Monday, November 19, 2007

Welcome to racially insensitive Eugene

"Shawn Fincher says he could hardly have felt more welcomed when he arrived in Eugene three years ago. Now, he wants to make sure that the athletes who arrive in Eugene for the 2008 Olympic Trials — especially black athletes — feel equally at home."

I think it is a wonderful idea that all competing athletes are made to feel welcome when they visit "Tracktown USA". However, according to Angel Jones, Eugene's city manager pro tem, USA Track and Field officials voiced concerns about Eugene's racial demographics and whether athletes would feel welcome here.

However, Lane County Commissioner Bobby Green, who also served on the committee that presented Eugene's bid, said he doesn't recall USA officials raising any such questions.
Also, Jill Geer, spokeswoman for USA Track & Field, said she and others don't recall if concern about Eugene's demographics was explicitly raised during the site selection process.

This is all well and good but this self appointed welcoming committee is concerned that the rest of us culturally impaired hillbillies that live here will embarrass them and are in need of diversity training. Betty Snowden a Eugene real estate broker and BOTT (Blacks on Track Team) member suggests that "volunteers might be reminded that certain greetings might be appropriate in some instances between two black people, but less so if made by a white person to a black person".
Snowden — who, like Fincher, Jones and Green, is black — said she also has concerns about black people being shadowed by clerks when they visit retail stores. “People of color go through things like that, and that’s not a face that Eugene wants to show,” she said.

Gee, does this mean that I have to keep my sheet and cross locked up in the closet for the whole Olympic Trials?
It would appear that if Mr. Fincher, who is black, could hardly have felt more welcomed when he arrived in Eugene three years ago we must be doing something right.

1 comment:

Sarah said...


I'm a reporter from DuckU. Can you provide me with information on who to get in contact with memebers of Blacks on Track Team? Thank you so much, any kind of information would be much appreciated!

Please contact me via email at

Best Regards,
Harper Chang