By Larry Leonard
A Portland, Oregon college professor wrote a column for a local paper. What he said in that column was a pile of pure manure.
There is no doubt that Oregon has a racist history. But, to cast the racist sheet over every white Oregonian’s head, as this essay has done, is more than misinformation via fact manipulation. It is an outright lie. Joe Uris, a flaming liberal academic, would instantly condemn someone who said, “Blacks are all …” something or other. He would call it stereotyping — racist rhetoric. What, then, is his pallid justification for, in this Portland Tribune piece, doing the same damn thing, himself? — Larry Leonard, Oregon Magazine (2003 A.D.)
Note: the following is a full text reproduction of an essay from the usually otherwise sane Portland Tribune, and contains my editorial response damn near line for line through the piece. I do not believe that I have ever in my life seen in one place as much liberal bias, misinformation, bad analysis, flawed logic, ridiculous conclusions and outright junk sociology as Joe Uris wrote in the piece you are about to read. It ran in the Trib just after mid-October.
PERSPECTIVE: Oregon has an unfortunate history of racist acts and policies By JOE URIS of the Portland Tribune
In May, a police officer kills an African-American mother of two.
OMED: Who was a known drug abuser, was high at the time of the incident and tried to drive off with the officer half in and half out of the car.
This fall, racial tensions surround a high school on the east edge of Portland.
OMED: And, we ask why that statement is proof of white against black racism, which as any follower of academia and the liberal press knows, is the only kind of racism there is.
And just last month, Elinor Langer’s “A Hundred Little Hitlers,” a powerful account of the1988 Portland racist skinhead epidemic that culminated in the murder of an Ethiopian, makes a splash.
OMED: And begs the question. Of the African-Americans killed in a violent manner in Portland in the last ten years, how many were slaughtered by skinheads or any other white, and how many were killed by other African-Americans? Which represents the greatest threat to blacks? Whites or blacks? For another comparison, we see from the mainstream American media each day a tally of the Americans killed in Iraq. In a similar manner to that which is under discussion, here, the prevaricators fail to put these numbers in perspective. More young Americans die from violence in Washington, D.C. and Lost Angeles, two liberal American cities, each month, than are killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Langer argues that racist history is as much or more to blame as neo-Nazism for the 1988 plague of violence.
OMED: One death is not a “plague of violence.” Langer needs to address the serious problem, not the statistical oddity. It would limit the scope of potential publishers since most modern presses, particularly university presses, aren’t even faintly interested in the truth, but what we need from her is a book titled “Brotherly Hate: America’s Plague of Black on Black Crime.” But even that isn’t the central problem, here. What we need is proof that Uris has made a botch of his description of Oregon’s history of racial intolerance. You’ll see that proof begin to unfold in just a few more lines.
Our history as a city and a state is rife with discrimination, both legal and extralegal. Here, using only the African-American experience, is some of that history:
In 1859, the new state of Oregon forbade African-American settlement. Those who defied the rule faced punishment.
OMED: In 1859, Oregon, over the opposition of the Democratic Party, joined the Union as a free state. No slavery. If you want to know who has historically oppressed blacks in Oregon, right from the very beginning, don’t look to the political party that fought to free them. Look to the political party you incorrectly think was their savior. The reason why “the new state of Oregon forbade African-American settlement” is just below. His name is Whiteaker and his political party name begins with a “D.”
Oregon’s first Governors
WHITEAKER, John, 1859-1862 (Democrat) Whiteaker won by a
majority of 1,138 and was inaugurated on July 8. 1858. Eight months later Congress admitted Oregon to statehood and Whiteaker assumed office. His pro-slavery position alienated him from a substantial number of the citizens of Oregon at the outbreak of the Civil War.
Now, take a look at the next two, one a reformed Democrat and the other a founding Oregon Republican.
GIBBS, Addison C., 1862-1866 (former Democrat who joined the Union-Republican Party of Lincoln during the Civil War)
WOODS, George Lemuel, 1866-1870 One of the founders of the
Republican Party in Oregon; active in party organization in Yamhill County in 1856 and throughout the Willamette Valley in 1857: promoted a free-state movement as Oregon prepared to adopt a state constitution.
The next one,CHADWICK, Stephen Fowler, 1877-1878 (Democrat) is principally famous for hanging Indians.
OMED: So, Mr. Uris, painting Oregon as racist from the start, left out some interesting facts — specifically that some things and people of that era were racist, and some things and people of that era were not. It is our advice to Mr. Uris that if he is not able to factually portray an historical subject, he should shut up about it or move to a place where his style of history is standard practice. North Korea would be a good choice..
Below, he also forgets to mention which political party at that time worked day and night to join Andrew Johnson’s southern friends in their attack on civil rights for blacks. We’re betting Mr. Uris is a Democrat. If reparations are due to blacks for past injustice, then the money should come out of Mr. Uris’ wallet, not from the pockets of Republicans, whose Civil War and Reconstruction ancestors fought and won freedom for African-Americans — and fought the losing battle against the Democrats’ Jim Crow structure until, centuries late, Democrats, in the Sixties finally seemed to begin to get it.
Come on people. Ask yourself why a Republican couldn’t get elected in the South for nearly a hundred and fifty years after the Civil War.
