West Seattle New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge 2018 is on – with a twist

polar-plunge(2017 photo by Robert Spears)

For everyone who has been asking – yes, the annual West Seattle New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge at Alki Beach is on – with something extra, as just announced by longtime organizer Mark Ufkes:

Yes, the West Seattle Alki Polar Bear Plunge is on again. We line up along the beach in front of Duke’s on Alki, hold hands, and with a countdown, we all run into the water together. Over 500 of us did it last year. We plunge into the water at 10 am sharp January 1, 2018. Don’t be late. Bring water shoes, a towel, a warm change of clothes, and your hopes and dreams for the new year.

This year’s event is a great way to wash away the complexities of the first year of a Trump Administration. And the cold, crisp 47-degree Puget Sound water will wash us with an understanding of why Trump and the mostly white, Republican men who run Congress, after attacking President Obama on a daily basis for eight years about the deficit, would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit during an economic boom to give tax benefits to mostly the wealthy in society, while taking away our net neutrality and reducing lands preserved in our national monuments.

Wear Pink Into the Water: After 62 years of life, and as a white man, I have come to the conclusion that white men (mostly Republicans) are not capable of running our federal government in an honest, equitable manner. Therefore, I will be wearing pink into the water to acknowledge the reality that we need to elect women into every position in the U.S. Congress and fully hand over the reins of federal government power to women. We all know that they will do a better job.

See you January 1 at 10 am!

123 Replies to "West Seattle New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge 2018 is on - with a twist"

  • Lisa December 18, 2017 (1:29 pm)

    This is awesome. Yay for Mark!

    • Mark Ufkes December 20, 2017 (3:36 pm)


      Response from Mark Ufkes


      Good Folks All: 


      For folks who planned to attend the Alki Polar Bear Swim and
      are offended by my personal observations about our current federal government,
      please know that you and your family are still warmly welcome to attend.   If you feel that you can not, please attend the
      Polar Bear Swim somewhere, if not at Alki. 
      There are many options and many different times and locations, and there
      is something magical about holding hands with your friends and family, racing
      into the water and washing away the complexities of the past year while  bringing the unlimited possibilities of the
      New Year into our lives.   


      Regarding my political comments; women make up 51% of
      American society, and have been allowed to vote for 98 years.  In 2016, women were elected to 20% of our
      Congressional seats. At this rate, in another 100 years, women will
      still only have 40% of the seats in Congress. 
      This lack of women in decision making authority in federal politics is a
      lost opportunity for our country.  Dramatically increasing women’s voices in our federal government would, I believe, have a profound, positive
      influence on government priorities.  So,
      I will not apologize for wearing pink at each year’s Polar Bear swim, and will
      continue to do so every January 1 until women hold 51% of the seats in
      Congress.  I hope that I am alive to see

      The same is true for people of color.  Collectively, people of color make up 36% of
      American society, yet they only have 19% of the seats in Congress.  Again, this is a lost opportunity; to have
      differing views and cultural histories influence federal policies.   Look at the diversity on the Seattle City
      Council now.  Some of you might find this
      shift uncomfortable, but I think our Seattle City Council reflects the value of having diverse
      perspective in our elected bodies that govern us.  It is a healthy trend for Seattle, and would be for the nation as

      The real threat in the blog comments is the multiple
      postings by the “Orca Pod”, who are threatened by my observations, and then
      mask their insecurities by shaming the media for  not editing them out.  Tracy and Patrick have made a remarkable,
      positive contribution to the quality of life in West Seattle (West Seattle
      Blog) and in White Center (White Center Now
      blog) through their hard work and their journalistic integrity. 

      This “Orca Pod” is Trump in its purist form; silencing the
      views of others through shaming and ridicule.  And their multiple postings, without the
      courage to use their real names, shows how afraid they are of the political and
      cultural balancing that most surely will eventually come to American society.  Women, and People of  Color are on the rise boys, get used to
      it.  And Orca, et. al., we all it the
      Freedom of the Press for a reason.  


      Mark Ufkes

      White Center   

      • Rusty December 20, 2017 (5:14 pm)

        Mark –

        I use my real name, and am not a part of anyone’s ‘pod’. Your views are yours, no problem – I heartily disagree with any quota system like what you suggest, and would rather see people work towards equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcomes, because history has shown us that when you try to guarantee the outcome it ends poorly. I think your notice had racial and sexist points (I had a post on here that summed up my thoughts), but don’t assume that you are inherently racist or sexist. I don’t think anyone is trying to ‘shame’ you or the blog, just pointing out that had the race/sex been altered in your statement, there is no way the blog would have posted it. I think most people that disagreed with your notice were mainly disappointed that you chose to make it political, and today that is fairly divisive (even in the Seattle bubble). To claim that anyone is trying to silence you or your thoughts seems a little extreme – when you inject politics into a previously non-political event, people have opinions, and share them.

        Best of luck on your future events –

      • My two cents ... December 20, 2017 (7:56 pm)

        Mark –

        It appears that you are advocating that representation is “fair/equitable” if that representation follows the demographic breakdown of the electorate? Does this mean that representation is/should be segregated based on the percentages of  X men, Y women, Z1 ethnic group, Z2 ethnic group? 

        For what it is worth, I base my vote on the substance of the person running for the respective position and if I feel that they will represent and carry forward my views. I don’t vote based solely on gender or ethnicity.


  • Dale December 18, 2017 (1:37 pm)

    This will be my 6th year for the plunge.  It sucks that even this has to be political now.

    • Mr E December 18, 2017 (2:38 pm)

      Right? I mean, can’t marginalized communities move through spaces like white people and not make the personal so political? It’s totally unfair for the rest of us who will never be directly impacted by an administration denying climate change, policing women’s bodies, enacting tax policies that directly affect everyday families, removing access to health insurance, and militarizing the police while simultaneously doing nothing to protect everyday people with sensible gun control laws. Does everything have to remind us of a government that represents the interests of a select few and not the people?

