Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Signs of a good neighborhood

This is how you know you live in a good neighborhood.

My path home from Mount Tabor's summit takes me past Benjamin Franklin High School where today I beheld a pleasing sight.

An organization called Oregon's Kitchen Table is conducting an online survey on public schools as a means, I think, of initiating a public discussion. A worthy endeavor. You can view the web site here. I encourage any Oregonians who might be interested in contributing to public discussion of issues to take a look. Even (or perhaps especially) right-wingers. The idea of a public forum to discuss real issues with a diversity of Oregonians appeals. I plan on signing up as soon as I finish this blog post.

But the reason I learned of the organization at all is because I saw the signs posted in front of Franklin and noticed something. They were written in 6 different languages!

One would naturally expect that there would be signs in both English and Spanish, of course. Spanish is the de facto second language of this country.
And no Portlander would be surprised to see signs in Mandarin or Vietnamese. Chinese people have been in Portland since the city was founded. Downtown Portland has a Chinatown section, with Chinese and Taiwanese consulates, but many Chinese people live in Southeast, as well. There are many Chinese restaurateurs and grocers. And the sheer number of pho kitchens (even within walking distance of my home!) attests to the city's ample Vietnamese population.

Mandarin and Vietnamese
And I wasn't too surprised to see the Cyrillic characters of the Russian language on one of the signs. Inner Southeast Portland has a significant Slavic demographic. I think most of the Slavs in Portland are Russian, but there are also many Ukrainians. 

Somali and Russian
But there was one language that I couldn't readily identify. So, when I got home I did a Google Translate language identification. 

The language turned out to be Somali. Apparently, there are enough Somalis in the area that the Kitchen Table folks felt it justified to have a sign printed up in their language.

Well, when it comes to diversity, Portland may not be San Fransisco or Vancouver (BC), but we're getting better. And I find it very cool to live in a neighborhood where there is a need for signs in a half dozen different languages.


Unknown said...

Signs of Mea Culpa: My friend Dade, I owe you an apology I have been unbending in zealotry towards both our president, Islamic Radicals and supporters of the Democratic Party and their representatives and candidates. I wish to offer you my heartfelt apology for my outrageous, over the top and personal attacks. This is not the person I am, nor the person I wish to be.

You and I have always been on opposite sides of the ideological fence. Yet, we always found a way to accept each others differences and forge a deep friendship. I valued, greatly, that friendship and certainly did more that my part to degrade and deter it. Simply to make a political point that you were never going to accept in the first place. I see this country starting down this path that we have ventured and it saddens me.

I have forgiven you for any and all derogatory statements you have made to me. I hope you can find it it your heart to do the same for me. Even if you cannot, I will not waver from this commitment. YOu told me years ago that hate, bile and anger would only serve to harm the purveyor. You were correct and I was stubborn, unyielding and
down right obnoxious.

I have made a mistake. A monumental one at that. I apoligize with all my heart to you, your wife, your family and especially you. Anyone I have offended who is your family member of friend.

I see the country progressing down a path of uncivility that destroys friendships and family. You are the first person that I have reached out to. I don't expect old wounds to heal overnight.

If you never wish to associate with me I understand. I will not hold it, or anything else, against you. I miss my old friend. A one of a kind, fiercely loyal friend with a genius mentality. You're not a one a million, but a one in 10 million.

I've laid down my sword. I realize now that it's going to take all of us (especially) those of us with above average mental capacity, to heal this county and make it the best we can and save it for future generations. Oh sure, we'll disagree, we always have. However, we'll do it in a respectful manner as we did before and not a hateful personally destructive manner.

Your former friend and hopefully future friend, SP

Dade Cariaga said...

This is the first time I've left a comment on my own blog, but this heartfelt remark deserves a direct response.

All is forgiven, Scott. And thanks for forgiving me for my own cruelty.

Growth is painful. We're both old enough to know that.

Best of luck to you.