“Miserable distorted block-heads, the generality; ape-faces, imp-faces, angry dog-faces, heavy sullen ox-faces; degraded underfoot perverse creatures, sons of indocility, greedy mutinous darkness, and in one word, of STUPIDITY, which is the general mother of such. Stupidity intellectual and stupidity moral had born this progeny: base-natured beings on whom the Genius of Darkness (called Satan, Devil and other names) had now visibly impressed his seal, and had marked them out as soldiers of Chaos and of him … Him, you could perceive, they would serve; but not easily other than him.
Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamplets, No.2.
It’s a little over seven years since I last set foot in Portland, Oregon, and I must say that none of the events in the city during the last 12 months have surprised me. Having spent most of my formative years growing up in some of the coldest, wettest, and cloudiest corners of Northwestern Europe, my first introduction to the United States came just as I turned 21. I was an extremely pale young lad with a soft spot for icy landscapes, and my travel history to that point hadn’t taken me any further south in the hemisphere than Paris. It probably wasn’t the best idea, then, for me to choose the South in Summer for my first landing on American soil. Today, I struggle to remember precisely what I did in the first weeks of my arrival in the Carolinas, other than wrestle with periodic bouts of heat exhaustion, puzzling over whether grits were something marvelous or truly monstrous, and wondering if you required special training to be able to reel off the side effects so quickly in these many strange American pharmaceutical ads. After these initial weeks of acclimatisation, however, I must say that I grew to love the South quite deeply, and still do. I travelled the length of both Carolinas, Georgia, some of Tennessee, and into the parts of Florida normally left peacefully undisturbed by tourists. I now regard it, second only to Europe, as my home. I think it was about 10 months into my first spell in the States that it was suggested that I fly “out West” to help the mother of a friend pack furniture and finish the sale of a house so she could relocate permanently back to the South, where she’d been born and raised. There was a small amount of cash to be earned in the process, and some free room and board, as well as the opportunity to see another side of America. “Where out West?”, I asked. “Washington,” my friend replied, “right down by the Columbia River, but we’ll be staying in Portland.”
I’d been living and studying just outside a very genteel Southern college town, where clean, pressed khakis and short-sleeved button down shirts were the almost compulsory attire. Race wasn’t something that was impressed upon me physically where I’d grown up, because non-Whites were rare to non-existent, but I do remember being very aware that the place I now lived was, for all intents and purposes, racially segregated. In this little satellite village orbiting the main college town, I don’t think a single Black person owned or rented a home. In fact, the only non-White I ever saw in my own neighbourhood was the Oriental, and impossibly young, wife of the extremely seedy-looking elderly man who lived next door. In the college town, Blacks clustered in a few blocks thick with poorly maintained homes and trash-strewn streets. My daily commute was through this area, and although it seemed almost deserted during the day, occasional news reports of rape, robbery, and shootings would always bring a sober reminder of the nocturnal danger it posed. Outside such occurrences, Blacks could be expected to staff most of the town’s fast food restaurants, and a few could be spotted as security officers in the local mall, at least before it went bust around 2009. I can’t honestly report any bad experiences with any of them, and, observing and noting all of this, I remember thinking, as a more or less neutral arrival from Europe, that segregation of this nature largely “worked.”
I’m not suggesting that the lives of the Blacks were in some way marvelous, or even implying that they somehow should have been. But I do remember coming to the conclusion that a sense of peace was abroad in my part of the state simply because people were “keeping to their own,” and that things were existing in large part as they were meant to. True, there was occasional violence in the bad part of town, but outside of that, in daylight, there was a unspoken code of lingering tradition, manners, respect, and expectation. Men held doors for women in stores and restaurants, and even when I spent some weekends touring yard sales in remote rural areas in the hopes of finding something interesting in someone’s else’s junk, there was unfailingly a tremendous sense of safety, good-humor, and adventure with everyone I met. From the woman who simply “had” to introduce me to her daughter because the child’s name was Ireland (yes, I know), to the old veteran who gave me binoculars he’d carried through Burma just because I mentioned I came from a military family, the people of the South charmed me just as much as the landscape.