      • DH December 19, 2017 (5:29 pm)

        Excellent post. Stay Woke!

    • Lisa December 18, 2017 (8:21 pm)


  • NW December 18, 2017 (1:46 pm)

    Thank you for your service Mark, I won’t be taking the plunge but will be with you all in spirit. 

  • Pedro December 18, 2017 (2:51 pm)

    Was thinking of going . . . until I saw the racist and sexist statement from Mark. No thanks. White bashing and male bashing are apparently okay in his book. Not mine – I believe in judging people by their merit and heart, not their skin color or gender. Thanks for pushing us back a couple of decades in the name of white male guilt Mark.

     Even sadder that WSB sees this as acceptable. Would you have been okay if he said black women are not capable of running our federal government in an honest, equitable manner? I doubt it.

     Very, very sad.

    As a liberal, I find this kind of lack of tolerance and ignorance deplorable. It part of what helped Trump get elected. 


    • Marybeth Maccauley December 18, 2017 (4:17 pm)

      Thank you Pedro…it seems to me so much is politicized these days. The news is also not the news…i’ts mainly other bashings….and then their is the massive commercials…what has happened to reality and rationality?

  • Brewmeister December 18, 2017 (2:59 pm)

    Good lord, can’t anything be non political anymore?  Way to make a fun great event into a political statement.
    BTW, I know a white male conservatives who are very good people. Ability to run for offer and govern has nothing to do with race and gender.
    This all seems very hypocritical to me. Way to ruin an fun event. Won’t be attending this year now.

  • RJY December 18, 2017 (3:00 pm)

    Yeah, I am sitting this one out. Thanks for bringing in politics and making this both racist against white men and sexist against men in general, when there is no need for it. This is supposed to be a fun event for all.

    I will find another way to celebrate.

  • M December 18, 2017 (3:05 pm)

    We had planned on attending this event and when I read that it was politicized my heart sank. Upon further reflection however, I applaud  the organizer. The  horrors of this administration, from the daily denigration of people of color, immigrants and women, to the depraved tax plan that will leave 13 million people, including some with cancer and other catastrophic diseases, without access to medical care, cannot be ignored. These are extraordinary times and if a young father with ALS is literally forced to  beg for his life in public and subsequently ignored because the GOP promised tax breaks to the wealthy, then taking a stand on New Year’s Day is the very least we can do.  Make it count, West Seattle! Maybe after the plunge we spell out “IMPEACH” on the beach. It’s certainly the best thing that can happen in 2018.


    • Rasyidah December 18, 2017 (11:03 pm)

      As an actual immigrant, woman of color, I totally think that writing “impeach” in sand will work. Trump will see it as he flies over Washington and thinks to himself, “oh no, it is time for me to resign. sad!” 

      And yes, wearing pink and the idea that plunging ourselves in cold water will fix the govt. 

      Get real, people. Everyone will just go home and resume with their lives feeling like they’ve done something good, when in reality, it doesn’t mean sh*t. 

  • RJY December 18, 2017 (3:05 pm)

    Agreed. Disappointed that WSB is allowing news for such a discriminatory, non-inclusive event.

    • Brewmeister December 18, 2017 (3:11 pm)

      Completely agree.   Very disappointing.   

      • newnative December 18, 2017 (4:15 pm)

        So the guy is wearing pink and that makes it non-inclusive?  oooookay. 

  • Ex-Westwood Resident December 18, 2017 (3:13 pm)

    Good job Mark!!!

    I was hoping to make this the first time I made the “Plunge” as I have the day off, but thanks to you I can see that I will not be welcome as I am;





    Way to make something that had ZERO political ties, into something that is now political.

  • Chuck Jacobs December 18, 2017 (3:23 pm)

    I was going to go for the first time this year, but I don’t feel like my kind would be welcome.

  • heyalki December 18, 2017 (3:25 pm)

    Wait, has this always been a political thing? I’m confused…

    Didn’t it just used to be for fun?

  • RJY December 18, 2017 (3:31 pm)

    Here is a less racist and sexist polar bear plunge, held at another location (Lake Washington).


    • Alki Resident December 18, 2017 (4:08 pm)

      Thank you, for now on Lake Washington it is. 

  • Neighbor December 18, 2017 (4:01 pm)

    It’s kinda of amazing to see just how many white men just don’t get it. Women are being attacked, triggered and humiliated by the Republicans on a daily basis. The very foundations of our country are dismantled  by the Right on a level we have NEVER seen  and yet those who claim to be the most patriotic are the ones with the wrecking ball. 

    Take your criticisms and go jump in a lake. 

    • Brewmeister December 18, 2017 (4:44 pm)

      Not sure you get it? Last I checked it’s not only whte men, or even men only.  Definitely not just Republicans based on recent resignations.   Can’t just have it one convenient way to fit your “opinions”. 

    • Lisa December 18, 2017 (6:50 pm)

      Bravo, “Neighbor.”

    • Another Woman December 18, 2017 (9:14 pm)

      So my husband and I were planning to attend this event.  I will not.  My husband will make up his own mind.  “Neighbor”, there are nasty people all around.  Republicans do not have the lock on stupid and bully behavior.  Boorish and somewhat stupid statements made by anyone, including Trump, do not define me.  I will not allow it.  This “attack” you claim is mostly defining the people who are making ridiculously stupid comments.  These comments define them and who they are.  I chose to see it for what it is, and go about my business without getting all worked up about it.  Putting on Pussy Hats and “Resisting” some sort of vague notion is drawing attention to bad behavior and in many cases supporting stereotypes about women  needing help.  In my own humble opinion, if the majority of those wanting to help women quit acting like victims or that women are constantly victims, it would take any weight away from those who you feel threatened by.  You are free to react to others as you wish, but I will choose to stand behind mine own actions, and not be guiled into what appears to be reactive victim response.  Again, I will define myself by my actions and will respect anyone who judges me based on me.   For the sake of women everywhere, please don’t let nasty comments define who you are.  you should define who you are.  If someone wants to say nasty things, smile and let them baste in their own tepid puss.  They will do that to themselves if you give them a chance to.


