home

An apology and other thoughts on that story

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 3rd, 2013 at 11:35 am

I'm not even sure where to begin about what happened yesterday.

First, I want to say that I am deeply sorry for jumping the gun and choosing to publish that story prematurely. The impact of my actions have proven to be far greater than anything I intended. I got caught up in the story. As I was working on it I thought I was doing the right thing. But now it's obvious that I wasn't. I messed up and my mistake hurt the people involved and it has caused a lot of concern and anger from many people in the community.

Yesterday, caught up in the storm of the situation, I defended my story and my actions against what I thought were unfair and uninformed criticisms. That defense only added to the storm. As an extremely confident person, especially when it comes to BikePortland (if I wasn't, the site would not be what it is today), regular readers know that I often go to great lengths to defend my reporting and my editorial decisions. That's what I did yesterday before I fully realized the consequences of my initial mistake.

Part of that realization came when I got a call from someone at the Portland Police Bureau whom I respect and whom I've worked with on several occasions over the years. That person, who now works alongside Chief Reese, was disappointed that I didn't call him first and ask about the allegations. He also said that Capt. Chris Uehara, the person my story presented as the alleged cop, was hurt by what happened. After that call, I wrote to Capt. Uehara and expressed my sincere apologies.

Moving forward, there are two major pieces of the fallout from my actions that I want to specifically address: 1) How can you be confident in my work in the future and how can I assure you this will never happen? and 2) What is my response to the racial component of the story.

First, anyone who knows me (either personally or through this site or both), knows that I am constantly checking my gut, that I am open and accepting of criticism, and that I am constantly learning how to this job better. I can assure you that this experience has left an indelible impression on me. It's a stinging reminder that I must never forget the immense responsibility I have.

As to the racial component of this story, that is something that never crossed my mind until others (rather immediately) pointed it out. Why would the racial component be so apparent to others when I myself, staring at it in the eye, didn't think about it at all? Am I racist (as some people allege) because I wasn't sensitive enough to handle the story differently based solely on the fact that the two men were of Asian descent?

I am still struggling with those questions. I think the answer to the first one is the concept white privilege. I acknowledge that is a factor. As a white male — and especially as a white male advocacy journalist with deep ties to the community — I need to do a better job being proactively aware and sensitive to race. That is difficult for someone like me who was raised to be color-blind (that was the central tenet of "multi-culturism," a strong theme in the curriculum of my southern California primary and middles school). I have to re-train myself to see race and to understand its role in shaping our city and the issues I cover*. I know from my experience during the North Williams Avenue project that race is not an easy topic to engage in; but I am open to the challenge.

I know this post does not address every issue this story has brought to light; but I hope my thoughts are helpful.

As always, I'm open to your feedback...

P.S. You might be interested to read more thoughts on the story by Jess Hadden, who was on the Veloprovo ride.

*UPDATE: This line about "seeing race" has confused some people. I will not try to explain it further because my experience these last few days has shown that whatever I say will be misunderstood and taken out of context. I just want to let folks know that it's not accurate to think that I am completely oblivious to a person's race and what that means in a larger societal context. Thanks.

Email This Post Email This Post

Possibly related posts


Gravatars make better comments... Get yours here.
Please notify the publisher about offensive comments.
Comments
  • Dan Christensen April 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

    You are the best, don't stop being fearless in your reporting. This type of error is rare in your history and we all make mistakes. Keep pushing forward.

    Recommended Thumb up 69

    • 9watts April 3, 2013 at 11:53 am

      I look forward to learning from mistakes and to the future of bikeportland. Blogs, e-mail, the internet all seem to lend themselves to--even invite--a certain degree of hastiness. I know I have to remind myself--often--to slow down and give the just written more consideration. I think you, Jonathan, generally do an admirable job at that.
      Putting as much of yourself out for all to see and criticize as you do is a whole lot more than we get from, say, Oregonian or Willamette Week reporters. Consequently I feel a much greater degree of accountability here at bikeportland than from other news outlets, which doesn't mean mistakes don't get made, just that this kind of mea culpa is part of a collective processing that is important and gives us all opportunities to learn from missteps together.

      Recommended Thumb up 22

    • Craig Harlow April 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

      I heartily agree. You show courage, Jonathan, in your approach to this work, and especially in today's post. Evolve, and carry on.

      Recommended Thumb up 20

  • Esther April 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Thank you Jonathan. I know that this was probably hard to write and that this experience has been super hard for you AND (more importantly) others affected by it. Like Capt. Uehara. Generally I love when you post and update developing stories and you generally do so professionally and appropriately. So, the choice was a mistake this time. I have seen people calling for your head or conversely, standing up for your character and work. I think your character & work speak for themselves, and if you continue to leave the door open for dialogue & learning that will contribute to that.
    I think it is worthwhile linking to Jess Hadden's public apology as well, for people who haven't seen it.

    Recommended Thumb up 32

  • sabes April 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

    As punishment, maybe you should be forced to do 100 hours of journalism training.

    Recommended Thumb up 37

    • Concordia Cyclist April 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Journalism training? Uh, that died back in the 80s along with newsroom budgets.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • esther c April 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        Compared to The Oregonian for example. Jonathan actually leaves his desk and attempts to do the 5 w's of journalism. Unlike most modern journalists who are really stenographers, releasing whomever has their ears press releases.

        His mistake here was not checking and verifying his story. But at least he had a story. Sure beats the Oregonian. Or even CNN.

        And when he did get his facts wrong, he followed up and correct himself on his front page, not buried in some footnote somewhere.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 12:20 am

      sabes,

      My journalism training happens every day on this site. You and other readers are like my journalism school teachers.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

      • chucklehead April 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

        It's also an overly sensitive group, so don't get caught up in that either.

        Recommended Thumb up 6

        • KD April 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm

          I would have to agree Jonathan. I don't believe you're racist - you're a publicly read blog that sometimes is read and reacted to by hypersensitive people.

          Don't let this alter your journalistic integrity - you do very good work. If some people are offended, that's their problem.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Chazdemo April 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm

          "Overly sensitive group?" Nice, real nice....

          Recommended Thumb up 3

      • paul g. April 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm

        Jonathan, if you believe that then you haven't fully learned from this incident. The readers at best are checks, critics, and informants. At their worst they are interested activists trying to manipulate your coverage. Ths goes for any media outlet, but as one so close to the activist community, you may be especially prone to such influences.

        This story, and your reaction the next day, provides some illustration. I for one was struck by how little you (or your readers) considered the impact on the PPS or the officer involved.

        I think you show the desire, ambition, and sensibilities to follow the credo and standards of investigative journalism. But doing so may require you to pull yourself out of your stories in ways that you may not ultimately be comfortable with.

        Recommended Thumb up 6

        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 5, 2013 at 8:46 am

          paul g,

          My readers are all those things. Teachers, critics, informants, friends, foes, and so on.

          As for the impact on the PPB officer. I have reached out to him and he has accepted my apology. In fact, I am meeting Capt. Uehara today at the precinct.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

  • SilkySlim April 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I still plan on checking this blog five times a day, much to the chagrin of my employer, because it is by far the best transportation journalism occurring on my neighborhood, my city, my state, and often my country.

    Recommended Thumb up 45

  • Passer Fu April 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I won't accept this unless there is a P.S. Sorry to WW and Andrea Damewood, blaming her constantly for the uproar and saying it is her fault and she misrepresented you, when it was all your doing and your writing, is not okay ever. You were locking comments, taking down the blog, making silly allegations, stop blaming others and appologize to them also!

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Passer Fu,

      I have no reason to apologize to Andrea Damewood. In my opinion her story was purposefully inflammatory and it did not accurately represent the situation at all.

      Also, I never "blamed her constantly" nor did I ever say anything was her fault beyond the many people she influenced with her story. Notice her name was never mentioned in the post above. I take full responsibility of my role in this; but I feel her story unfairly represented my actions.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Recommended Thumb up 12

  • t-b0ne April 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

    *thumbs up* :)

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • longgone April 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Steadfast JM should be producing his blog. Rare it seems, those who criticize him offer an alternative. That includes myself at times.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Steve B April 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you for writing this, Jonathan.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Andrew K April 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Mistakes happen and that always sucks, but owning up to it and learning from your actions is the true test of a professional.

    I still think you're tops!

    Recommended Thumb up 32

  • JNE April 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    An unfortunate hazard of being a journalist in a world of light speed communication ... but I think most agree that Bike Portland (Jonathan) was blue ribbon, straight up, and acting in good faith from the start.

    Two hearty thumbs up!

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • chucklehead April 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    The bike community is an especially sensitive group to begin with....and often will see things when they do not actually exist...re: your "racism".

    Recommended Thumb up 13

  • steph routh April 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you very much, Jonathan. It takes courage to write something this vulnerable. I have learned from you today.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • A.K. April 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Slum it with an easy, attention-grabbing story "lead" from a bunch of hack amateur activists and you get burned. Live and learn I guess.

    Recommended Thumb up 23

    • Nicholas April 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      Yeah, stay away from those activist types. What are they trying to do, make a better world or something? Keep head firmly in sand and narrow focus as to not upset anyone.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • Aaronf April 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm

        No! Just stay away from those activists who are hacks and amateurs.

        Recommended Thumb up 12

      • A.K. April 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        Nice interpretation. Viva la revolution!

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 12:24 am

        Nicholas,

        I don't intend to "stay away from those activist types". I respect the people that participate in Veloprovo just like I respect you.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

  • jeremy April 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for the apology JM. I think your honesty and introspection speak well the first issue you mention--can you be trusted. I will continue to read your work and I believe you will be more aware in the future. On the second point, the issue of race, again I appreciate your honesty and candor--while blanket terms like "racist" tend to stop conversations, your understanding of the role bias (even unintended) plays in your perspective will help reduce its impact on your writing/reporting. We all come to this moment as a collection of our past experiences--INCLUDING--our biases both positive and negative. The only way through them is through acknowledgement and awareness. Good for you to own this.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Timur Ender April 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Stay strong Jonathan, you are a hell of a journalist!

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • Oregon Mamacita April 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    You know, the more you interact with a group, the less they all look alike.
    We know this from studying eye witnesses.

    The bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males. Earlier this year
    many readers of this blog jumped all over a woman of color who blogged about using bikes in her large household.

    You're not racists- but you are not as enlightened as you think. Don't be so smug about "smart growth" and bikes- maybe we could find some common ground.

