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Old 07-25-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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This may be a senstive subject to some and I don't it want to sound that way. Is there any area in Oregon that is racially mixed? Are racially mixed couples and children accepted? Where would a couple with children live that is acceptable in Oregon, safe homes, safe schools, shopping, jobs, etc?
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
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We are not a diverse state (my perspective comes from the Chicago area).

I have mixed race couple friends who don't have any issues out here. Oregonians tend to be "to each his own" kinda folks. If you stick to the valley, I don't think you'll have any serious problems. No guarantees since there are jerks out there.
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington
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I will second what Silverfall said. Oregon is by no means a diverse state, but regardless you should have very few problems. This area definitely isn't the South 30 years ago. There are people who can't see past things like ethnicity everywhere in the world, including in Oregon, but the number of those people is very limited. You should have no problems even in the most rural areas of the state.

As a whole, the state is basically pretty safe as well. The biggest concern with Oregon I'd have is the job market.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:52 PM
 
Location: coos bay oregon
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well, Ive never lived anywhere else, so I cant say how we here in Oregon compare, but I can tell you those of whom I know.
My FIL is caucasian, and my MIL is Vietnamese
my SIL is Vietnamese, and her husband is a 6ft 6inch blond/blue eyed guy
my oldest daughters previous babysitter, who became her honorary grandparents, she was a little redhead and he was a huge teddybear black man.
My exbf of several years is from Singapore and his wife is a little blond
one of my co-workers is black and his wife is a dark Norwegian (and their kids are so beyond cute its undescribable!!)
couple other friends/aquaintences of mixed marriages and some of their kids that I know, Ive not heard from any of the above about any issues theyve had from people giving a rip about them having a mixed marriage and/or the kids. Thats not to say it doesnt happen, theres buttheads everywhere, but friends and family I know, dont seem to have any probs from that.
people here care more about if you recycle than whos married to who.
Best of luck!
Tiffany
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffela74 View Post
people here care more about if you recycle than whos married to who.
Best of luck!
Tiffany
This is so true. I think you would get more flack for failing to recycle your plastic.
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Old 07-26-2008, 12:21 PM
 
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Default lack of diversity is stunning...

i'm an african-american who has lived on the east coast, the midwest and now the northwest, in both seattle and portland.
the lack of diversity is really stunning.
i liken the kind of attitude you find here to a truly "benign neglect", not the more hurtful kind that used to be in favor, politically, years ago.
i like the area, and for the most part, don't have any problems here, but culturally, and politically, the northwest is simply ignorant of and not very interested in matters that typically are of concern to black folks.
politically, black folks may as well be invisible here in portland. in fact, portland itself, is becoming even whiter and whiter as property values rise and the older black population finds itself squeezed out by gentrification and high property taxes, and younger people of color who may have been born here end up in the suburbs, 20 miles out of the city.
in terms of music, and other matters of entertainment, what you find is an attitude that ranges from outright hostility to ignorance to a kind of mild curiosity that i liken to a sort of academic interest.
here in portland, for instance, there are a couple of clubs that offer jazz music - played for the most part by white musicians - and the blues festival is great, but on an ongoing, regular basis, finding music that is rooted in black culture, offered by black musicians is like trying to find water in a desert.
as i said, i do like the area, for a number of other reasons, but culturally, it has been extremely tough. especially because i've lived in places like chicago and detroit and other smaller cities near those big cities. i've benefited from being in close proximity to larger cities, until my move to the northwest.
the influence of african-american culture kind of seeps into life near those larger cities. because the northwest and portland are so isolated, you just do not get that impact.
and, culturally, and politically, most oregonians just do not give a hoot because the issues concerning african-americans bear so little on their own lives.
for the reasons noted above, primarily, i'm moving back to the midwest.
i'll deal with the harsher winters, in order to enjoy the fact that i'm more comfortable in a part of the country that is not so isolated culturally.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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i should emphasize that i do like the portland area and would recommend it as a good option for a person of color to consider.
and as far as couples with kids are concerned, i would expect that they would be accepted as easily as i am, as part of a childless interracial couple.
as a parent, i would only be concerned about the real lack of sensitivity i see routinely here in oregon, on matters of race.
for a long time, i worked with kids who often got into trouble in school, as kids of color, because of the same lack of sensitivity. school officials and others who may deal with such a child may be totally unaware that they are behaving in a less than sensitive manner, and that is the problem.
as long as a parent is prepared to navigate those sometimes difficult waters, i'm sure this area can be a very positive for a couple with a racially mixed household.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
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It saddens me to hear that you feel you need to hear black musicians playing for it to be of value to you. Personally, I don't consider the color of the musician's skin ... just the quality of their output. I've always thought that Portland had a thriving jazz and blues community. Whatever its racial origins.

