Sunday, June 11, 2017

We Found Our Heart In Lake Oswego

About this time last week, it was toasty Sunday afternoon, I had a life changing experience. One of those things you find your mind drifting to, of its own accord, during those silent and still times, eliciting thoughts of outrage, bewilderment… sadness.  It’s amazing how tiny little things, which first start as ripples, can become powerful waves.

Shellie, my lovely bride of 17 years, needed to be dropped off at Lake Oswego’s Millennium Park.  For any who aren’t familiar with Lake Oswego, it’s a small city just south of Portland, Oregon, and has become known as one of Portland’s more affluent suburbs. Most cities have nicknames.  Some rhyme.  Some don’t.  Not many words rhyme with Lake Oswego, but it has had its own special nickname for decades.  A nickname which often left Shellie and me snickering whenever we heard it: Lake No Negro.  We were happy to help make the nickname obsolete.

[Wedding pictures taken in Lake Oswego’s Millennium Park 17 years ago]

Shellie’s parent’s, David is a retired Army Colonel and Linda a retired Labor and Delivery Nurse, move to Lake O was 15 years prior to ours.  Shellie and I were married in Dave’s and Linda’s front yard.  There was a permit to shut down roads, and lights were strung between trees.  When nighttime fell, the twinkling little bulbs reminded me of running through the fields in Georgia chasing fireflies.  Hours before the wedding, the wedding party was graced with amazing weather for a photoshoot at Millennium Park.  There’s little doubt Lake Oswego is a special place.  For Shellie and I, it’s been almost magical.

[And there was dancing in the streets]

Shellie’s father is a wonderful man, and has become one of my closest friends.  We often choose a day on the weekend to go out for breakfast, and to talk.  We sit and chat for hours about this or that, and everything else.  I can’t recall what led us to that particular topic on that particular day, but one morning Dave mentioned how Oregon use to be a “sunset” state.  Now let’s have a minute of candor here… can we all agree Oregon should more appropriately be called a “drizzle” state?  Dave enlightened me.  “Oregon remained pretty much white after it was founded.  And it use to be ‘Boy, don’t let your ass be found in this state/town when the sun goes down.’ If you weren’t white, you’d best be elsewhere before the sun set.  My father once pulled down one of those signs out near Bend.”

But I digress.  Oregon, and Lake Oswego, have a history that is not unique to them, and it’s in the past.  Let’s leave it there.  As long as we use history as a valuable learning tool, there’s no need for us to relive our mistakes.  So, getting back to the story, I was motoring along when a white BMW with dark tinted windows zoomed in behind me.  The driver was really close, two feet or so. I couldn’t even see their headlights.  I’m not a slow driver who generally needs motivation to go a little faster.  I’m more of a “lead foot” type of guy.  The driver, for reasons known only to him or her, was being reckless, and very likely to be the cause of serious injury should I have had to brake suddenly.  I tapped my brakes.  The BMW didn’t relent.  I signaled to make a turn, and so did the Beemer.  As I made my turn, it zoomed off the way we had been going.

Bad driving, I can deal with.  Nobody’s perfect.  Aggressive drivers, I can understand. Sometimes taking any guesswork out of the equation makes for a better driver.  I can even overlook the jerk.  Because you know what?  We all have bad days and sometimes it overflows onto others.  It’s not right, but life happens.  There is something, however, I can never excuse or find a reason to look past, and that’s being a bully.  The driver of that BMW tried to what… strike fear in me by pretending to follow me?  And then what?  It was at that split second I decided - You’re trying to be a bully, and that’s not ok.

