I’m biracial. I was born in Salem, but my mother moved us back to L.A. when I was a baby because, to summarize, she feared for our lives. I’m willing to bet the majority of my listening audience has never been targeted for state-sanctioned violence because of the color of their skin.
That’s what racial profiling is, you know. A benign term that describes a complete fucking horror.
I would wager that many of you exist without that fear looming over you. You never think twice before putting on a ball cap, or pulling up your hood while driving. You can go shopping, jogging, walking through your own neighborhood without that nagging worry. But both my guest Jason Kafoury and I believe that just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean you don’t know it’s happening. In fact, he and his clients are banking on it.
“We thought that these four lawsuits that we filed this week really showcased the problem of what it’s like to be a Black person in Portland, Oregon,” Kafoury says.
Today I’m chatting with Kafoury, a partner at the Kafoury & McDougal law firm who is currently representing more than 50 clients who have been detained, harassed and unjustly accused of theft by big-box stores in the Portland area. Nigel Jaquiss reported this week that a raft of lawsuits filed by Kafoury, accusing a number of large retailers of straight-up discrimination, has reminded the community’s pro-cop contingent that in one of the whitest cities in America, in a state founded as a Confederate spin-off, people are racist.
Let’s catch up with Kafoury to learn how his firm is setting the standard for social justice lawyering.