All of this was, in some small sense, surprising. It’s probably a given that Americans are raised with visions of the South as a highly racialized place, rife with injustice and violence. What is probably less understood by Americans is the fact that Europeans (and presumably all Westerners) are indoctrinated by their education systems to see the South in the same way. My childhood and early college education on American history, not to mention what had been absorbed via TV documentaries and movies like Mississippi Burning, had been more or less limited to the Ku Klux Klan, Emmett Till, and the sainthood and martyrdom of a heavily sanitized version of Martin Luther King. The people of the South could also be relied upon to be caricatured or worse by Jewish Hollywood in such shows as The Beverley Hillbillies, or in horror/thrillers like Deliverance or Wrong Turn, which invariably portrayed White rural Southerners to the world as stupid, childish, inbred, dysgenic, animalistic, and murderous. Added to this propaganda is a kind of “tourism block” that only serves to heighten ignorance. When most Europeans travel to America for vacations, especially family vacations, these trips are inevitably to the more global cities of New York, Orlando, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. I don’t have a single European friend who’s spent more than a layover in the South, and all of this only reinforces the general ignorance and propagandized vision. Contrarian by nature, I never expected the South to fit the Hollywood smears, but I do recall feeling a kind of refreshing shock that it was so radically different from the propaganda.
I’ve found it very interesting that, despite the many hundreds of thousands of words in mainstream coverage on America’s recent racial unrest, and despite the relevant and obvious historical contexts, hardly anything has been said on how relatively quiet the South has been. This is not to say that some protests and vandalism haven’t been witnessed, but that they pale in comparison to events seen in Wisconsin, and especially to those seen in Portland and other (often predominantly White) northern cities. Why this disparity exists is surely of some importance, and the silence around it is surely evidence of some mainstream discomfort regarding the conclusions one might reach. For my own part, I’ve engaged in a mixture of objective thought and personal recollection, certainly as regards the woeful Portland.
Objectively, it seems to me that the disruption of the Civil Rights movement between the 1950s and 1980s in the South led to a solidified state of unspoken, uneasy, but for the most part peaceful racial compromise. Segregation is certainly publicly and officially prohibited, but in my experience the Southerners more than any other people in America have perfected, if not White flight, then a kind of White entrenchment. For those Whites unfortunate enough to be poor, the Southern public schools have undoubtedly been catastrophically ruined by integration. A little over a decade ago, I got to know a North Carolina family with three sons. The older two had been through the public school system and emerged as rap-loving delinquents who spoke in an Africanized dialect quite distinct from that of their Carolina-born father and New Jersey-born mother. Both boys had been subjected to violence and theft from their predominantly Black fellow students, their subsequent changes in personality and behaviour being an obvious example of conscious or unconscious adaptation in order to survive. The experience of these unfortunate boys was sufficiently heartbreaking for the parents to make it their over-arching goal that, no matter the financial sacrifices, the youngest lad would get a private, and of course overwhelmingly White, education. Their frankness in regards to matters of race, especially to a complete stranger like myself, was refreshing and rather emblematic of the Southern experience as a whole. In my view, at least, there is a realism to Southern approaches to race that persists, although it dare not speak its name. Whites in the South seemed to me to be instinctively informed by race in a very natural and subtle manner, while Southern Blacks for the most part seemed to carry a healthy imprint of history and an awareness that while Jim Crow has been rendered toothless it’s best not to poke him too hard.
Contrast this deft sense of cultural equilibrium with the chaos of Portland, something that’s hardly surprising to anyone who’s been to the city. My own introduction to Portland was rather abrupt. My friend and I, being cheap college students, had flown out of Raleigh, NC, and landed at Portland’s PDX after two lengthy layovers in Houston and San Francisco. I’d already been told to “dress down” (and warmer!) for my time in Portland, and decided to travel in comfort with some jeans and a hooded Led Zeppelin sweatshirt I’d bought about a week before. I didn’t think anything more about my clothing until I was going to collect my suitcase in PDX, when a fat middle-aged woman wearing sweatpants barged towards me shouting “Name me two fucking Zeppelin songs!” In retrospect she was probably some kind of old groupie who resented the historicized commercialism that bands like Zeppelin and Black Sabbath had fallen into — not to mention the youngsters who wore merchandise without having “lived” 70s hedonism in the way she had. Stunned into silence by her utter boorishness, however, I couldn’t even verbalise the song titles that popped into my head. I just stared at her and in an instant she was gone. “Welcome to Portland!,” laughed my friend.