After the Civil War, black people could not marry outside their race, had to pay poll taxes and could not serve on juries.
OMED: Legislation and regulatons made by Democrats, and where they were in control, came to have the force of law.
In the early 1900s, lynching and mock lynchings became a part of vigilante justice in Southern Oregon.
OMED: It was the same story in the South, where Democrats had once more taken local control and besides supporting the K.K.K. (the current senator, Robert Byrd [D, Virginia] was a member), began to set in place the heinous structure known as Jim Crow.
The Ku Klux Klan dominated state politics in the early 1920s.
OMED: Which is why Democrats were politically powerful. Check out the following.
OLCOTT, Ben, 1919-1923 (Republican Oregon governor) Fearful of lawlessness associated with a fast growing Ku Klux Klan in Oregon, he denounced the Klan on May 13. 1922, just six days before the primary election. (Modern “historians,” attempting to spread KKK blame over to the Republican Party, write that he “jeopardized his chances in the Republican primary” by doing it.) Olcott won the primary by a few votes, but in the general election faced Democrat Walter Pierce, who advocated a Klan supported anti-Catholic Compulsory School Bill and who was also the K.K.K. candidate. Olcutt opposed the school bill; denounced the Klan; and lost the election 99,164 votes to Pierce’s 133,392.
OMED: That’s right. Republicans put an anti-K.K.K. candidate up for the general election. The Democrat in that gubernatorial election was also the official candidate of the K.K.K. When discussing this blatently bigoted period in Oregon history, Mr. Uris forgot to mention that little item. He’s an educator, you know. Their job is to help you understand things. Well, it used to be their job, anyway. At least you now understand the reason for the politically “generic” approach to racist Oregon history Mr. Uris selected in his Portland Tribune essay. An accurate portrayal of the situation would have enraged a great many of his pals.
In response to the state’s reputation, the black population stayed small, growing to only l,556 in 1920.
OMED: Another unsubstantiated assumption. Where is the evidence that the reason given is the cause? Not that it isn’t a possibility. The Democrats who dominated Oregon politics in those days were hellish to blacks, though much kinder in their actions than the African blacks of Zimbabwe, today, who are committing genocide against native-born whites.
When it comes to racist behavior by the ancestors of living men, punish all races or punish none. If justice is your goal, you are left with the tedious process of determining who did and who didn’t participate in the acts which are despised. In the case of racism in Oregon the white race cannot be painted with universal guilt, as Mr. Uris attempts to do, here.
On the eve of World War II, the Portland African-American population was less than 2,000. A hostile Jim Crow climate limited black employment, housing and other opportunities. Jobs were limited to the service industries and the railroad.
OMED: Jim Crow, as previously established, was invented and written into law by the Democrats. Pioneer Oregon Democrats argued for making this a slave state, participated in the Johnson attempts to disenfranchise blacks during the first Reconstruction period, then, thrown out of Congress by Republicans, got to work and developed the science of racism at the local political level. Oregon’s racist Democrats of the 1920’s were the direct descendants of the people who designed the Stars and Bars. They dominated the membership of the Oregon K.K.K.
A tiny black population struggled to survive in a very white city.
OMED: The indictment here falls apart if you merely look at the historical facts. The Pioneers weren’t a minority struggling to survive in a very Indian chunk of real estate? Using the Uris formula, the Indians (the majority race in the area at the time) should now pay reparations to the descendants of the white folks who got here in covered wagons on the Oregon Trail. Why? For the killing of whites like the Whitmans, of course. For taking the property of whites. For killing and eating their cattle.
An outrageous suggestion? Of course it is. So is the idea of reparations for slavery paid to living blacks by living whites whose Republican ancestors fought against slavery and Jim Crow from Washington D.C. to Oregon City
To “survive” in a very white city means to stay alive. What were the violent death, the death by addiction and death by starvation rates then, compared to now? Is there anybody out there who has a hunch that one or more of those figures is probably more felecitious for blacks than the same statistic, today? Hint: find a photograph of any street in New York City’s Harlem in 1920, and compare it with one of the same street taken from the same angle, today. For a place to bring up kids, you would immediately select the former era to the present.
World War II and the Kaiser shipyards then brought a big change.
OMED: Yes it did. It brought good paying manufacturing jobs to Oregon for the first time, which is what caused the black population to swell. Work attracts workers. Racism in the military of the day sent our white boys off to die in foreign lands, opening up domestic job opportunities for our black boys. (Boys will be boys, regardless of color.) Thus did racism provide greatly expanded non-agricultural work opportunities for blacks in America. As with women, it was a foot in the workplace door.
Housing for huge numbers of new workers would be a challenge for so closed a town.
OMED: A sudden influx of workers creates a challenge for any town. As to Portland being “closed,” it was. So is present day Zimbabwe – to native whites. So is present day Sudan to Christians. So is present day Syria to Jews. Bigotry was not invented in Oregon, but to Oregon’s credit, because of its Republicans, from the day it became a state, no man here owned a slave. (Excluding, perhaps, Indians. For tens of thousands of years prior to, and at least two hundred years after, the colonial arrival of Europeans on this continent, slavery was a common practice in the tribal communities of what are now often called “Native Americans.” Sacajawea, the Indian woman who traveled with Lewis and Clark, was for most of her youth a slave of an Indian tribe which had raided her village.)
