Posted on May 11, 2006

Racist Hate Mail Against Poulsbo Festival Backfires

Tracy Vedder, Komo News (Seattle), May 9, 2006

The words are ugly and vicious, and they sent a chill through a local festival.

Racist hate mail sent to Poulsbo is directed at a young African-American woman who is “Miss Viking Fest”.

But the hate mail has sparked an outpouring of love.

“Little girls,” says Jasmine Campbell, “I think they recognize me when I have my crown on. They’re like ‘Wow!’ It feels really good to say hi to them.”

Campbell loves being this year’s Miss Viking Fest. The yearly Poulsbo festival is a celebration of all things Scandinavian. In spite of its heritage, no one was surprised when the articulate, pretty young woman won this year’s competition.

“You don’t have to be of Viking stock,” says Kathi Foresee, Viking Fest secretary, “I don’t even know that all of us that work on the organization are of Viking stock,” she laughs.

But then came the hate mail. At least a dozen racist e-mails — all from outside of Poulsbo — asked festival organizers how they could let a black woman represent a Viking Festival.