Since the white supremacist (terrorist) killed those people on the train, quite a few articles and opinions (find my favorite here) have popped up about the events being surprising given that Portland, Oregon is a “solidly liberal state.”
Let me ask you this: How many black people are in Portland? Or better yet, how many black people are the state of Oregon?
Not many. On the 2015 census, the state of Oregon listed the black population at 2.1%. The total population for the state was 4,093,465. 2.1% of 4,093,465 comes out to slightly less than 86,000 people. For perspective, just think of famous college football stadiums. Some of them can hold Oregon’s entire black population, plus more!
As for the city of Portland, I didn’t find the percentage of blacks, however, given that it’s the largest city in the state, I think it’s safe to assume they might have many of the states black residents.
Getting back to this “liberal” title Portland has, I think it’s dangerous to apply it casually. While it instantly conveys (and literally means) that something is “open-minded” and “accepting” that can easily be a false statement when applied politically. Voting blue won’t make you any less racist than anyone else, nor does voting red guarantee you’re a racist. People vote for their interests. You are not magically racially sensitive because you voted for something that is important in a community of color. You just happen to believe in that too.
Put simply: Take off those rose-colored glasses and stop drinking the Kool-Aid white people! Your city being “liberal” does not mean it’s more welcoming to people of color. It probably just means there’s a better arts scene and social services programs.
You’ll know when your city is welcoming. We’ll show up. In droves. Think Black Bike Week, but with suitcases and an absurdly large collection of empty grocery bags.
Again, I ask, how many black people are in Portland? Even the surviving hero of the Oregon attacked admitted his city has a “white savior complex.” If you won’t take it from me, take it from him. I don’t care how much culture Portland has, it’s most liberal feature is how liberally the city’s population has been painted overwhelmingly white.
Now, here’s the real question: Who decided that a city with so very little diversity was one of the most open-minded in the country? I’ll let you think about that.