    Recommended Thumb up 35

    • q`Tzal April 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      "The bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males."

      As a white male whose only privilege has been a Y chromosome and light skin (way too white) your statement on the composition of our advocacy groups nails the problem spot on.
      With real diversity in the group this whole situation could have been avoided.

      Alas many groups like this, I can't say this one in particular, are exclusive not inclusive. Combined with the "white male lens" of seeing "the other" as a threat 1st and we see where this mess came from. It also points to exactly how it will happen again

      Recommended Thumb up 12

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Oregon Mamacita,

      Thanks for the comment, but it doesn't sound very enlightened to me when you say "the bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males." That is absurd and unfair and it's a statement based on harmful stereotypes. People that care about bicycling cannot be put into any box. The is an infinite number of opinions, advocacy styles, and ways that people relate to bicycling. Trying to paint "bicycle evangelists" with one big brush is not helpful at all.

      Please keep that in mind. Thanks.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • longgone April 4, 2013 at 8:45 am

        Hear, Hear.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Esther April 4, 2013 at 9:27 am

        I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this one. When I go to advocacy events, white males are disproportionately represented. Sure, I might disagree with the "young" qualifier-plenty of old white guys in power. And of course, it's not uniformly true for every event. But please, start looking around. Like at your own wonk night, which I attended, and at which women were well represented (through maybe not 50%) but POC definitely were not. At which a leader of a local advocacy org referred to congresspersons' "wives and children" and no one said anything.
        I'm not saying that event, or your site, cause that imbalance. Itscultural and governmental. but theres a reason you have to cover groups like Ccc! Please dont pretend it doesn't exist! Add please don't minimize people who say that iy does.

        Recommended Thumb up 13

        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 9:33 am

          Esther,

          My contention with the commenter was with the generalization. I fully acknowledge that many people involved in bike advocacy in this town are white and whites are over-represented in some of the sub-cultures. My issue with the comment was the tone which I thought was painting with much too large of a brush.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • Esther April 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

            I agree that it wasn't so productive. But if you don't like her tone, I recommend not stooping to that level by throwing back at her her words you don't like (I'm guessing the jib about "enlightened" would be one example of something dismissive/sarcastic) and actually respond to the substance of her argument. Frankly I feel like this whole big issue kinda comes down to forest vs. trees.

            Recommended Thumb up 11

            • longgone April 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

              For FOOKS sake MAggie! If you find her tone unproductive, why can you not point it out yourself, and quit treating JM like a Catholic school marm? It was obviously a baited statement, and I am sure is brain is tapped out after all this malarky. Last word... go for it....

              Recommended Thumb up 5

      • cyclist April 4, 2013 at 11:23 am

        Jonathan,

        If you can't see that "The bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males" is not a stereotype or a generalization but rather a statement of fact then I'm afraid you still don't understand the problem you have with race.

        Have a conversation with some people (including people of color) about the composition of the bike evangelist community, or maybe go to a few events and count the number of people of color. You'll see that the crowd is disproportionately white.

        Recommended Thumb up 13

        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

          cyclist,

          like I said in my reply, I know full well what the racial makeup is of the community around bicycling in Portland. I have worked in the community in many many facets for eight years now.

          what even are "the bicycle evangelists"? That phrase means nothing to me. I know a lot of people in town care deeply about bicycling and work to make it better but I don't appreciate at all an attempt to stereotype them as "the bicycle evangelists." My problem with the comment isn't about race it's about the tone.

          Saying that the crowd of people regularly at bike events it disproportionately white is totally obvious. I would not refute that at all. If the original commenter would have said it like that than I would not have responded to their comment the way I did. I hope I've been clear. Thanks.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

        • longgone April 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm

          cyclist, I propose there are far less "cycling evangelist's" in P-town than "cycling Satanist's"...and that may be a good thing.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • cyclist April 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm

          I'm going to quote EXACTLY what you said:

          "Thanks for the comment, but it doesn't sound very enlightened to me when you say "the bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males." That is absurd and unfair and it's a statement based on harmful stereotypes."

          So what do you think is absurd and unfair about her statement?

          Recommended Thumb up 6

          • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 10:50 pm

            Perhaps the fact that she said bicycle "evangelists"?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Chris Mealy April 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Nobody's perfect!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • sabes April 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      Isn't that what Jeffrey Dahmer said?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Donna April 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Jonathan, this is why you have my deepest respect. When you make a mistake, you acknowledge it, you take ownership, you apologize, and you do what you can to make amends. I don't know who could ask for more than that. If only other journalists and even politicians would take your lead.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • blind April 4, 2013 at 2:20 am

      That's not quite true...

      He apologizes sometimes, but usually turns off the comments on the story (see Marcus Griffith and Williams reporting debacle).

      He wants the public engagement when it's favorable, but not when it's critical of his methods.

      He should take his licks. After initially turning off comments on the original story here, he seems to have come around to open public engagement, so perhaps there's some improvement occurring.

      There are some structural problems with the Bike Portland enterprise. He's a one man army and the people who work with him closely don't seem to remain engaged for more than a year (Ellie Blue lasted a little longer). There's a revolving door of correspondents, and it's similar on the tech/website side as well; an agency or individual will want to help, but it doesn't seem to last. Not much staying power.

      I think Jonathan should look at what Michael Anderson is doing with Portland Afoot, particularly how he's really building a team around him. He's been much more savvy about his enterprise and has kept his journalism really tight. He's guided by a board, and seems to be progressing against a plan.

      One last point. An admission of white guilt provides no solace and is unattractive. He doesn't get to play the race card in reverse. The kvetching over whether he might have latent racism is juvenile. If he's saying "maybe I'm inherently racist" then he's lost in the reeds. Listen to people and try to hear what they are saying and try to empathize with where they are coming from. That's all that can be done. He can't absolve himself of the validity of his own perspective. Instead he should attune himself to it, and try to understand that everyone sees through a glass darkly.

      Recommended Thumb up 11

      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 8:36 am

        He apologizes sometimes, but usually turns off the comments on the story (see Marcus Griffith and Williams reporting debacle).

        It's not true that I "usually turn off comments." Do you read this site regularly? I do not regret turning off the comments on this story or any story in the past. I do it based on my own judgment of how the conversation is going. With over 200,000 comments approved I have a good sense of when the time is right to turn off comments. I've probably done it only about 3 times in 15,353 posts.

        He wants the public engagement when it's favorable, but not when it's critical of his methods.

        That is not true at all. I've approved hundreds if not thousands of comments critical of me of the years. I have no problem with criticism but I do not tolerate meanness, personal insults, snarky innuendo, and so on and I reserve the right to moderate comments as I see fit. This is my business and these comments are a part of that business so I take this very seriously.

        He should take his licks. After initially turning off comments on the original story here, he seems to have come around to open public engagement, so perhaps there's some improvement occurring.

        Thanks. I am taking my licks.

        There are some structural problems with the Bike Portland enterprise. He's a one man army and the people who work with him closely don't seem to remain engaged for more than a year (Ellie Blue lasted a little longer). There's a revolving door of correspondents, and it's similar on the tech/website side as well; an agency or individual will want to help, but it doesn't seem to last. Not much staying power.

        I agree! Absolutely. I have not been good at all about building a team and I need to figure out these "structural problems." I am working on that but I think it's a lot harder than you realize. I have to constantly work on creating content and it leaves very little time for anything else such as strategic planning, business development, team building, and so on.

        I think Jonathan should look at what Michael Anderson is doing with Portland Afoot, particularly how he's really building a team around him. He's been much more savvy about his enterprise and has kept his journalism really tight. He's guided by a board, and seems to be progressing against a plan.

        I'm already looking at what Michael is doing. I'm really impressed with how he has slowly but methodically built his business. It's the polar opposite of how I built this business. But keep in mind we are completely different animals. BikePortland is a daily news blog run by a private corporation that I run. Portland Afoot is a monthly print product with a website companion that is set up as a non-profit (hence the board).

        One last point. An admission of white guilt provides no solace and is unattractive. He doesn't get to play the race card in reverse. The kvetching over whether he might have latent racism is juvenile. If he's saying "maybe I'm inherently racist" then he's lost in the reeds. Listen to people and try to hear what they are saying and try to empathize with where they are coming from. That's all that can be done. He can't absolve himself of the validity of his own perspective. Instead he should attune himself to it, and try to understand that everyone sees through a glass darkly.

        Thanks for this. I am not playing any race card in reverse. I do listen to people and I do empathize with them but yes, I can always be more attune and more sensitive and more aware of race and the issues around it.

        I think one of the tricky things with this whole situation is that I love debate and argument and part of that is me defending my perspectives my stories, and so on. However, when a situation involves race (whether I bring it up or others do), this defense and debate rubs people the wrong way and it comes off as me being insensitive. I have to figure that out and handle it better in the future.

        Thanks again for your comment.

        Recommended Thumb up 9

        • Cullen King April 5, 2013 at 9:07 am

          Hey Jon,

          Completely aside from this whole debacle, I just want to commiserate with you on the difficulty of being a one-man enterprise. Even with two people running RWGPS, Zack and I constantly find ourselves running in circles putting out fires, neglecting important stuff like business development, partnerships and others. It's a tricky balance, but you figure it out eventually. You definitely do good work, so don't let that beat you up ;)

          Another thing people don't often realize, one of the core reasons we start an enterprise in the first place rather than work for someone else, is it's easier to be your own boss and not responsible for or beholden to others. Yes, having additional staff is nice, but it's often just not possible at any given moment to give up the 2 months it takes to get them up to speed. Instantly productive partners/employees/help are very very rare, everything else takes a ton of effort (but if the gamble pays off, is worth it in the long run). Oh, yes it's a gamble because that 2 months wasted might really be completely wasted if you make the wrong choice.

          Keep on keepin on,

          Cullen

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Bjorn April 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    If this had happened in the Oregonian this retraction (if they had ever even addressed it) would have been buried in their version of "Page 2", not on the front page.

    Recommended Thumb up 16

    • sabes April 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      If this would have been in the Oregonian, every commenter on this site would be flaying them alive and calling for them to shut the paper own. They would have wanted them pilloried and ran out of town.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      This did not happen in the Oregonian. We can't possibly verify or disprove your claim.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • ed April 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    At your "worst" Jonathan, you are far more objective in your reportage and representation than any other local news source I can think of. It's admirable and courageous of you to hold yourself publicly to such scrutiny; I only wish other sources were anywhere as self-aware on such matters.