  • gh December 18, 2017 (4:02 pm)

    How to turn a fun event into a stupid political statement…

  • Alki Resident December 18, 2017 (4:06 pm)

    I am APPALLED at this post and this Mark person. How did the plunge come to this? On top of that, the WSB posted it. I hope everyone protests this snarky move or perhaps we can do our own plunge down the beach, away from racist pigs. What’s next? 

  • aa December 18, 2017 (4:24 pm)

    Add me to the disappointed.  Why can’t this just be fun?  Why create yet another place for people to separate themselves in to us and them.  Not a very peaceful way to start a new year.  Sad that Mark  took it upon himself to turn this fun event into a self serving opportunity. 

  • kim December 18, 2017 (4:39 pm)

    Now there’s actually a reason for me to attempt this feat!!! Bring it on, Mark.  I’m so filled with fear, sadness and rage; a dip in the pond couldn’t hurt.

  • Dandelion December 18, 2017 (4:51 pm)

    Wow, after reading that political, racist, sexist rant, I hope nobody shows up.  That is not the way to unify people and come together for the new year.  The policies of this administration and the issues of our country today are complicated.  As someone who votes both sides of the aisle depending on the issue I can agree with some policies and disagree with others from this administration.  My brain allows me to do that.  Lumping everyone together as either bad or good is just ignorant.  

  • SC December 18, 2017 (5:09 pm)

    For everyone who is so appalled by Mark’s sentiments, just a friendly reminder that reverse racism and reverse sexism do not exist. “-isms” are deeply rooted in historical oppression…something white men have literally never experienced in this country. If taking a stand on the side of women, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community horrifies it, it sounds like the plunge will be a lot more fun without you anyway. 

    • Brewmeister December 18, 2017 (5:19 pm)

      Completely wrong and you’re part of the problem.  You might want to look up the definitions of the words “Racism” and “Discrimination”. 

      Also, the “appalling” part of this is not so much that it can be construed as racist or discriminatory. It’s that a fun, innocent event that has brought people together regardless of race, gender, political beliefs has now been turned into yet another political statement and event.  Can’t we all just celebrate without all the political crap?  

      Of course, it’s up to Mark.  But it’s also up to many others to go elsewhere.  

      It’s also disappointing to see the WSB’s lack of unbiased “reporting”. Maybe the WSB is making it’s own political statement and that’s fine.  After this article, I won’t be reading the WSB anymore.  Simple as that.  

    • Orca December 18, 2017 (5:26 pm)

      In reply to SC above…..How is it even possible that someone could write something like this?

      The ironic judgemental smugness is breathtaking.

    • Lina December 18, 2017 (9:25 pm)

      YES,  Thanks SC, well said.  The entitlement in some of these comments is really dismaying.  If you choose not to participate because this is not your cup of tea, then fine.  The organizer is under no obligation to silence his own opinions just because some of you do not want the event to be politicized.  I, for one, am unable and unwilling to avoid the political realities in our current world and am happy to support the undoing of racism and sexism in any way possible – including jumping into Puget Sound.

    • Rasyidah December 18, 2017 (11:26 pm)

      Ohhhhh boy. Racism is racism. You think a black person can’t be racist to a white person? Yes. Yes they absolutely can. And guess what? You think all Asian love each other? No. There’s racism between the different types of Asians as well. (Hint: I’m Asian) Racism is everywhere, and not just with white people. 

      • Dean Johnson. December 19, 2017 (8:05 pm)

        It’s not racism.  It’s bigotry.  Bigotry is not cool.  I love people of all shades, from pasty to purple.

        Happy New Year!

    • SC December 20, 2017 (8:09 am)

      I’m a part of which problem? The problem where actual bigots are getting their feelings hurt because people are standing up to them in defense of groups who have been oppressed for decades, or centuries? Good.  

      Who is being discriminated against? People who are offended at the thought of electing more women into public office? Rich old white men who try to legislate away the rights of people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals? Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds? 

  • Orca December 18, 2017 (5:22 pm)

    Another neighborhood event ruined by political zealots.

    Pedro expressed it very well above.

    I can imagine the whole event will be another hate filled political protest.  When did this sickness take over everything??

    We agree that WSB promoting this and publishing Mark’s racist remarks is very disturbing.   I fear this is the preview of a strong political stance by the Blog.  

    That will be very sad to those who are seeking sanctuary from 24 hour political madness.  

    • Jon December 21, 2017 (8:13 pm)

      Agreed. Thanks for speaking out.

  • Smugsy Bogues December 18, 2017 (5:27 pm)

    Sounds like some snowflakes are afraid they will melt if they go in the water! 

    PS-everything is political, get over it.

  • Orca December 18, 2017 (5:39 pm)

    There are about 27 comments so far and about 22 of them are appalled at the outrageous political remarks by Mark.

    The huge expression of disappointment in the WSB is evident in most of those posts, also.

    There is a lesson here but I am sure it will fall on ears that have been deafened by political zealotry.  A Truly sad and dangerous trend.

    • Jon Wright December 18, 2017 (11:43 pm)

      Internet commenters appalled. Appalled! Oh the humanity!

  • redblack December 18, 2017 (6:03 pm)

    don’t take out your hurt feelings on WSB. the organizer put out a statement, WSB reported it. had they refused to report it? that would have been political.

    IMHO, anyone who would jump into 47° water with a hangover is a little batty, anyway.

    • Orca December 18, 2017 (6:46 pm)

      Redback posts that WSB had to report the racial-sexist remarks of the promoter.

      There is no possible way WSB would have posted reverse 

      remarks degrading black women.  If you can’t see that then you (and WSB) are blinded by zealtot madness.

      It really is a sickness regardless of the political side you favor.

