Nancy, who is an excellent writer, and an even better thinker, wrote a story for Willamette Week. It dealt with the gentrification of her neighborhood in NE Portland, where she has made friends with her neighbors without any particular preference for one race over another…they are just her neighbors, and as such she interacts with them on a daily basis. I have spoken to a number of my friends, who found it a well balanced, well written, and even insightful assessment of what it is like to be on the cusp of change. Let it be known that some of these friends took exception to Nancy’s take on Saucebox, so they do not represent a rubber stamp of approval. I saw Nancy the other night, and gave her a high-five to the effect that stirring up a hornet’s nest is the highest form of praise for a journalist. Then I read the comments on the Willamette Week site.
My first reaction was shock at the vitriol being spewed, and the very personal nature of the attacks. Then I started to think about what might lay behind it all, and the hate began to look a lot more like pain. Nancy had opened a door for people to talk about things that were skewering them. It wasn’t just black people. It was anyone who felt disenfranchised; anyone who thought that the “American Dream” had passed them by…most of us, if the truth be known.