But, it is true that Portland was, like Zimbabwe today, a racially closed place. (The only difference was that few blacks were slaughtered then in America, and every white is being slaughtered today in Zimbabwe.)
What isn’t true is the implication that racism was the sole reason for the segregation.
If Mr. Uris happened to be a competant sociologist, he would have taken note of where melting pot immigrants of the day went after they left Ellis Island in New York. If he had merely seen The Godfather, he would know the answer to that. If, during his studies of sociology, he had run across a group called the “Mormons,” he would understand that finding a place to live for people who are not like the others already living somewhere is difficult and even dangerous. For Mr. Uris, who seems a bit light in the sociology department, the Mormons who moved to Utah after being murdered in the mid-West, were very white at the time.
(Christians of any color today are sold as slaves by Moslems in North Africa, and executed for body parts by Communists in China. PBS is so wildly anti-Christian these days that they recently ran a program that justified the abuse of Christians in the Roman Coliseum as a legal (at the time) punishment for the burning of Rome. That’s right, your public broadcasting system says Nero didn’t do the deed. The arsonists were the Christians. Being fed to the lions was the equivalent of a fine for speeding.)
If you think the New York City or Chicago of the early 20th Century didn’t have Irish, German, Polish, Chinese, Italian and Nordic neighborhoods, you know nothing about American history, human nature or group dynamics. If you don’t think each had to fight to carve out a place for themselves, you are a moron. If you don’t think they preferred congregating with those similar to themselves, you need retraining. If you don’t realize that the United States Constitution, written by a bunch of rich, white men, is the reason that the descendants of the people who lived in those enclaves, and who wished to live elsewhere, eventually won the right to do so, you attended a modern public school.
Let’s set aside the fact that the first man to own slaves in Colonial-era Massachusetts was black. Let’s set aside the fact that the slaves he bought were originally captured by black Africans, and held in a compound owned by black Africans on the slave coast of that continent. Let’s set aside the fact that the only connection whites had to the transaction is that they were the UPS of that day. They were the only available race at that time, in those places, that built boats big enough to carry that much cargo across that much water. That is why whites picked up black slaves from black Africans and delivered them to a black massa in Massa-chusetts.
Let’s ignore all of those facts, which I would happily wave in the face of the idiot liberal socioligist, Joe Uris and dare him to do something about it.
Here’s something we won’t set aside. Every freedom available to every minority today is the result of the Constitution written by those rich, white men in the very, very white city of Philadelphia. If you are a black American, your Founding Fathers are white, whether you like it or not. Martin Luther King, Jr. used their laws to set you free from the bondage of the Democrat’s Jim Crow. Abraham Lincoln and congressional Republicans used that Constitution to free your descendants from the slave state Democrats of the South. The Founding Fathers signed the death warrant for the slavery that they, themselves, practiced when they wrote “all men are created equal,” and constructed the Constitution to protect individual, instead of group, rights. Deal with it
And black people would be part of the shipyards’ giant new work force.
OMED: Women, too. Why? Because a great many white men were going off to save the entire bloody world. Even the blatent leftist, Tom Brokaw, called them “the greatest generation.” Do you have a problem with that, Mr. Uris?
Portland responded by creating the Housing Authority of Portland. It was planned that the new population would be temporary.
OMED: The city that was constructed for the workforce that built Hoover Dam was designed to be temporary, and most of the people who lived in that town were white.
Within two years, Vanport, the second-largest city in Oregon and the largest public housing project in the nation, was built on the flood plain to the north of Portland (where Delta Park is today).
OMED: That is true. I lived there, as did members of my family, all of whom were white at the time. I, myself, remain white to this very day, and am damn proud of it. The contributions made by my race from the government, science and philosophy of the Greeks to the government, science and economics of today are of world-shaking brilliance. What color, Mr. Uris were Socrates, Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Copernicus, Shakespeare, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Voltaire, Edison, the Wright brothers, Albert Einstein and John F. Kennedy?
At the shipyards, African-Americans were kept in the lowest-paying, least pleasant jobs.
OMED: So were the 1800’s immigrant Irish in New York City, in part because they were Catholic. Did you know that blacks and white Irish Catholics literally battled each other to the death over jobs in New York City’s sewers? And, you have heard of “indentured servitude,” I suppose. My white, Irish ancestors were American slaves. Prior to that they were German, Norwegian, Roman and British slaves at one time or another in one place or another
They were excluded from full union membership. Indeed, the Portland local (Local 8) of the traditionally Democratic and left-leaning International Longshore Workers Union denied African-Americans full membership until legal action and threats of pickets forced a change in the late 1960s.
OMED: Absolutely true. Communists registered as Democrats ran the unions and refused access to people they didn’t like. (Stalin despised blacks and homosexuals.) The people they, and their 100% white, registered Democrat, blue collar, working man membership, didn’t like most were blacks.
When the war ended, Vanport continued on, a city of the poor.
OMED: The people came in because there were good paying jobs. Instead of leaving when the good paying jobs were gone, and moving to some place where good paying jobs were newly available (the mid-west, for one. California, for another), they chose to remain where the unemployment rate had just gone sky high. (Oregon is a beautiful place to live, even if it is overrun with liberals. And, in those days, the fishing was great. My side of the political coin bears some responsibility for the decline of that activity. They are as unwilling to accept that concept as modern Democrats are to accept their suppression of minorities.)