I quickly turned the car around and within a few seconds saw where the white Beemer was headed (I may have had some experience tailing people).  The BMW drove into a nearby parking lot and parked.  I pulled into a spot three or four spaces away.  I got out just as Mr. Man did.  Then his two kids got out too.  They looked to be approximately the same age as my rugrats.  We both had sons around 9 years old, and daughters in their mid teens.  I still planned on talking with him, but would keep the interaction as tame as possible. As a reminder to myself to stay calm, i stood in the open doorway of my car, gripping above the door’s window.  This is a sampling of the conversation we had…

Me: Hey man, that’s not ok.
Mr Man: You didn’t have to tap your brakes, dawg.
Me: Look, someone’s gonna get hurt when you get that close. And with your kids in the car?
Mr Man: You live around here?
Me: You bet I do.
Mr Man: You don’t look like it...
Me: What’s that suppose to mean?
Mr Man: What do you think it means… Look in the mirror.
Mr: Oh really…
Mr Man: Nigger.
Me: Oh yeah. That’s great. In front of your kids and everything. (Fortunately his kids weren’t in earshot) Mr Man got within an inch of my face several times with me not walking towards him.
Mr Man: Where did you go to school?
Me: Where do you think? (I was wearing my Stanford sweatpants and a Stanford shirt)
Mr Man: Well you don’t look educated.


[Mr. Man. I’ll keep his real name to myself]

As we talked, Mr. Man decided he needed to position himself within a few inches of me, standing right in my face.  Kind of like when he was driving.  A bully to the core, and much more.  I felt sorry for his kids, and sorry for his wife.  I’d known Mr. Man for only a few minutes and he was trying to throw his weight around.  Speaking of weight, Mr. Man was quite a bit bigger than me. Well, he was the bigger man physically… As he stood over me a lot of things ran through my head, the least of which wasn’t wondering if I would be forced to protect myself.  He was a big guy so I’d have to hit him quick and hard.  The second he touched me I planned to jab my fist straight into his throat.  Mr. Man stood in my face momentarily, then walked away.  He did so again several minutes later, but again quickly backed off after telling me I smelled.

I’ve been called many things in life. Before being called a husband, and then “Dad,” I was a graduate of Stanford University.  When I worked as a Psychological Operations Specialist in the US Army, I was a soldier.  More recently I was an Officer, and now I’m Detective Sheppard.  I’ve been called Nigger a lot too.  Happens.  I wasn’t overly affected by Mr. Man calling me that word.  Nigger.  It was more how he said it.  You see, the fine people who have imbued me with this title in the past were high on meth or cocaine.  Or they were slurring their words, barely able to get it out because that 12th beer tasted as great as the first.  Some people spoke in a deep, guttural voice which belied their rage perfectly.  But not Mr. Man.

Mr. Man was smirking as he spoke.  “Nigger.”  Mr. Man didn’t yell, or raise his voice really. He just said it as he smiled, letting it roll down his nose at me.  “Nigger.”  Such an ugly word.  You don’t look like you live here… Nigger.  It comforts me to know Oregon’s “sunset” status is only a memory.  Right?  These sorts of repugnant incidents happen to other people in other places..if your skin isn’t brown.  For me, I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt.  It’s happened before and will again.

Which brings us full-circle back to the beginning of our story.  It was a life changing experience, but not for me.  That word has worn deep grooves down the canal of my ears. I was inspired, however, to post the conversation on social media.  It didn’t go viral or anything, but Lake Oswego isn’t a big place.  Shellie has been on our school’s PTO, and even served as its president.  She ran the school’s rummage sale for a number of years as well.  People know her, and as an extension of her, me.  Shellie knows Mr. Man’s kids. She sees them every day.  And she really likes Mr. Man’s ex-wife.  Shellie shared the conversation, and word got around.  Our friends, relatives, coworkers and acquaintances used words like shocked, shameful, disgusting and the like.  One even made the statement that the words they used were cheap, and called them to action.  Maybe there’s hope for my dream of Lake Oswego.  

Can this be a tiny little thing, which starts as a ripple? I hope people's words turn into action. And I hope those actions become a powerful wave.

Maybe one day I can look, and be treated, like someone who belongs.

NOTE: I somehow forgot to add this to my original ramblings, but the day before my conversation with Mr. Man, my 14 year old daughter asked me for advice. One of her acquaintances posted a meme of a clansmen in full garb. My daughter was disturbed and confused. The context and substance of the meme are too convoluted to explore here, but it led to a thoughtful discussion on how best to react when faced with unsavory people or actions.

