Recently Portland Commissioner, Jo Ann Hardesty (who also happens to be the first black woman to serve on Portland City Council), released a statement about the white men who shouted her down at a City Hall meeting. She expressed concern over white-male privilege and how their disruptions created a “chilling effect on people who are unaccustomed to coming to our City hall to have their voices heard”.
This is why I voted for Hardesty. This is why she was backed by BLM.
As you can imagine, some white men were quite upset about this. It should be noted that these men have made names for themselves. They consistently interrupt meetings causing some to be canceled.
This week, the Willamette Weekly, decided to print some of the emails Hardesty’s office received re: her statement. They also decided to include the senders’ names.
I am here for it.
Some highlights from the various emails:
What a sexist, racist, misandrist, ignorant thing for you to say. I understand you saying such a thing like that in the privacy of your own home,
but no, you have to “Get Whitey” right up front.
Since historically there has been a precedent set on the exactitude of language, particularly when discussing non-normative dialectics (e.g. black speech), re: rules, grammar, definitions, it seems important here to point out that sexism and racism—like most isms—operate, prima facie, within power structures. Women can be prejudice but they cannot be sexist—for they do not wield the kind of institutionalized power men (i.e. white cis-men) carry in their back pockets. I’m going to be honest, I had to look up misandry. Oxford defines it as a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men—the female equivalent of a misogynist. What does that look like? Because misogyny looks like a white male in Florida walking into a bank and shooting five women. Or another white male, still in Florida, walking into a yoga studio and again targeting women. A misandrist? Crickets. Let’s all say it together: Men are afraid of being laughed at, women are afraid of being murdered.
Furthermore, no black person says Get Whitey. Ever since Black Panther, we now refer to y’all as colonizers.
Re: the privacy of one’s home. Did you just show your ass? Cause it sounds like something you might do. As in, I’m pretty sure you sing nigga at the top of your lungs when black people aren’t around. I would roll the dice on that one.
You’re not off to a very good start. That chip on your shoulder is going to get mighty heavy mighty fast if you keep saying this kind of stupid shit!
This chip that you’re describing—is it a potato chip? Also I don’t know if 250 years of slavery, 150 years of Jim Crow, 60 years of separate and unequal, racist housing policies, racist drug wars, birther accusations, police shootings, the prison industrial complex...we can do this all day...can be called a chip. It seems a little heavier than a chip.
Your comments regarding white privilege shows the racism that you carry on you should not be a commissioner in Portland, so next election year
we will see if you still hold that seat.
Another, strangely veiled threat.
Quick recap: Hardesty did not threaten white men. She used the word concerned. Why do you read that as a threat?
You may be a black woman in charge, but that is no right to turn the tables and not only see color,
but also complain publicly about the behavior of race...YOU ARE A BLACK BIGOT!!!!
So many exclamation points. Let’s unpack this. You may be a black woman in charge. What an audacious thing for a black woman to hold any sort of seat at all. Turn the tables. Are you sure you know what racism looks like? Cause that wouldn’t be the table turned. Not only see color. Bruh, do you not see color? Cause then you can’t join the Air Force. But also complain publicly about the behavior of race. That was a mouthful of words. Should we complain in the privacy of our homes? Cause that reads like the dude above.
Also, why is she a black bigot? Couldn’t you just have labeled her a bigot—or does black bigot make it worse?
At the very least, you owe the entire city of Portland, and especially white males, a very genuine,
heartfelt apology. There’s nothing in my life that was handed to me because I’m white, and male.
I’ve worked my ass off for everything I’ve got, and I willingly give myself to my community, and to
those in need, including three young black boys who played basketball on my son’s team, two of
whom had fathers in prison. They couldn’t afford their uniforms, so I bought them for them...
Sometimes, I would have them stay over for parties with the other boys on the team.
There are a lot of good white males in this city…
Re: this proposed heartfelt apology. That shit ain’t about to happen. Also, I live in this city, don’t group me in on your bullshit.
Look everyone works hard and this bootstraps argument continues to feed the myth of meritocracy. I certainly believe you when you say you’ve worked hard. I believe, you and all of us, work way too hard because capitalism is an asshole. However, when you say that you’ve never had anything handed to you because you’re white and male, shows your insulation from racism. It only highlights your privilege. The mere language of hand-out is racist. It drums of images of greed and lies and most of all, laziness, which historically has been used against brown and black communities in this nation. Consider the paintings and sculptures of the lazy Mexican and his siesta. Or slaves. Fredrick Douglass in his memoir wrote, “More slaves were whipped for oversleeping than for any other fault.” Though in fairness, everyone’s favorite slave owner, Thomas Jefferson, knew the truth, positing, negroes require less sleep than whites. Nigga that’s just science.
Oppressed groups have yet to reach basic human rights. When you’re drowning and a whole group of people refuse to throw you a life-line, it’s difficult to feel entitled to anything.
Question: Is EBT a hand out? Cause the number one people on EBT are white And if you look at the breakdown of who is on EBT, the largest group are seniors and then single mothers. What about public housing? WIC? Vouchers for child care? How about when this country bailed out banks during the recession? How’s that for a motherfucking hand-out?
Let me list a few things that were, in fact, handed to you from birth:
Oppressed groups are constantly accused of carrying chips, of being sensitive, of creating false narratives surrounding racism. Hardesty simply expressed concern over white male privilege and this makes her a racist.
Here’s an example of racism: last month, 60% of people pulled over by Portland PD were black—yet black people only make up 6% of Portland’s population. This week in Miami, black children were advocating for gun reform and to save their housing project and a white man with a hand gun ran up on them calling them niggers. That’s what racism feels like. A gun in your face, not a mild rebuke.
Hardesty specifically used privilege, in order to avoid calling these men racists, since the number one thing white men are afraid of is being called a racist.
Things I am afraid of in order:
1) a white man with a gun
2) climate change
3) a white man with a badge
5) a white man in a MAGA hat
6) flushing the toilet on an airplane
If you think I’m some alt-right Trump Republican, I’m not. I’m a liberal democrat who voted for
Bernie...I absolutely will not put up with your ‘Identity Politics’ and your race baiting. So until you
clean up your act and apologize, you will have one more constituent who will work his damnedest
to remove you from office.
I, unfortunately, do not have a cookie to award you for voting for Bernie. What I will say is last time I say Bernie, he had teamed up with Shaun King, and the Los Angeles BLM chapter, to talk the economic inequalities centered around race and gender.
Clean up your act? Did you just tell her to cut the shenanigans or cut the malarkey? Asking for a friend.
To all of you white guys: I don’t understand your anger or your threats. She didn’t have you removed; she didn’t tell you not to come back; she expressed that unheard voices may remain unheard, if you continue to monopolize the conversation (and I use that final term loosely). You are angry because you are unpracticed at self-reflection—for it is your privilege, as white males, to never have been questioned.
Maybe you’ll see me at the next City Hall meeting. I am willing to hear out your anger. I am willing to hear your arguments about race baiting and these charges of racism against Hardesty. All I ask is next time I’m on an airplane, you come in and flush for me.