Dear Portland liberals: You’re doing it wrong. (Pause for outrage.) As a so-called bastion of progressive ideals, Portland has quietly become the nation’s capital of selective wokeness. I’ve grown tired with the city’s passive progressives who claim to be wildly inclusive but put up walls when they feel at all uncomfortable.
Call it “Portland Nice,” passive-aggression, or half-baked political correctness—but this city’s certain strain of liberal elitism is somehow more irritating than the unapologetic biases of some conservative extremists.
Just a few choice examples (all hypotheticals, of course) to illustrate this epidemic:
• Boasting that all city policies are crafted through an “equity lens,” while expecting the very communities who’ve been unequally represented in city government to do all the work (i.e., spend hours of uncompensated time being the token minority on city committees).
• Sticking one of those “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor” signs in your manicured front lawn (next to your Little Free Library) while complaining that a new housing complex reserved for low-income renters will ruin the “character” of your neighborhood.
• Wearing “I believe Christine Blasey Ford” buttons but dismissing a strangers’ sexual harassment claims against your friend because “he wouldn’t do that.”
• Bemoaning that “Portland is so white,” but getting defensive when anyone who isn’t white details the difficulties of living in a majority-white metropolis. (See also: Bemoaning gentrification but patronizing a new macramé/cacti/very-expensive-used-clogs store over any longtime Portland business.)
• Littering your social media profile with rainbows for Pride Month, when you’re a police force with a history of not taking LGBTQ+ reports of hate crimes seriously.
• Having a “Black Lives Matter” bumper sticker, but not making a peep when a law enforcement official fatally shoots another Black Portlander.
• Protesting a white supremacist organization while spitting racist epithets at police officers of color assigned to work at the rally.
• Calling the existence of homeless people in your neighborhood a “livability issue” for you, not for them. On that note, deciding that all homeless people don’t want to be helped just because someone didn’t immediately take you up on a demeaning job offer or shower you with gratitude when you gave them a can of cold chili.
We genuinely don’t have time to create task forces, hold town halls, and pen symbolic resolutions about vague community concerns when it’s obvious the concerned party will only be satisfied when homeless people are banned from Portland, Black children are removed from their kids’ school district, or any other wildly unconstitutional decision is made.
In conclusion: I’m not listening to another rant about finding a needle by your community garden plot until you start listening to people outside your cozy demographic.