Karen strikes again.
A monument in an Oregon public park commemorating the only Black member of the Lewis and Clark expedition has been vandalized for the second time in three months. The most recent time, which took place Tuesday, was captured on video by a witness who said she came upon a white woman spray-painting the monument’s base with unintelligible words.
The monument in Mount Tabor Park in Portland features a bust of a slave named York who is credited with helping explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traverse the U.S. beginning in 1804. A biker took photos of the white woman holding cans of spray paint with which she was vandalizing the bust.
When confronted, the white woman defacing the monument with spray paint was shown on video exclaiming with a shaky voice, “I’ve been prejudiced against Black people and Hispanic people.” She said she would pay for the damages if asked, but punctuated her faux benevolence with an emphatic, “Fuck you all!”
She suggested she was angry because the bust of York was installed “to replace a white man with a fucking Black man. That’s not fucking unity.”
Watch the video below.
The “white man” the vandal was referring to is Harvey Scott, who was editor-in-chief of the Oregonian newspaper in the 1870s and a staunch opponent against women having the right to vote.
News outlet Williamette Week reported that a statue of Harvey previously stood where York’s bust was installed before the statue was toppled by protesters during racial justice protests last summer. An anonymous artist in February installed York’s bust on top of the same base where Scott’s statue previously stood.
As of Thursday, there were no reports of any arrests being made for the admitted racist act of vandalism.
The tale of Lewis and Clark’s epic transcontinental journey has long been a fixture in history books. A little-known fact behind the pair’s adventure was that York helped the men bridge cultural gaps between themselves and Native Americans they encountered along the way. While trudging through the Midwest, in particular, Native Americans saw York’s dark skin as a sign of strength and power.
There was even a campaign a little more than a decade ago seeking to have the face of York on a postage stamp.
It is in that context that white resentful white woman was defacing one of the few monuments that pay homage to the unheralded roles that slaves played in American history.
Perhaps making the vandalism even more egregious is that it took place in Portland, a city that is just 6% Black and has struggled with race relations for years.
This isn’t the first time York’s bust has been vandalized. In March, unidentified culprits spray-painted phrases like “Land Back,” “Abolition Now,” “His Blood Is on Your Hands,” “Liberation” and “Decolonize” on the same base that the white woman targeted earlier this week.
This is America.
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