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Max Train Violence and Media Racism

The recent news about violence on the MAX Light-Rail system has been entirely one-sided.
I ride the Yellow line almost every day and have NEVER seen problems with African-American riders. However, I have witnessed physical violence committed against persons of color by white people many times. I have been called the N word numerous times by white people was once spit on and told to sit in the back. The recent story about a white woman getting beat up by a bunch young black kids is undoubtedly false. Were there any witnesses? The woman claimed she was coming to the assistance of another passenger who was being harrased by black kids. The entire incident is likely a fabrication.

It doesn't really help the situation to 21.Jun.2008 12:00


state without evidence of any kind that the woman who was beat up was making it up. That can only fan racial problems. Sometimes the people you identify with do terrible things, and sometimes they're also the victims of violence. But to deny that they ever do anything harmful is not helpful.

Not so fast to condemn 22.Jun.2008 08:13


I think that Latasha has a valid point regarding media racism and the reporting on Max. I also think that the coverage of these incidents has been highly classist.

It's no secret that many fine, upstanding members of the Portland Business Alliance, along with Bernie Giusto, have been opposed to the whole idea of public transportation, and particularly free or cheap public transportation, for a very long time. They are especially upset by free or cheap public transportation that might bring people from (gasp!) poor and predominantly Black neighborhoods to (gasp!) downtown. Giusto has suggested that this sort of thing leads to, you guessed it, terrorism. He, and the PBA, have been staunch opponents of the fairless square for years, and have been sounding chicken-little alarms about "violence on the max trains!!" for just about as long. Is it any coincidence that, as gas prices rise, public demand for more public transportation escalates, and new rail cars arrive in town, suddenly we have a spate of scare stories about shadowy Black teenagers from "the inner city" (!) attacking innocent white bystanders? I don't think so.

I would also like to point out that, in testifying against the fairless square, Guisto and others told the city commissioners gruesome and lurid tales of innocent white people getting attacked and beat up and robbed by Black teens on, of all things, Max. ...in Gresham. Although there is no fairless square in Gresham, they used a single anecdote about an old man being assaulted out there to claim that the fairless square only encourages crime and... and terrorism.

So I would not be so quick to dismiss Latasha's concerns about this. The media coverage IS racist and classist. It IS working on whipping up public fear and loathing of scary poor people, and scary people of color. Whether the incident in question occurred or not, the way in which it has been covered is classic. (Similar, by the way, to the manner in which dog attacks are covered in the media. Dogs bite people every day in this state, but you never hear about it. But if a pit bull so much as looks cross-eyed at someone, suddenly the media breaks out in a frenzy over "pit bull attacks". This kind of coverage easily leads people who live through their tv screens to believe things about other people or other species that simply aren't true. This is how negative stereotypes are born.)

"undoubtly false" 22.Jun.2008 09:29


Obviously you missed the video from the MAX train that shows the assault and robbery!

"Proof" 27.Jun.2008 09:27

make me laugh

"Obviously you missed the video from the MAX train that shows the assault and robbery!"

And obviously, you missed the video of WMDs in Iraq. Or, to use an example closer to home, the video of "someone throws a bottle" after the police attack in 2002 that forced the city and the PPB to almost literally bleed hundreds of thousands of dollars for the benefit of people whom they had unjustly attacked. "Proof"? Don't be so gullible.