Oregon and the Cancel Culture

You cannot make people equal, but you can damn sure give them the opportunity to be equal.
Over the past several weeks we have witnessed the destruction of statues and memorials and the desecration of buildings named after Confederate generals and politicians.  It has also encompassed some of the country’s founding fathers who owned slaves, including Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  (Significantly in Oregon, demonstrators/rioters tore down a statue of President Washington, spray painted it with graffiti, wrapped in an American flag and then burned the whole thing.)  This is part of the “cancel culture” and has been embraced by the “woke” elements of the Far Left.  It is an attempt to rid our culture of elements that are “politically incorrect” by today’s standards.  It is also a pattern of totalitarian socialist regimes such as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Communist China.  It is the moral equivalent of book burning on a massive scale.

It is not enough to simply point out the errors of ancestors, it is deemed necessary to eradicate any reference to them – as if they never existed and that their actions thus never happened.  We have seen that the cancel culture spares no one and that puts Oregon in a very dangerous situation.  No, I don’t mean the fact that any number of Oregon cities have schools named after former presidents who may have owned slaves (or in Portland’s case were avid bigots – former President Woodrow Wilson).
But before you get too enthused about Oregon’s cancel culture, you may want to consider its history.
Oregon was given territorial status in 1848 and statehood in 1859.  Meantime, in1857, Oregon adopted its Constitution and it was vividly clear that Oregon was to be a “white’s only” state.  Article I (Bill of Rights), Section 31 stated:
31. White foreigners who are, or may hereafter become residents of this State shall enjoy the same rights in respect to the possession, enjoyment, and descent of property as native born citizens. And the Legislative Assembly shall have power to restrain, and regulate the immigration to this State of persons not qualified to become Citizens of the United States.  {Bold type supplied]
Article II, Section 6 provided:
No Negro, Chinaman, or Mulatto shall have the right of suffrage.
Article XV, Section 8 provided:
No Chinaman, not a resident of the state at the adoption of this constitution, shall ever hold any real estate, or mining claim, or work any mining claim therein. The Legislative Assembly shall provide by law in the most effectual manner for carrying out the above provisions.
And finally, Article XVIII – SCHEDULE, Section 2 provided:

