All posts by James Posey

Does Diversity “Equal” Equity?

not equalCan black people really believe there are serious efforts to erase decades of racial discrimination impacts through a current push for diversity? Are Blacks in Portland being asked to sublimate their race issues in favor of a white-controlled and -perpetuated diversity agenda?

This might also explain why black people are so passive in demanding their rightful share of what they’ve worked for and deserve as black American citizens. Just who is comforted by this diversity label? For whatever reason black people are engaged in seeking fairness for other groups rather unwaveringly seeking results in their own interest

For example, recently a few black people, citing a lack of diversity, challenged a newly-developed seven-member minority business commission which included four black members. Can it be only in Portland where Blacks in a public meeting have the audacity to complain about the over-representation of other Blacks for the sake of racial diversity? But as we have seen in Baltimore, racial composition does not necessarily translate into equal treatment. To say it another way, having black faces associated with an issue does not necessarily guarantee satisfactory results for Blacks.

On the other hand, and similar also to Baltimore, we have seen what happens when black people are treated like caged rats: there’s explosive responses, outrage and expressions of violent contempt for their horrendous conditions. In the intervening periods, how does one explain black people’s incredible ability to tolerate endless indignities and humiliations until pushed to the brink?  Maybe we can blame it on what Portland’s own Dr. Joy DeGruy describes as “post traumatic slave syndrome”. Or maybe it is just a perverted version of the Stockholm syndrome. But can we correctly conclude that white people’s indifference or complacency is because of black peoples’ passivity?

I’m no sociologist but I do know if a people are treated like animals, eventually they begin to behave like them. Anyone who has spent time in the ‘real’ Baltimore knows that many blacks, like in many other urban cities, are truly living like animals. No one condones violence, but we understand why it exists.

This is why it’s important to keep asking this all-important question. Can Portland buck the national trend and treat its black citizens as equals in all respects?

Image credit:  BOONDOCKS © 2005 Adelaide Productions, Inc.

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Cozying Up to the New Governor

In the wake of former Governor Kitzhaber’s demise, there is an all-out effort to cozy up to the new governor, Kate Brown. This should not be surprising, but what is most revealing in the entire process is the notion of political loyalty. With Democratic friends like those who turned on Governor Kitzhaber, who needs Republican enemies. It was quite astounding to watch this mass abandonment. Continue reading Cozying Up to the New Governor

Is Portland’s Black Male Achievement Project for real?

What does the advent of the new Black Male Achievement (BMA) project and the 1995 Million Man March have in common?

As an organizer of the Portland contingent that traveled to the March in Washington, DC back in October 1995, I was struck by a reference to the pride of black men made by Mayor Hales in his recent state of the city address. Continue reading Is Portland’s Black Male Achievement Project for real?

Can Black people connect the O-DOT’s?

How do these recent events impact black people:  Mayor Charlie Hale’s 2015 priorities; the recent firing of Catherine Mater, the chair of Department of Transportation Commission; Carol Smith’s Portland Public Schools reorganization plan, and the Governor’s vision for the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act?  They all have huge implications for black people, both specifically and as they interrelate to each other. Continue reading Can Black people connect the O-DOT’s?

Right or Left…we have to do something different!

Here we are at the start of another year – Happy New Year! Now is the time for black people to do something different in politics. Here in Oregon we have to recognize that much of our misery has happened under the leadership of so called “progressive” Democrats.

Some say it would have been worse under Republicans, and they might be right.  However, we will never know because we have been so captured by and in lockstep with the Democrats for a number of years. Continue reading Right or Left…we have to do something different!

In the wake of Ferguson, can Portland avoid the mistake of acting too little too late?

It seems like we have been marching and demonstrating forever in Portland.  Indeed, during the civil right movement, one veteran demonstrator captured the feeling accurately in thought, saying, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”.

No one is sure that the local power structure gets it, but it is clear that there is not the urgency of action necessary to effectively deal with many conditions in Portland that so accurately mirror those in Ferguson, MO. The festering issues of racial profiling, gentrification, job and housing discrimination are acutely similar to Ferguson. What is even more frighting is the fact that some of our elected leaders seem to be gravitating towards a repeat of the mistakes of the past: positioning the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff instead of building the necessary barricades at the top. Continue reading In the wake of Ferguson, can Portland avoid the mistake of acting too little too late?