ve remembered everything but I have searched my memory for a long time about these things. 

The Homes of Violence

My parents purchased their Seattle house in 1972. It’s a peaceful community not too far from downtown where yesterday violence took to the streets. Tomorrow is June in the year 2020. The Briarcliff Development was created in June of 1925 as an addition to the City of Seattle. As far as I can tell there were two Briarcliff phases:

Briarcliff 1 – 122 Planned Homes

Briarcliff 2 – 40 Planned Homes

The Covenants for the developments defined the community. It was ok to have a dog or a cat but it was not permissible to have livestock on the property. In addition it also read; No person other than of the White race shall be permitted to occupy any portion of any lot in this plat, or of any building at any time there on, except a domestic servant actually employed by a White occupant of such building.Note – White was capitalized.

There are over 500 of these deeds on records with discriminatory language. The Briarcliff language was all inclusive. Some were specific and included Hebrews, Semitics, Ethiopians, Asiatics, Negros, Malay, Turkish Empire, Japanese and Chinese.  – Seattle Restrictive Covenant History – Seattle Covenant Map

When we arrived in 1972 the Covenant most likely still contained the language making it illegal for my adopted sister from Korea and her friend Tiffany an adopted African American, to live in the community. It is doubtful it would have been enforced yet it was still permissible until 1968 for covenants to have these type of restrictions.

Here is the kicker. In many covenants the language remains to this day.

I grew up in White Privilege and I continue to benefit from White Privilege today. 

Montreal to Halifax by Train

Murray Marshall would have loved this! Dad loved to travel. If he had not gone into the ministry then he would have been perfectly happy running a travel business. He enjoyed the anticipation and experience of air travel when it became the norm. But trains, he loved trains. I only understood this as I grew older. If there was one thing I could do with my Dad it would be to ride a train to somewhere.

This video takes you on an overnight trip from Montreal to Halifax, Nova Scotia. At ten minutes long it’s a perfect mini vacation. If you are reading this in an E Mail click on the picture for the video.

Miss you Dad!


My bike tires start rolling, a right then a left and I slip off the steep hill. Less than two minutes and I’m in the village. It is quiet with a few people wandering about in not much of a hurry. They don’t desire to be back in their quarantine homes either. The village is small and the stores mostly empty. Nothing to see today, nothing to stop for and nobody I know to give a smile to. My ride takes be back up a hill on a divided street lined with trees. Parked cars make the narrow street even more so, a car comes up behind me and I squeeze to the right to let it pass. My pace is good and I glide through the intersections always checking twice for the distracted driver.

Not long ago the city resurfaced Thorndyke Avenue. My 20 mile per hour glide is smooth and I float for almost a mile. I barely hear the tires spinning. After the road flattens out I make a sharp right past the Barber Shop and down to the trail along the tracks of the Balmer Yard run by BNSF Railway. Everyday is different along those tracks but always the sound of the massive diesel locomotives. When the yard is busy I listen as cars driven by gravity are slowed by the Dowty Retarders. The sound is a distinctive clack clack clack and then the boom as the car couples with another. Sometimes the wingless frames of Boeing 737s are on specially built cars. They are green in color, treated to weather the elements. There are fewer now after negligence at Boeing killed 346 people. Orders dried up and still there is not a fix for the software flaw in the system. 

Roots from trees make the narrow path uneven. Heading south the smoother side is the left. It would be nice if the city could shave down the bumps but even so the roots will alway win. More people are riding and walking the path and I’m forced back to the uneven side. I ride by rail cars built to transport oil, coal, goods, grain, cars and waste. Always something going on in the yard.

Expedia’s new headquarters is still under construction. Seems like it’s been years since building started. 4,500 employees are expected. It came with an upgrade to the waterfront path. Someday I’ll stop and explore the new landscaping and enjoy the views. At the height of the work the bike route detoured and at one intersection I met Preston who directed traffic. We always waved and shouted out best wishes but I have not seen him for a while now.

Now I need to be careful along the path and keep my speed to 15 miles per hour or less. Only when the path is empty do I go faster. The multi use trail is typically crowded unless the weather is poor. A grain ship takes on its load at the Pier 86 terminal. 8,000 tons of grain transferred from the silos to the first vessel to take on a load in 1970 just after opening. Grain cars fill the silos and the silos fill the ships. When a ship first docks the water mark rides high and then it eases down into Elliott Bay from the weight of the grain.

At the other end of the trail before I exit onto Alaskan Way there is the Olympic Sculpture Park. My favorite work is Echo the 46 foot tall slender meditating head. The park is a part of The Seattle Art Museum.

To head up to the Pike Place Market it is best to head over the train tracks then make the right to ride up Elliott. If the crossing gates are down I’ll watch the train if I’m not in a hurry. Sometimes they are long. There is a way around by going south and I’ll cut up Western Avenue after the train has entered the tunnel.

It is quiet in the market these days. Some stores are open but only for take out. My tires roll over the cobble stones. In the middle of the day the main street, Pike Place, is too crowded for me to ride. Few people are around now so I ride. Some people still come down to take pictures in front of the original Starbucks. There’s another larger store a block and a half away and many tourists mistake it for the first store. Sometimes I let them know. 

Before I move on there are two breweries to visit. It is carry out only and the people at Cloudburst and Old Stove are grateful to see me and they thank me for wearing a mask.

I’ll take my time going back and maybe it will be by a different route. 

Valuation Skills Course Update

May 1, 2020 – 8 Lessons are now up on the course website. I’ve enjoyed the interaction with several individuals who signed up and I’ve learned quite a bit myself in the process. If you are interested you can start anytime. There is no cost and it is learn at your own pace. Here is a link to the Course Invitation and the Syllabus.

Aswath Damodaran is a Professor Of Finance at NYU Stern School of Business. If you watch this video from minute 12:45 to 17:40 you will gain insight into why I have so much interest in valuation and working with privately held businesses. Valuation is forensic in nature. It is for numbers people and storytellers. Aswath is incredibly generous. He posts many of his courses online via YouTube. He is a significant influence in my understanding and utilization of valuation.

Pay special attention to his second question about company growth.