Like many other black people in America, I am sad, angry, and restless. I am also numb because these stories are not old. I am sad that I can't remember all the names and hashtags. They have been happening for decades, stemmed from over centuries of racism in America. I work tirelessly to provide for the black community that I am a part of in Portland in various volunteer efforts, advocating in my work place, and trying to create awareness / empathy for a white culture that doesn't seem to understand unless a murder of a black body is being televised in their face. And, even then - folks still question "what that black man did" as if it justifies being killed in the streets by someone whose job is to protect/serve.
While I am very empathetic to the protesting and share the anger that has occurred across the United States, I have an unpopular opinion... I am angry over the protesting in Portland. Portland is less than 6% black, so when I see the protesting and crowds of people out there, I know (and based on photos - I can see) that half of the fires being set, buildings being broken into, and looting occurring is not being done by the black community. White opportunists and "allies" are behind the havoc from Friday/Saturday night. They are hijacking the movement, the intent, and enforcing stereotypes. I am over it and I want it to stop. It also doesn't make sense. We had several cases of police brutality in Portland (including my peer from high school) and I never saw Portland fight like this. We should have been upset about our local government's inefficiencies years ago, not now... it's misguided and without a leader. I question the intent and who is actually doing the harm.
I also want the social media posts to stop. Growing up in Portland, I have met a lot of good people and a lot of bad people, both brown and white. I appreciate my white friends who attempt to utilize their privilege and question the white status quo that is in our office places, restaurants, and city. However, I am irritated by the constant stream of violent videos that desensitize us to black bodies being murdered, the posts on how "woke" and how great of an "ally" you are as a white person. My question is - where were you the other 364 days of the year when no one was speaking up for injustice? Where were you when the equity policies / discussions in your workplace were "uncomfortable" and "inconvenient"? Where were you when black organizations needed support for the work that they do everyday? That's when you need to show up. Posting on your facebook and instagram is nothing. Keep donating. Keep caring, but show up the rest of the year. Your care shouldn't be instigated because everyone else is doing it and to be frank - a lot of folks are posting out of white guilt and the fear of being considered racist if they don't post something.
|A piece I made in 2010 that is still just as relevant today. I was 17 years old and |
understood exactly what police officers meant to the black community.
|The inside showing faux nooses, blood, and the attempt at footage of violence being done by |
police with old pictures from the 1960's.