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Calling us racist is an easy way to win - More on Interstate vs. Chavez

After Tuesday's meeting about the proposed change to Interstate Ave, it seems like the default argument is to label anyone who opposes renaming Interstate to Cesar Chavez - is simply a racist.

They call us racist because they know it will win their argument. We can't come back from that.



But I would not support the renaming of Interstate to "John F Kennedy" or any other name. It is INTERSTATE - and it is a part of OUR community.

Portland Blvd. should not have been changed either.

If we want to bring race into it, then how about all of the supporters who say it will bring a positive bit of inspiration to latino youth? Well, I would like to see statistics on how many black on black crimes have been committed on Martin Luther King streets across the nation.

You see, I don't believe that having a street named after someone is a *good* thing. I don't think it is worth a hill of beans. To me it seems like we are just saying we are too lazy to actually live within the person's legacy so we can rename this street and be done with it.

"I don't care where you live in America, if you're on Martin Luther King Boulevard, there's some violence going on."
-Comedian Chris Rock

Why don't we honor great leaders of the past by getting unemployment low, having health care for kids, making our schools the best in the world, and teaching people how to get back to being a part of our communities?

Oh wait, I know the answer to that. It would be too hard.

Lets just change a few road signs and call it a day.

Here are some links.
KATU newscast
Mercury Blogtown
KGW story.

I also found this story, which confuses me a little:
What would Cesar Chavez say?

there were two camps in this battle, and a battle this seems to be. The controversy is over the name of Interstate Avenue. There were the pros and the cons (no surprise there). First, allow me tell you what I heard from the cons.

Does it have to be OUR street (NIMBY)?

Does it have to be our STREET? What about the bridge to Sauvie Island, the new downtown transit mall or a dozen other civic projects that have not yet been named and would cost essentially nothing to name?


But there is one more thing that I must report. It saddens me and I think sets the tone for this debate. One of the last things said before the open-mike session was spoken by a young woman who, in part, represented the committee. I don't remember the exact wording so please forgive me if I misquote slightly, but in effect the statement was: "We will not consider any other option than renaming Interstate" for this monument. Right then and there, the battle line was drawn. From that moment on, it was a case of, you are either for us or you are against us. From that moment on it was not a discussion but a series of confrontations.


And then they follow up with this:

Everyone last night seemed to embrace the civic process of meeting to air their differences, but no one seemed ready to embrace the process of compromise. Who will take the high road in this debate? Who will keep their eye on the higher ground, that of creating a monument to this great man in our great city?


Wait.

I thought that the "cons" had offered all sorts of "compromises"...

Oh well. I guess since the only reason to oppose renaming Interstate is OBVIOUSLY because we are racist that we don't even get to have REALITY on our side. (I wish there were a clear way to indicate sarcasm on a blog).

I am taking a high ground.

I fully support finding some great way to honor Cesar Chavez. I personally think naming the new permanent version of the Saturday Market that is to be built, with a prominent memorial and lots of info as to how Cesar changed the United States - would be an outstanding honor. And I would bet that there would be very little opposition to that. "The Cesar Chavez Market" or such would be seen by everyone, would be advertised and put on Portland fliers and tourism materials. It would be a destination.

Just like I think that naming the new transit mall after Rosa Parks would have been a much more fitting tribute than simply renaming Portland Blvd.

I simply feel that Interstate is a name that is VERY tied with North Portland, and deserves to stay as it is.

How on earth is that racist?

Comments

Kenny said…
Fight the power! Stick it to The Man! Seriously, if they want to name a street after Cesar or Hugo, why don't they do it with a new street, not one that exists?! Wouldn't the screw up directions and addresses and all kinds of stuff?!

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