*I sort of already knew this, but this still shocked me.
Everyone knows Oregon is one of the whitest states ever, so we don't think about racism too much here. Of course, there's the racism toward Latino/a families, but you know. On the whole we have a pretty good reputation at least. Out of sight out of mind. (Actually, I think this way worse in some ways because we get to claim to be liberal while actually being racist.)
Anyways. This morning I'm lying in bed procrastinating about getting up by reading Facebook (you know, the usual) when I stumble across this terrible article.
To summarize the actual news story, the city of Portland, Oregon has a neighborhood inhabited primarily by Black families. (I've never lived in Portland and was unaware of this.) The city of Portland sold a piece of land valued at 2.7 million dollars that was located in this neighborhood to Trader Joe's Corporation for just over $500,000 in order to open a new location. A local organization, the Portland African-American Leadership Forum (PAALF), protested the choice so heavily that the store decided not to open the location. The reason PAALF protested was because they felt the store's opening would not benefit them but would instead lead to gentrification of their neighborhood so they would be unable to afford housing in their own home. They felt the city should have subsidized affordable housing for inhabitants of the neighborhood, rather than the corporation's purchase of land.
Wow, what the actual fuck? Why the hell is it "common practice" (according to the article) for the city to subsidize a corporation's land purchase? That's not "economic development," that's corporate robbery. No normal person is going to be benefited by this decision, and especially not the people who actually live in these communities. Opening another store isn't really going to create that many more jobs, and the jobs it does create will probably be pretty low-paying with the exception of, like, two management positions, and they will probably hire a bunch of hipster, white college students, not people that actually live in that neighborhood. No, this is going to help one entity and one only: Trader Joe's Corporation.
Now if that's not bad enough, we have this horrible, racist article itself:
The PAALF describes itself as: "united in the belief that we can do more together than separately. We recognize that in order to achieve enduring, positive, change in our communities we need a truly transformative agenda; one that is exciting and fresh; one that challenges the status quo and changes the game." If by "changing the game," they mean thumbing their nose at economic development because they're afraid of gentrification, then they done flipped the script.
On their website, they even dare say, "People of color, particularly African Americans, are often isolated from access to the critical resources we all need to create healthy, thriving communities, families, and individuals." Trader Joe's is far from a perfect corporation—there is no such thing anyway—but according to a CNN report, store managers "can make in the low six figures, and full-time crew members can start in the $40,000 to $60,000 range." They also say that "Trader Joe's annually contributes 15.4 percent of employees' gross income to tax-deferred retirement accounts." Better to keep those jobs out of black neighborhoods to score political points, I guess.
ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?! "THEY EVEN DARE TO SAY"?!!!!! How dare YOU say these things, you pompous rich white asshole! ETA: as several people have pointed out, saying "then they done flipped the script" pushes this into insanely racist territory.
And at the end of this article, the author actually has the audacity to claim that the PAALF and people in this neighborhood are the ones being racist.
I can't even with this shit. Oregon, I am so, so disappointed in you.