    • Brewmeister December 18, 2017 (7:08 pm)

      Here’s the rub.   Do me a favor.  Replace the word  “White” with “Black” and the word “Men” with “Women” in Mark’s statement above. 

      Do you think the WSB would have posted that?   I highly doubt it. 

      • Cactii December 19, 2017 (12:11 pm)

        OK, I’ve done you that favor and replaced “white men” with “black women” in Mark’s statement above:

        After 62 years of life, and as a white man, I have come to the conclusion that black women (mostly Republicans) are not capable of running our federal government in an honest, equitable manner. 

        And no I don’t think WSB would ever publish THIS statement, cause it aint never gonna happen in the WSB’s or your lifetime, that’s the point.

      • Jon December 21, 2017 (8:20 pm)

        100% correct. It’s “in” to hate “white people” (mostly, from self-hating whites, such as the event organizer). I understand the Evergreener nonsense because that’s a crazy school for maniacs, but that brand of hard-left extremism has spread to most college campuses and – perhaps, most troubling – much of the workforce in K-12.

        The negative backlash to this insane blog post has given me hope that there are more Seattleites moderates who stand against political extremism. So, thanks, neighbors.  Remember to vote! :^)

  • Spam trap December 18, 2017 (6:08 pm)

    As the middle class continues to lose wages, and you lose healthcare, you’ll be able to find comfort by telling yourself, “At least I wasn’t political” while you die a pauper’s death from a preventable disease.

  • Darryll December 18, 2017 (6:10 pm)

    Blaming people for their race or gender is wrong. Morally relativism is wrong. This moral hysteria is getting scary because of it’s inability to see individuals and it’s rush to blame one group for all the world’s ills. Nevermind that most white men have not taken part in the behaviors you’re referencing. I hope people will try to remember that these words are heard by little boys who have done nothing to create this situation, but who will definitely be harmed by this negative stereotyping as it becomes further entrenched in the social fabric. Please try to bring about the world you want to have rather than to simply react to every perceived injustice. They future I want still includes my young son and cares that he belongs in it.

    • Spam trap December 18, 2017 (6:45 pm)

      There is no possible political path that will ever exclude your (probably white, I don’t know) son in the future. If you, or any of your friends have a daughter, that future is very much in question.

      Do you know when women got the right to vote? 1920. That’s less than a hundred years. Businesses would refuse to hire women as recently as the 50’s, since the accepted wisdom is that they’d just get married and leave to start popping out kids. Women still make less than men, and experience much more harassment at work.

      A statement like this might be inflammatory, but the treatment of women has been a million times worse in the past, and with a someone that openly bragged about sexual assault in office, stands a good chance of getting bad again.

      If you can choose not to be “political”, it’s because you’re lucky enough to have that privilege. Think of the people who aren’t so lucky, since with the way things are going, you may be among them sooner than you like.

      • Darryll December 18, 2017 (7:25 pm)

        I’m not disputing the undeniable fact that women have been treated poorly. But I disagree whole heartedly that it means I and my son should be excluded from politics in the future. I think that’s the point that some folks are reacting to.  I was raised by a single mom and suffered plenty of injustice along the way, too. But that doesn’t mean I hate people or think that they should be disenfranchised. I intend to continue teaching my son to assess people based on their behaviors and words rather than their skin and the stereotyping from divisive people.  I don’t apologize for that. 

        • Spam trap December 19, 2017 (5:25 am)

          That’s the point though. Your son will NEVER, EVER be excluded from politics because he is male. NEVER. It will never happen. The idea is laughable. The idea is laughable, a joke. To even consider the idea that your son could possibly be excluded because he’s male is ridiculous on the order of winged pigs flying out of my behind every time I blow my nose.

          In the entire history of anything, the number of times a human has been excluded from politics because of maleness is approximately never.

          The number of times a human has been excluded for being female is approximately most of history.

          This is why all the whinging about this ridiculous polar bear thing just makes everyone look like teenagers with a lack of perspective. The idea that white males could lose the TINIEST wee drop of the most miniscule part of the little toe of their political power because someone in a tutu said some words that hurt their fee-fees is stupid. The net effect of the Polar Bear Plunge will be zero, even if every person in Seattle attended.

          The offended responses just make the responders look bad.

  • H December 18, 2017 (6:15 pm)

    Hmmm. Let’s see, the WSB posts verbatim text from the organizer of an event about said event… it really looks like direct reporting to me. It’s a WS event, that’s the public description, a “neighborly” hint in the title gave readers a heads-up prior to reading… free speech

    • Erithan December 18, 2017 (10:08 pm)

      Exactly, I don’t get the hate on WSB, it’s a yearly event, the person running it opted to add a statement, WSB is just writing up the info and facts of the event. =\

      Why are people shooting the messenger as it were?

  • PW December 18, 2017 (6:23 pm)

    So a fun event is now a sad political statement, can we no longer just have fun with out a tattoo or having a scan chip on what we believe in.

    Shame on you WSB  how did you let that post happen.  I will still do the event at Lake Wash without a political agenda. 

  • j December 18, 2017 (6:43 pm)

    At first the idea of coming from New York to do a polar plunge sounded like so much fun!  While reading I just became shocked on how a activity like this just became political.  More disappointing if anything.  Now unfortunately i have no desire to attend this event and rather go jump in some where people can think freely with out being judged.   Please let me know if there is a plunge where all races, classes, and political preferences can get along and go for a swim.    Merry Christmas everyone! 

  • TJ December 18, 2017 (7:32 pm)

    Obviously Mark is suffering from some serious white, male, class guilt. How he thinks that applies to everone else in those categories is really obnoxious. Why this was reported on is beyond me. And yes, there is reverse racism and sexism. There really is a reason Trump won, and comments like Mark’s are a big contributing factor. You need to be careful Mark as you sound like a unhappy crusader with a dark cloud always over your head. Relax, that 47 degree water can send a tense person into shock

    • Jon December 21, 2017 (8:28 pm)

      100% accurate. Everyone I know who voted for Trump did so because of the unhinged politics of the far-left. Most were event independents or liberals themselves who had otherwise voted for Nader and other “left-leaning” politicians in the past.

