Black Portland Residents ‘Drowned Out’ by Black Lives Matter Protests

Portland protester (Spencer Platt / Getty)
Spencer Platt / Getty

Black residents of Portland, Oregon, are reportedly feeling silenced and drowned out by ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, which have been dominated by nightly riots and violence caused by predominantly white Antifa extremists.

The Associated Press reported Monday:

Chaotic and often violent protests against racial injustice have topped the headlines for days, but lost in the shouting are the voices of many Black Portland residents themselves — and their feelings about the unrest are nuanced and diverse.

Some feel the overwhelmingly white crowds of protesters — and particularly those committing vandalism — are co-opting the Black Lives Matter movement. Others welcome white demonstrators because with their larger numbers they can draw attention to the city’s racial inequity in ways that Black demonstrators alone can’t.

Some believe deeply that there can’t be a Black Lives Matter movement without defunding the police. Others say a recent vote to cut a specialized gun violence reduction unit is behind a sharp spike in shootings that’s devastated their community.

Primarily, there is a persistent worry that a critical opportunity for achieving racial justice in Portland’s tiny Black community could be lost.

The AP added that shootings have risen dramatically in the city since the protests began, following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day:

In July, the city experienced a sharp rise in gun violence that has overwhelmingly hurt Black people. There were 99 shootings — more than triple the amount from the previous July — and the city has tallied 366 non-suicide shootings this year compared to 388 in all of 2019. Roughly two-thirds of the victims in July were Black, said police Sgt. Derrick Foxworth.

Meanwhile, Democrats and the mainstream media have generally defended the chaos in Portland as “peaceful protest.”

The Washington Post published a lengthy profile of the Portland demonstrators on Saturday, complete with artistic portraits of black-clad Portland rioters, celebrating the city’s tradition of violent radicalism:

The Post noted that the withdrawal of federal law enforcement from the city is seen by activists as a victory — the first of many demands they hope to achieve.

Meanwhile, riots and attacks on local police — and residents — have continued in the absence of federal officers.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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