Monday, July 14, 2014

Portland Police Chief Mike Reese Gets Some Learnin' / about Diversity

An editorial in The Oregonian recently criticized (shall I say ridiculed) the $56,000 spent by the City of Portland so that 14 white male administrators could attend a multi-day seminar at the Resort of The Mountain.  All expenses paid to include golf I’m sure.  What were these white men, these primitives taught you might ask?  Besides improving their golf game that is?  Well, the seminar was about diversity, with a capital D; and to drive (the Nike Covert Tour 2.0 would be my choice – but I digress) home the understanding that white men still don’t get it.  What don’t we get?  That we must treat everyone equally?  Nope.  The answer is that we must give special consideration to some.  Why?  Well, that’s a little subjective – although I’ve been to several of these classes myself.  However, that’s why you get to play golf.  The seminar begins to make sense.  It even makes a little more sense if you can play golf with an African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, or even a woman American; but they were excluded from the club (I mean seminar).  Presumably, if you were a white gay male you could attend, as long as you didn’t make a big issue of it – especially while putting.

OK, some will say that the Police Bureau’s white administrators, the white Mayor (Charlie Hales) and the rest of those white boys, do need some ‘learnin.’  I would ask whether or not the Portland Police Bureau has a conference room that they could use.  And / or is it really necessary to hold the conference where the green fees and associated golf necessities run in the neighborhood of $80 to $100 per outing?

Post seminar, Chief Mike Reese wrote a memo to Police Bureau members regarding the conference (apparently there was a lot of police rank-and-file interest in the subject).  The Chief's comments are as follows:

“Subject:  White Men as Full Diversity Partners Caucus”

“I found the Caucus thought-provoking, and there were many lessons that I learned about diversity and the culture we live in.  One of the most important lessons was that there still exists pervasive and destructive messages directed at women, people of color and other groups that create barriers to success.”  (Quoted from Maxine Bernstein’s article in The Oregonian, 7-14-14.)

Yes, Chief, I’m glad you’re learning these things.  In fact, I would have thought that someone at your pay-grade would already know them.  And, incidentally, who was the very expensive consultant who taught you these things?  What is his or her background?  Or was this just more about getting in touch with your feelings?

Post Script:  Yes, I’m having a little fun with this.  I hope the Chief and Mayor did learn something.  I don’t really care about the $56,000.  I don’t live in Portland, and don’t plan to ever live in Portland.  Although, in many respects, it’s a nice city.

True Nelson
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