I’d heard all about the racial tensions here, and get it. After all, after all, transplants coming in and taking over the city with where they came from rather than joining the vibe already is a big problem I had with Portland becoming a destination city.
But now I’ve gotten to see some, although fortunately, none of it against me. Sure, I’ve seen a couple locals smirk as they see my oh so white winter skin getting a bit red, or perhaps they’re laughing at my hair (basically a flopped over to one side mohawk), but that’s it.
So here’s what I’ve seen in the last day:
Last night, at the artwalk (again, packed/crowded, which is why I didn’t stay long), Charles (the gent from the hostel I was walking with) was kind of walking around cluelessly, ie not aware of his personal space, and the personal space of those around him (this is something I’ve always been perhaps OVERLY in tune to. As I don’t accidentally touch people when there is any other option. He walked right in front of a couple, and didn’t even notice. So the guy kicked at his shoe. He was astounded ,but later had his local girlfriend explain that what I saw as being the case, was. Pay attention to the space you and others are in.
Next, I was at Foodland to pick up some slippahs (just under 5 bucks, instead of the 30 mr internet wanted) and right as I walk in, a reddish looking older white guy and a big local apparently bumped into each other. They just about got into a fistfight, and from the local came slurs of “pict”. I mean hey, I’ve gotta say the dude looked Scottish as hell, and was being very confrontational… so was the local, but I’d say to a lesser degree.
Both of these instances came from a lack of awareness of personal space and what’s going on around you. I’m not really sure how to approach such “bumpintoeachothers”, as I was told from one who lived here upon arriving that the best thing to do is to give a slight push pack, nothing big, but stand your ground. Which is good, because that’s what I’ve always done… I don’t shove anyone, but I don’t let myself get shoved. I stand my ground, I stand solid, I stand fihrm. With a smile or non emotive look that still recognizes hi I am human and you are human, and we are here, not an attitude.
So perhaps I am sure on how to approach such situations, I think after writing that out. Be kind, don’t rewind (yourself) haha… walk with a sure step and friendly vibe.
Other than that my experiences with locals have been either very friendly (true aloha spirit), or neither good nor bad. So I guess I’m presenting myself well, since with blonde hair, very anglic bone structure, Oregon winter white skin reddening and a giant bag on my back… I’ve had zero problems. And not felt any aggression.