A growing number of black activists in Portland are openly distancing themselves from self-proclaimed “anarchists” whose violent and disruptive antics distort the former’s message of racial justice.
Portland gained worldwide attention over the summer as black-clad protesters clashed with police in riots and looting in response to the death in custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Although the intensity of the protests largely died down with Joe Biden’s presidential victory, disparate groups have not given up.
Mingus Mapps, a Black Portland resident and new member of city council, said the actions of these anarchist groups do nothing to help the cause of racial justice.
âWhen people set a building on fire, it really doesn’t set me free at all,â he recently told the Los Angeles Times. âHe does the opposite. It fuels the political culture that makes racism possible.
Shirley Jackson, professor of Black Studies at Portland State University, said Black Lives Matter had clear demands, but the anarchists’ violent tactics made those demands less clear.
âWith the BLM protests, there were clear demands, but it’s very hard to see the end of something when you don’t know what the demands are,â Jackson told The Times.
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Others have emphasized how crucial it is to disassociate from anarchist protesters – who are, more often than not, entirely white.
Toya Fick, executive director of the nonprofit Stand For Children in Oregon, said when anarchists smash windows, they do it “because they are thinking about my life and the lives of my children.”
On November 8, police arrested three men in their early 20s and 30s – all white – for criminal mischief after a group of anarchists dressed in black bloc attire visited Democratic Party headquarters County, smashed windows and spray painted “F — Biden,” among other secular messages.
The incident occurred hours after Governor Kate Brown decided not to extend an order increasing law enforcement presence under Unified Command, a partnership between the Portland Police Office, the Office of the Multnomah County Sheriff and Oregon State Police, to respond to election unrest. .
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The next day, Rachelle Dixon, who heads the BLM Portland chapter, contacted the media to draw a clear line between his organization and the anarchists. She lamented that, in the public opinion, violent anarchist protesters have “merged with Black Lives Matter, but they are 90% and they do not contact black organizations.”
Danielle Wallace of Fox News contributed to this report.