    I'm certain you would have approached the issue the same if the mistaken identity individual would have been a WASP sort of looking person too. And though this instance was in error, let's not forget that infiltration/surveillance of groups with alternative political views by local law enforcement agencies across the nation is quite common, especially in the paranoid post Patriot Act world we live in. While this turned out not to be the case and perhaps reportage was a bit premature, it's not like the premise or possibility was wild or implausible. Don't let it inhibit you from asking tough questions and looking under rocks in the future :-) We all owe you LOTS here in Portland.

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • longgone April 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Amen, and Hear, Hear !

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • nuovorecord April 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    You did the right thing in issuing a heart-felt, in-depth and sincere apology, Jonathan. It's likely you've already put plenty of thought into the following question, but I'll pose it anyway.

    I've seen previous comments from you that lead me to believe you see your role not as a journalist, but as an advocate/informer/blogger, which removes you from generally accepted journalistic standards.

    It's pretty clear from the comments above, and the degree that you're cited as a source of credible information on all things cycling related in Portland, that it's a widely held view is that you are indeed a journalist.

    I truly cringed when I read your initial story, as it was evident you hadn't done an adequate job of fact-checking. I'm not going to guess as to what your motivation was for running the story, but I like to think that I know you well enough from reading you these many years to assume that your intentions were honorable.

    You've done a wonderful service, codifying the growth of cycling in Portland. I admire how you've grown BikePortland into the great source of news and information that it is. But it may be time to reconsider whether or not the methods that you've used to develop the site are still serving you well?

    My hope is that moving ahead, you'll rely less on your gut instincts, and more on a stricter code of journalistic standards. I think it will only help to burnish your credentials. Being first to break a story is of no value, if it turns out that the information isn't credible. Better to take the time and get it right the first time.

    Finally, thanks for BikePortland!

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • Unit April 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Everyone makes mistakes. Only the righteous own up to them.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Ed Dalton April 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Well said and well done, Jonathan.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Mike Cobb April 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Well, I speak from a place of white privilege with unknown amounts of unconscious racism, so who knows what I know. That being said, I cannot wrap my head around the labeling of J. Maus as a racist. To be bold, fast, and confident are necessary for BP's far-reaching power. A certain small number of mistakes should be expected, as perfect is most definitely the enemy of bad in this case. The way the mistakes are handled is key. Jonathan- the humility and respect for justice that your occasional corrections demonstrate only bolsters my loyalty.

    And that anyone has a little Portland police paranoia is far from surprising. (I finally saw "Alien Boy" last night, effectively ramping my distrust.)

    Recommended Thumb up 14

  • Mike Cobb April 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Perfect is the enemy of good.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • pengo April 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      And platitudes are the enemies of progress.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Mike Cobb April 4, 2013 at 8:53 am

        zing!

        Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Stripes April 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    My only feedback would be, the original article's HEADLINE here on Bikeportland STILL states the man on the ride WAS an undercover cop. This needs to be changed, stat. Many people only skim headlines, especially in RSS feeds, and the headline is pretty defamatory.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • caryebye April 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Jonathan, I'm relieved to see this public apology. It's really hard not to go in defense -- when something like this happens and yesterday was a lot of defense, and I kept saying to myself -- just apologize. Your many many years of sharing bike stories shows your reputation. Not this one incident. An apology can be the biggest thing to move on and to gain real respect and it's obvious you now realize and mean it. We all make mistakes and in fast paced world, it's even easier to do. Well done on sitting down and writing this piece, it shows that you are not just a journalist, but an authentic human being -- and that's what people like about this site -- it's not just bikes.. it's a blog that has you behind it -- and you have an interest in all sorts of biking -- activism, bike fun, racing, politics, sports, family, advocacy.... thank you J --

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • Gabe April 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    So many "professional journalists" and anti-bike commentors jumped on you yesterday, it was a dogpile that was undoubtedly fueled in part by jealousy of your perserverance and readership. Haters gonna hate. Every paper has retractions, thank you for taking the time to write an apology. The lesson is that there are hordes waiting for you to misstep so that the can label you as irrelevant, which you are anything but. Carry on.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Hart Noecker April 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Moving forward, Portland still needs to address its stagnation as a cycling leader, nationally. Kris will be joining us again for our next ride. Jonathan, we hope you can make it, too. All are welcome. Event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/549677315063287/

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • cw April 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    color-blindess is just another privilege that white people enjoy that the rest of us know is something akin to rainbows and unicorns. To say that you were raised to be color-blind as a defense of your words is just plain tone deaf.

    but, i do appreciate your apology and that you (finally) seem to understand why this issue is hurtful.

    Recommended Thumb up 22

    • JRB April 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      Please, give it a rest. Reasonable, thinking people know that white privilege and male privilege exist. But it's going too far that because Jonathan and others say they saw a resemblance between two men of Asian descent, that is proof of their racism. Maybe they were racially motivated and maybe they weren't. The fact is that there is not enough information publicly available to come to an informed conclusion either way. Before leveling an accusation as inflammatory and potentially defaming as racism, I would hope people would have more evidence than "he said two Asian guys look similar."

      Crying racism whenever somebody privileged does something that affronts you strips the term of its power and meaning.

      Recommended Thumb up 22

      • cw April 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

        where did i ever say that being tone deaf and totally insensitive was proof of racism? In fact, I didn't even use the word "racist" or "racism" in my post. Defensive much? Put words into other people's mouths?

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • JRB April 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

          Your are right, I did put words in your mouth and I apologize. I was reacting to the many accusations of racism and failed to distinguish your response from others who were raising race as an issue. Defensive, not so much. If you want to counter to arguments head on, please do, but to characterize someone as being defensive is an attempt to score points without responding substantively.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

    • q`Tzal April 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Is it possible that we as a society could make a distinction between active racial bias with ill intent and the the clumsy inattentive offenses committed by clueless white guys like myself WHO ACTUALLY MEAN NO HARM?

      The particular incident that brings us here today was likely a case of the $tupids. Harm was done but not with the same intent, malice or planning that actual racists put in their actions.
      Certainly education is needed if "white privilege" attitudes are to be dealt with but if the contention of non-whites is that all whites "don't get it" then we'll need someone to explain it to us, preferably someone not white.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • L April 3, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      When Jonathan was defending himself yesterday (might have been on Twitter) he wrote something along the lines of "we've evolved to notice differences." So which way is it? He's colorblind or he's evolved to notice differences?

      Interesting how so often it's whites who say they are colorblind. I say nobody is colorblind. We see color. It's how we respond to it that matters.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 12:32 am

      cw,

      "tone deaf"?

      Not sure I understand what you are implying. That's what I was taught as an impressionable young person. I don't see situations in terms of peoples' skin color. In most situations that's a bonus; but in others, it's a flaw that I am only now beginning to come to grips with.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • cw April 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm

        Jonathan,

        it sounds like you have had many people talk you through this issue, so i don't want to flog a dead horse. but did anyone point you to Tim Wise's writings? He does a much better job than I would ever do of explaining the dangers of hiding behind "colorblindess"

        I encourage you to read his writings:
        http://www.timwise.org/2010/08/with-friends-like-these-who-needs-glenn-beck-racism-and-white-privilege-on-the-liberal-left/

        I would skip the top bit and scroll down to the section titled "Liberal Colorblindness and the Perpetuation of Racism." here is an excerpt:

        'By “liberal colorblindness” I am referring to a belief that although racial disparities are certainly real and troubling — and although they are indeed the result of discrimination and unequal opportunity — paying less attention to color or race is a progressive and open-minded way to combat those disparities. So, for instance, this is the type of colorblind stance often evinced by teachers, or social workers, or folks who work in non-profit service agencies, or other “helping” professions. Its embodiment is the elementary school teacher who I seem to meet in every town to which I travel who insists “they never even notice color” and make sure to treat everyone exactly the same, as if this were the height of moral behavior and the ultimate in progressive educational pedagogy.

        But in fact, colorblindness is exactly the opposite of what is needed to ensure justice and equity for persons of color. To be blind to color, as Julian Bond has noted, is to be blind to the consequences of color, “and especially the consequences of being the wrong color in America.” What’s more, when teachers and others resolve to ignore color, they not only make it harder to meet the needs of the persons of color with whom they personally interact, they actually help further racism and racial inequity by deepening denial that the problem exists, which in turn makes the problem harder to solve. To treat everyone the same — even assuming this were possible — is not progressive, especially when some are contending with barriers and obstacles not faced by others. If some are dealing with structural racism, to treat them the same as white folks who aren’t is to fail to meet their needs. The same is true with women and sexism, LGBT folks and heterosexism, working-class folks and the class system, persons with disabilities and ableism, right on down the line. Identity matters. It shapes our experiences. And to not recognize that is to increase the likelihood that even the well-intended will perpetuate the initial injury.'

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm

          cw,

          As is often the case, the internet and electronic communications makes this discussion even more difficult than it already is. Without being face-to-face everyone takes things out of context and it makes it hard to understand one another.

          but I'll try to explain myself again: I totally agree that we shouldn't "treat everyone the same." In fact, I've often argued (in personal conversations, not on the internet) against the kind of colorblind teachings you reference. I agree that we must acknowledge race. (Pls realize I am not dismissing Wise's writings. They are very interesting and I'm glad you shared them with me (as others have too)).

          When I say that the racial component of this story never occurred to me, it's not because I think everyone's the same and we should treat everyone alike, it's because I simply failed to understand that there was a racial component to the story. This is hard to convey online so I'll just stop there for now and hope we can talk about this in person some time.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Elliot April 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm

            As it happens, Tim Wise will be in Portland to give a talk at PSU next Wednesday, April 10. Jonathan, I think it'd be amazing if you went and posed a question about the story. I'll buy you a ticket.

            http://www.pdx.edu/diversity/an-evening-with-tim-wise

            Recommended Thumb up 4

            • longgone April 5, 2013 at 8:17 am

              Elliot...As this is the blog-o-sphere, and intention is difficult to interpret, I am curious as to your motive in regards to this. I have no idea of the repoire you might have with J.M., so I find this rather odd. Perhaps it is none of my bees wax...

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 11:10 pm

          Some laws are based on the premise that every citizen shall be treated equally regardless of the fact those citizens are not equal at all. The people enforcing those laws don't have to assume everybody is equal in order to equally enforce such laws.

          Similarly, if one's "color blindness" takes the form of regarding and treating every individual without associating any presumptions with their races, then that "color blindness" won't have the effects Wise speaks against.

