Sunday, July 26, 2020

'White as hell': Portland protesters face off with Trump but are they eclipsing Black Lives Matter?


 Federal law enforcement officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against racial inequality and police violence in Portland, Oregon. Photograph: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters 

On another night of confrontation with federal agents, activists said their message was in danger of being forgotten.

“I look at this crowd and I don’t see many black people,” lamented the 21-year-old African American activist. “Oregon is white as hell. Whitewashed.”

“I look at this crowd and I don’t see many black people,” lamented the 21-year-old African American activist. “Oregon is white as hell. Whitewashed.”
'That’s an illegal order': veterans challenge Trump's officers in Portland
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Lindseth has been a stalwart of the Black Lives Matter protests that have continued for nearly 60 days without interruption in a city that was derided as “Little Beirut” over the intensity of its demonstrations against a visit by George HW Bush four decades ago.

Portland has cemented that reputation in the Trump era, as the protests evolved into nightly showdowns with federal paramilitaries sent by the president to end what he described as anarchy.

But Portland has another reputation alongside its radical image. That of the whitest large city in America in a state with a constitution that once barred African Americans from living there. An 1850s law required black people to be “lashed” once a year to encourage them to leave Oregon, and members of the Ku Klux Klan largely controlled Portland city council between the world wars. Housing was effectively segregated in large parts of the city.

Many of today’s protesters say their support for racial justice in a city where the police department has a history of disproportionately killing African Americans is driven at least in part by an attempt to atone for Oregon’s racist past. But as Portland’s battles play out on the national stage, and Donald Trump stokes unrest for political advantage, some black leaders are asking whose interests the televised nightly confrontations really serve – and whether they are a continuation of white domination at the expense of black interests.  Read more >>