      One thing to remember is: it’s possible to be “pro-choice”, “pro-2nd Amendment”, and “pro-healthcare reform”. I’m for all of those things; but I’m not just “those things”. I’m a person. And so are the people I dislike or disagree with. And it’s important to remember that, otherwise, we’re not really any different from tribal chimps ripping each other apart.

      Identity Politics is a very dangerous and stupid game. And that’s why everyone I knew who voted for Trump will do so again — just to push the pendulum back to the middle (so, keep up the extremism if you want eight years, folks).

      That’s the main problem with Trump Derangement Syndrome: people want to – more than ever – pick “The Right Side” as part of their simplistic world view.

  • Emory December 18, 2017 (7:53 pm)

    I will proudly take the polar plunge on New Year’s day to protest Trump’s dictatorship reign. For far too long the white patriarchy has oppressed women and minorities. West Seattle is home to people from all over the world; from different socioeconomic statuses; with a spectrum of gender expressions and identities; with a range of abilities; and of varied racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Together we can demonstrate that we will oppressed and opposed the violence inherent in the system.

  • MIKE December 18, 2017 (8:00 pm)


  • Jethro Marx December 18, 2017 (8:10 pm)

    If you disagree with the sentiment of the event organizer, sure, don’t attend. I agree with the thought that it’s a little sad that even such a delightfully nonsensical event as this is so divisive, but that’s sort of where we’re at as a country.

     The definition of racism can be debated, but generally it’s got to be oppression of one race by a race that’s in power, and in this country, that technically means only white people can be accurately described as racist. The organizer certainly can’t be racist or sexist against his own race and sex. I also didn’t read anything indicating that people with differing views would not be welcome at the event; the great offense taken by some of y’all smacks of the oversensitivity you love to hate on with your snowflake references.

     And geez, stop beating up on the blog; no one’s forcing you to read it, and if you want censored news you are sure to agree with you surely know where to find it. If someone were organizing a swim to celebrate the achievements of President Trump they’d report that too. As long as it happened on our delightfully nonsensical and oddly political little peninsula.

     I think a little dip in cold water might be just the thing to bring us together, regardless of political leanings.

  • 4thGenWestSide December 18, 2017 (8:14 pm)

    First, bravo WSB for NOT  filtering the press release.  Even though I’m really disappointed that yet another fun way for my family to escape the political reality in West Seattle has now been lost, and likely  will no longer carry on the tradition with this organizer, I am thankful that we are still able to view real “news”, and not the fake stuff.  As much as I can’t stand our current administration, it is equally upsetting  that another small escape we had is no longer.  I think his heart may be in the right place, but maybe should have had a few friends check the copy before hitting send.  #bummed

  • HappyOnAlki December 18, 2017 (8:25 pm)

    Jethro Marx — Word! Thank you for the voice of reason! 

  • AdmiralSDV December 18, 2017 (8:46 pm)

    Lol at all the angry, sensitive, white dudes. As a white guy, I agree that it’s sad something like this has been politicized. Get used to it, that’s what happens when you elect a divisive, undeserving, incompetent moron into the most powerful position in the world. You people want to ignore it? GO PLUNGE IN LAKE WASHINGTON. We will not miss you. In fact, I’ll plunge twice for you cowards. 

    • Pedro December 18, 2017 (8:59 pm)

      Not sure how calling out racism and sexism makes me a coward, but enjoy your false sense of superiority. I for one am not so lazy that I have to denigrate myself by attacking Trump and his ilk on the basis of skin color or sex. I can use my brain to rail against their policies and priorities. 

    • Pedro December 18, 2017 (9:15 pm)

      IAnd by the way, this isn’t about politicizing an event. I am all in on the anti-Trump movement. It’s the racism and sexism that I take issue with. This isn’t what you get when elect a divisive moron – this is HOW a divisive moron gets elected in the first place. 

  • Pedro December 18, 2017 (8:49 pm)

    Jethro Marx – yes , let’s teach our children that all white people are bad, especially males. And let’s promote events that support that notion. Heck, let’s make it mandatory in school because, hey it’s not racist in your book. Pleae, your anti-intellectual attempt at justifying racism and sexism is appalling. And by the way, federal, state, and local law all take a view contrary to your definition of racism and sexism. In other words, only those that want to perpetrate hate in the name of tolerance take your view. The worst kind of hypocrites there are.  

    • Jethro Marx December 18, 2017 (9:46 pm)

      Uh, no, I didn’t suggest any of that.

       Also, something is weird about accusing me of being anti-intellectual while you spell stuff wrong and employ convoluted and flawed logic.

       I think you’ll find the laws you refer to distinguish between motives of hate, which anyone can have, and motives based in racism, which only one in an agent role could have.

       I elled out loud when I read about those who “perpetuate hate in the name of tolerance.” Awesome stuff! It’ll be a rare band of villains, then, who share my views.

      • Pedro December 18, 2017 (10:17 pm)

        Jethro – at least be honest here. You lauded someone who promoted the notion that a specific race and gender are incapable of leadership based on nothing more than the color of their skin and sex. So yeah – that is what you did. Own it – racist and sexist. In terms of the laws, they do not have any relativist notions in then about majority or minorty groups, they prohibit discrimination on the basis of color, race, and sex – be you in the majority white, black, or otherwise. 

        • CAM December 19, 2017 (6:38 am)

          Sorry Pedro. That is not the gist of the organizer’s statement. Dig deeper to understand the foundation of it. The opinion he is expressing is that someone who has never been a member of any protected class cannot possibly govern those who are with any reasonable level of insight or understanding of their needs. Yes, there are less “privileged” white men out there, but even the least privileged white man has more power in our society than people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, etc. That power differential is even more prominent when a person is a member of multiple protected classes. The organizer, and a growing segment of society, rightly recognizes that a government that is not representative of it’s citizens (both ideologically and demographically) cannot effectively protect them or empower them. You are skimming the organizer’s statement at only the surface level if you think it is racist or sexist. 

