16 thoughts on “Black in Bend: Understanding diversity in a white community

  1. I understand this issue too well. I have been a resident of Bend since 2001 and it has always been a friendly and beautiful place to live. However, there are occasions when people show their racism openly and even directly. I find this to be the minority, however. Most African Americans can spot the “silent racist” more than the vocal one. It is the body language and facial expressions that give them away. I have even seen people turn around and walk the other way rather than have to pass by me. This behavior is an atrocity in todays society and I fear it will NEVER change. And by change I dont mean a black president or Supreme Court Justice, when will we all learn that if we work together and love one another our SPECIES will benefit wholelly. I fear never. Thank You

    1. Thank you for your reply and I could not agree with you more just like I stated in the paper if we dont talk about it then nothing will be heard and people wont know I have three kids and they been called out there name many times so its also important that people know the history and that where it comes from. Bend is a nice place but like you said people show their racism and its crazy thank you again for your reply Teryl

  2. Thanks for the attention brought to the subject by this article. What a hardship faced by this family! It is really almost unbelievable- except for the fact I have experienced some of the mentioned problems. It isn’t just that moving here is a culture shock for the individual, this article helped me realize that it is also a necessary shock to the community. I moved here in 2011 and have seen some of the covert stupidity of people here on a firsthand basis. The only way through this issue, is to Break. It. Down. Thanks to the Young family and Gordon Price for your strength and also for sharing your experiences.

    1. Thanks for your response my important goal in this entire article was to put the awareness out there that bend is not the loving cuddly white picket fence that most of people think it is because the sad part is that some sort of racism is here in bend and everywhere and people need to be on notice about it. I am glad you like the paper and thank you for your response. P.S bend as a city is ok its just some of the people here and its like this everywhere but just more noticeable here due to how small it is.

  3. Informative Article. My wife, 2 yr old son and I are seriously thinking about moving to Bend next spring to escape the rain and clouds of SW Washington. I’m half black & half white, my wife is Mexican with a Japanese grandparent. Our son is therefore Black, White, Hispanic and Asian. I’m wondering if we’ll have trouble fitting into the community or not. How would you compare Bend to Vancouver, WA in terms of attitude towards Blacks and Mexicans?

    PS. Yesterday a random person in a small town gun store incorrectly assumed I was Mexican and proceeded to ask me if I was here illegally.

    1. well to tell you the truth that Bend is a great place considering all the issues that were stated in the article. I think that your family can have a better chance at fitting in. That is crazy to hear that someone incorrectly assumed you were Mexican that dose not really suprize me though when my kids first started elementary school here in bend when my wife went to go sign them up they questioned that my wife marked the wrong race because she marked Black the lady was like are you sure you wanted to mark Black and not white my wife got irritated and looked at the lady like she was crazy so it happens more that it should here in the pacfic northwest. But I think you guys will fit in fine there is a lot of Hispanics here and everything but I think you guys will be fine thanks for your response.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Teryl. I was more than a bit concerned after reading your article but then I took a step back and thought about it…I grew up on the East Coast in Newtown, CT and a few cities in Central TX and there were racist – both undercover and in your face – in both parts of the country. I think what makes us think about it more in the PNW (particularly small towns) is that we feel like we’re alone and have no backup b/c there are just so few Black people. In our heads this is a bad thing but in reality I haven’t run into one hateful or dangerous racist in PNW; only ignorant or misinformed people somewhat frequently. In more diverse areas I’ve come across hateful racist on many occasions. My problem is that I find ignorance even more upsetting than hatred. If someone is hateful/dangerous/aggressive I can handle that and I’m always prepared to “neutralize” the threat. But can we really fault someone for being ignorant to something they have little to no exposure to? I think that’s fair either. Now I’m rambling…in any event, your article was a good read and a good reminder that this country – no matter what city – still has many divisions that linger from the nations dark past. Here’e something to think about: If Black people are called African-Americans then White people should be called European-Americans because they originated in Europe just as my mothers ancestors originated in Africa.

  4. Ever been a white kid walking down an all black neighborhood? I have. I rather have people give me funny looks and walk away rather than get cursed yelled and threatened at. Just saying

    1. sometimes its a trust issue just be yourself and u will be ok some people in all races can be evil

      1. So I spent a 4 day weekend in Bend a couple weeks ago to test the waters before we decide to move or not. I found all of the people I met to be very friendly (much more so then Portland and many of the smaller towns in SW Washington). I didn’t perceive that I was being treated any differently because of being interracial. I was very pleasantly surprised at how many people would smile and say hello and even strike up a conversation in Whole Foods, at the Gas Station, Realtors and homeowners trying to sell their house, or at the Old Mill shopping center for example. I would rate Bend as one of the best towns in the PNW to raise a family in regardless of your race (based on my research and limited personal experience).

  5. I would not even know generate an income finished up right here, however assumed this particular post had been excellent. I would not recognize whom you could possibly be however certainly you’re going to the popular writer for many who are not already Many thanks!

  6. My family and I lived in Bend full time from 2002-2007. Now we just visit it a few times a year. We found the vast majority of people wonderful but did run into a racist element. My wife is Chinese American and I am Irish/Italian. We had run ins with some ignorant redneck racists. One even called my wife a mail order bride at a Hawaiian music festival. We found some people have a lot of anger and hatred just bellow the surface.

  7. This story is old, but it still rings true. I just read the new Bend magazine, cover to cover. There was not one black person in the entire issue, except for the last page, in a Les Schwab ad. There were only two other POC, both Latina, and they were depicted serving food. How sad. While I realize Oregon, and Bend’s population of people of color is low, publications and organizations can do much better in representing them. It’s educational, it’s the right thing to do. I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Young left town – we are much poorer culturally for that.

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