Portland ‘tolerant crowd’ anything but tolerant

Jeff Anderson_thb

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.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Portland | 32 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Rainforester

    So yoiu were wearing a tie and suit? Maybe they assumed you were a Mormon or a Scientologist? 🙂

    Or is this just paranoia?

  • Tom

    Someone chased you in downtown with a real ax? The implication of course is that they were trying to do you harm…?

    • Ron Glynn

      I am a white conservative and, from your piece, it appears that you probably are also. I would not judge a whole group of people based on how your feelings made you feel. You said you felt that way because of the subtleness of the crowd. Perhaps, you misinterpreted the situation. Did you try to engage anyone in conversation to find out if they really were uncomfortable with you being there? I would not trust my feelings in such a situation. I would rather wait until people told me to “Get Out” or started shouting obscenities at me.
      I remember once back East many years ago where I was in Portsmouth, Virginia where the population was 93% Black. I felt very uncomfortable, but it was really my problem for feeling that way as Black folks did nothing and said anything bad to me.
      Conversely, the same year I was downtown Norfolk, Virginia and had a young Black Panther my age get in my face for not reason at all and start calling names like Honky, Cracker, etc. Then, I had a reason to be uncomfortable.

  • Bob Clark

    Yes, Portland and its governance is really pitching the White guilt (‘privilege line’), actually sponsoring a system of classes which is a political method of divide and conquer so as to continue dominating government. Just say No to the guilt peddlers.

    • Ron Glynn

      I am suffering from White Privilege Guilt. Some mornings it is so bad that I can not get out of bed, even to listen to Rush Limbaugh at 9am.

      • Bob Clark

        Your sarcasm is encouraging, but you’d be surprise some white teachers have supposedly had to declare themselves implicitly racists for their mere existence.

        • Ron Glynn

          Bob, I knew about the White Liberals who are spouting this nonsense. To teach this to young students only invites more division among people. We need to teach young people to treat all others with respect and courtesy. I agree with MLK who said we need to judge people by the content of the character and not the color of their skin.

        • DavidAppell

          “…but you’d be surprise some white teachers have supposedly had to declare themselves implicitly racists for their mere existence.”

          Dear Bob: Names? Please.

  • HBguy

    Some people can be not nice sometimes.
    Some of the people camping at occupy were street people with mental illness.
    Not sure what the point of this cryptic post is, unless it’s
    Portland is Liberal = I was treated with intolerance in Portland = all Liberals are intolerant.
    More details may make this more interesting. Because I don’t disagree that SOME people within the Portland liberal community can be awfully intolerant. Just call out the intolerant folks.

  • Jack Lord God

    Liberals are people who claim to be tolerant of other ideas, but tend to be outraged when they find someone has an opinion different than theirs.

    • Ron Glynn

      Jack: You can not judge people by the group. Hence, I do not think most Liberals tend to be outraged when confronted with different opinions. Strong Dissent should not be considered to be outrage. The thing about Liberal vs. Conservative is most people are not totally liberal or totally conservative. People are different. I hold to most Conservative values, but I also have values considered to be liberal. For example, a person maybe a Liberal, but be 100% Second Amendment with their personal position on guns which is considered a Conservative viewpoint. I once met a hippie looking guy with a pony tail that I thought was a Liberal based his looks. After talking with him, it turned out that he was more conservative than me.

      • Eric Blair

        Nicely said.

        • Know Nevaire

          NOT credible from a lout pouring partisan Left wiener assuage leering such as filler chiller Blair!

      • HBguy

        That there is the difference between ideology and orthodoxy. People of different ideologies should be able to share and play nice. Those that can’t are more orthodox.

    • Jack Lord God

      Oh please – take any notable person, any of them, have them go on Facebook and say “Hey guys, abortion should be illegal” or “gee, I am against gay marriage” or “hey, you know what, that Bruce Jenner thing is just wrong” and that person will be out of a career in about two seconds. No more acting, broadcasting or re-election for him.