The current A & E I have at hand lists 7 clubs offering blues performers and 14 clubs offering jazz.
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:48 PM
 
53 posts, read 287,539 times
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Oregon is not diverse at all, racially speaking. Percentage wise, Kansas has more Black people, for example. The lack of diversity becomes even more noticable the further south or east one travels in the state.

It has been my experience that it really is an ignorance of omission rather than hostility (the sort of discrimination one may encounter) just as the poster two comments up has said. If you call someone on it, they will either be overwhelmingly mortified or (usually) totally deny what they've said or done as offensive. Look at the statement of the pp-- someone who may by all accounts be a perfectly nice person, but seems somewhat agog about a person of color saying they would prefer to be able to watch musicians who look like them play, in order to find the music personally relevant. You'll find an awful lot of that "colorblind" talk in OR, unfortunately. It sounds way too much like "but I don't think of you as black" to me for comfort. KWIM? It's easy for white people to live as though race or color doesn't matter when the majority of others we will encounter, the entire dominating culture and community concerns, all revolve around people who look pretty much exactly like we do. Oregon plays a good deal of lip service to diversity, but IME it's wishful thinking. Like, if we talk about diversity enough, maybe it will actually happen!

I wouldn't discourage any person of color from moving to OR. I would however be very, very honest about the fact that entirely too many of the white people they encounter are going to either pretend they're white too, or think they came from the ghetto. Out-and-out aggressive racism is rare, but blind ignorance common. As much as Oregonians in general may care more about whether one recycles than about a person's racial background, we/they also tend to forget that a person's racial background may be quite important to THEM, and get pretty defensive when it's pointed out to us.

My .02, as a white Oregonian, FWIW.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
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Many years ago when I was in my very first interracial relationship, I took my date (a white female) to a jazz club. The musicians came out to start their first set and my date exclaimed "they're a bunch of white guys! They can't play jazz, lets get out of here!". My musical tastes run more to Genesis, Yes, and Jethro Tull than Weather Report or Duke Ellington but Enrico's point is well taken. The Northwest is what it is and I for one wish its residents would stop apologizing all the time for being "white". New York is a very diverse city, so what. I can't stop someone in the middle of midtown Manhattan and ask for directions to anyone white be they male or female, in a group or solo without looks of horror and/or fear and a hasty retreat. New York has had hispanic and asian immigration at far higher rates than Oregon yet there is no attempt at bi-lingual communication with those groups of people! I am treated with more disdain and indifference by the african americans I encounter at malls and eateries than by any number of white residents I meet. Just today I was in a record shop in Beaverton and the owner was more knowledgeable about funk, soul and R&B than I ever was even though back in the day before I discovered Classic and Prog Rock there wasn't a bigger collection of Soul and R&B on the East Coast. Blacks that claim that PDX isn't diverse or whites that agree are missing the point. I came through Michigan on my way here to PDX. Myself and my partner were treated rather horribly by service staff in a number of lodging, eating and shopping venues. On the east coast they are similarly surly and inefficient to boot. Rarely do we or I experience anything less than cordial, competent service from people in Oregon. It is a lovely state with some of the loveliest people God ever made. If they don't know or care much about black issues it might just be that they only have 20, 000 of us in the entire city. Hispanics of which there are very many more do trigger the collective conscious and most state and city agencies have bi-lingual staff. Is that happening on the east coast or midwest? Personally, I wouldn't go to Germany and expect every german I meet to speak to me in English or to have English language signs everywhere. For a visit of a couple of weeks its nice that the effort is made but if one is going to relocate to a foreign country well, you've relocated to a foreign country. All bets are off as to what you may or may not find that reminds you of home. It is simply not an issue to me at all. By the way, Harlem gets whiter with every passing week. Fort Greene, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant... ... all over the U.S. the economic niche long occupied by African Americans has been placed under fire as middle-class whites themselves come under fire by the ruling class. In the east and midwest there isn't an easy path to assimilation by those people of color who would do it to attain parity in employment, housing and education. Here in the Northwest it is both amusing and saddening to see African-Americans so separate in their speech, dress and social habits even as such serves only to isolate them individually and collectively from a shared enjoyment of the benefits of life in the Northwest. I've been everywhere and it isn't better anywhere else.

H
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