    • Jon December 21, 2017 (8:32 pm)

      I like you and your intelligent, well-spoken nature. I hope it cancels out the negativity of those who would’ve failed out of even a basic freshman-level philosophy or ethics course.

  • Darryll December 18, 2017 (9:27 pm)

    Yuck. This whole thread is revolting. Sorry I participated. It’s clear that people can only attack each other at this point. Sad it’s come to this.

  • pagefive December 18, 2017 (10:22 pm)

    Say what you will about the merits of politicizing the polar bear plunge. Regardless, some people in our community could really benefit from an Intro to Equity and Racial Justice course. Seriously, my 15 year old understands that there’s no such thing as reverse racism. Our systems and institutions are designed by white people to  maintain our privilege and oppress people of color and native folks. That’s a fact.  Getting all defensive about it is a waste of energy and time. Take the plunge and commit to re-educating yourself!

    • DH December 19, 2017 (7:37 am)

      Agreed! I’m disappointed to see that so many people don’t get Mark’s idea. I haven’t been in a few years to the plunge and was on the fence this year. I’m going now because I hope to show solidarity. I do, however, worry about the risk mentioned above that people will stop here. We should be looking for and implementing ways to dismantle white privilege daily. Also, WSB ignore all the negative statements about publishing this. 

    • Brewmeister December 19, 2017 (12:42 pm)

      Actually @Pagefive,  you’re right.  There is not such thing as “reverse racism”.  It’s just plain old Racism.   Good point.  

  • anw December 18, 2017 (10:24 pm)

    I admit, I was a little surprised to see the advertisement of the event as published.  If the WSB had instead listed the details of the event (where/when it happens, etc.) and then suggested to the organizer that (if he wanted to) he could state in the comments section what the event will mean to him this time and what he will do (wear pink) to represent that, it would have come across as more of the cohesive community-building even that it was meant to be.  Unfortunately, it is written as if there is an assumption that all others feel the same way as the organizer and it also adds sexist and racist tones that are off-putting.  The effect is the opposite of what was originally intended.  Instead, people now feel excluded and that their presence may not be welcome.  Each person doing the plunge has his/her own reasons for doing it.  I think it is fine to publicize one’s reasons but it is not OK to berate anyone for their reasons (as some have done in the comments) or to assume that others will have the same reasons that you do.  I believe the organizer’s intentions are for good and I would encourage others to participate in this special community event.  Take a chance, wear pink or don’t wear pink, hold hands with your neighbor (whether you agree with them or not),  and do this fun crazy memorable thing!  You won’t regret it!

  • ByeFelicia December 18, 2017 (10:27 pm)

    If you don’t like what the guy has to say don’t go, or better yet, protest his event.  But, good lord, all these triggered white guys are just making me laugh.  I’m pretty sure you won’t be shot or arrested for simply getting out of your car for not wearing pink.  So maybe you should just spend New Year’s morning thinking about how fortunate that makes you through no effort of your own.  (Yeah, I didn’t use the “P” word because I know how triggering that is for ya’ll.)

  • Jeannie December 19, 2017 (12:11 am)

    While I loathe everything about tRump (the modern-day Caligula), I can see both sides about politicizing this event. And, really, “wash us” and “wash away”? As the New Yorker used to write, “Block that metaphor.” 

    It did occur to me that this is a Polar Bear Swim, and tRump is a denier of the climate change that is causing polar bears to starve to death. 

  • Darryll December 19, 2017 (12:35 am)

    Got it.  As a dude (white dude?), I should be happy and insensitive like you. Right?

  • Dunno December 19, 2017 (5:05 am)

    Great idea.  All republican white men need to be held accountable for the sexual abuse and everthing else that is happening in the world!  I suggest that no women  take part because  of these guys .  They just want to see you in a bathing suit!!!

  • Orca December 19, 2017 (6:27 am)

    I have sadly lost confidence in the WSB to maintain the “appearance” of a non-political, non divisive source of local information.  It appears that many others share this view 

    I am surprised that nothing has been heard from Terry as to why the extreme views were published instead of just a neutral announcement of the event.

    • DH December 19, 2017 (7:43 am)

      Maybe a spell check issue but her name is Tracy not Terry. She reported what the organizer wrote. Despite what people seem to think it wasn’t sexist or racist. She did her job and IMO needs to explain nothing. 

    • Jon Wright December 19, 2017 (8:24 am)

      I think you are mistaking the existence of a handful of twitterpated online commenters to mean “many others share this view.” Perhaps anyone whose critical reasoning skills are such that they need their news source to protect them from scary ideas that differ from their world view should consider getting their information elsewhere.

  • Harley December 19, 2017 (7:38 am)

    This kind of melt-down because a guy says he doesn’t support the current government and wants to wear pink?

    Calm down, Broseph. The organizer doesn’t own the beach or your point of view. Ain’t no one stopping you from making the plunge wrapped it the flag while wearing a Burger King crown with *Trmp is King* scrawled on it.

    But okay, okay, stay home, that’s cool too. Maybe use that time to read up on the First Amendment and the difference between sharing a statement and endorsing it.

  • Born on Alki59 December 19, 2017 (8:07 am)

    I would like to thank the blog for honest reporting. Obviously this hit a nerve.

    Can I make a suggestion for next years plunge? Stage up on Alki as follows:

    Democrats to the left, republicans to the right, Pirates and socialists in the middle. Bring your pitchforks and torches. It’ll be fun for the whole family.

    I’ll bring cocoa and bandaids for all. It’s been nearly 50 years since there’s been a good riot on Alki.

    • Krista Billinghurst December 19, 2017 (9:33 pm)

      I’ll bring the popcorn! It’s about time West Seattle had a civil war!

