Readability

Northwest of Hell

by baldilocks

At Politico, here’s a pro­file on the ugly his­tory of Port­land, Oregon.

The fact that Port­land erupted as the epi­cen­ter in Trump-​era polit­i­cal vio­lence in the U.S. is, in a cer­tain sense, sur­pris­ing. A lib­eral nir­vana, a crunchy, weed-​and-​hops city where Repub­li­cans and plas­tic bags alike have been all but evicted, Port­land has embod­ied and out­paced many of the urban trends of the early 21st cen­tury: gen­tri­fi­ca­tion and co-​ops, food trucks and foot­bridges, tran­si­tions to a bike-​and-​pedestrian econ­omy. It is, as a con­spic­u­ous show has encap­su­lated, a pro­gres­sive paradise.

And yet, as many within and with­out the city have begun real­iz­ing, Port­land is a town leav­ened with a his­tory of ram­pant racial strife. As the whitest major Amer­i­can city, Port­land blos­somed in the lone state that con­sti­tu­tion­ally barred blacks from liv­ing there through the 19th cen­tury, that acted as one of the pri­mary con­cen­tra­tion cen­ters for incar­cer­at­ing Amer­i­can cit­i­zens of Japan­ese ances­try dur­ing World War II, that red­lined as severely as any major metrop­o­lis else­where. That in 1922 saw its chief of police pos­ing along­side hooded Ku Klux Klan mem­bers. That brought Jim Crow to the Pacific shoreline.

It’s the type of legal legacy, the type of nod-​and-​wink encour­age­ment of white supremacy, that not only wel­comed any num­ber of Con­fed­er­ate fam­i­lies to relo­cate to the region in the after­math of the Civil War, but that, toward the close of the 20th cen­tury, saw neo-​Nazi and skin­head groups begin to extend their ten­drils through the area. Before “Port­landia,” there was “Skin­head City.” In the mid-​1980s, skin­heads began march­ing through down­town, haul­ing bats, pipes and axes. Not long after, the city birthed Volks­front, a neo-​Nazi con­tin­gent that even­tu­ally expanded inter­na­tion­ally. In 1988, a trio of skin­heads bashed Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian stu­dent, to death; the three all received prison sen­tences, with one tabbed as a “pris­oner of war” by other white supremacy groups.

There’s much, much more reportage of Antifa’s present-​day vio­lence and advo­cacy thereof. Per­son­ally, I had no idea how bad things are up there, but it’s obvi­ous that Port­land may­hem is noth­ing new.

It will get bet­ter; but worse will come first.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel ten­ta­tively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

by baldilocks

At Politico, here’s a profile on the ugly history of Portland, Oregon.

The fact that Portland erupted as the epicenter in Trump-era political violence in the U.S. is, in a certain sense, surprising. A liberal nirvana, a crunchy, weed-and-hops city where Republicans and plastic bags alike have been all but evicted, Portland has embodied and outpaced many of the urban trends of the early 21st century: gentrification and co-ops, food trucks and footbridges, transitions to a bike-and-pedestrian economy. It is, as a conspicuous show has encapsulated, a progressive paradise.

And yet, as many within and without the city have begun realizing, Portland is a town leavened with a history of rampant racial strife. As the whitest major American city, Portland blossomed in the lone state that constitutionally barred blacks from living there through the 19th century, that acted as one of the primary concentration centers for incarcerating American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II, that redlined as severely as any major metropolis elsewhere. That in 1922 saw its chief of police posing alongside hooded Ku Klux Klan membersThat brought Jim Crow to the Pacific shoreline.

It’s the type of legal legacy, the type of nod-and-wink encouragement of white supremacy, that not only welcomed any number of Confederate families to relocate to the region in the aftermath of the Civil War, but that, toward the close of the 20th century, saw neo-Nazi and skinhead groups begin to extend their tendrils through the area. Before “Portlandia,” there was “Skinhead City.” In the mid-1980s, skinheads began marching through downtown, hauling bats, pipes and axes. Not long after, the city birthed Volksfront, a neo-Nazi contingent that eventually expanded internationally. In 1988, a trio of skinheads bashed Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian student, to death; the three all received prison sentences, with one tabbed as a “prisoner of war” by other white supremacy groups.

There’s much, much more reportage of Antifa’s present-day violence and advocacy thereof. Personally, I had no idea how bad things are up there, but it’s obvious that Portland mayhem is nothing new.

It will get better; but worse will come first.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!