54 comments:

  1. I don't know you, but my heart breaks for you and your family. It is unfathomable to me that this hatred is still alive and well. Progress is often several steps forward and two steps back. However, this moment in time, in these recent weeks and months is more like time travel back through decades. Thank you for standing up to this man and holding your ground. Thank you for sharing this post. Thank you for your bravery and composure. Thank you for reminding us that hate lives here and everywhere and that we can't be silent witnesses, but must instead be vigilant and speak out.

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    1. Could not have said this better. Great response, Lara. Would surely like to meet you and your family, Nathan.

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    2. Yes, I so agree with Lara James. We need your story to know what it is like to be a person of color in today's world. You shouldn't have to experience this on your own. We whiteys are with you (1/16 Cree Indian).

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  2. Absolutely terrible and unacceptable. You sound like an absolutely amazing human being and I am proud to share my little town of lake oswego with a neighbor like you. This other guy though?? Hmm... I feel sad to know there are people like him living amongst us. Stand strong. We're standing with you. ❤️

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  3. What a despicable coward. We are all leaves from the same tree. As much as I would like to say that your experience is an aberration, I know it is not. Sorry just doesn't carry enough weight.

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  4. I am just sorry you even felt the need to outline your education and work history and all else to convince anyone you were legit. I hope someday no one will feel that way. And no one will be judged by such measures.

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  5. I am ashamed that he was wearing an Oregon shirt, my alma mater. The venom and hate that his president had unleashed is abhorrent. I went to Oregon in the late 60's and I naively thought we protested and educated people and put some of the prejudices to rest, but I am finding out they were just squelched waiting for this misinformed despot to sanction them. I am so sorry this happened to you.

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  6. Bravo, Sir! Bravo! I'm so much happier living in a city with a man of your calm good sense than I am to be living in the same country as Mr. Man. Thanks for this encouraging post!

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  7. I hate to say it but hate is on the rise. Not sure where all this uginess has been hiding but our disgusting leader has opened the Pandora's Box. Not a week goes by where there is not some evidence of it. Since is being ignored at the top it behoves us at the bottom to stand up to it as best we can. Not acceptable. Sorry you and your family have to deal with this Nathan.

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  8. Who is that punk? I want to go beat him up.

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  9. Thank you for telling your story. I'm so sorry this still happens anywhere, but especially in my community. I waver between sad, and angry, and hopeful that the indignation over this incident means that most people have grown beyond such small minded, backwards, hateful beliefs. I'm sorry.

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  10. I am so sorry and disgusted. We are also a biracial family in LO. It is infuriating and heartbreaking to see overt expressions of racism on the rise. His poor kids. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. Although, I am deeply sorry that this happened to you. It continues to be a regular occurrence in this state. It is shameful and without excuse and delineates a way of thinking which many of us feel wore itself out the first time a slave stepped off one of the ships in the south.

    I noted that you said something to the effect of "allowing the past to remain the past." However, what you were subjected to, is, to me, a clear indication that the past is not resting somewhere in long ago history but is still present to this day. Which makes me insane. But, it also makes me feel and believe that we have much work to do, still, along the lines of race relations particularly with our African American brothers and sisters. I am grateful that (you used the word bully and I'll use it but feel a word much stronger is what's needed) were able to use poise and inner strength; assessment and conflict resolution skills; that you probably brought to bear some deep understanding from your training in psychology, the military and as a detective. I feel the "bully" in this story is quite fortunate to have run in to you. Many others would have used the situation to incite something more than an exchange between two people.

    I lived in Lake Oswego for three years. I had to leave. The complete lack of any kind of diversity was mind boggling; the overt display of wealth a maker of cynicism. I returned to N.E. Portland. Inner N.E. Portland to find, to my dismay, that gentrification had run the majority of the African American population out of the neighborhood and in to the hinterland of Gresham. Racism is alive and well. It is a disgrace.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are the "Mr. Man," the other guy was/is an ignorant, spiteful, hateful child.

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  12. When you're born I to white privilege, you can sit bs k and use words and flowery phrases like: that's so wrong, and I'm so sorry that happened to you..
    TALK IS CHEAP DAMMIT.....
    Anyone in Lake O who is still using the term Lake No Negro in the Millenium, publicly or behind closed doors can f-off...
    Go to the next City Council meeting, and demand a stop to the spreading of the hatred....
    Black people cannot end racism with out your help!!!!
    If you don't intervene on behalf of us, by speaking out when you hear or bear witness to the injustice, you are just as guilty as the people who start it!!

