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Portland Wants to Ban Hate Groups, Has No Idea How To Define ‘Hate Group’: New at Reason

What constitutes a hate group isn’t objective or easily defined, and Portland’s resolution makes no attempt to clarify.

|||Erin Alexis Randolph/Dreamstime.comErin Alexis Randolph/Dreamstime.com

The city government of Portland, Oregon, last week proposed a resolution that "condemns white supremacist and alt-right hate groups." How the city plans to enact the condemnation was not addressed during the February 8 meeting, the resolution not yet more than an appeal for Portlanders to take ownership of their historic discrimination and hate and to pledge to do better.

"We've heard this resolution is mostly symbolic, we've heard this resolution will solve nothing," said Mayor Ted Wheeler, continuing a do-something-ism that, last November, saw his emergency ordinance to restrict potentially violent public protests voted down.

"I have concerns about the constitutionality of the protest ordinance," Commissioner Nick Fish said at that time.

"Arguing about the restrictions in court, when they may not even help much on the ground, is not a wise use of taxpayers' money," said Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

The city council was apparently more comfortable with the current call to action, its five members collectively writing the resolution: a list of seventeen "Whereas…" statements that "condemns hate groups" that fails to state how these groups will be identified (or not). The resolution does, however, contain a plan to educate "all City staff on the history and impact of white supremacy, and how to identify white supremacy," writes Nancy Rommelmann in her latest at Reason.

Photo Credit: Erin Alexis Randolph/Dreamstime.com

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