The poverty in Vanport was due to the end of WWII manufacturing. The end of WWII was not a racist plot. Returning soldiers got their old jobs back, replacing the women and blacks who had temporarily filled the positions. Do you, or do you not, think somebody who risks his life to fight for your freedom deserves to get his old job back if he manages to return alive?
In 1948, Vanport disappeared, flooded when the Columbia River dike broke. Many survivors of that calamity are convinced that if not planned, the flood was allowed to happen.
OMED: Anytime a liberal uses the word “many,” it means he has no idea what he’s talking about. The term suggests a large body of popular opinion which the writer or speaker cannot verify. Usually, the version you hear from the broadcast media boobs and boobettes is, “many people feel that …” When they say that, automatically doubt the point that follows.
My white relatives had homes that were wiped out in the Vanport Flood. I stood on the heights to the east of Vanport and viewed hundreds of people trapped on their roofs. There weren’t ten African-Americans in sight. I can see that vista in my mind as I write this. Mr. Uris wasn’t anywhere to be seen, either.This is not to say that Vanport did not have a large black population. It is to say that it was not as implied in this article a totally black ghetto. A great many whites lived there, as well. Here’s a description of one of them by our Berlin Bureau Chief, Thomas Lipscomb.
Vanport was something more diverse than a black ghetto. My 6th grade Ainsworth sweetheart was Judy Hawes. Prettiest eyes and pigtails I ever saw and smart! I still love her voice. She was one of two girls at Ainsworth who had soda fountains in their rec rooms. Her father was a pharmacist who originally had two drugstores I think … one in Vanport and one in Eugene. When Vanport reverted to its original wetland status that memorable day you described so well… “Doc” Hawes got out a boat and cruised the streets (in it) making sure his not so well heeled and isolated customers got their medicine delivered until the water went down.
He was no dummy though. He moved the pharmacy to higher ground in Portland. And then he made a couple of other smart moves. Like naming his drugstores (after his middle name “Peyton”) the PAYLESS drugstores.– TL
Local African-American folklore has it that many African-Americans died in the flood, unacknowledged and forgotten.
OMED: Local African-American folklore has it that present day Washington County is to be avoided because the K.K.K. still thrives there. Local hill folklore has it that if you put a knife under the sickbed mattress of a person in agony it will cut the pain in half. This sort of crap is why serious people consider sociology junk science.
The Vanport flood brought a new population of black people into the city itself.
OMED: Yes it did. It brought them and a bunch of poor white folks a few blocks from Vanport into N.E. Portland, where they did exactly what every other racial, ethnic and religious group in history, in every region and nation in history, has done. They made themselves a neighborhood. The poor blacks lived here and the poor whites lived there. The poor Jews lived here and the poor Catholics lived there. The Seminoles lived in the deep South and the Crow lived in the Rockies. Norwegians live in Norway and Egyptians live in Egypt.
While many left, thousands stayed. Because of redlining and other forms of residential segregation, the black community was now a well-defined enclave with a population density six times that of the rest of the city.
OMED: This is classic liberal gobbledegook. Racism forced blacks to form the kind of community that this idiot is complaining has been lost.
Did you get that? He is bemoaning the loss of a racial neighborhood which was created entirely, according to him, by an evil force. The white devil made them do the correct thing? You have to be a liberal to follow logic like this. No wonder we have so many liberals in Oregon. They were the only babies who survived late stage abortions because they didn’t have any brains to suck out.
Did the density of Little Italy in New York City prove racism by the New York City Protestant elite? Italians look white to me. The same thing happened to every other such group, almost all of them white. And, what shall we say of the wonderful Chinatown in San Francisco? Was there racism againt the Chinese in early California? Of course there was. But, now that housing restrictions no longer exist, why does San Francisco still have a Chinatown?
Do we assume that the concentration of Jews today in NW Portland is because Christian bigot real estate agents won’t sell them homes in Beaverton? Are people named Steinberg in 2003 trapped in a NW ghetto by the fascist urban police state run by Portland’s current mayor, Frau Katz? Or, do black basketball millionaires own fancy homes in Lake Oswego? Are African-Americans under-represented on Portland television? Are blacks prevented from attaining public office in Oregon? Are there any blacks on the staffs of any politicians in the state? Are there any black professors in our colleges and universities? Do any blacks have top jobs at Nike?
Multiculturalism (and the entire liberal ethic) is a bunch of hogwash. Where the modern term “hang” is translated as meaning “preferring each other’s company because they have common beliefs, professions, religions or appearance,” communities to this day naturally form around areas of mutuality. Elephants hang, blacks hang, ducks hang, Jews hang, ants hang, Amish hang, farmers hang, truckers hang, liberals hang, veterans of foreign wars hang, anglers hang, conservatives hang, lawyers hang, Indians hang and doctors hang.
Hell, Indians hang by tribe! The reason why Custer had Crow guides is that they hated the Tlakota Sioux for stealing their ancestral tribal lands! (The Sioux were forced out of their tribal homelands by whites, of course, so we know who to really blame. Prior to the arrival of whites, all Indians lived in eternal peace with each other, and never invaded each other’s tribal lands. If you believe that, I have a bridge you might like to purchase.)
