Inside the Deadly, Racist History of Portland's 'White Liberal Bastion'

A month before Jeremy Christian stabbed two Portland men to death after harassing two women of color on a train, he had draped himself in an American flag at a “free speech” rally. Christian, who had brought a baseball bat to smash left-wing protesters, shouted racial slurs and gave the Nazi salute throughout the day.


Portland police were reportedly familiar with Christian’s background as a white supremacist—he certainly didn’t go through any pains to hide it—but wrote him off as “mentally ill” according to The Portland Mercury.

While the gruesome stabbing shocked many around the country who consider Portland to be a liberal white bastion, the state is dogged by an insidious history of white supremacy.

A history that, for Oregon’s people of color, remains all too present.

This film is part of a series from the “Our 100 Days” initiative from Firelight Media and Field of Vision, which explore threats to U.S. democracy and the stories of its most vulnerable communities in the current political climate. New episodes will be released weekly on Thursdays, followed by Twitter chats at 1pm ET under the hashtag #Our100Days.

Staff writer, The Root.