Portland has shown us a history of Black and brown folks fighting tooth and nail for their spaces, while white Portlanders have taken up that space and gaslighted us by attempting to convince us that this white utopia is just fine as it is.
By Margaret Jacobsen By now the whole country is aware that our liberal-loving, hippie-supporting, recycling, earth-conscious city of Portland, Oregon, isn’t this utopia it had labeled itself to be. In fact, it’s one of the first times that the whole country has become aware of its large KKK presence dating back to the 1920s. The most common misconception is that racism was bred and raised in the South. We also assume that northern states were more progressive than southern states but that simply isn’t true. When Oregon joined the union in 1859, it was the only state which forbade black people from living within its borders.
I have been in Portland for six years and when I first arrived, I didn’t notice how few people of color lived here. I assumed it was just because of the neighborhoods I was spending time in, or the friends I had made. It wasn’t until I met other Black and brown people, that I began asking, “Did you notice that there aren’t very many of us here?” Like me, many of them were transplants and the ones I met six years ago have since moved to the East Coast.