There, near the Broadway Bridge and north, along where Interstate 5 now runs and on the streets around Williams, Russell and Vancouver Avenue, a lively community grew. Harshly policed and with an economy supplemented by tolerated and controlled vice, a neighborhood of small businesses, churches and social life emerged.
OMED: Sounds like the New York City Italian ghetto run by Don Corleone. Does Uris think Italians are black? That, folks, is the Voice of the American Liberal. If you’d like to see some “harsh” policing, follow an Asian immigrant to south L.A. and observe what the neighborhood watch does to his store windows during the next race riot.
Yes, it is shocking. Absolutely unbelievable. Not all racists are white. I will not tell you why those windows are broken, because you would label me a racist for speaking the truth. Nor will I tell you why California blacks despise Ward Connerly, who is also black, and what that has to do with the California system of higher education and Asian students. The truth there is also considered racist by politically correct sociologists like our dear Mr. Uris.
This largely segregated but vibrant black area was soon to be eliminated.
OMED: How odd. The black neighborhoods in the 40’s didn’t reach Blandena Street. The reason why I know that is because I lived there in the 40’s. Today, black residences stretch way beyond Blandena Street. The sociological definition of “smaller” must be “larger.”
By the early ’60s, a significant part of the community was leveled for the Memorial Coliseum. Then the building of the Minnesota (Interstate 5) Freeway corridor destroyed a huge part of what was left. In 1970, the Portland Development Commission dealt a major blow by tearing down 33 blocks for the planned, but never built, Emanuel Hospital Urban Renewal Project. The heart of the architecturally rich and culturally complex community of Albina was eviscerated.
OMED: Let’s get this straight. The concentration of blacks was the result of racism (flooding them out of Vanport), and the de-concentration of blacks (public works) was the result of racism.
Perhaps Mr. Uris is here in part making an invisible reference to black bigotry with respect to homosexuals. A key factor in the white inroads of traditional black neighborhoods is gentrification — which in this case means architectural restoration of homes in disrepair to their historic richness. If it happens in a black neighborhood, it is a racist thing to do when it is done by people who are not black. It increases the cultural diversity of the community, which to Mr. Uris is good or bad depending on which axe he is grinding at the moment.
If you were black and old enough, you could have been forced to move four times in the space of 30 years. The peculiar diaspora experienced in Albina created neither an empowered community nor an end to racial injustice.
OMED: If you were an Okie and old enough, you could have watched your parents farm the prairie incorrectly, thus creating the Dust Bowl, and might have on the way to pick fruit in California met John Steinbeck. If you were an Irishman in 1899, you might have been forced to leave your country of birth and move to a ghetto named Brooklyn. If you had been Thurgood Marshall, you would have been a Southern negro from impoverished circumstances, shoveling coal into the church furnace to earn your one meal of the day — and without affirmative action, and so by way of extraordinary effort during the height of the Democrat’s Jim Crow period, ended up as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The definition of a successful society is not how much everybody has, but how much everybody can have if they take what’s handed to them, problems and all, and create somethng worthwhile from it. Socialism guarantees all but a few will be equally impoverished. The western capitalist democracy (which in our case is actually something quite different known as a “republic”) guarantees only the right to pursue success in spite of all the traumas of your life. In our system, you are free to try. Your limits are your abililties, determination and luck.
Displacement is racist? Displacement to America, as every black, brown and yellow foreigner in the world full well knows is just another kind of opportunity. The displacement of blacks from the rural South to the North was the salvation of their race. But for the displacement of Indians by whites, all the tribes would today be citizens of either Nazi Germany or the Empire of Japan, and living in concentration camps instead of becoming rich from casinos. And, black displacement to America? The slaves the colonists (some of them black) bought were slaves in Africa, already. Here’s an anecdote.
Returning from Africa after an event that took place during the Clinton administration, a black marine walked off the plane and, dropping to the ground, kissed the runway. His white friend asked him what he was doing. “Thanking God for slavery,” was the black man’s reply. “But for that I would have been born in Rwanda.”
If public works displacement of blacks is racist, what do you call public works displacement of whites? Highway 217, for example ripped right through the commercial and residental heart of Beaverton. Was that acceptible because the people disturbed were not black? Shall we consider the racism of those who coalesced to defeat the measure which required compensation for property taken or value-degraded by public action in Oregon? Or is that kind of displacement which primarily happens to whites quite a different thing? Of course. The public works in the black neighborhood is racism and the same thing in white neighborhoods is not — to Uris.
Others, like conservatives, have a different view. They think public works in general have nothing to do with race. They think public works in general, and specifically in Oregon, are often about contempt for the citizenry, no matter the race.
African-Americans remain poorer than their white brothers and sisters.
OMED: Not in the professor’s occupational category. Blacks with the same time and grade make more than whites. And, the professor forgot to look at the salaries of Portland media, sports and shoe company hotshots. And the salaries of black government employees, of which there is no shortage. And the salaries of black actors and musicians and record company executives, of which there is no shortage. And the salaries of black judges, and black members of the Bush administration, and railroad employees, and teachers and school administrators, and lawyers and bankers and army officers and airforce pilots and naval brass, and construction workers and business owners and television show hosts and broadcast and print journalists.