          The problem with "color blindness" is that people often use the phrase implying more or less than simply the absence of discrimination based on color, and such use effectively renders the phrase vague, so when people like JM use it meaning one thing, others might take it to mean something more or less. I hope that in future situations you will ask questions about peoples' "color blindness" before characterizing it.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 5, 2013 at 8:41 am

            Caleb,

            Thanks for saying this. It's an excellent insight and it's something I've been thinking about a lot. It also speaks to the lack of context and limitations of the internet in understanding one another.

            RE: color blindness - Just because I don't see people's color as impacting some situations does not mean that I am blind to people's color in every situation. Please re-read that sentence.

            In this one particular instance the men's color did not occur to me. I am still working through why that is the case — but please understand that it's not accurate to characterize me as someone who never sees and/or appreciates peoples' racial/ethnic background.

            Thanks.

            Recommended Thumb up 2

            • Caleb April 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm

              You're welcome, Jonathan. I'm glad my words could help foster more understanding.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 8:38 am

      cw,

      When I said I was raised to be color-blind I was stating a fact. I appreciate your comment though.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • cyclist April 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Jonathan, your response to question #1 is pretty weak. The question is, "[H]ow can I assure you that this will never happen again?" Your answer to that question is:

    "First, anyone who knows me (either personally or through this site or both), knows that I am constantly checking my gut, that I am open and accepting of criticism, and that I am constantly learning how to this job better. I can assure you that this experience has left an indelible impression on me. It's a stinging reminder that I must never forget the immense responsibility I have."

    That response doesn't address the question. Nothing you've said indicates to me that you'll be able to avoid this in the future. I would argue that rather than "checking [your] gut" you should VERIFY THE STORY BEFORE YOU PUBLISH. The next time you receive an accusation from someone you should contact the accused and get their side of the story. That would have saved you from this whole mess this time, and would have saved you from having to retract on stories in the past as well.

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • 9watts April 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      "Nothing you've said indicates to me that you'll be able to avoid this in the future."

      What is this, a serial offense?
      Are you the school principle? What is with the superior, lecturing tone?
      Lots of stones...
      ...but I can still see you in your glass house.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

      • cyclist April 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm

        Yes, this is not his first offense. Some idiot who swerved recklessly into Hawthorne hit a bus, then told Jonathan that he got hit by a bus driver. Jonathan published the story (without verification) and Jonathan had to retract when Trimet showed him video of the incident. There have been other incidents, that one is the example that sticks out most to me.

        When Jonathan posts unsubstantiated claims against someone (or a group of someones) he's being totally irresponsible. He himself said that he wanted to assure us that this would not happen again. It doesn't seem out of bounds to me to point out that nothing he said indicates that he'll be able to avoid the same mistake in the future. I'm still hopeful that he'll promise to contact the accused for comment before a story runs. I guess we'll see.

        Recommended Thumb up 16

        • BURR April 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm

          There has also been the occasional false accusation of someone being a bike thief, based solely on hearsay.

          Recommended Thumb up 10

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 12:34 am

      Hi cyclist,

      Yes. you are right. I will definitely go to greater lengths to verify identities in future stories. Thanks for your comment.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Joe April 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Dude you have done so much for the bike Community here it is amazing and awesome. I always wanted to do what you do but just never really got it going plus just don't have the talent you got. ride on!

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Granpa April 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I think of the repercussions of when I screw up. I can loose clients. From the support posted above it appears you will not loose a lot of clients. Like it or not, I will still use the site.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • John Liu April 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I think the whole think is being blown out of proportion - the original story, the defenses of it, the current apology. It was a mistaken identity foul up, that has been corrected. Move on.

    Yes, some additional fact-checking may be desirable, but this is the internet, where blog posts can be promptly corrected as new facts emerge, so there's no need to be frozen on a story waiting for official response.

    By the way - I am Asian myself (Chinese), and don't understand what the racism angle here is. Two random men can look somewhat alike whether they are both Asian or both some other race.

    Recommended Thumb up 20

    • longgone April 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Thank you! peace.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Kenji Sugahara April 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      I completely see it. I appreciate Jonathan's apology- and having known him for a while I know it was inadvertent.

      Case in point:

      A few years back I was at a race- I was standing near another guy who happens to be Asian. Another guy walks up to him and says "Hi Kenji". I look over curiously and the poor guy says - "I'm not Kenji." Other guy gruffly says "well, you all look the same."

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • A.K. April 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      I agree, the silliest part of this whole thing was the outcry of "racism!".

      I get told I look like someone else by complete strangers at least once every few months. Not sure why - I was even threatened once because the person thought I was someone else who has screwed them over in some way (gee, thanks doppelganger!).

      Most recently was by a checker at New Seasons who thought I was a drummer in the band he saw play the night before. Doesn't mean he was racist for thinking that. People CAN look alike from time to time.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 12:37 am

      John,

      A part of me agrees with your comment.. But what I've realized this time around is that it's not just about what I feel but about what others feel. I might want to "move on" but the fact that others don't is just as important. My role necessitates that I take other people's feelings as seriously as my own.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Brad April 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Go back to basics, Jonathan. This site is best when it reports and/or opines in a thoughtful and well researched manner. I would rather see a single well done and relevant article each day than much of the empty filler found on the site in recent years.

    Stay focused on BICYCLES and BICYCLE NEWS. Just because bikes were involved does not make it a bike story. Veloprovo and Hart Noecker's other protests seem to be focused on other issues and not directly tied to bike advocacy. If my friends and I hop in the saddle as Cyclists United for Marriage Equality, Legal Weed, Better School Funding, Immigration Reform and Free Ice Cream Now!, is our cause worthy of Bike Portland coverage just because we shouted from atop our bikes? Is it truly relevant to the bike community?

    On that topic, thoughtfully consider your sources. Not every upstart with a bike is a legitimate advocate any more than you should trust a press release from a politician, bureaucrat, or city contractor as gospel.

    In closing, I also caution you to report the story rather than becoming the story. You let your ego get the better of you on this one but it has become a trend that you attack whenever someone critiques your site, your views, a friend in high places, your wife's bike dance troupe mates, etc. You also seem eager to nitpick when posters see things a bit differently and it comes off as condescending. Good, solid and factual reporting deflects scrutiny and allowing differences of opinion to be expressed on your site shows true confidence.

    Recommended Thumb up 52

    • longgone April 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      This was relevant to bicycling, it simply got derailed on a rediculuos non sequitar.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • spare_wheel April 3, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      in other words you asking jonathan to write about bike-related tops that **YOU** find interesting. and from the tone of your comment i suspect that our areas of mutual interest would make a figure 8 venn diagram.

      #get_your_own_blog

      Recommended Thumb up 8

      • spare_wheel April 3, 2013 at 7:32 pm

        topics

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • was carless April 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      This. a million times.
      Please, Bikeportland is my only fix for positive bicycling news in PDX. It deserves the highest of ethics Maus can muster. If that makes any sense, I'm tired now.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Hart Noecker April 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      Where's your bike blog, Brad? When you start writing, then we can all visit your page and tell you what you should or shouldn't cover. Or are you just arm-chair quarterbacking like everyone else? Jon can make his own decisions without people telling him what to cover.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 12:56 am

      Brad,

      Thanks for your input on what type of stories to cover. That's great food for thought. But I'll disagree that there has been much "empty filler" in recent years.

      As for what "bicycle news" is, I am well-aware of that distinction and I pass up many stories because of it. I do think Veloprovo is relevant though and I will continue to monitor their actions/progress.

      And you said:

      I caution you to report the story rather than becoming the story. You let your ego get the better of you on this one but it has become a trend that you attack whenever someone critiques your site, your views, a friend in high places, your wife's bike dance troupe mates, etc.

      I'm not sure what you are getting at here. My ego is always a part of my work. What you see as an "attack" I see as defending my work... and that's something I will continue to do when I think it is warranted. My defense of my work has nothing to to do with a "friend in high places" or "my wife's dance troupe."

      The fact remains that I like to debate and challenge people that question my perspective. If that comes off as "condescending" than so be it.

      That being said, I completely agree that "good, solid, and factual reporting deflects scrutiny."

      Thanks for your comment.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • 100th Monkey April 4, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Brad;
      I suggest YOU check your facts first before making judgements. As a member of Veloprovo I would like to bring to your attention our raison d'etre; "Veloprovo are a group of cyclists and livable streets activists committed to enacting radical changes to the way we design, build, and enjoy urban social space.

      We recognize the inherent harm that motorized traffic causes our health and human interactions, and the role that cars play in contributing to the climate crisis.

      We realize that without grassroots organizing and activism, we cannot expect elected leaders to make the correct decisions needed to convert roads dominated by cars back into streets built for people.

      We will strive for provocative, thoughtful action inspired by the Dutch provo movement and by Portland's own livable streets activists of generations past."

      I also invite you, if you have the time to meet us Monday 4.8.13 at Holladay Park at 5:30 PM for our next ride. While you may choose not to ride with us, we would like to talk to you.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Todd Hudson April 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Jonathan,

    I was disappointed in watching these events unfold, but I see you've done a 180 and held yourself accountable and issued a genuine apology. I'm very happy that there was no "sorry to those who were offended" or attempts to rationalize/intellectualize the situation. Good job in turning this around and ultimately doing the right thing.

    I think it's fair to point out that you were hoodwinked by a group that self-identify themselves as anarchists, part of whose routine is provoking confrontation and claiming they are being repressed. They were on high-alert for law enforcement, because it gives them a sense of self-importance. Kris wasn't "one of them," and when suspicions were raised, the confirmation bias kicked in, resulting in accusations going straight to the the Internet. If they went the route of getting to know him, the facts might have come in a less awkward manner.

    There isn't well-defined line when advocates become edgy activistas and push the envelope rather than engage in constructive dialogue. I hope to hear more about the advocates and less about the provocateurs. I enjoy your coverage of advocacy groups like BTA. I like to read about efforts by groups like CCC who engage minority groups and economically disadvantaged Portlanders. I gain insight when you publish articles about pro- and anti-cycling legislation in Salem and Portland City Hall. Sunday Parkways. Pedalpalooza. Cross Crusade. Timberline MTB Park. 136th Ave. Bike theft recovery stories. I think you see where I'm going...let's hear more of that.

    I'll keep reading the best bike blog in the USA.

