White Woman Caught On Video Vandalizing Monument Honoring Black Enslaved Laborer: ‘I Don’t Give A F**k’
The woman was not arrested but was issued a citation for vandalizing the bust.
June 11, 2021 at 6:48 pm
Racism is always on the job. In Portland, Oregon, the bust of a Black enslaved laborer named York, who accompanied Merriweather Lewis and William Clark on their expeditions throughout North America beginning in 1804, was defaced by a white woman on Tuesday.
The incident that took place at Mount Tabor Park in Portland was caught on video by a biker who saw the white woman vandalizing the monument with spray paint.
The woman, identified as Jeanette K. Grode, was unapologetic about her actions and was blatantly racist.
“I’ve been prejudiced against Black people and Hispanic people, “ she said. “I don’t give a f**k. Do whatever the f**k you want.”
After saying she would pay for the damages, she said, “f**k you all!”
She said that her anger stemmed from the installation of the bust of York that sought “to replace a white man with a f**king Black man.”
“That’s not f**king unity,” she argued.
On Thursday, Grode, who was not arrested, was issued a citation for criminal mischief, abuse of venerated objects, unlawful applying of graffiti and vandalism as reported by the Oregonian.
The Portland Parks & Recreation Department said they are in the process of removing the paint as well as assessing the damage caused by the vandalization.
Residents were appalled by Grode's behavior and how it reflects the city known for having racial tensions.
”It was an important commemoration of the specific times that we need to pay attention to,” Kaisa Holt, 38, said. “There’s still people that don’t understand why this is important and that’s a problem we need to address.”
Denise Dekker, another resident who routinely walks where the bust was located, was also shocked by the incident.
“I didn’t understand why we had the other statue up and I always wished we had a statue we could actually be proud of,” Dekker explained. “It was such a big relief to have something beautiful and meaningful here.”
Dekker hopes the space where York’s memory was honored will become a permanent fixture in the city.
”I’m hoping the city steps up to make this permanent and to make a real plaque,” she continued. “I would love it to be permanent and official.”
Under the administration of President Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark were assigned to explore land west of Mississippi according to the terms of the Louisiana Purchase. Traveling over 8,000 miles, their travels helped to expand the American empire westward beyond the original thirteen colonies.
York, the son of “Old York” and Rose, two enslaved African Americans owned by John Clark, was born into slavery.
The bust of York was erected in February at the same location where a statue of Harvey Scott, a longtime editor of The Oregonian and an open opposer to women’s suffrage, had been until torn down last fall.
Interestingly, no one knows who created or placed the bust of York at the location.