All, repeat all, economic data proves the existence of a thriving black middle class in America, today. Six percent national unemployment means ninety-four percent employment, and all you need to prove that blacks have their share of it is just open your eyes.
Blacks don’t have access to good jobs in modern America? They do if they bother to get an education. Blacks don’t have access to a good education in America? Tell that to every black who plays professional sports. They all got a college education for free. Black non-athletes have been favored in college entrance exams for decades. Black students with a highschool record above 2.5 GPA get scholarship money from every direction. Any black who doesn’t can get the same thing by doing a term in the military.
There is no greater racial lie in America today than this one. Blacks — if they stay in school and work their behinds off — receve preferential treatment in American colleges. Preferential collegiate treatment is racism, alright, but not the kind that Mr. Uris is talking about.
But, it is true that poverty does stalk a portion of the black community. Why is that? Mr. Uris thinks racism is the reason. Disadvantages built into the “system” by events that happened hundreds of years ago, and which have never been rectified. Would you like to know the truth? Read on.
The economic problems facing N.E. Portland are cultural in nature. Building a freeway didn’t cause them. George Bush didn’t cause them. Gentrification didn’t cause them. It is all about a lack of faith. Too many people there believe what the Joe Urises have been telling them for years — they have no chance. And so, they just don’t even try. (School dropout statistics, of course, are racist. Any truth which does not serve the ideological needs of Mr. Uris is racist.)
But, it isn’t just Mr. Uris who is at fault, here. Their own black “leadership” has convinced blacks they are victims.
The culture shapes the individual
Upon reflection, you will become aware that Mr. Uris does not focus on the individual in his essay. He is not concerned with individuals except as they fit within the group descriptions with which he wishes to play. Illegitimacy, for example — something that happens to individuals — is an advantage to sociologists because it tranfers the familial control to the government. It adds people to the dependency sphere, and so transfers both power and money to the social experts. Social programs now cost a great deal more than national defense. He who collects the social money, and chooses who receives a share, has the power.
Mr. Uris is a liberal. He knows what Marx said. Everything is political.
Per capita, N.E. Portland probably has the highest illegitimacy rate of any community in Oregon. Data available from research on other urban black communities indicate that the number of illegitimate births in places like inner-city Chicago have since the early seventies gone from 18% to over 80%. Most likely such numbers in the case of Portland are difficult to get these days. The political correctness that rules your life has made such concepts taboo. Socioligists like Uris ignore that data for reasons of political correctness, and focus on blame targets which are more culturally acceptible.
Yet, a proper family is to a child like a proper launch pad is to a rocket. It’s where the whole trip begins. With a good family comes stability, a positive outlook, self-discipline and the kind of ambition that creates powerful economies. Illegitimacy costs a society dearly. It rarely produces people who during their lives live up to their God-given potential. Instead of creating, generating wealth, they drag an economy down.
The hip hop, rap youth culture of N.E. Portland celebrates drugs, sex, violence and hatred. Working hard to get a good education so you can get a good job, get married and raise a family properly is referred to as being “white.” This is an insult in N.E. Portland, which being black, cannot be called a “racist” place.
There’s a black female judge who has a show on weekday afternoon television. The program runs on KPTV. I love that woman because she doesn’t buy into the modern black street gang culture crap. She tells the losers how to become winners — cut the race victim BS, drop the rap billionaire fantasy, get an education and make something of yourself.
She knows where black poverty comes from these days. It comes from blacks.
More recent black commercial enclaves such as Alberta Street are increasingly centers of white hipness.
OMED: A few years back, KATU’s Town Hall ran a program on the subject of Oregon racism. One of the local black businessmen took the mike and said words to this effect, “If I wanted to move to Lake Oswego, I wouldn’t be welcome. They wouldn’t say it out loud, but it would be there.” Next, he said, “White businesses are buying up property along Martin Luther King Boulevard. They are destroying the traditional character of the neighborhood.” Did you get that? A black man says if he is not welcome in Lake Oswego because he is black, that is racism. When, in the next breath he says whites are not welcome in N.E. Portland because they are white, that is not racism. KATU has that program in their archives. Go look at it for yourself.
Remaining areas of black housing have been gentrified.
OMED: Yes, of course. I mentioned that up above. Fixing and repainting classic old homes, and landscaping the yards is bad business. It is racist to make a neighborhood a clean and attractive place. National coverage has pointed out that quite often this is due to the activities of urban-dwelling homosexuals. Thus, one of the professor’s special interest groups is irritating the hell out of another of the professor’s special interest groups. To maintain his theme (bad white guys who aren’t liberals) the identification of the gentrificators, white, mostly male, liberals almost to a darling, had to be left out.
According to the 2000 Census, only one small area of Portland is two-thirds black, and only six census tracts are more than half black.
OMED: Desegregation, then, is a racist thing to do. No wonder Boston called an end to busing.
The new center of black housing is the east-side suburbs. Here, no single ethnic community dominates.
OMED: Desegregation, then, is a racist thing to do. No wonder Boston called an end to busing.
Various Latino groups, many of which are culturally (different?) from one another, a variety of Asian ethnic communities and a multitude (of) white immigrant groups live alongside African-Americans in these (?)-class areas.
