There are two things you don't want to talk to me about unless you want to see me fired up: Ethnic Studies and Portland history.
My two loves have collided in a not so pleasant way.
First off, I'm an Oregonian. I was born and raised here. I love Oregon, love Portland and unless there is a really good reason, I'm never moving.
Second: I'm an American. I may not look like your typical Anglo blue eyed, blonde haired, or brunnette with fair skin, or even African-American but I am America. I was born and raised in the United States and enjoy all the luxuries and am for the most part proud of my countries accomplishments.
And finally, I'm Mexican-American. I was raised my parents born in Mexico who recently became American citizens. I lived in Mexico for 2 years out of my life. When you're 9, that's you're whole life, but when I turn 90, it will have been a blink of an eye. There are many feelings of comfort that arise from being Mexican. The food is familiar, the language and to an extent, the people, cuz many have brown skin like myself.
But I'm an Oregonian first, so this whole "street re-naming" saga going on in Portland makes my blood boil. Not because I'm turning my back on "my people" but because of viciously ignorant MoFos who assume that Cesar Chavez, due to the color of his skin, was an immigrant, a Mexican, an "other." I'm not saying that being an immigrant is bad. My parents were, and historically, if you *really* think about it, all of us were, especially those of lighter skin decent. But the fact that people are so ignorantly looking at this issue racially, and not giving it is proper voice because "he's not even from here", pisses me off. Look at it historically. Seriously people, especially in the South West back in the day, Mexicans didn't immigrate to the US, the darn border moved! Read a history book! There are people that don't know who Cesar Chavez is and that's ok. You should because he's a very important historical figure for the civil rights movement as was King, but its ok that you don't. I did a report on him when I was in 5th grade and continued to study his movement in my Ethnic Studies classes. Not only was he not an immigrant, he was an educated American. But due to his surname, the color of his skin, and perhaps his second language (Spanish) one assumes and his legacy gets dismissed . . . And you know what they say about people who assume.
I doubt anyone really reads this, and I'm sure I've ruffled a few feathers but this is my opinion: Do not re-name ANY streets in Portland after anyone. I don't even like Naito Parkway for gosh sakes! It's FRONT STREET! We are expanding, we are growing and the make-up of our city is changing. Obviously there are going to be new streets, new suburbs, pick on of those. Mr. Chavez was not from Oregon, not from Portland. We cannot change our history in order to reflect such. Name a new street for him and help shape the future of what Portland will look like years from now. I think that would honor him better than giving him sloppy seconds.