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  13. Thank you for sharing this and not making it just a story told within family and friend circle, repeated by the listeners until the facts are confused and dismissed. We all need to hear this from you directly and strip away any pretense that it is not happening.

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  14. Thank you for sharing. My husband, son and I live in Lake Oswego. We moved here about 2 years ago. I grew up here, my husband is from Liberia. At first we wanted to live in a more diverse area, but then we wanted to be near family and be in the great school district for our son. People have questioned why we moved to a undiverse area, but we feel it won't change unless we do our part. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Often, when I have visited my daughter and son-in-law in Lake Oswego, coming from the South, I've noticed the obvious lack of diversity in the community. Hearing about your experience brings that observation to a completely different level. How profoundly you have managed to write about an incident that cut to the core! And how gallantly and generously you have dealt with a situation that could easily have become violent! I hope that your story will get wide-spread attention in the area, and that others will unite to bring about tangible changes. Why should you have to "buy" your acceptance into this community with your outstanding education and life experience? You are a valuable asset as a human being and any square foot of any city you live in would be enhanced by your presence. I deeply admire the way in which you are handling this incident and applaud the example you show to your children and their friends. My family left Nazi Germany soon after the end of WWII - not because we were Jewish, but because my parents chose to leave a beloved homeland that had given birth to such crimes to humanity. Please continue to do your best to make your story even more widely known. This country, with this president, needs to hear from you. Thank you, Nathan Sheppard, for bringing awareness to the truth of our current state of affairs!

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  16. I'm sorry that this happened to you in our community. That attitude has no place here.

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  17. Good Morning. I posted a note on my Facebook page and should probably post it here as well: Hi friends and family. Since sharing what I thought was my inconsequential, but unpleasant experience with you a few days ago, it has been read over 11k times. It seems to have prompted a civil discourse many people believe is needed. I feel compelled to thank you for caring enough to pass it on. Your friend's friend's friends are speaking about fairness, dignity, and the way we treat of fellow human beings. A worthy endeavor. Thanks again.

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    1. May God bless and protect you and yours. It is incomprehensible to me how anyone can judge a person on their color their education or any number of inconsequential things. Racism has to be one of the most evil despicable things that humanity has ever devised. You are just as much a precious child of our heavenly father as anyone and my heart aches that you have to deal with this type of ignorance and evil.

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    2. May God bless and protect you and yours. It is incomprehensible to me how anyone can judge a person on their color their education or any number of inconsequential things. Racism has to be one of the most evil despicable things that humanity has ever devised. You are just as much a precious child of our heavenly father as anyone and my heart aches that you have to deal with this type of ignorance and evil.

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  18. Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry for the ignorance and inhumane treatment you received--disgusting! We live in Lake Oswego, in the Lake Grove area and my son goes to school here. He has had friends of all colors and creeds. He's only 8 but so far we have done great with just teaching him about people--and not races, religion, color, etc. In fact, we have had black friends since he was 2--a family of 5 that we grew very close too. When my son was 6 he asked 'Why does Mama R stay tan all year?'. This came after a conversation about sun tans (that summer had sun!) and how much he liked them. Made my heart happy that he didn't know any difference and we were doing it right. Unfortunately, this family moved to California to escape the hatred and racism they were being inflicted with right here in Tualatin. Horrible, scary treatment. Our family was so sad for what they went through.
    We must continue to do better--all of these treatments are unacceptable.
    Thank you again--for the story and your service to our Country.

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  19. Thank you for sharing your story. This type of hate should never be tolerated in this community, or anywhere. I'm so sorry that you had to experience this kind of hate, and inhumanity. You handled it with such grace, and dignity. Sending you, and your family a hug. Susan

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  20. What are we going to do about this? I ask as someone who grew up in Lake Oswego, moved back to raise my family here, love the community, and is absolutely ashamed every time I hear a story like this, which is way too often. This community has so much to offer, but I can’t say for sure that I would have felt comfortable moving here if I were a person of color. We, as a community, need to do something to fix this, something longer-term than a rally or a Facebook post. Do we start a community dialogue? Form an organization? I don’t know, and that’s why I’m posting this.

