Speaking of Portland:
A new report by a coalition of minority groups labels Multnomah County a “uniquely toxic place” for people of color, where minorities consistently lag behind whites on nearly every indicator, from poverty rates to jobs.
Conditions in the county are worse than in other parts of the country and continuing to slide, said Ann Curry-Stevens, the lead researcher and an assistant professor of the graduate school of social work at Portland State University. […]
* About 7 percent of whites drop out of high school, compared with 30 percent of minorities.
* Some 62 percent of whites own homes, while only 45 percent of minorities do. A larger percentage of minorities spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
* One in three children of color live in poverty, compared with 12.5 percent for whites. The child-poverty rate for Native Americans is 46 percent, for African Americans 41 percent and for African immigrants 56 percent.
* People of color earn about half that of white individuals: $16,636 a year compared with $33,095. Individual income for Latinos is about one-third that of whites.
* Minorities in Multnomah County fare worse on measures such as child poverty, rent burden, incomes and education than minorities in King County, Wash., (home to Seattle) which has a slightly higher number of minorities.
* For the first time, data are available on Slavic and African immigrants and refugees in the county. Education levels are high in both groups, but both struggle with poverty.
* While Asian Americans tend to perform the same as whites in education and occupation nationally, that’s not the case in Multnomah County.
Oregon Live: Communities of Color Coalition finds ‘toxic’ conditions for Multnomah County minorities
Read the comments on the OregonLive piece for examples of the ignorance festering here.
I knew Portland was far from a progressive-utopia on issues of race, but this report (and the recent shooting of a local anti-fascist activist) make me realize that the problem is much worse than I’d thought.
Via Johnny Brainwash who adds: “I can tell you that I’ve never been jew-baited more than I have been here, not even when I lived in North Idaho. And if that’s the experience of someone like me, white-skinned and crawling with privilege, you can bet it only gets worse from there.”
I haven’t read the full report yet, but the PDF is available here.
May 12, 2010 at 6:46 am
I would argue that the overabundance of middle-class white radicals who think that a fight against racism begins and ends with “deconstructing white privilege” might have something to do with it. There’s never been much in the way of working class political activity in Portland, but there are a plethora of middle-class radical protest groups as far as the eye can see.
The most appropriate point of comparison with Portland is somewhere in the South–weak labor movement, history of legalized segregation, highly active and mobilized racist movements. It’s really not much like anywhere else in the North other than the abundance of honkies.