It wasn’t long before I realized I’d stumbled down a social and cultural rabbit hole. My friend’s mother, it emerged that first evening, was a (modest) donor to the SPLC, something I learned when looking for something to read, only to be handed, in what is surely now an irony of ironies, a copy of Intelligence Report. One of three daughters born into a conservative Republican Carolina family, this woman had rebelled in the early 70s, moving out West to become what her father would later describe as “a damn Oregon hippy.” It struck me very quickly that if anyone wanted to be a damn hippy, Portland was probably the right place to be. She’d arrived in Portland to fulfil her ambition of being a counsellor or therapist, falling in love with one of her clients, a recovering heroin addict who would go on to establish a very successful Portland business before dying of Hepatitis C, contracted during his former needle use, in his early 50s. Now, with her parents ailing, this ageing, “anti-racist” Portland hippy and widow was returning to the South and I — a young European with a hardening Far Right worldview — was helping with the big move.
Also helping with the move, I’d been briefly told, were a couple from central Portland, long-time friends of the widow. From their names nothing seemed amiss, but as we met for breakfast I was rather stunned to see that the individual with the male name was in fact an overweight lesbian in her 50s, wearing on her hands what appeared to be pink gloves for washing dishes. In fact, the peculiar couple were almost identical, both in their physical make-up and in the wearing of the incongruous gloves, which remained, much to my perplexed fascination, on their hands for the duration of the breakfast and for the rest of the three days it took to pack most belongings and sell the rest via a yard sale (where I was told to “eat shit and die” by an anorexic goth for refusing to haggle lower than a few dollars for an item that now escapes my memory). Things got progressively stranger as I took time to explore Portland. As the days passed by, it seemed to me that all of Hollywood’s characterizations of the Southern people as stupid, childish, and dysgenic would have been more appropriately applied to many of the denizens of Portland, whose physiognomy was as startling to me then as it now is to anyone following Andy Ngo’s Twitter account (or who clicks on #portlandmugshots), and whose lives resembled something from a Bukowski poem but without the latter’s redeeming pathos.
One thing I noted early in my stay in the city was the quite radical attachment of the city’s young to a need for some sense of superficial or aesthetic differentiation. In contrast to my experience in the South, in Portland a motley of exotic hair dyes, piercings, tattoos, clothing, and make-up were widely employed by goths, transvestites, and numerous unheard of, and possibly un-named, subcultures. On Day Two or Three of my stay, my friend and I heard that a young female relative of his was about to undergo scarification, a process where shapes or designs are carved into the skin with a surgical knife in such a way that the resulting scar will resemble a kind of morbid tattoo. We arranged to meet with the girl in question, who proceeded to show me a tattoo of a “nebula” on her calf that made the otherwise attractive young woman look like she’d survived some tragic accident. Even aside from my new pink-gloved associates, the city appeared replete with all manner of sexual identities. Scar Girl was, she proudly announced, a bisexual, and had also attached herself to the city’s underground burlesque scene, where the morbidly obese and the handicapped would parade their abundant or mortified flesh in the name of “body positivity.” My friend and I politely declined an offer to attend one of these events, but were happy to take up her offer to take us on a brief tour of the city, which consisted, at its lowest point, of a tour of the various stores selling drug-taking paraphernalia, and yet also of such highlights as the magnificent Japanese garden.
I asked myself — had the city ruined the people, or had people ruined the city? A long-time resident would be better placed to answer that than me. In either case, there’s an argument to be made that once a city establishes a certain reputation, that reputation can be hard to escape from. Decent people can be deterred from moving to the area, while untold numbers of misfits come in their floods in expectation of human acceptance and cultural chaos. Judging from Andy Ngo’s revelations about the city’s Antifa arrestees, the city is now a kind of Satanic black hole, drawing in via demonic gravity every pedophile, sodomite, transvestite, meth-head, and revolutionary Jew in its vicinity (incidentally, the city’s Jewish population doubled between 2001 and 2011).