      Now, take a conservative, have him say something like “you know, I am ok with gay marriage”. You pretty much hear nothing, certainly no excommunication of Cheney was in the offing there.

      Liberalism is the most hive minded orthodoxy out there. I mean maybe ISIS rivals it for group think but I sure wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

      • DavidAppell

        Why is the “Bruce Jenner thing” wrong?

        Better yet, why is it any of your damn business?

    • DavidAppell

      “Liberals are people who claim to be tolerant of other ideas, but tend to be outraged when they find someone has an opinion different than theirs.”

      Rupert Huse: Tolerance does not extend to the intolerant. This should be obvious, except maybe for sex toy manufacturers:


      • Kneeled Boldschmidt

        DA, you’re spilling over the top as perusal. Recommend you getting a firmer hold on yourself and go-go get in line behind Eric Blair, next bladder on deck over the DNC’s home plat fiat at wriggly feeled.

  • Tamsin

    Reminds me of the time I went into a New Seasons with my son to buy cookies, and after we handed our money to the clerk, he looked at my son’s shirt and tossed our change back at us. So there we are, picking up our change off the counter in front of him.

    My son was wearing a USA soccer team shirt with the US flag on it.

    We had been totally polite because, hey, we want the cookies… the only thing I can think of is that the flag ticked him off. Symbol of imperialist oppression, or some such.

    • IhateLiberals

      So the next question is did you find a store manager to voice a complaint? Or did you simply go away angry?

      • Tamsin

        I didn’t walk away angry. It was so surprising, it took me a couple of minutes after we had picked up all the coins and walked out the door (with our cookies) to “review the tape” in my head and be sure that we hadn’t done anything wrong. I felt sorry for the man, and sorry for New Seasons.

        • Not so Sweet Outakes

          Say hey, too, cRude Reason’s Market Matters pulled Rockstar energy drink off shelves sinasmuch the the entrepreneur happened to be the son of conservative talk show host, Dr. Michael Savage. Gore figure!

    • DavidAppell

      I don’t believe your story. More exactly, I don’t believe your retelling of it.

      • IhateLiberals

        I find something fishy about this story as well. What you claim this cashier did would be a termination worthy offense in most grocery chains.

  • Myke

    Liberalism, tolerant of everyone… unless you disagree with them.

    • HBguy

      You don’t sound very tolerant of people you deem to be liberals.

      • Myke

        Nothing in my statement reflects that. You clearly are imposing your own bias into the statement…which suggests something about yourself.

  • DavidAppell

    Jeff Anderson wrote:
    “…and finally being chased by an occupier with an ax.”

    I do not believe you.

    • Jeff Anderson


      You can believe whatever you like, I could not care any less.
      You can believe in Hope & Change, Anthropogenic Global Warming and Unicorns….your choice.
      I assure you that it happened, there was a police report if you would like to investigate.
      The occupier was not arrested but he had his ax taken away, he was arrested a few days later for vandalism when the police finally shut down the camp.

  • Peter Me !

    I’m older (56) and from the “normal Bay Area suburbs”. The blocks downtown are a “trip” – and often “not a nice “trip”. Too much MENTAL ILLNESS and drifters downtown, squished against the “trendy nightclub goers” and PSU Students. I don’t know what to say about how things have ‘evolved’ here in Portland, but it’s clearly NOT GOOD. The poor sleeping in doorways while “trendily dressed young people” quickly walk by, as well as tourists, doesn’t bode well for the future of Portland.
    The blocks are “nice”, but the booze, fights, “poo-poo” incidents, and plain old Mental Illness, are a real “turn off”.

  • Peter Me !

    Yes – downtown “leaves something to be ‘desired’ for NORMAL PEOPLE !

    • Myke

      Normal being a subjective term. The world would be a dull place were we all the same.

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