When QAnon Means ‘Diversity of Thought’
What would happen if a QAnon supporter were on a committee that’s supposed to push for increased inclusion and diversity?
You know, QAnon, what The New York Times called a “sprawling set of internet conspiracy theories that allege, falsely, that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Mr. Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring.”
Well, no need to ponder because U.S. Senate Republican candidate and QAnon believer Jo Rae Perkins is on Albany’s Human Relations Commission, and she has said things that seem to run contrary to the ideals of community inclusion, according to a Sept. 6 article by Caitlyn May of Democrat-Herald in Albany that explored the committee and its “diversity of thought.”
According to the city website, the HRC seeks to “strengthen connections within Albany’s diverse community by being committed to the philosophy of inclusion, equal opportunity, fair treatment for all residents of Albany and promoting harmonious relations among the citizens of Albany.”
Perkins isn’t the only member of the HRC to share controversial ideas. Out of two members who have resigned since the Sept. 6 article, one claimed he was wrongfully painted as a homophobe for sharing transphobic memes on Facebook.
On Sept. 22, the Democrat-Herald reported that since three members of the commission have resigned, the City Council recently voted to suspend it. The third resignation was due to the member moving out of the area. The commission no longer has enough members for a quorum because Albany’s city councilors have refused to appoint new members because Councilor Rich Kellum said “it’s broken,” according to the newspaper.
QAnon follower Perkins was appointed to the Human Relations Commission on Jan. 23, 2019, and her term expires Dec. 31, 2021. The Democrat-Herald reports that Albany Councilor Bill Coburn appointed Perkins because she represented a “diversity of thought” to the commission.
QAnon started on the online forum 4Chan. It pushes the idea that President Donald Trump will bring down the “deep state,” meaning there are people hidden within the government that are controlling the U.S., and pedophilia is a typical theme in the theories. Trump has said that he is aware Q-Anon conspiracy theorists think kindly of him.
At the HRC’s Aug. 25 meeting, Albany City Councilor Alex Johnson II shared a conversation he had with a white 11-year old boy at a Black Lives Matter rally held in the city. The boy told Johnson he was afraid someone would kill “the only father he had ever known,” who’s Black.
Johnson added that that day he saw the best but the worst of Albany. The worst of Albany was when he said someone called him and cussed him out, some people sent him angry emails and someone even threw his U.S. flag that was at his house on the ground.
But that day he said he had more conversations with residents about what it’s like to be Black in Oregon than in the 26 years he’s lived in Albany.
Perkins then shared her opinion about what “hate stuff” she’s experienced.
“My life has been threatened. I understand what it’s like, as a white woman. I understand. There is no place for hate.”
She added that her son experienced a hate crime and his “face was broken” was allegedly broken at a protest in Albany.
In The Democrat-Herald‘s Sept. 6 article exploring the HRC, Perkins told the newspaper in an interview that she questioned Festival Latino or LGBTQ pride events and instead pushed for an “all cultures” celebration because there’s only one race: the human race.
At a February 2020 meeting, while talking about the group’s support of an LGBTQ march, Perkins said she’s politically incorrect.
“I don’t really care if that’s what someone is. We’re not doing a straight pride march, why are we promoting this stuff? Because we’re segregating, and I’m anti-segregation,” Perkins said at the meeting.
Perkins doubled down on her view in an interview with the Democrat-Herald.
“I don’t run around saying, ‘Look at me, I’m a straight female.’ I don’t need a parade to say, ‘Hey, look at me, I have straight pride.’ I talked about it for years … what if I had a straight pride parade? People would flip out because they would say I’m bigoted,” she said.
On Sept. 6, the Democrat-Herald reported that Perkins posted a video June 8 where she recalled talking with protesters at an Albany Black Lives Matter rally.
“Black lives matter when it’s convenient for a group of people,” she reportedly said. “Let me state it again because I know what I just said will be taken completely out of context. Black lives matter, brown lives matter, your life matters, my life matters, every life is important.”
The Democrat-Herald reports that Perkins said some things in an interview with the newspaper that seem to go against the Human Relations Commission’s mission.
During the interview, she said Planned Parenthood was established to get rid of the Black population, redlining was not responsible for the generational wealth gap between Black and white families, LGBTQ community members were making a lifestyle choice and that George Floyd may have died from fentanyl in his system.
On Perkins’ Facebook, she regularly posts fake news articles that claim donating to Black Lives Matter through ActBlue means the money goes to Democratic Party candidates (which has been debunked). She also goes “live” to opine on current events — like how Roger Stone’s sentence was unfair — and shares posts that claimed antifa was planning to attack the federal courthouse in Eugene. Of course, she shares Q-Anon-related content, too.
According to the Sept. 22 article, the two resigning members point to the Democrat-Herald‘s reporting as the reason they left the commission. Daniel Ropp resigned because he said he was portrayed as a “homophobe and intolerant” in the Sept. 6 article. But in that article, Ropp had admitted to sharing transphobic memes and said he was a Christian who believed in two genders while saying that didn’t impact his decisions while on the commission.
Perkins is running for the U.S. Senate after being nominated by Republicans in the 2020 primary election. Despite Perkins’ views, or maybe because of them, the poll aggregate and analyst site FiveThirtyEight says Sen. Jeff Merkley will easily float to re-election.