    Recommended Thumb up 21

    • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 4:25 am

      When others don't "rationalize/intellectualize" their allegations to begin with, I'd prefer people like JM do "rationalize/intellectualize" a defense rather than pander to the biases of those who are hurt primarily by their own assumptions.

      After all, did VeloProvo actually claim they were being repressed while airing their suspicion? Did VeloProvo have to find themselves self-important in order to be suspicious? Or are such conditions just something people are perceiving through their own biases?

      Arguing against bias with a biased argument rarely has the effect of preventing further bias.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Sunny April 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Taller people are so privileged. Shame on you Maus. Shame on you.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • q`Tzal April 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Not sure if sarcasm

      Or tr0ll

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • q`Tzal April 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      How about this:
      On nearly all public transit (trains, buses or airplanes) if I sit with my back shoved all the way back against the chair I'm seated in my knees still jam in to the seat in front of me. So I either have to spread my legs in to other's seating areas or crouch up in the fetal position.

      <sarcasm>
      Go tall power!
      </sarcasm>

      Did you intend to get in to a random rant on anatomical advantages/disadvantages or were you just bein' funny?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks for all the comments.

    Unfortunately I've been in a meeting all afternoon and have not been able to respond. I'll be able to reply later tonight. Thanks.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • q`Tzal April 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      No worries.:)
      We overloaded your site for you while you were out.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Kasandra April 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks for the public apology and self-reflection. But let's all stop thinking of racism as a binary issue. "Am I racist?" is a question that makes us all defensive, and quick to point out all the evidence that we're good people. But "Do I have more left to learn about white privilege and internalized racism?" Yes, I do. "Do I sometimes have blind spots?" Yes, that too.

    Recommended Thumb up 35

    • 9watts April 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      Very well put.
      Painful though it may be we can all learn from this, from all the smart, articulate folks who keep posting their thoughts and perspectives here that we would not have encountered but for what transpired.

      “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 12:59 am

      Thanks for saying that Kasandra. I think you captured some of the complexity of the situation.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • longgone April 4, 2013 at 8:59 am

        Kasandra has boiled it down to the bare bone. She wins .

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 9:17 am

          Wins what? I wasn't aware this situation was a competition.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

    • JRB April 4, 2013 at 10:22 am

      I too appreciate Kasandra's bringing, at least for me, clarity on the racism/privilege issue. I guess I see them as related, but different things and some of the frustration I have expressed here has been at people conflating the two. I am much more willing to agree that failing to anticipate the reaction to a white person saying two different Asian men look alike may stem from the obliviousness that comes with privilege. I remain steadfast in my belief, however, that people had little basis for hurling accusations of racism.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 11:13 pm

        For emphasis, I'll add that I agree.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Mike Fish April 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Well said - thanks for writing this piece.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Barney April 3, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    "I cannot get my head around J.Maus beibg labeled as a racist"

    In most of the comments that I saw where racism was mentioned it was directed at veloprovo and their shameful behavior, not at JM. The flaws in the story were fact based and not about anything else.

    Thank you JM for the apology, it seems like it was both difficult and heartfelt

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Mike Cobb April 4, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      The accusation was bandied about within the non-PB internets, ie a Facebook friend of mine.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • JOHN ALAN NAYLOR April 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    ...just RIDE bro...................

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • tnash April 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Wow, this just got even More Portlandia. You need to relax, take more of a bike snob nyc approach -- this is Your site, god dammit, if you start trying to please Anybody in this town then you're going to be a basket case. ...strap a pair on and enjoy life, for christ's sake (ironically humorist sexist reference intended) :P

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Sam Ollinger April 3, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Jonathan,

    BikePortland was the primary source of inspiration for both my own work and for the three of us that originally launched our site. While it's taken a slightly different direction than where you've gone - I still hold what you do here in very high respect. I'm fairly certain that you deal with a lot of criticisms and sometimes it may seem like those supportive of you may not be as loud and frequent with their praise as the detractors and critics can be - it's something I deal with on a daily basis and so it has become very important to rely one my own gut, like you admitted you do. I'm not sure what you did was racist, maybe a little tone deaf (if that's the right word) but being honest about this, well I'm very impressed and inspired that you admitted what you did.

    I learned a lot from these past few days and while it may have been better for the lessons to not have been taught this way, that's now water under the bridge. Keep up the excellent work. You still do inspire.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • was carless April 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      I think that Sam has posted something very insightful. I generally agree with this comment!

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 1:00 am

      Thank you for sharing that Sam.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • 2wo Wheel April 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    "It's the cost of an education..."
    hang in there and keep up the good work.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Michael Moore April 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    This is the first time I've heard that attempting to be blind to color was a central tenant of multiculturalism. Generally, multiculturalism is characterized more as respecting, celebrating and honoring a diversity of cultural backgrounds and experiences. This is in contrast to the particularly U.S.-centric concept of the "melting pot," which was more about erasing cultural differences. Trying to pretend one is "color blind" is itself a luxurious delusion afforded to white people and particularly whites who identify as males. Few people of color have the luxury of pretending not to "see" color because our intrinsically racist society does not ever let them forget that they don't belong to the dominant culture.

    That is what some people are suggesting BikePortland should be more sensitive to. That isn't the same as saying "so-and-so is a racist," though eventually a pattern of behavior emerges that might make one think someone is a racist. I have been and continue to remain disappointed in the lack of thoughtfulness, insight and depth in the coverage of how racism and classism intersect with policies that are frequently promoted and supported on this blog. In my opinion, the way Jonathan frames the issues simple ignores disparate impacts on culturally and economically marginalized people, and has occasionally been so clunky as to inflame racist and classist attitudes and contribute to the marginalization. (This is ironic because Jonathan is so often on target in calling out the way other news sources frame issues so as to inflame negative perceptions of people who ride bikes.) BikePortland is first and foremost a blog written by and for those very comfortable with the dominant culture's values -- mostly, those who have benefited from same, which statistically is overwhelmingly white people. Some of these topics were addressed in Aaron Renn's recent critique of new urbanism. There is rarely such insight displayed on BikePortland and I don't get the sense that most readers of this blog particularly care one way or the other. The consumerist values of U.S. capitalism held by most of BikePortland's audience are very well reflected here.

    Perhaps because I spend a great deal of time with people in extreme poverty, I've discovered over time that there's more to Portland's cycling community than that. I know about people who scrabble together a barely functioning bike because it is a simple, efficient, enjoyable and inexpensive way to get around, and I know about those who help those people get a leg up. I just don't expect to see much of that covered here, no where near as much as stories about high-end custom bike-builders, fancy clothes and bags, "cool" imported gadgets made in factories where people jump to their death over working conditions, and how "bikes mean business." Little of that is is relevant to me or my circles, but I read this blog to keep up with what the dominant culture is pushing as it relates to urbanism, active transportation, policy development and how those intersect with social issues. I appreciate it for being an accurate and wide-ranging warts-and-all barometer of what passes for progressivism in Portland, and for the energy Jonathan puts in keeping it timely and the enthusiasm and passion with which he does so. Apology or not, I always take what I read here with a grain of salt; apology or not, I will continue to do so.

    Recommended Thumb up 31

    • Mike Fish April 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Wow, what a thoughtful post.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • are April 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      thanks, michael

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 4, 2013 at 1:06 am

      Thanks for sharing your perspective Michael. You give me some great food for thought. I have covered a wide range of topics on this blog — from people who live on the street to people who make $8,000 bicycles. Yes, there has been more coverage of the latter, but that's only because those stories are closer to my social sphere. In that sense, you bring up some important points and I will try and do more stories about how bicycles play a role in the communities you operate in. Thanks again and keep in touch.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

    • steph routh April 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

      Michael, thank you for your work and your voice.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • spare_wheel April 4, 2013 at 8:58 am

      portland progressives love to talk a good talk but in my experience they are as hostile to criticisms of class and capitalism as the billionaire-funded tea party.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • longgone April 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Michael... I ceratainly hope that grain is Kosher,and not Iodized, At first glance I thought the MM of Flint Michigan was weighting in! Upon looking briefly at your link I see that you are doing the work so few would have the heart to do. I tip my hat to you, and see that people I love hold your opinion high. I would like to just say, that beyond all the trappings of our "corporate,capitalist,industial,militaryetc.etc.etc." nightmare, the bicycle, in my dreamy opinion is the best tool to "raise all boats" in a world where poor people of all colors dwell. Sappy, I know, but it is my belief.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Steve B April 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Great points, I hope everyone reads this. Thanks Michael!

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Will Heiberg April 3, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Jonathan, thanks for your tireless work and honest perspectives. I think that what I enjoy most is that even when I may not agree with your point of view, it does make me stop and really think about the issues.

    You handled this sensitive issue well, and is something that many of us can learn from. Looking forward to reading many more excellent stories on BP.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Cory Poole April 3, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    I don't think any journalist can get it right all of the time. Getting to cautious would leave the news stale and remove any possibility of getting scoops. I think we all know you don't have resources of large news organizations I don't think anyone should expect everything to be fact checked. Keep it coming! If something turns out to be wrong just do a correction. (that would be more then fox news ever does...)

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Greg April 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Many interesting & thoughtful comments in this thread.

    When I first saw the original article's headline (before the update), I cringed. It sounded like a serious accusation, and only backed up with "suspected", which suggested we were only hearing one side of the story.

    This leads me to JM's question "How can you be confident in my work in the future and how can I assure you this will never happen?"

    I think one answer might be to find someone to act as a sounding board. The vast majority of articles don't need it, but any time you are questioning if you're doing the right thing, that is the time to ask for a second opinion. It could just be a small group of people in an email list, and they might have prevented the article from running.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • eastsider April 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    someone thought an undercover cop was at activist event but it actually turned out to be someone else that looked very similar. story corrected. the end. thats it!

    i have no idea what all this fuss is about, other than people looking for something to get angry about. imagine if we all put this much energy into stoping the enormous highway expansion project known as the CRC that will have detrimental effects on our region for the next century.

    You want to talk about real racism? its not mistaking two people that look alike. Its building massive highway projects (and then expanding them) through poor minority neighborhoods - thereby destroying communities, plummeting property values and subjecting populations to high levels of noise and air pollution.

    Recommended Thumb up 16

  • John April 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Might I suggest you work to increase your awareness of the biases you inherently contain by virtue of your 'white provilege'. Your actions aren't what is surprising, but your actions to defend what many expressed were insensitive actions were. Work to get training an awareness because 'unintentional' actions have the same result on people of color than 'intentional'. Ignorance in the 21st centuary is no longer a satisfactory accommodation.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Caleb April 5, 2013 at 2:47 am

      Perhaps its just my perception, but it seems to me unintentional actions primarily create the same negative impact as intentional actions, because people assume the unintentional actions ARE intentional. Where's the sensitivity in ignorance such as that?

