by Jeff Anderson
Sunday afternoon we attended a local area street fair.
It was billed as a celebration of local culture and diversity.
First off, I really enjoy local events. We often attend festivals and events around the area or wherever we travel around the globe. I have been the minority where simply by skin color I stood out like a sore thumb. I have been many places that I did not speak the language and I have attended events where my belief system was not in line with the others in attendance…..heck, I even spent a day in Rajneeshpuram just out of curiosity. I have never been made to feel unwelcome and some of the strangest situations became some of my fondest memories.
In all of my travels there have only been two times that I was made to feel uncomfortable and been treated as a leper simply because of my appearance and BOTH times were in Portland, Oregon.
The first time was while visiting Occupy Portland in the park blocks. I went down during the middle of the day in business attire and was the recipient of nasty looks, and vulgarities flung my direction and finally being chased by an occupier with an ax.
The second time came Sunday, no vulgarities or being chased – it was much more subtle – but it was painfully clear that we were not welcome. I’m not sure what it was exactly but we were not wearing the Portland uniform of uniqueness (which all looks the same).
It is sadly ironic that in all my years of travel and actively seeking out different cultures and events the only two times that I was made to feel uncomfortable for how I looked was right here at home.
Once again, the tolerant crowd has proven to be anything but tolerant.
Jeff is a native Oregonian and a local business owner.