The mural above has been lording it over a neighborhood in downtown Portland for about a month. Vertically oriented it towers over the street; the feet of the black woman with the dowdy aboriginal features are suspended in air as if she’s rising from the overturned pedestal of the George Washington statue toppled here in Portland last June 18, Summer of (another) George. The Father of the Nation’s name is crossed out.
The text below it reads:
“I choose to prepare a place and a future for our grandchildren, a place where they will live outside of oppression, a place where they will know it’s okay to be black, native and afro indigenous.
I see you ancestors.”
Of course if you live in any major urban area of the United States, you’ve become used to black uplift kitsch. I remember watching, depressed, as the mural below went up. An innocent black child looking hopefully to the future; such a thing would be harmless if not for its ubiquity and context–that no similar image of a white child can be offered, now. Portland has long been contorting to accommodate its tiny but troublesome black population–a whole six percent, with the usual outsized contributions to dysfunction. Before the mask came off this summer, propagandists came at us with the usual weapons, such as innocent children looking off into a hopeful future. Who could object? What monster would?
Woodrow Wilson High School is to be rechristened after the summer riots washed away any opposition to the campaign to rename a slew of schools honoring white men (or, if there are any left, the indigenous, ironically). The city has determined the school will now honor one of five black Oregonian women of achievement they claim to have found. This of course would be hard if we used traditional metrics of achievement–such as, say, building schools. But we’ll have to find a lot more of them, and others underrepresented in our besieged annals of achievement; there are so many schools, monuments, buildings and the like to claim.
When statues of Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln came down on antifa’s “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” of October 11, the Oregon Historical Society across the way wasn’t spared. A mural of Lewis and Clark with (I assume) Sacajawea and Clark’s slave York, who served on the expedition, was defaced with red paint.
Poor York, who did not gain his freedom after serving ably in the Lewis and Clark expedition but at least earned an honored place in history, is treated like an embarrassment now by the pasty enlightened on behalf of the “indigenous”. His statue came down at the University of Portland in June:
The University of Portland has removed at least one figure from its Captain William Clark Monument on its North Portland campus.
The bronze statue of York, who was Clark’s slave, was gone Wednesday afternoon. Workers appeared to be preparing the monument’s two remaining figures, of Clark and an unnamed Native guide, for removal.
The monument, dedicated in 1988, is intended to depict Clark naming Mount Jefferson, called Seekseekqua or Kuassal Teminbi by tribes that originally inhabited the land. The eastern portion is on what is now the Warm Springs Reservation.
The university has yet to respond to questions about the removal of the York statue and the school’s future plans for the monument.
Historical monuments tied to slavery and colonization have drawn renewed attention in the weeks the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
“These statues stand as a visual reminder that three races contributed to the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition — symbolic of the first integrated society in Oregon country,” a plaque on the monument reads.
Notably the monument went up with all the good intentions of liberal convention of the time, even praising diversity. The cultural takeover eats its young when swallowing up its platitudes from just a few years before. Progressives now aren’t just hostile to liberals, they’re hostile to last season’s progressives.
The Historical Society has long been on board with conventional progressive wisdom, of course. The depressingly unappealing “She Persisted” exhibit praising suffragettes appears to have in fact persisted through the Trump years (I haven’t been inside). The walls inside the lobby that antifa broke into and tossed as part of their Day of Rage are adorned with sepia-toned photos of black and indigenous women who, we’re told, were instrumental in the state’s history. Despite the lack of genuine impact on Oregon by its black population (up to last summer’s impact, let’s say) the museum, like every institution in the city, holds as policy to never not be focusing on their “contributions” and wonderfulness. Perusing their website I found the standard pledges to diversity and eradicating whiteness, but no mention of the rioting and looting.
Public art need not celebrate white achievement to fall prey. The Elk Statue across from the city jail had to be rescued from rioters after its fountain became a nightly bonfire pit. Inspired perhaps by Native American wisdom, the rioters used every part of the monument they’d taken down, leaving none to waste, breaking it down with pick axes and using the rubble for projectiles. Overnight it became the equivalent of a Roman ruin; the city declared complete defeat and removed what was left.
Historically colonies of settlement arose from an excess of population and the ensuing excess of energy. The Greeks establishing colonies as far as Sicily, for instance.
We suffer from neither excess population nor excess energy now, and the postmodern empire is inverted, establishing and empowering foreign colonies in the homeland, setting them against the natives.
“Afro Indigenous” is a phrase being thrown around a lot now. Pairing “Indigenous” with the central theme of black oppression, putting it on a par with that Holy of Holies, suggests to me deliberation from on high. No one, not even Donald Trump, stood in capable defense of a slandered and abused white America this last summer. The nation, such as it is, surrendered to BLM not without a shot fired, but without shooting back. We’re still getting shot at–the terms of our surrender, which are vague, don’t seem to include a cease of hostilities.
So our progressive moral overlords are expanding operations and tactics. Thus the prominence now of the “indigenous” cause–even if you still won’t see many indigenous on the ground and fewer and fewer the higher you look in their cause. But that’s a feature, of course, not a bug for those running things. As for the real Indians out there, I’m beginning to envy their position–established sovereignty in their reservations. They are in the unique position of having pre-established sovereignty as a racial nation, with a claim to land–as the US heads into breakup. No one else has that. It would be ironic if, someday, whoever ends up inheriting the former US clashes with independent Indian nations in the former United States.
Invoking “stolen land” is the assertion you have no right to be here, thus no rights here. Everything follows from that, of course; the invalidation of private property, of law, of you. The mere invocation in the gale of moral panic and propaganda that is the present confers power on the invoker and disempowers his target–anyone with the slightest objection to this surrender.
“Stolen land” has a simple clarity black civil rights, comically contradicting reality, has not. It’s also comprehensive; it’s the left’s neutron bomb, as they see it, a way to separate the people from what they’ve built. The land is stolen so everything built on it–by its “thieves”, us (though dare not suggest “white people built America”)–is stolen and forfeit; the imagination, intellectual energy and courage that were invested in all this creation, likewise forfeit. This latest rhetorical device seeks to make explicit and total our dislodging from America and its land.
“Stolen land” is absolute and all-encompassing. Because real “land” and everything valuable built on it–that measure of ruin left in our nation–is still out there in abundance to be plundered.
Expect to hear a lot more about the “indigenous”, as part of the project to displace the natives.