      Also, may I ask what biases are inherent "by virtue of white privilege"?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Sarah April 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I'm glad you posted this— I think this apology/reflection was necessary. I also appreciate Jess Haden's post. The original article was a mistake and hurtful to many people for a number of reasons, as you pointed out. Moving on, I love your work and read Bike Portland regularly and am a supporter.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Zach April 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I'd really prefer a BikePortland.org where the reporting and advocacy were separated to the extent possible. It would make for better reporting and better advocacy.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • was carless April 4, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Jonathan, I for one appreciate your apology. It was needed and appropriate.

    Still, you have the best bicycling blog I've ever seen, and read it almost daily. For that I much appreciate all the hard work, time, and effort you've put into it. Your activist/journalistic hybrid approach to blogging is interesting, to say the least, although it can clearly have its drawbacks as well.

    Keep up the good work, man.

    ----
    However, after reading reddit, wweek, and twitter, I'm not really convinced that this was a racial issue. Paranoia combined with exclusive hipsters not being able to tell asians apart? check. Jonathan, just put some polish on your BS meter and you should be fine!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Pete April 4, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Race is touchier in Portland than any other city I've lived (including Boston in the 70's). I once called bicyclists 'minorities' in a comment here and got skewered as a racist, accused of comparing struggles for bike lane funding with slavery. I even came across an article someone wrote about how offensive it was to have bicyclists refer to themselves as minorities (wonder if it was incited by my comment??).

    Another time I mentioned riding with my black girlfriend and got corrected - African-American. You call my Haitian girlfriend "African" and see if your ass won't be kicked!

    Of course the irony was the general presumption that I'm not black...

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 4:43 am

      I think your post highlights a general prevalence of consideration lacking in communication. Rather than perceiving the possibility you only mean "minority" as a subgroup within the whole smaller than the non-included "majority" within the whole, people assume you attach other values to the word, as well. And it's potentially sad to me, because some are hurt by being misunderstood, some are hurt by misunderstanding, and sometimes both hurt each other further by not sorting out the miscommunication while continuing communication. If humanity can't have patience in its communication, even in response to impatient communication, how will we ever solve problems like racism?

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Pete April 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

        Excellent point communicated quite well - thanks Caleb!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Caleb April 5, 2013 at 11:49 pm

          You're welcome, Pete!

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Hugh Johnson April 4, 2013 at 6:30 am

    You lost a lot of credibility, Maus. And you need to earn it back. Of course glorifying fringe radical bike groups doesn't help any of us out there on two wheels. Thanks!

    Recommended Thumb up 13

    • spare_wheel April 4, 2013 at 8:50 am

      calling these generic portland "progressives" a fringe radical group is hilarious hyperbole. in fact, i will brew a cuppa in honor of your comment this evening.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 9:15 am

      How has he "glorified" the groups?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Craig April 4, 2013 at 8:47 am

    As the NYPD would say, "No criminality suspected."

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • TOM April 4, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I grew up in the politically charged 60's ....there was a good reason to fight/demonstrate . This stuff seems to be a bunch of bored activates looking for problems, no matter important or not.
    I would prefer BP to be more like http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk and concentrate on actual cycling, rather than politics/conflict.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      Where you don't see "a good reason to fight/demonstrate", others obviously do, so I perceive your comment as belittling of their concerns. I hope I'm wrong, though.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Caleb April 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm

        Please change "obviously" to "apparently".

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • are April 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      london cyclist blog looks like mostly product reviews

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • JNE April 4, 2013 at 10:04 am

    PLEASE LET THIS THREAD DIE AND LET'S MOVE ON.

    ENOUGH.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • q`Tzal April 4, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      No, this thread must live until I and other clueless white guys like myself are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.
      What has fueled this whole debate is the proposition that as a white male I am GUILTY until proven innocent and that paradigm flies in the face of generations of deep seated American culture.

      I'm not going to argue that I'm not doing anything wrong; if anything this topic hammers home that as a white male I am doing something wrong. It should be fairly obvious that people like JM, myself and many others would like to change so we aren't seen as the enemy.

      Unfortunately, as outsiders to the culture of being oppressed, it is difficult to impossible to for us to figure out what to do on our own.
      Just burying the issue and moving on assures that it will happen again.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Rex Marx April 4, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I thought you handled this well. You are an honest voice in a turbulent world.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Skid April 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I still think you are being dragged through the mud over nothing.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • chucklehead April 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Solution: Only do stories on white people.

    Just because a story involved someone of a different race, does not make it racial. Similarly, if you are expected to show additional care and restraint in your reporting on anyone of a different race, is that not given special dispensation to a particular race? isn't that Racist?

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Ray Thomas April 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    As someone who has written lots of articles about bicycles and the law I know that no one can always get it right. I think the comments that follow Jonathan's apology show the important role this site and his work play for all of us in providing a special forum
    in our community.

    Jonathan you are one hard working sincere guy. Sometimes you are a little touchy. Sometimes you are one tired daddy when I see you running in with your camera to cover an important story at what I know has been one long damn day for you.

    When I opened the site today the google page said they had 9,746 article associated with you. I know that is just a computer collection of data, others wrote stuff, you wrote stuff not counted, etc, but we need to consider the great amount of work you have put forth and give you a little credit for rolling out and caring so much to push yourself as hard as you do.

    Recommended Thumb up 14

  • PNWAsianInDC April 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

    The apology is weak. If you spent half the time while trying to wrench your shoulder from your socket by patting your back, you might have addressed the real issue. You (and this group) are acting no better than the nut jobs who point at unexplained differences, unsubstantiated suspicions based on bias, and the unsaid, subconscious "who cares of they all look alike to me" and yell, "TERRORIST! HE'S GOT A BOMB!" Don't even kid yourself about it. The lot of you may protest that your goal is righteous, but your actions stink to high hell.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • Caleb April 6, 2013 at 12:07 am

      You comparing different actions to each other and boiling them down to "better/worse" is not productive, either.

      The phrases "patting your back", "the real issue", "kid yourself about it", "protest that your goal is righteous", and "your actions stink to high hell" are all vague and suggestive. When you don't take time to more specifically illustrate your arguments, I wonder if your intent is to condemn rather than teach. If that's the case, I wonder how much you apply your standards for "better" and "righteous" to yourself.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • just a bicyclist April 5, 2013 at 8:41 am

    For some reason, Asian-Americans really really hate it when Caucasian-Americans say they all look the same.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • TOM April 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

    just a bicyclist
    For some reason, Asian-Americans really really hate it when Caucasian-Americans say they all look the same.
    Recommended 0

    NOT in my experience.

    My wife is Asian and I've spent some time over there. They like to turn it around and proclaim that "all Caucasians look the same to them" (in jest) ...Asian-Americans do it too.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • just a bicyclist April 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      There is a huge difference between "over there" where your in-laws are trying to be hospitable to a bumbling foreigner and "over here" where a non-white person trying to make friends on a bike ride is treated like a pig.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Caleb April 6, 2013 at 12:09 am

        That doesn't change the fact that your initial statement was a generalization, and I assume that's what TOM was trying to convey.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • PNWAsianInDC April 5, 2013 at 10:09 am

    TOM
    NOT in my experience.
    My wife is Asian and I've spent some time over there. They like to turn it around and proclaim that "all Caucasians look the same to them" (in jest) ...Asian-Americans do it too.
    Recommended 0

    Your wife is Asian. You spent some time over there. I assume you mean Asia (unless there's a separate America for Asian-Americans...) So they wouldn't be Asian-Americans right? They would be Vietnamese or Chinese or Korean or Japanese or Mongolian or Thai or Khmer or Laotian or Filipino or Hmong or something right? So that little anecdote was pointless...

    But yes, Asian-Americans do it too. Even in jest. In the infinite wisdom of some people, I'd like to just say, "Two Wongs don't make it White."

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • longgone April 5, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Elmer Fudd?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • t-b0ne April 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

        what's up tiger lily :D

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Caleb April 6, 2013 at 12:12 am

      TOM said nothing about the behavior being "right" or "wrong", so we can't logically assume your infinite wisdom has any relevance to TOM's "pointless" anecdote.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • GloRay April 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Blogger does not equal journalist. When I remember that this is really nothing more than a well-financed blog, I stop worrying about questions of journalistic integrity.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Joe Rowe April 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Jonathan, Honestly....I appreciate your reflection here and your blog.

    But..... You're often closed to feedback. I agree with Ray Thomas that you are touchy. This is your blog, and your business, and I've always said you can do what you want. The blog is good for bikes, no doubt. But this is not journalism or an open community. It's a blog. It's not too far from an infomercial with reader comments. I'd say the reader comments are more important for a variety of reasons.

    People you like get to post reader comments instantly without any approval. People who ask you questions or point out a bias get put on a setting that holds our comments for days ( often never ) and puts them below other comments. You've got a double standard.

    You've labeled me and my comments with judgmental and negative words. When I asked you to show one example, you never replied. That's the form of listing found by lawmakers on the CRC. People say they listen, but there's only silence. Never an answer to the CRC myths.

    I've seen a lot of racial bias from you on the North Williams project. I've given you a lot of hot news tips that are fact checked and you've been silent on them.

    I made a CRC lawmaker scorecard 4 years ago when I called every democrat in Salem and found that most democrats supported the CRC and wanted to remain silent. You and many people in the bike community barely supported that. You gave Sam Adams an exit interview and never mentioned the CRC. When I noted that, you were not open to feedback or willing to admit it it was bad journalism. Journalism is asking the tough questions in an interview, and when the answers dodge the question, journalism is asking tough follow up questions. Journalism is fact checking and breaking stories that might conflict with those who pay for advertising.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 6, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      thanks for the comment Joe. See my responses below...

      You're often closed to feedback. I agree with Ray Thomas that you are touchy...

      I disagree that I'm "often" closed for feedback. Because I blacklist some commenters I am closed to feedback? Moderating a community this diverse and large is very difficult and sometimes I think it means I must shut some people out.