    I’ve gone back and forth on posting this, because I know it sounds like just more ineffectual hand-wringing. But we have to start somewhere.

    (I’m showing up as “unknown” because I don’t have an account here, but my name is Doug Irving, and you can reach me at dirving524@gmail.com.)

    Det. Sheppard, I am so very sorry this happened.

    - Doug

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    1. Check out the LO for Love FB page. The parents who started this did so as a reaction to events that happened in our schools this past year. See link and information below.

      https://www.facebook.com/LOforLOve/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf

      They are working towards a better LO. Check them out and get involved.

      LO for LOve was started by community members concerned about the November 2016 LOHS student reports of racism and the national climate emboldening acts of hate against many groups of people. With the aim of uniting people to spread compassion and love and taking their support for an inclusive community to the streets, the group planned a family friendly walk in Lake Oswego. Over 300 people joined in solidarity in a peaceful and positive show of love and empathy. The groundswell of community support led to the group’s continued advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and kindness in Lake Oswego.

      Other activities have included
      - "Spread the Love" social media campaign involving over a dozen local businesses in encouraging community members to share messages of acceptance and diversity on social media.
      - Distribution of "All People Are Welcome Here" signs to businesses in Lake Oswego
      - Providing a forum on FB and Instagram for information and dialogue when issues relating to diversity come up in our community (both successes and challenges)

      Organizers are: Amy Waterbury, Whitney Woolf, Melissa Williams, Sasha Watson, Jenny Foss, Andrea Salinas, Paula Posadas, Linda McCullough, and Keri Bloom.

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  21. Don't hide his face! He needs to be outed. This is absolutely not acceptable.

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  22. From the deepest, whitest well of my heart, I am sorry you and your children had to endure this. There is zero excuse for this behavior and to see someone from my town being treated in this way is absolutely heartbreaking.

    Although you were strong and smart enough to take care of yourself, I truly wish I could have been there to take a stand alongside you.

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  23. Hey Shep, you come over to Clackastan any time for a cup of coffee. Some times shitty things have to happen to make life better. -Jon

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  24. I grew up in L.O. although have been living overseas for nearly 20 years, still come back in summers. I'm ashamed this sort of thing still happens in my hometown. I also went to UofO and wish I could rip that shirt off his back.

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  25. I raised both of my children in LO. Classes of 2008 and 2014. I'm so sad and so sickened by this. I'm sure I could run into Mr. Man in any "normal" circumstance or shopping around town and since I'm white, would have no idea what kind of scummy center this blond, candy-coated-BMW-boy contained. Mr. Sheppard, your credentials are quite impressive, however, it shouldn't matter if you had a 2nd grade education and were working in some position. You're valuable and important just as the good Lord made ya. (as my Nana would say) Thank you for calling this out. My children grew up hearing "Lake No Negro" and "if you live in LO and you're black, you'd better be a Trail Blazer." I lived in LO with my children because I wanted them to get a "good education," which the LOSD could provide; however, now I'm wondering if those lofty academic credentials should count for much if our children are learning how to cloak racism beneath a thin veneer of politically correct language. (I also cite the recent swastika graffiti at LOHS) Mr. Man will get what he deserves...I'm a karma girl. What's so sad to me is sometimes I wonder, what kind of upbringing did Mr. Man and others like him have? Who can be so deeply steeped in fear and low self-esteem to actually believe they are somehow superior based on the color of their skin. And of course, I am saddened by the legacy he is clearly passing on to his children. Thank you Mr. Sheppard for letting your light shine and for being brave enough to shine it on the very pretty-on-the-outside fruit basket called Lake Oswego that clearly contains some rotten and moldy bits under the surface. All the best to you and your family. -Lisa Brock

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  26. Thank you for your bravery in posting this.

