Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'll write more on this later, but I just wanted to post a link to this article. Shortly after I moved to Portland, I learned that it's considered one of the whitest cities in America. I didn't notice this, probably because I moved into a neighborhood with a high concentration of Somali (and probably other East African) immigrants. I've heard a lot of people talk about this topic in the past few months.
What some people have told me is that some of the "progressives" in Portland are closet racists. This I have a problem with.
However, I think the article takes some big leaps in its logic, leaving holes. Also, I don't think it's accurate or fair to say that having a lack of African Americans makes a place not diverse. There are other ethnicities/minorities! Additionally, the writer says some things about seeing different minority groups as people with potential...something like that. I think I'm too tired to be coherent. But what I'm trying to say is that this is what I'm having a problem with. I don't think we should look at certain groups as being groups with potential. We should just look at them as people. PEOPLE. THAT'S IT. I don't think it's fair to say that things like Portland's well-planned-ness or public transportation system is a direct result of the city being white.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that discussing a racial or ethnic group like this--in a way that separates people of that group, that categorizes individuals as a group, even if you're saying positive things about this group, it's still divisive. That's my opinion, at least. Even if you're saying positive things about a group, you're still making them separate and in my opinion, it's not very different from the type of thinking that produces racism. I might have to revise this when it's earlier in the morning and I'm thinking more clearly, but that's how I feel. I will probably come back to this idea a lot. It's just how I always think. Whenever I'm filling out a survey or an application (such as a job application), I don't care how much they beg me, I will not check off any boxes for my race. I personally think it's a regressive social construct and I don't wish to contribute to that kind of thinking. (Not that I really feel that me not checking a box is going to change the world. The other reason is more personal--technically I could check off a minority box and I don't think that's right, either.)

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