OMED: I put the parenthesis in because he probably meant “culturally different,” and “multitude of.” I have no idea what a “-class area” is. Anyway, desegregation, then, is a racist thing to do. No wonder Boston called an end to busing.
Carl Abbott, a Portland State University professor of urban studies, points out that the overall population of people of color in the region remains tiny.
OMED: The overall population of people of no color (white folks, like me) in South L.A., the Bronx, every nation in South America, every nation in Africa, every nation in Asia, the entire sub-continent of India, half the small towns in Georgia, large parts of Oakland, California and 90% of Washington, D.C. remains tiny. So what?
If those places were all white instead of all black, brown or yellow, would they be rich? If Uris believes that, he is saying people of color aren’t bright enough to build a thriving economy on their own. That is a racist opinion if there ever was one. But, most white liberals think exactly that. It is the secret arrogance that is hidden beneath their cloak of “compassion.” The massas have not gone from the world. They run the Democratic Party. And now, just as it was during colonial and pre-Civil War times, some of the massas are black, as well.
That is why Democrats are againt educational vouchers. The last thing they need is for most American blacks to get a good elementary and secondary education. They like most of their property just where they put them, down in the quarters. It is Republicans who want to provide blacks with vouchers. Nothing has changed from Oregon’s earliest days. The same people as then still wish to chain the blacks, and the same as then wish to free them.
The Portland metropolitan area is only 3 percent African-American. The Latino population is 7 percent, and Asian communities are 5 percent. There is no geographic center for any of these groups.
OMED: Desegregation, then, is a racist thing to do. No wonder Boston called an end to busing
Abbott argues that minorities cannot claim a public space of their own.
OMED: It is against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the U.S. Constitution for any group to call any public space their own. Perhaps we should rescind the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the U.S. Constitution so groups can do that. We white people should select the bridges as our public places, and charge all the minorities a dollar to go across to get to their public places. If we have to suffer the slavery of liberalism, we might as well make a buck in the process.
Portland is perhaps the whitest city of any significant size in America.
OMED: Washington, D.C. is perhaps the blackest city of any significant size in America. If this is wrong, it must be corrected. We must displace half of the blacks there by bussing them to Portland, and half the whites here by bussing them to D.C. Boston has a whole fleet of de-segregation busses that aren’t being used at present.
Without a critical mass and without a geographic location to call one’s own, there is little likelihood that a thriving economic base of black and other minority businesses and cultural activities can succeed.
OMED: Desegregation, then, is a racist thing to do. No wonder Boston called an end to busing. Oh, and one other thing. Perhaps this blathering sociologist can explain how Asians run successful businesses in black areas where by definition they don’t have a geographic location to call their own, or a large, culturally like-minded racial base at hand. This sort of thing is why I say that a sociologist talking about economics makes about as much sense as a virgin talking about sex.
The exclusionist and racist policies of the past haunt streets nearly devoid of minority cultural and economic life.
OMED: Wait a minute. There are too many whites moving into N.E. Portland. That means they must be excluded if we are to save N.E. Portland. But this guy just said that exclusionist policies are racist. He’s a bit of a Hamlet, don’t you think? To exclude or not to exclude, that is the question. Whether ‘tiz nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous journalistic hypocrisy, or to take arms against a moronic liberal professor and by opposing his ludicrous philosophical gymnastics, end them.
But beyond the questions of gentrification, of cultural and entrepreneurial life, there is still the reality of overt racial strife. Now less visible but still a real presence, racist attitudes and violence still exist in the world of young people.
OMED: Absolutely true. Before your damned multiculturalism, natural enemies like Germans and the Polish came to this country and merged into Americans. They now live mailbox by mailbox without a lick of trouble. It is your idiotic liberal philosophy that has prevented the remaining distinct population groups from doing exactly the same thing. You, Mr. Uris, are responsible for all the problems. Good old, liberal Democrat you.
But then, for a Democrat, creating divisivness and confrontation is as natural as leaves flying in an autumn wind. Your entire history with respect to the subject here, race, Mr. Uris, is a textbook on how to make things worse. Misery is your ongoing legacy to America.
On public access television, there are racist video games, music and the like, a ghostly continuation of the time of neo-Nazi skinheads. The Internet, always a center of “anything goes” cultural action, has many racist sites Race-based tensions on Portland’s east side include incidents of insults, fights and beatings that now and again flare up in suburban school districts such as Reynolds and Parkrose.
OMED: Has this fellow ever read rap lyrics? Does he know who commits the overwhelming number of acts of violence against blacks? Does he deny the drug and gang activity in N.E. Portland? Does he say that it is not the most violent, most dangerous place in the city even when a white face can’t be seen with a telescope? Does he assume that every fight between a black and a white is the result of an innocent black being set upon by a racist white?
Police actions, most recently the death of Kendra James, reflect a long tradition of minority mistreatment, both real and perceived, that echoes through the years and becomes a part of the culture of resentment, fear and rage against law enforcement officers that animates the political life of the black community.
OMED: Thank God we are coming to the end of this man’s drivel. A mother who leaves her children to go out and do drugs, then tries to escape an arrest scene by grabbing the steering wheel and driving off? Has this reporter never heard of MADD? And, the “culture of resentment, fear and rage against law enforcement officers that animates the political life of the black community” is perfectly described. Political harlots stir up resentment via victimization rhetoric instead of calling for the removal of the garbage from their streets. And applause wells up from the garbage on the streets. The professor will never understand the concept of standards of personal conduct. In his philosophy, nobody (except conservatives, of course) in his world, is personaly responsible for their own actions, and thus to a great degree, for their own fate.
