Our sister site The White Center Blog has been following a lively story recently – the White Center Chamber of Commerce, along with a new business organization (Rat City Business Association) – are starting to market the area using the phrase ‘Rat City.’
A poll on WCB shows that 82% of respondents do NOT find that phrase offensive.
However, a very vocal group of local business owners does.
Since White Center will most likely be annexed by Burien sometime in 2013, we’re wondering what BTB Readers think – please take our Poll below, and feel free to leave a Comment as well:
The question is “who knows where the term Rat City came from”
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Rat City is also a location found in the comic book series Spawn.
Rat City, also known as Mice City, is a colloquialism for the area of White Center, Washington, a small, low income suburb of West Seattle. White Center garnered a poor reputation due to its high crime rates and small homes. An alternate scenario for the moniker is that the name refers to the “rink rats” who roller skated at the Southgate Skate Center which still stands. There are a couple theories as to how “Rat City” got its name. Some assume there was once a prolific rat problem in the 1940s, but RAT might have also been an acronym for Restricted Alcohol Territory, which Seattle was designated as during WWII. Unincorporated areas such as White Center were a draw for servicemen in part because of less stringent liquor regulations. Additionally, a military Relocation and Training (RAT) Center was located in the area during that period.
Ah Wikipedia, the best collection of “found” facts from the internet + completely made up stuff around. I like how it’s now a poor suburb of West Seattle which has a poor reputation for having small homes (??).
Your poll lacks the most important choice:
R.A.T.C is an historical designation for this area. It stood for Recruitment And Training Center and dates back to the very early days of Seattle.The Burien library has a reference section on the early history of the area.
Being offensive seems to be in the mind of the beholder. And then how loudly they speak to get others on the band-wagon seems to make these things explode. Before knowing what RAT meant, being a histsorical meaning, I find no offensiveness in it at all.
It’s people who take things at face value and assign it a level of offensiveness is offensive to me. Why don’t we just let people and ideas be as they are. I mean we are forced-fed the idea of inclusion and illegal aliens as being the norm these days how much more offensive can this be than naming a city or being afraid to call it by that name.
Rat isn’t offensive… but it’s not the most flattering thing to name your town after.
If that’s what they want, go for it. I would have gone with Slug Valley or Parasite Falls myself.
LOL. Pretty good Steve. I agree probably not the most flattering but whatever they want why should anyone make a big deal out of it.
Don’t worry. It will be called Burien soon enough.
Now that’s good humor!
Brings back lots of great memories – 50 years ago I was one of the “Rat City rink rats,” roller skating every Friday night at the W.C. skating rink!
Let’s just call it Martinville or Robison Hollow.
No more offensive thank calling The Asian District “Chinatown”.
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