Eye roll, Portland

I’m not disagreeing with the premise of this article (The Portlandification of Brooklyn)  — which as far as I can tell is  Portland and Brooklyn have the same kind of annoying yuppies — but I am giving it a huge eye roll.

I think I’ve said it before, but Portland is the most latently racist city I’ve ever been in. It’s not overt, it’s more an unchecked, completely unexamined white privilege thing.

It’s statements from college kids calling North Portland “the ghetto” because it’s the historically Black part of town. (A hilarious statement by the way if you’ve ever actually been in a real ghetto… North Portland ain’t it.) It’s years of systematic neglect and outright redlining in the African American parts of town. It’s the city council constantly pretending that North Portland and far-East Portland don’t really exist. It’s the disgustingly sparse news coverage of what happened to Yashanee Vaughn compared to the  extreme 24/7 coverage of what might have happened to Kyron Horman.

Or quotes like this one from the article — “Portland is Brooklyn without Black people” — that completely discount, ignore and fail to see 7.8 percent of the population of our city. Not to mention the 9.4 percent that’s Hispanic.

Sometimes I feel like Portlanders intentionally focus on the city’s “whiteness” because they actually don’t want to see it any other way.

I’ve never lived in Brooklyn, so can’t speak to what the dynamic is really like there (and I don’t trust this article to paint me that picture clearly) but I’m betting that long-time Brooklyn-ites take issue with this statement from the piece: “Brooklyn is producing and consuming more of its own culture than ever before.”

What does that even mean? Judging by the story, culture means coffee shops off formerly “scary” train stops, bikes and farmers markets where you can buy organic chocolate. Or maybe culture is this, another quote from the article, “Yeah, I ride my bike every day, I make pickles in my basement, and I sell those myself.”

Um…Pickles?  Spike Lee, Walt Whitman,  Basquiat, Arthur Miller, stern looking German man who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, Mos Def, Al Capone, thousands of other people who have been actually creating and consuming culture in BK for generations — please join me in a collective eye roll. Thank you.

It would be easy to let this girl off the hook saying “she’s just so young,” but we’re the same age, so no.

Ok, time to stop complaining and go for a run to celebrate the parts of this town that I love. Note — those parts have nothing to do with clowns on unicycles or making homemade pickles.

Why Portland is worth it to me.

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2 Comments

Filed under Media, Politics, Portland

2 responses to “Eye roll, Portland

  1. Interesting, different sort of post. Yes, it’s sad that relative newcomers can (and do) end up defining places at-large.

  2. Mary Smith

    I love you for always, Megan.

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