Try to think of any other time that a white politician was so bracingly direct when speaking to his mostly-white constituency about racism.
I trust in Portlanders sense of fairness; that bad actions by one member of any group does not and should not be generalized or applied more widely to other members of that same group. Otherwise, as part of the biggest racial group in Portland, European-Americans, producing many crimes daily, would be in deep trouble.
That’s Portland Mayor Sam Adams’ response to an act of arson at the Corvallis, Oregon, Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center on Sunday. Authorities believe the fire was set in retaliation for a thwarted bombing attempt by Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, an alleged American terrorist who occasionally frequented the mosque.
Adams, who is openly gay, has long been a proponent of true progressivism in his state, taking up causes related to everything from animal rights to climate change. And his mosque arson statement was released via Tumblr blog, proving that the mayor's communications methods are as forward-thinking as his politics. But this is the first time Adams has ever been so curt toward Oregon's would-be white bigots, saying, basically, "Chill out white people, because if we’re pointing fingers, we're not so great."
Adams is white himself, so presumably he’ll be less vulnerable to the manufactured outrage to be leveled at him momentarily. In the meantime, try and think of a time any other white politician was so bracingly direct when speaking to his mostly white constituency about anti-Muslim hysteria.
-Cord Jefferson is a staff writer at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.