      And yes, there are some things I can be "touchy" about. I get caught up in debates and I believe in these issues so strongly that I can sometimes come off as being touchy or defensive, and so on. That being said, my experiences this past week have really helped me evolve on that front considerably. It has been life-changing in some ways (that I won't go into right here right now). Suffice it to say, I was extremely humbled this week and I have a feeling it will forever change how I respond to my readers and/or critics in moments of stress/threat/emotion.

      But this is not journalism or an open community

      You can call this whatever you want. It certainly isn't journalism like you get from major newspapers or other media outlets. I was a hobbyist blogger who learned by doing this every day and — as we saw with the gargantuan error I made this week — I am a work in progress. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

      As for being "an open community"... Well yes, there are some people it is not open to. People who leave mean, insulting, inappropriate comments are never welcome here. You know that. I have deleted some of your comments for those reasons.

      People you like get to post reader comments instantly without any approval. People who ask you questions or point out a bias get put on a setting that holds our comments for days ( often never ) and puts them below other comments. You've got a double standard.

      That is simply untrue Joe. I'm not sure you understand how my system works. It has absolutely nothing to do with how I like or don't like or what people say. A reader can say anything they want on this site — as long as it's done in a way that's not demeaning or insulting to other people and/or is productive to the conversation. There is not double standard going on at all.... And keep in mind that I do all my own comment moderating so I am not always perfect and completely thorough/consistent with how it's done.

      You've labeled me and my comments with judgmental and negative words. When I asked you to show one example, you never replied.

      Sorry Joe. I sometimes don't respond to all my emails.

      I've seen a lot of racial bias from you on the North Williams project. I've given you a lot of hot news tips that are fact checked and you've been silent on them.

      I am just now re-assessing my perspective and role in the Williams project. I can see now that some of the comments I made here (not in stories, but in the comments section) and around that project in general could be perceived as being racially insensitive. Just like this situation, that's a complicated subject and I'm just now doing some new thinking about it.

      As for me being silent on news tips you give me — I'm the publisher and editor, I simply didn't want to use your news tips. That's it. No conspiracy or bias or anything like that.

      I made a CRC lawmaker scorecard 4 years ago when I called every democrat in Salem and found that most democrats supported the CRC and wanted to remain silent. You and many people in the bike community barely supported that. You gave Sam Adams an exit interview and never mentioned the CRC. When I noted that, you were not open to feedback or willing to admit it it was bad journalism.

      You've mentioned the CRC project several times in your comment. I know that's a major issue for you. You have your way of dealing with that project and I have mine. I think we should all accept that there is more than one method of advocacy/activism just like there is more than one style of journalism. You are free to judge my style however you wish.

      Journalism is asking the tough questions in an interview, and when the answers dodge the question, journalism is asking tough follow up questions. Journalism is fact checking and breaking stories that might conflict with those who pay for advertising.

      Thanks for the advice Joe. I'll keep it in mind next time I do an interview.

      As for the "might conflict with those who pay for advertising"... I'm not even sure what you're getting at there. Please don't make those kind of baseless accusations. You know full well that advertising has zero impact on how I cover news stories. If you have some sort of evidence or example that shows differently, I'd love to see it.

      Thanks again for the feedback.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • jim April 7, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Jonathan-
    I like to see your breaking news and am surprised at how you are able to get these stories in the first place. I like your photos and think you have good talent at that also.
    I don't like being deleted just because you don't agree with my point of view. The posts that are left are only the ones that you agree with and makes the story a lot more slanted towards your viewpoint. The people that get deleted give up and leave your sight. So much for fair and balanced reporting.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 1:18 am

      I can't help but disagree with your perception of slant when reading all the comments from people who have assumed race was an issue in this case. It seems clear to me Jonathan approves of many comments he disagrees with. Are you certain he bars your comments simply on the premise that he disagrees with them?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bruce April 8, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Remind me not to get on a bike in portland.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

      Don't get on a bike in Portland.

      Now why did you want me to remind you?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • So over hipster racism April 9, 2013 at 8:22 pm

        If you have to ask, you seriously did not get the point of this whole thing. Ugh, your comments throughout this thread are annoying - it's so apparent you don't really get why it sucks that an Asian American guy can't try to join the group and make some friends without being considered an outsider and infiltrator. Shame on you.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Caleb April 10, 2013 at 9:05 am

          I think you misunderstood me, because I think it sucks whenever anybody is discriminated against in any way on the basis of race, skin color, ethnicity, etc. I just disagree with your perception of "this whole thing", because I don't see it being as simple as having just a single point.

          There were reasons other than race or skin color that were explicitly stated as reason for the consideration Chaisawat was an outsider and infiltrator. Since the story took place, the group has been reported to apologize to him and include him in other events. Based on these stated conditions, it appears to me he is not an outsider to them at all, and that they have no problem with him being an Asian American in their group. (Yeah, maybe they're acting to save face, but I'm no longer cynical enough to assume they are.)

          When Bruce said to remind him to not get on a bike in Portland, I couldn't be sure if he was saying he believes he would face racism on a bike, or if he was just saying he wants to avoid cyclists in Portland for other reasons, so I asked my question.

          If he would have told me he was implying that getting on a bike in Portland inherently subjects non-white people to racism, I would have pointed out how that's a presumptuous generalization based on what I mentioned above and the fact that this situation doesn't represent every other past, current, and/or future situation involving non-white people on bicycles in Portland.

          Lastly, I apologize that you're annoyed by the things I say, and I don't hold it against you that in your annoyance you've shamed me for things you don't know about me, but I ask that you please don't do that to anyone in the future.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • longgone April 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm

            Caleb... I couldnt help myself, and came back here specifically for your posts ! Thank you . You are now my spiritual leader, although I believe we both know that term is an oxymoron. Keep 'em on their toes.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • Caleb April 11, 2013 at 9:25 am

              You're welcome, longgone!

              And I thank you. The idea of staying on our toes is a strong motivation in much of what I write! For various reasons, I rarely get the impression people understand what I'm trying to convey, so I appreciate your consideration and support. It's quite the refreshment from even my own family misinterpreting much of what I say. Again, thank you.

              But now I think I could use your leadership. By calling "spiritual leader" an "oxymoron", do you mean to convey that only we can truly lead ourselves in "spirituality", that "spirituality" is an "unconscious" result, or that "spirit" is merely an abstraction of many details of our bodies? Or do I really have no idea what you meant?

              :)

              Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Monkey King April 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Only white people can afford to be "colour blind" and ironically being "colour blind" is a common defensive response when someone is accused of being racist.

    At any rate, I guess if you're Asian and you're interested in activism, you should probably stay away from BikePortland.

    Monkey King,

    Thanks for the comment. Please note that I wrote I was taught as a youngster to be color blind and I updated the apology specifically to clear up confusion around that line. I am guilty of not seeing race as an issue in this particular case. For that you can call me whatever you'd like - but I do see race and respect and appreciate how it impacts our society in many other ways. Thanks. -- Jonathan

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 8:13 am

      I'm under the impression you're being dramatic and/or trying to stir up controversy. Is that true at all?

      What does it take for a person to be able to "afford" being colour blind? How do you define "colour blind"?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • are April 9, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        hey, caleb, several of your comments on other threads are thoughtful and incisive, but here i think you are out of your depth. "color blindness," so-called, is a meme put forward by white liberals roughly to the effect that you should pretend race suddenly has no meaning and everything will be all right. the fact is that nonwhites in this country have a radically different experience of daily life from that of whites, and to pretend otherwise is to dismiss a large part of what shapes the perceptions of each as to what is going on. whites can "afford" this because the culture is built around their needs and expectations. what is background noise to whites is often the dominant sound in the ears of nonwhites.

        Recommended Thumb up 8

        • Caleb April 10, 2013 at 8:32 am

          are, thank you for your direct and comprehensive response.

          I was already aware "color blindness" is a meme, so I believe you and others might be misunderstanding my intentions in asking my questions and making my statements. I'll explain.

          In conjunction with his admission of being taught to be "color blind", Jonathan explicitly stated that he sees race and respects and appreciates how it impacts society in many ways. Then Monkey King quoted that statement in his own post.

          Given MK's respondent use of the word "ironically" and his statement that Asians interested in activism should avoid BikePortland, I thought his post implied Jonathan claiming to be "color blind" meant he was ignorant to his privilege and non-white peoples' disadvantages, and/or that Jonathan willfully used "color blind" as an excuse to downplay or deny his racism.

          I considered such implications indicative of disbelief for Jonathan's statement about seeing, respecting, and appreciating race in our society. I then considered such disbelief dismissive of Jonathan. I then wanted to know if I misinterpreted MK's post, so I asked my questions seeking further insight to his statement.

          But what you wrote about "color blindness" as a meme certainly does touch my motivation for making my statements and asking my questions, too.

          When it comes to my own understanding of "color blindness" I have no doubt I may be out of my depth, because it's a phrase I've only come across rarely, and one for which I haven't found a clear, concise first-source definition. That's also a reason I ask people what their understanding of it is. I am curious to hear the different views. But there's more to my curiosity, as well.

          My understanding is that "color blindness" is a set of abstract logic intended to influence other behavior, and that logic equals the notion that one should disregard race in any decision to defend/offend somebody, grant/deny them a right, etc. If that's the essence of "color blindness" as intended by the originators, then it is independent of any intent to ignore or embrace race's meaning, and therefore "color blindness" could exist in conjunction with either the intent to ignore or embrace what a person's color means for their daily lives.

          However, even if the logic of "color blindness" is different from what I stated, it is still separate from the actions people carry out in the name of that logic, so if somebody states they adhere to "color blindness", but their actions contradict "color blindness" or contribute to racism, we are left with more than one possibility for what in their mind allowed the contradiction or racism to occur.

          One is that they intentionally lied in claiming they adhere to "color blindness". Another is that they haven't yet universally applied the logic of "color blindness" to all their choices, and thus made a "subconscious", incorrect conclusion and statement that they adhere to it. Another is that while they call their logic "color blindness", their logic is different from that which was originally coined "color blindness", and they just don't recognize they're using an inaccurate label. And perhaps my brain is burning out and there are many more.

          So my curiosity and commenting has been prompted by the belief that there has been a severe lack of people actually trying to understand each other in this situation. I believe this is evidenced by accusations being expressed more than questions intended to clarify any broad and unclear labels in both the accusations and cited support for the accusations. I consider that lack severe, because the unclear labels appear to have resulted in damning perceptions of Jonathan, and that type of result is one thing people were protesting when he posted the original story, and is something humanity would be wise to avoid in any situation, methinks.