Each elector who offers to vote upon this constitution shall be asked by the judges of election this question: Do you vote for the constitution? Yes or No. And also this question. Do you vote for slavery in Oregon? Yes or No. And also this question. Do you vote for the free Negroes in Oregon? Yes or No. And in the poll books shall be columns headed respectably. “Constitution, yes.” “Constitution, no.” “Free Negroes, yes.” “Free Negroes, no.” “Slavery, yes.” “Slavery, no.”
The effect of those provisions were further explained in Article XVIII, Section 4:
If this constitution shall be accepted by the electors, and a majority of all the votes given for, and against slavery, shall be given for slavery, then the following section shall be added to the Bill of Rights, and shall be part of this constitution: “sec.- “persons lawfully held as slaves in any state, territory, or district of the United States, under the laws thereof, may be brought into this state, and such slaves, and their descendants may be held as slaves within this state, and shall not be emancipated without the consent of their owners.” And if a majority of such votes shall be given against slavery, then the foregoing section shall not, but the following sections shall be added to the Bill of Rights, and shall be a part of this constitution.  “sec. – There shall be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude in the states, otherwise than as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
And if a majority of all the votes given for, and against free Negroes, shall be given against free Negroes, then the following section shall be added to the Bill of Rights, and shall be part of this constitution:
“Sec. – No free Negro, or Mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall come, reside, or be within this state, or hold any real estate, or make any contracts, or maintain any suit therein; an the Legislative Assembly shall provide by penal laws, for the removal, by public officers, of all such Negroes, and Mulattos, and for their effectual exclusion from the state, and for the punishment of persons who shall bring them into the state, or employ, or harbor them.”
The provision relating to Slavery was defeated. The provision authorizing Free Negroes was likewise defeated resulting in the constitutional mandated discrimination against Negroes.
Most cities in Oregon thereafter adopted “sundowner” provisions requiring Blacks to be out of down by sundown.  In most instances these sundowner provisions were enforced without formal adoption by the city governments.  Signs posted on the outskirts of various towns acknowledged the city government’s intention to enforce such requirements.  Portland, Salem and Eugene all enforced those provisions.  It is thought that Medford was among the last to remove such signs and cease enforcing the sundown requirements even into the 1960’s.
Most importantly, it was Portland that dominated the politics of Oregon – just as it is today.  The Ku Klux Klan was active in Portland and focused its authority on City Hall and the Portland Police.  The progress or lack of progress relating to race relations lies principally at Portland’s feet.  And the progress that Portland has made is mostly superficial.
According to the 2010 national census, African Americans comprise about 13.4 percent of the national population, but only 6.3 percent in Portland, and only 2.2 percent in Oregon.  Oregon is among the “whitest” states in the Union. 
The primary barrier to success for African Americans is education.  A good education leads to a better job, a better job leads to higher income, and higher income leads to better housing, more educational opportunities and access to better health care.  But in Portland – the center of Oregon politics – African Americans are consigned to the poorest public schools in the area and the liberal political establishment – at the behest of the public employees unions – works diligently to limit and eliminate charter schools which are the only path out for African Americans constrained by geography to their local failing schools.  Whether it is “purposeful” or “unintended” the result is the same – a lack of a good education results in a significant barrier to success.
Job creation for African Americans is practically non-existent.  Yes, there is a constant stream of public employment and African Americans hold such jobs in greater proportion than their population numbers.  But given that public employee unions use the dues from public employees to finance the campaigns for local politicians – almost universally Democrats – those jobs become just another means of limiting options for the African Americans employed and using taxpayer funds to benefit Democrat candidates and causes.  (If you want to work on the plantation, you need to be loyal to the masters.)
Land use restrictions adopted by Portland’s political elites shove the population into multi-family housing with the least desirable of that housing going to the poorest.  Because the African American population is disproportionately among the poorest, they are confined to the poorest housing.  Worse yet, because of poverty they are also forced to live multi-generational in confined spaces.  The result is often a greater incidence of health problems.  For instance, 4.4 percent of the confirmed COVID 19 cases involve African Americans whereas they only make up 2.2 percent of the state’s population.  In contrast, Whites make up about 41.8 percent of the confirmed cases while representing about 75 percent of the population.
There is something about the liberal mindset that has them wringing their hands about the plight of minorities but failing to do anything that systematically improves their opportunities.  In Oregon – particularly Portland – public schools, public housing and public employment, while possibly well intended, have all failed that African American community.  And the reason is that these liberal policies all tend to treat the results of discrimination without dealing with the underlying ailments – a lack of good education, leading to a lack of good jobs, leading to a lack of economic choices.  In every instance, liberals have put other “causes” ahead of the well-being of the African American community – the environment, the public employee unions, and economic growth.
Liberals are fond of telling others where to live, how to live, how to spend their money, what schools to attend, what jobs to have and what elements of an economy should grow or shrink – all so long as they don’t personally suffer the consequences.  And that is precisely the reason that Oregon remains one of the “whitest” places in America.
If you follow the lead of the “cancel culture” the only solution for Oregon is its dissolution.  It was borne of racism, practiced racism well into the 1960’s, continues to create barriers to overcoming racism, and uses the victims of racism to maintain political control.  Under the criteria of the “cancel culture” the very existence of the offender must be eliminated, all references removed, and all history erased.  A petition to the Congress asking for the dissolution of Oregon and the assignment of its land masses to adjacent states would likely be well received – particularly those on the Far Left of the Democrat Party who embrace the cancel culture.
The suggestion for dissolution is not serious but stems from the irony of the situation.  (For those of you forced to endure a teachers union led education in the Portland Public Schools “irony” occurs when one uses overblown language to actually signify the opposite of its normal usage.)
But more importantly what we know about poverty and race relations is that throwing money at it never works.  Nearly $24 Trillion has been spent on the war on poverty without changing the percent of those in poverty an iota.  The fact of the matter is that the only progress in the war on poverty is to create hundreds of thousands of publicly funded jobs to administer programs that leave beneficiaries mired in poverty.  These jobs are overwhelming staffed by public employee union members and unions such as SEIU who are the primary source of funding for Democrats.  Race relations soured during President Barack Obama because he was a liberal Democrat before he was Black.  (That is not to say that Mr. Obama did not suffer discrimination but he was raised in an upper middle class White environment and attended some of the best schools in the country.  The life experience of African Americans confined to public housing and substandard education was as foreign to him as it was to me.)
The current welfare state coupled with the noblesse oblige attitude of today’s liberal establishment ensures that generations of African Americans will never find their way out of the vicious circle of poverty, poor education and lack of good job opportunities.  The welfare state is the “new plantation” and enslaves people just as surely as Simon Legree.
A friend of mine one told me that he was a Democrat because there were more poor people than there were rich, and that if society did not care for the poor, the poor would come and take it all away.  He was, and still is, right but the welfare state is not the answer.  And, quite frankly, that is the reason he is no longer a Democrat.  End the welfare state and you will go a long ways towards ending the racial divide.