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  27. Thank you for sharing your experience, I'm sorry you had to have such a nasty encounter like that. We are new to LO (and Oregon) this year, and were resistant to move here due to the lack of diversity. It makes me sick to hear of such prejudice where my kiddos are going to grow up, and it certainly is not the tone in our household. My husband is Jewish, and our son has had some cracks made at him by other kids already too. One of our boys is 9 also, I hope our kids cross each other's paths in the school district!

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  29. As a former resident of Lake Oswego (born and raised), I am embarrassed that this type of behavior still takes place. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope that your story will help prevent someone else from behaving in such a reprehensible manner and that this type of story becomes something of the past. Have an amazing day!

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  30. I grew up in Tualatin in the 50's and 60's where I can't remember one person of color in our schools. But it didn't matter because I was taught tolerance and love for all. There were no nasty comments about other people from my parents, no blame, no innuendos. People were to be loved and respected until such time as they forfeited that right through negative actions. I thank my parents every day for the environment they raised me in.

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  32. So so sorry this happened to you. This bigot does not represent the Lake Oswego I know and live in.

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  33. As a long time resident of Lake Oswego, I am deeply saddened and embarrassed by this event. You and your family are more than welcome in this great community.

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  34. DAMN! I hate that this type of thing still happens! And bravo to you for handling it the way you did. That took guts, and I admire you for it.

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  35. As a resident of 30+ years, I am not surprised by this behavior. I have witnessed racial profiling in both Lake Oswego and West Linn. I take this behavior personally because this is my community. I have had to inform workers of color to be very careful with their driving when entering my community. Twenty years ago, one of my neighbors, a person of color, would often complain to my husband and me of incidences of racial profiling. The only difference now, is that acts of racism has been given permission. It is no longer subtle. We all should take responsibility for this climate of intolerance. I recently attended the debut of "Black Girl in Suburbia" at the West Linn High School. This public forum also showcased the West Linn High School United Club. These courageous and eloquent students of color and religious diversity shared their experiences living in my community. Their stories brought tears to my eyes, anger and resolve. Our library has offered events addressing race. Earlier this year my husband and I attended a rally in Lake Oswego protesting the racist rants of a business owner located at State St & "A" St. I had to pass that business daily for 15+ years. After the rally, the owner posted that he was closing his business. Did you attend that rally? Did you carry a sign stating that our community was inclusive? My husband and I did along with 1500 people. Should the number have ranged in the 20-30,000? I extend a thank you to Mr Shepperd for sharing his painful experience as well of the members of the WLHS United Club. I appreciate the people of color that provide educational programs on racism at the West Linn Library. But I will not shun my responsibility in all of this behavior. It is up to me and all of my community neighbors to end these experiences! Let's follow in Mr Shepperd's courageous footsteps and take a stand!

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  36. I wanna know who this guy is! He should be known so everywhere he goes he will be humiliated! He deserves the karma that is coming to him! Sorry, this stuff angers me ��

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  37. This is so disturbing to me, I am so sorry that this happened to you. Rest assured that there are Oregonians like myself that would welcome you with open arms to my neighborhood in Astoria. I hope this doesn't happen to you again. I do feel sorry for Mr. Man and the hate he carries around, acid eats it's own vessel.

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  38. Mr. Sheppard, thank you for your post. I don’t spend much time on social media so I’m just seeing it for the first time. Reading your story conjures deep shame and I feel compelled to offer an apology on behalf of white people everywhere. As a white person thinking about white privilege, I also feel compelled to explain all that ways that I champion inclusivity and social responsibility through my work. Yet, no amount of apologizing or defending can alter the fact that because I am white I am privileged. We certainly have a high concentration of wealthy white people Lake Oswego, but you’ll find privileged white people living in virtually every community throughout this country. Some are privileged and wealthy, and some are privileged and poor; the fact is, as white members of society we will never experience the level of prejudice that people of color face every day… even in the year 2017. Even the most progressive whites, and I include myself in that group, are largely unaware of our privilege because it is simply the birthright granted by the color of skin we were born with. And when we see privilege on blatant display, as in the antics of the wealthy-and-racist-and-entitled a-hole of which you write, we are sickened and seek to distance ourselves from the repugnant likes of him. Yet, to effect any change, I believe we need to do more than apologize; I think we’ve got to start actively working to overturn the broken systems of justice and equality that continue to fuel white privilege in this country. I recently attended a series of monologues that address this very issue in an incredibly profound way – followed by an open dialogue about how to actually effect change we want to see. I would recommend it to every white person. http://reddoorproject.org/hands-up

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  39. Thank you for writing this! My wife and I have been in an interracial marriage for 37 years, and we have had our share of similar experiences. It is important for all of us as Americans to see that the talk of this being a "post-racial America" is just talk. We have a long way to go still.