Portland, for whatever reason, and for however long, had gradually come to see itself, and be seen, as a city proud of progressivism and difference for the sake of progressivism and difference. Almost 80% White, with a Black population of less than 6% and falling, Portland is the “Whitest big city in America.” In fact, the only significant number of Blacks I ever saw in Portland were inside the Lloyd Center movie theater, where, with only a handful of Whites at one particular showing, they chattered and hooted with stereotypical animation all the way through the film I was unsuccessfully attempting to watch. In the absence of significant numbers of Blacks and other exemplars of diversity, the city’s unaccountable and unhinged drive for “difference” has thus long been internalized into myriad pathologies — predominantly sexual, psychological, and political. I vividly remember one day going to Goodwill to look for old blankets that could be used for covering furniture and packing goods. As I neared the appropriate section of the store, I saw a young White, very Nordic, but hippyish-looking couple with the arms filled with almost every blanket the store had. I thought they might have a similar use in mind until a passerby asked them “Sweat lodge?” They nodded and smiled. It was only later, when recounting the story to my friend’s mother, that I was told that the city and its surroundings had a not insignificant subculture that involved Whites engaging with Native American spiritualities, participating in sweat lodges, Sun Dances, and even adopting new, and in my view hilariously pretentious, names like Ghost Horse and Running Wind. Just another symptom, I thought, of the inability of Portland to be content with itself and its authentic past.
Exclusive: I have unmasked the identity of the #antifa member who was filmed using mace in an attack on a conservative pro-@PortlandPolice rally last week. Isabel Rosa Araujo, formerly Philip Vincent Haskins-Delici, has called for comrades to kill me. https://t.co/VkTFR8VphW
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) November 24, 2020
Ya gotta feel sorry for someone like this. Doesn’t fit in as a man and now is a very unattractive, very weird woman, likely with psychiatric issues. But his/her/their reaction is to hate everything that’s functional, that’s beautiful. There’s an awful lot of that on the left. https://t.co/PSPvrbxmRz
— Kevin MacDonald (@TOOEdit) November 26, 2020
An excellent test case for theories of “White pathology,” Portland now distinguishes itself in its role as America’s most politically violent city. About seven years ago I wrote an article for The Occidental Quarterly on Jamaica’s 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion. In the aftermath of the rebellion, which saw Whites massacred wholesale in the most brutal fashion imaginable, London’s Exeter Hall-based anti-slavery society issued numerous proclamations blaming the White inhabitants for the fact they were now having their eyes gouged out. Charles Dickens would later condemn Exeter Hall for their ill-informed and delusional “platform sympathy with the Black—or the Native, or the Devil—afar off, and that platform indifference to our own countrymen at enormous odds in the midst of bloodshed and savagery.” I wrote the essay shortly after an unrelated later trip to Portland, and the city was certainly in my mind when I wrote it. Like many Portlanders, the members of Exeter Hall had little to no meaningful experience with Black or non-White populations, and were thus free to entertain all manner of fantasies about human universalism and human rights, as well as self-aggrandising notions of moral superiority. These fantasies, stewing the minds of the deranged, are now driving chronic violence.
At last some of this can be interpreted as a backfiring of the ambition of the Oregon founders to create a White utopia. When the state entered the union in 1859, it became the only state to prohibit Blacks from living in its borders, and by the 1920s Portland, and Oregon as a whole, was an important northwestern hub for the Ku Klux Klan. It worked extremely well for a considerable time, but, unlike the South where racial realities remained ever present, as generations passed in the predominantly White northwest, memory of the founders’ rationale slowly dissolved, and the same fantasies that occupied Exeter Hall were able to incubate and metastasise. Combined with the insidious intellectual movements of the 1960s counter-culture, Portland gradually produced a witches’ brew of mental pathology, sexual deviance, cultural amnesia, nihilistic anarchism, and acute social decay. In short, my foremost recollection of Portland is of a city that forgot itself.
Ashland, Oregon, 1920s
If there is a moral to Portland’s story, it’s the importance of retaining and reviving the history of one’s people. We live in an age where cultural amnesia is encouraged, and where we are told that it is a moral necessity to forget a shameful past and race headlong into the “progressive” future. Portland shows where this amnesia and “progressive” future actually leads — degeneration, degradation, and swift collapse. The city is a kaleidoscope of the macabre; an asylum run by the inmates. It attracts the demonic and repels the decent, who must shake sinister dust from their feet on leaving. The South, meanwhile, “remembers,” which is why, infused with vast numbers of Blacks, it continues to produce White populations worthy of the name. The South may well rise again — certainly before Portland does.