  • Rusty December 19, 2017 (9:33 am)

    Here are the fruits of the ‘post-modern racism’ taught by our vaunted educational system. When Dr. King gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech, it was the ideal to judge others by the content of their character – racism was evil, and the individual should be judged on their actions and character. He quoted our founding documents – the ideals that we should all refer to of ‘All men are created equal’. There is no doubt that while we didn’t live up to those ideals at the time, we have, as a country, made great progress along the way – which is generally the point, and why the ideals laid out are timeless ones.

    Now we are teaching young minds (and apparently convincing some older ones) that if you are in a ‘protected class’ that hasn’t historically had ‘control’ of the systems of power, that you cannot be racist. The sheer logical fallacy is overwhelming – that one group cannot be racist, while at the same time another group is inherently racist based on nothing but their gender/race (or the actions of others in the same group). Society will never stamp out racism with more racism, and it will not only fail, we will be dividing society further rather than bringing us together to combat actual racism. The perceived ‘sins of the father’ visited upon an entire race is patently ridiculous – if we go back far enough, everyone is guilty no matter how they might be living their lives. The argument reduces a complex societal issue into (pardon the pun) black and white, and gives common cause to a society of victims and perpetrators, where neither is encouraged to engage in critical thinking, or actually responsible for their own actions since they are judged on those of others. They are instead taught to hate others (or be ashamed of themselves even if they have never engaged in racism). If we actually care about the world around us, I think it would be much better to follow Dr. King’s example. There is a reason we have a MLK Jr. day on the calendar, and not a ‘Minister Farrakhan day’ or a ‘Malcolm X day’. The message of equality and forgiveness contrasts the most sharply with the evils of racism, and allows most rational people the clearest of choices and a path towards rapprochement. A message of hate based on hate never will.

    I think we’d all be better off if we actually followed the gold rule – and when in doubt, if you have a statement (like the one expressed by the organizer) where when you switch out the race/gender seems ridiculously racist, then the whole statement, by simple logic, is racist. This has always been true, and will always be true no matter how anyone might wish it to be otherwise. TR’s decision to print it surprises some because of this, and they have every right to point it out. If the organizer had put ‘asian/black/latino’ and ‘female’ instead of ‘white male’, every person supporting her decision to post the statement would be decrying it and her decision to post such a racist/sexist statement.

    I do want to add that I’m not calling anybody a racist (including the organizer) – merely pointing out that in my view the statements, along with the new ‘post-modern racism’ are in fact racist by their nature. I don’t think anyone is an awful person, or harboring deep racist thoughts because I disagree with their assessment and arguments – rather that the arguments are full of logical fallacies, and that teaching this nonsense leads to more division and racism. I also believe that you can disagree with me and that doesn’t make you a terrible, racist person. I may think you’re misguided, but that’s why debating ideas is much better than name-calling.

    • Brewmeister December 19, 2017 (12:37 pm)

      Wow Rusty!   If only more people lived by those words and thoughts this Country would be a far better place.   Amazing post.  Thank you. 

    • Dean Johnson. December 19, 2017 (7:54 pm)

      Rusty, nice try buddy.  You can be a bigot of any color – the definition of racism involves institutional power and control.  So in the future adjust your nomenclature.  White people created racism.  Own it.  Love it. Embrace it

      There is however a recent trend of bigotry by various groups against descendents of colonial powers.  That isn’t right either.  I agree with you Rusty. 

      However, racism doesn’t equal bigotry.  

      Mark is just as racist as those who go around spouting such nonsensical ideas as ‘post modern racism’, and those who carry tiki torches with their Reddit buddies.  He just prefers to do it in a pink speedo.

      Happy New Year!

      • Rusty December 19, 2017 (10:46 pm)

        Dean –


        • Rusty December 19, 2017 (10:58 pm)

          Bigotry is generally used for those who hate people who think differently, commonly used in cases of religious intolerance, or conversely intolerance of religion. Racism has been re-defined, or updated, depending on your point of view, in the last 5-10 years (depending on tbe source/dictionary) to include having power or control. Hence the post-modernist phrasing. I stand by my comment, but appreciate the engagement – although personally, I would hold off on calling people you don’t know racist. Better to just go after the idea and not the person.

  • Pedro December 19, 2017 (11:21 am)

    Rusty – thank you for you insights and proof that the “marketplace of ideas” even in the Internet age helps lead us closer to truth and understanding. A truly remarkable post. 

  • Wendell December 19, 2017 (11:39 am)

    This is the funniest long-drawn-out thread I’ve ever read on the blog.

    Lots of white people fighting over who’s going to be the pinkest when they retreat from frigid water?

    I’m more concerned about the large numbers of our fellow citizens that are trying to stay warm at this time of year.

  • AN December 19, 2017 (11:42 am)

    REALLY!!!! POLITICS in a traditional Family, community event!

    I’M OUT!

  • Heartless? December 19, 2017 (1:01 pm)


  • Craig December 19, 2017 (2:05 pm)

    had no idea there are so many snowflakes in West Seattle. 

    What a great idea and great message!  Women power!!!!!!

  • Elizagrace December 19, 2017 (3:25 pm)

    Mark doesn’t say that men suck or are incompetent in life. He says that he believes they are not capable of running a fair and equitable government.

    After reading the heated comments I had to go back and re-read his statement since it got worse in my head the more comments I read… 

    I don’t agree with his blanket statement, there are plenty of white men I think are doing a fine job, but I also believe represetation matters and it would not hurt to see more diversity (race and gender) in congress and the senate.

    As for the plunge – go, wear white, pink, green, whatever. Maybe it will be a chance to talk to someone who has a different opinion than you and what is a better display of civility than talking out differences and showing your kids how dimplomacy works. 

    Not capable of that… stay home, you don’t sound like much fun anyway. 

  • Orca December 19, 2017 (7:06 pm)

    What is scary here is that the folks who are defending and justifying the hate filled original announcement see nothing wrong with it.