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  40. Mr. Sheppard's admirable, peace-loving grace in refraining from identifying the culprit needn't be emulated by everyone. Exposing the shameful to shame is often a necessary corrective for both the individual and the community.
    Those who feel cavalier about dispensing vile bigotry need to know there will be consequences. The commendable desire to spare a wrongdoer's children from embarrassment cannot confer immunity upon perpetrators, whether their actions are criminal or merely an outrageous disgrace to their community.
    Perhaps this racist will in time feel remorse and take some kind of action to improve the mindsets of others who might be tempted to act as he did. Failing that regrettably unlikely development, people who know this identify of the guy responsible for this despicable behavior should make it public. Lake Oswego badly needs to step up.

    As a start, LO City Council should issue a formal statement of condemnation; anything less is a tacit admission that it's not too bothered by the disgraceful appellation "Lake No Negro," and thus prove that it’s deserved. Hopefully citizens will demand this of our elected representatives.

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  41. I'd like to once again thank you all for your genuine, heartfelt thoughts. I wrote a follow-up post last week, contemplated whether I should post it or not (and initially didn't) but have since changed my mind. It's called "Tears of a Father" and can be found in the archive, or here http://nshepp.blogspot.com/2017/06/tears-of-father-scars.html

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  42. Thanks for sharing your story. I've got to say that if I hadn't had several friends over the years who are wonderful black men, I would not have known how prevalent racism still is. I don't believe a majority of people are racist, but I'm saddened, deeply troubled, and at times simply disheartened, by how prevalent it still actually is.
    Thankfully, we are all the same -- especially in the eyes of God. Best regards and wishes to you and your family.

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  43. Can you press charges? Racist, menacing behavior has to be illegal, doesn't it? It's menacing, isn't it? You were bullied, just like the two young women on the MAX train. This unconscionable behavior should be called out. This is more than a micro aggression - it is a teachable moment for a bigoted bully. So sorry this happened.

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  44. Nathan, thank you. I am not sure of the legal ramifications, but believe these folks need to be publicly outed. As a father of two bi-racial children in LO (lived here for 40 years) I am glad they have not been subjected to this here. In fact, we haven't really had any issues at all. Early on in our dating process 20+ years ago was a different story...Please let me know if we can share his name. Stating the facts publicly with a quote should not be considered slander.

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  45. I appreciate that you shared this story. I grew up in south Florida, a melting pot of cultures. Moving here was like moving into some kind of a pleasantville bubble. As much as I love Lake Oswego for all the reasons people love Lake Oswego, I'm ashamed to be part of a town and part of state that has an engrained history of racism and intolerance, a history that persists in pockets like Mr. Man. We, through our actions and through the way we raise our children, will hopefully eradicate these sentiments and will drive people like Mr. Man away from our home.

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  46. Dear Mr. Sheppard, I'm sorry that you had to experience that in you life. This man is a loser and a very closed-minded person. Unfortunately, LO is known for its bullying. I admire your honesty and openness. We all should start educating kids in schools of different cultures and we should make sure our kids understand that being different is not a bad thing.

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  47. The city council action to condemn Detective Sheppard's harasser urged in the June 22 post may be more likely to come about if citizens write Council members an email. Their addresses are:
    so'neill@ci.oswego.or.us
    jmanz@ci.oswego.or.us
    jgudman@ci.oswego.or.us
    jlamotte@ci.oswego.or.us
    tkohlhoff@ci.oswego.or.us
    jbuck@ci.oswego.or.us
    kstudebaker@ci.oswego.or.us

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