Police-community relations are at a low point. Racially motivated youth violence, a city that is as white as Oslo, Norway, and years of occasional police violence all take their toll and continue to create a perception of the region as a white world in which minorities are merely tolerated at best.
OMED: A city that is as white as Oslo, Norway? Did this moron actually say that? Has Robert B. Pamplin, the owner of the Portland Tribune, approved of this kind of blatent, misguided, ignorant, divisive and malignant liberal rhetoric? Does he feature such rhetoric from the pulpit of his church as he preaches on Sunday?
Perhaps the many residents of Oregon who have Norwegian ancestry would resent their skin color being turned into an insult. Blacks don’t care for that sort of thing. Is there any reason why whites would?
Is there any likelihood that this can be turned around in the near future?
OMED: With people like Uris defining the terms? Not a chance. He doesn’t even know what needs to be “turned around!”
Certainly police training can be improved. The appointment of Derrick Foxworth as police chief is a hopeful sign. But the fundamental problems remain. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, executives and economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York warn that blue- and white-collar jobs are disappearing. Structural unemployment on this scale can only add to competition and racial strife.
OMED: The loss of American manufacturing jobs is a direct result of six decades of Democrat control of congress. American blacks and unions voted themselves out of a job every time they sent a liberal Democrat to Washington, D.C. In the Fifties, a man worked until mid-January to pay his taxes. Today, he works into the month of June to accomplish the same end. All that taxation reduced his purchasing power and strangled our corporations, which after all, have to pay both their taxes and his.
(You don’t think your employer pays your taxes? Then, who gives you the money to pay them? Your uncle Fred? Sorry, but the money to pay your taxes comes from the people for whom you work. It is part of your salary. And, every time any tax goes up — yours or the company’s — it is the company that has to come up with the dough. Taxes are why they’ve gone offshore, and if you vote for politicians who like to tax, you are the reason the jobs are gone.)
Actually, Portland’s problems can easily be turned around in the near future. Aside from running this idiot, Uris, out of town on a rail, the following will do the job. Triple the taxes on any newspaper that publishes sociologists. Next, deport every liberal politician to Massa-chusetts where they belong. Finally, cut state taxes by a full third, reduce corporate taxes (except on liberal media) to zero and then watch the economy (and revenues to the state treasury!) shoot up like a rocket. Plenty of jobs for everybody. Plenty of money for the government.
In a city and region that is basically conservative and racially homogeneous, racism is not necessarily even recognized.
OMED: Well, he saved the best for last. Portland is a “conservative” city? A quick view of voting patterns confirms a different conclusion. If the professor is using “conservative” in a sociological sense, he means that Portland should become more racially heterogenous. (More of a melting pot.) Since he spent the bulk of this essay arguing for isolated areas of racial purity, he is thus proposing the activation of two completely opposite behaviours. If Portland State University actually hires people this stupid, its charter should be revoked.
Joe Uris is an associate professor of sociology at Portland State University. He also hosts a weekly talk show Tuesday mornings on KBOO (90.7 FM). A resident of Northeast Portland, he attended Reed College, Columbia University and Portland State.
OMED: KBOO stands for Kommunist Broadcasting Of Oregon, John Reed (Reed College) was a hero of the Soviet Union (the only American ever enshrined — buried — in the Kremlin Wall) and Columbia University is where the Pulitzers originate. You probably don’t know why that last item proves that Columbia is a blot on American journalism. Publishing the kind of garbage Uris writes, the Tribune is well on the way to winning one of those Pulitzers.
Postscript: About three weeks after this piece appeared, in Oregon Magazine, a letter was written to the Portland Tribune. It had to do with a November 7th Trib story about the lawsuit filed by the familly of Kendra James. The writer of this letter brings up to two the number of citizens who have the guts to point out the PC cowardice of Oregon’s civic, academic, journalistic and religious communities To Mr.Barret’s list,we would add the following. Where was Joe Uris, famous sociologist and author?
Blame in James case lies closer to home
Someone needs to yell — really loud: Wake up, Portland! Especially those of you very vocal leaders in the Northeast community (James case far from finished, Nov. 7). Kendra James was not the innocent young lady you paint her to be:
She was a druggie.
There was a warrant for her arrest.
She disobeyed a police order to get out of the car and instead …
She tried to get away from the police illegally by climbing from the back seat of the car into its front seat, and to start the car’s engine.Where were the Northeast community and its vocal church leaders as James was growing up? Where were the Northeast community and its vocal church leaders when James obviously needed help and guidance? And, what are the Northeast community and its vocal church leaders doing to help all the upcoming kids like James who will need help to avoid the drugs and crime that ensnared James right under your noses?
Don’t blame the police or anyone else. It was those of you in the Northeast community, and your now very vocal church leaders, who allowed her problems to fester.
Instead of pushing for, and supporting, the $10 million lawsuit by James’ family, you need to spend your time and efforts at preventing the development of any more like Kendra James.
James G. Barrett
© 2003 Oregon Magazine