It’s funny, but I kept thinking about that disclaimer or statement before that webinar. I appreciate the comments I received so far because they show a balance of views. I agree that something seemed a little self-conscious about that wording as if it was responding to some issue I was unaware of. I also agree that it is important to know history of a place. But as a once 50 year resident of Oregon, I am aware of the much larger history of Oregon and non-whites, none of it pleasant. In addition to the treatment of the people already living in the land now Oregon, once it became a state it forbid freed blacks to settle there after the Civil War, it went ahead with the federal order to remove Japanese-American citizens from their land and businesses during World War II to be sent to internment camps, the KuKluxKlan had an active presence in the state, mostly against Jews and Catholics, and migrant workers, mainly from Mexico, were treated in an appalling fashion. And today, many young adults have moved into Portland displacing a formerly African American working class neighborhood of single family homes with tall “hip” apartment buildings.
I operate from a stance that all people over time have done things that people later on look back on and condemn. I am certain that future generations will question many things we do today. I am most interested in what actions we can take today that represent what we know today. For instance in Connecticut right now a disproportionate percentage of COVID vaccine has gone to white citizens. Rather than simply display that statistic, the officials in charge have looked to the root causes of this discrepancy. They are addressing the historical skepticism of communities towards “beneficial” government programs, the lack of internet access to book appointments, and the transportation barriers to getting a shot(not everyone can drive to the drive through mass site) and are acting on this knowledge. Working through churches and sending vans into communities they are delivering the vaccine in ways tailored to different situations which, though historically caused, can be addressed today.
I still don’t know if I was expected to learn something from the wording before the webinar, feel ashamed before the event, or moved to action after the talk. Thus my continued pondering.