    They cannot see the racism and sexism because they agree with the thought and in their minds that makes it correct.

    This is the very basis of all extreme behavior by both the left and right.  

    All extremist zealots (left and right) justify their behavior by firm conviction that it is right and good because they strongly agree with the belief or rhetoric of the proponents.

  • wetone December 19, 2017 (7:11 pm)

    Dragging politics and race into a fun day,   The new Seattle showing it’s true colors. Been doing the polar plunge for years at Alki, we’re going elsewhere this year. Thanks Mark and WSB for ruining this event for our family and friends.

    • SueY December 30, 2017 (7:33 pm)

      If you can suggest another place, let me know and I’ll join you. I was thinking about Lincoln Park.

  • Dean Johnson. December 19, 2017 (7:44 pm)

    There is quite an abundance of classic low key racism in Mark’s comment.  The implication is, since White men are unable to govern let’s hand over the duties to women.  See what he did there?  Completely glossed over the fact that there are capable men of other demographic groups that are suitable, willing and able to lead.  Nice try Mark – we see right through you.

    Remove the fear from your heart, Mark.  You’ve exposed yourself.

    Happy New Year

  • aa December 19, 2017 (8:28 pm)

    Tracy does a great job keeping us informed at all hours of the day and night.  I don’t see any blame on her part.  She was providing background information provided by a person hosting a local event.   Since  we don’t know what her political opinions are, however she would choose to edit the information would be through her bias.  Would you be happier if she learrned that this had become a political event and not shared it?   

    I am appreciative that the organizers intent was shared with us so I can decide for myself if I want to go rather than going down with no forewarning.

    Thanks WSB for all your hard work! Please don’t let this angry pack of wolves get to you. 

  • Krista Billinghurst December 19, 2017 (9:22 pm)

    Wow! Everyone has such strong opinions when they can hide behind an online profile and pseudonyms. Why you all so against using your true names and sharing your opinion? We are all neighbors here. At least Mark is putting his true self out there. 

  • uncle loco December 20, 2017 (4:32 am)

    It should be renamed the ‘polarizing plunge’.

    • Brewmeister December 20, 2017 (12:56 pm)

      Voted for Best Comment!  

    • Davey Boy December 31, 2017 (1:51 pm)

      Loco..you got it!!

  • Stan December 20, 2017 (9:40 am)


  • trev December 24, 2017 (1:27 pm)

    “Cool, that sounds like a fun way to start the new year”

    (reads further)

    “Oh nvm”

  • NT December 27, 2017 (11:27 am)

    Whaaa!!! I’m a white male and you are all discriminating against me!!! Seriously!??!?! Maybe you should all really THINK about what it’s like in others shoes. We non-white non-male deal with this EVERY DAY. I will gladly be joining this year for my first time. While I am annoyed this was made political, I am not going to let that ruin a great experience. You take from it what you do. And I’ll be happy that all the baby men will be staying at home. 

  • Howie the Hog December 27, 2017 (4:12 pm)

    I’ll be there simply to warm up and jump in the water since its warmer that Lake Michigan this time of year.  You Westsiders are a bunch of panty-wastes… ;-)

    Politics or none, its a good way to ring in the new year and look for a bunch of Cougs wearing #68.  In honor of Mongo, our old buddy Chris Dyko.  

    Clam Chowder and Coors Light transcends everything and my buddies, left and right, will all be there.

    Go Cougs and beat Michigan State.

    • WSB December 27, 2017 (4:32 pm)

      32 degrees at Chicago (Lake Michigan) today, 49 in Elliott Bay (Seattle), to be precise – after you mentioned that, I had to look it up.

  • TJ December 29, 2017 (8:30 am)

    I think I may show up for the first time after reading this post.. But I will not be wearing pink. I will be wearing Red, White, and Blue, along with my Red, Make America Great Hat…but not to make it a political event..Maybe I can run into the water with Mark, side by side… 

  • James December 29, 2017 (1:26 pm)


    You have managed to take a fun event and imbue it political rhetoric that divides rather than unifies,which is something that seems to be needed these days. Your prose promotes bias on race and gender, regardless of it’s position it lacks logic or merit  .

  • Mark B December 29, 2017 (7:19 pm)

    Funny I heard about his today on John Carlson, KVI 570 (right leaning talk radio).  I’ve long since quit reading the blog because of pompous fools like Mark.  I’m sorry we share the same given name. 

  • lg December 30, 2017 (3:46 pm)

    You ruined it for me! Thanks Mark! :( 

  • bcs123 December 30, 2017 (7:07 pm)

    This would have been my 4th polar plunge.  We should be celebrating the new year and all of the potential for us as individuals and us as a community.  I don’t know if I want to go, after hearing all of the political stuff.

    For me it is a time to clear out all of the negative things of the past and look forward the good things we can create in the future.

    Mark’s words take all the joy out of the celebration.

  • Dale December 31, 2017 (12:00 pm)

    Been thinking about this since I made the second post on this extensive thread.  If Mark would agree prior to the event, possibly with a note on the blog, that he won’t use the megaphone he always carries to announce anything other than the water temperature and start, (as usual), I’ll attend again.  Otherwise, I’m out.  Mark?

    • Mark Ufkes January 1, 2018 (8:42 am)

      Sorry, I do not respond to comments from people who do not use their full name when they post. 

      Mark Ufkes 

  • Lisa December 31, 2017 (3:04 pm)

    Yes, what does Mark have to say to Dale and the rest of possible participants?  Also, it will be my first Polar Bear Plunge.  So I assume you were your swimsuit under your clothes, but where can you change to put dry clothes on?

    • WSB December 31, 2017 (3:28 pm)

      There is a small restroom building close to this part of the beach. The larger Alki restroom building is a couple blocks west. And there’s also a small restroom building at Whale Tail Park/Alki Playfield, also a couple blocks away, and one block inland at 59th. That’s about it for public facilities. – TR

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