          I hope that clarifies things. Thanks for your patience in reading this.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • are April 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

            as used in this thread, the phrase refers to something jonathan says he was mistakenly taught as a child, that in order to arrive at a post-racial society, we should pretend we are already there.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • Caleb April 11, 2013 at 9:09 am

              Thank you for providing me with your understanding of his "color-blindness".

              That understanding and other apparently similar ones of what he was taught are what I've been disagreeing with.

              He wrote two statements from which we can logically conclude anything about his "color-blindness". From those statements, we can logically conclude him "being raised to be color-blind" makes "be[ing] proactively aware and sensitive to race" "difficult", but because he didn't state any details of how he was "raised to be color-blind", we cannot logically conclude him "being raised to be color-blind" equals him being taught to pretend we are in a post-racial society.

              However, I can imagine how people might have gathered that last equation from his statement following the first two, because in that following statement he wrote, "I have to re-train myself to see race and to understand its role in shaping our city and the issues I cover." I think people might have conflated that statement with the immediately prior statements to conclude his "being raised to be color-blind" equals he does not at all "see race" or "understand [race's] roll in shaping our city and the issues [he] covers".

              If that's what people have done, then they have perhaps ignored a critical part of the first statement I referenced, because in that statement he wrote, "I need to do a better job being proactively aware and sensitive to race". He can only do that job "better" if he was already doing it, and if he was already doing it, then he wasn't pretending we are in a post-racial society, so maybe he wasn't taught to pretend so.

              But maybe he was taught to pretend we are in a post-racial society. I haven't been urging people to conclude he wasn't taught that, but instead have been urging people to consider he wasn't and not assume he was.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

  • dan chang April 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Very rarely does a racist offer such a heartfelt apology. I would think you are not a racist and learned a valuable lesson from this experience.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Caleb April 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

      For whatever reason, your comment didn't really sink in for me until just now, though I've read it over and over. I find myself in agreement with your sentiment.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Lily April 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Next time don't jump to conclusions.
    I can't believe there people out there that still think all Asians look alike.
    It's absolutely disgusting. You guys are so close to PSU, one would think you are more tolerant to diversity. SHAME

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • 9watts April 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      "think all Asians look alike"
      Lily,
      in the interest of being constructive can you point to a statement that suggests someone here at bikeportland said this/said something that led you to believe he or she thought all Asians (Asian-Americans?) look alike?

      Thanks.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Hi Lily,

      Not sure if you are directing your comment to me or the folks at Veloprovo whom I reported about in the original story. But either way, I realize I had a role in what happened so I'll address your comment.

      You're right. I jumped to a conclusion. I was not thinking clearly at all before I hit "publish" on that story. I should have questioned my source information, I should have talked to more people, I should have stepped back and said... Seriously?, I should have done a lot of things differently. But I didn't. I made a big mistake.

      As for the racial component... I should have realized immediately how this story would look to asians and other people of color. I was racially insensitive by not knowing ahead of time how it would make other people feel. Then, after the story came out, I was defensive and mean to people that were calling me out for this insensitivity -- which made me look even worse. And it should have. I was so caught up in my own ego that I didn't realize how insensitive and racist the entire situation was looking like. I realize it now, but I also realize it's too late and many peoples' opinions of who I am and what I am are already set in stone.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 1:21 am

      After reading the related stories and comments, I have no reason to believe Bike Portland or VeloProvo had the perception that all Asians look alike. If you do, please point out your reasoning.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Concerned Asian April 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I would imagine Lily is just a little bit frustrated and annoyed--just like I am--about how this situation has unfolded. Her comment is probably because Jonathan's original post had a side-by-side comparison accusing an Asian American, who was simply new to Portland and wanted to make some friends, of being an undercover cop with nefarious intentions. You will also find that this blog in particular is going to get a lot of visitor traffic because of the coverage it is receiving on larger blogs.

    ---
    The rest of this comment is primarily for Jonathan:

    I'll be honest here with this comment. I can't speak for the entire Asian community (no one can), so these are my personal thoughts, as a concerned citizen who happens to also be Asian American. I understand that people make mistakes. I can even go as far as to give you the benefit of the doubt about possibly mistaking a very public police captain (who has been photographed in the media already) as someone who might be undercover. However, what really offends and bugs me is how you singled out the lone Asian American bicyclist who was new to town and simply wanted to make new friends. What does that say about your movement or organization?

    I'm not looking for a response here. I certainly don't need an apology since I'm not the one publicly accused in a side-by-side photograph. I just want you to be more aware in the future, especially when you are in a position to represent a greater cause. I know that you have already stated in this blog post you will do so--which is awesome. I just want you to know, though, that your actions have caught the eye of concerned citizens and Asian Americans not just in Portland, but across the nation as well.

    I know everything is a learning lesson...and some lessons come with a hard price. I do commend you for the efforts you make on making Portland more bicycle friendly. Again, I just hope that in the future you will treat all participants with open arms rather than doubt their intentions.

    I am sure you are aware, but here are some of the other blogs you are getting traffic from:

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2013/04/04/portland-bicyclist-oops-but-im-not-racist-am-i/

    http://blog.angryasianman.com/2013/04/all-asian-cyclists-look-same.html

    (I personally follow angryasianman.com, as do thousands of other Asian Americans in the country. His post is what led me here. I'm from the San Francisco bay area of California....where Asian Americans can be found everywhere, even on bikes.)

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Concerned Asian,

      I appreciate your comment. Please understand my response below is not an effort to dismiss the mistakes I have made. I only want to help clarify what happened.

      One thing that I don't think is being clearly understood (because I feel the Willamette Week story did not paint an accurate picture of what happened) is that I did not "single out the lone Asian American bicyclist"

      I was not on the ride. I was reporting on second-hand information that was being told to me by several people who were on the ride. I got caught up in blindly trusting their views while confirming my bias that the Portland Police do in fact have a past of infiltrating bicycle activist groups. At the time I was writing the original story, I didn't have the benefit and clarity that hindsight has now given me (and everyone else).

      One of the ironies of this story is that if I was on that ride, I have a very strong feeling that I would have befriended Kris. There are many people who participate in Portland's bike scene today that I met on their very first bike ride because I realized they were knew and that they needed a welcoming hand.

      Also, I do not represent a "movement or organization." I am an independent publisher who writes about bicycling.

      I made a huge journalistic mistake and I also failed to understand how the story looked from a racial perspective. My own failure to see that racial component speaks to my shortcomings as a white male who is still grappling with how white privilege impacts me and the way I see the world.

      As for the blogs around the nation now covering this story. Yes. I am aware of that. I mostly find them because I will suddenly see a bunch of comments and things on Twitter that are calling me racist and that are making jokes about how ridiculous I am.

      Thanks again for your comment. It's been an amazing week for me and I've learned a hell of a lot.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 1:27 am

        I just want to emphasize some of Jonathan's statements which I found very clear in his story that many other people have apparently not found clear because they've jumped to their own conclusions:

        "I did not "single out the lone Asian American bicyclist"."

        "I was not on the ride."

        "I was reporting on second-hand information that was being told to me by several people who were on the ride."

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • 9watts April 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    "I will suddenly see a bunch of comments and things on Twitter that are calling me racist and that are making jokes about how ridiculous I am."

    Which in a curious twist is no better than the snap judgments that set off this whole cascade of events. Encountering comments on those other blogs is an unpleasant reminder how easy it can be to run with second- or third-hand information that may be incomplete or worse.
    We become what we deplore in others.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 1:31 am

      I REALLY wish I could more proficiently make this obvious to people in a way that they would happily receive with their own self reflections.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Concerned Nobody April 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    The apology is great, and I don't think it makes you a racist to see two Asian people and say they're the same. It's not malevolent, you just need more exposure. What I'm concerned about is this:

    Has the poor gentleman you accused of being an undercover cop been apologized to? And publicly? You apologize to your readers here and that's great, but what about this poor guy who doesn't even have a community in his new town? Will you make an effort to welcome him to the community so he's not isolated and ostracized because of your article?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 1:34 am

      For others who are wondering this, VeloProvo has indicated they are including the man in their group.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • AngryAsianManNation April 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Jonathan,
    Fear sucks, doesn't it? Fear that someone is treating you
    differently just because your skin is not white. Fear that you won't
    be accepted just because you look a bit different or act a bit different.
    Sorry, the ends do not justify the means. Great, apologize, learn from
    your mistake, and move on.

    But know this, mistakes are not free and the
    intertubes is unforgiving. I was also brought here from angryasianman.com which 1000's and 1000's of Asians visit daily.
    Not the kind of publicity that you want to be remembered for.
    "Oh yeah, that racist bike guy from Portland...what's his name?"
    Good luck in your healing and personal journey of enlightenment.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 1:36 am

      If you really wish him luck, could you please inform others of their misconceptions about him?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Caleb April 9, 2013 at 2:09 am

      Also, I find the writing in angryasianman much more disappointing than anything that went down here on BikePortland, because it appears to me angryasianman overlooked much context and thus jumped to his own conclusions, especially since suspicions are worded there in ways they were not worded on BikePortland.

      For example, "Asian guy. Asian guy. Absolutely, positively the same guy. No doubt about it." That may be the most dramatized portrayal I've seen of this situation.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • longgone April 12, 2013 at 12:21 am

      You do sound angry, AngryAsianManNation. Your tone is caustic and mildly nefarious. I would even go as far as to say it is a veiled threat. sad.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Concerned Nobody

    The apology is great, and I don't think it makes you a racist to see two Asian people and say they're the same. It's not malevolent, you just need more exposure. What I'm concerned about is this:

    Has the poor gentleman you accused of being an undercover cop been apologized to? And publicly? You apologize to your readers here and that's great, but what about this poor guy who doesn't even have a community in his new town? Will you make an effort to welcome him to the community so he's not isolated and ostracized because of your article?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    I spoke to Krisapon just a few hours after the original story was posted. I apologized to him for the mix-up. He seemed to be OK with that and just wanted to clear things up and make sure we knew he wasn't the cop. Also, Kris is planning to be at another Veloprovo event tonight and I plan to be there too. I plan on shaking his and given him a sincere apology straight to his face just like I did with Capt. Uehara.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

- Daily bike news since 2005 -
BikePortland.org is a production of
PedalTown Media Inc.
321 SW 4th Ave, Ste. 401
Portland, OR 97204

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Clemens Orth.
Subscribe to RSS feed


Original images and content owned by Pedaltown Media, Inc. - Not to be used without permission.