He touts himself as an educator, psychologist, political scientist and pan-Africanist.
Those credentials were apparently enough to get Umar Johnson invited to speak at two Portland schools. But now, the District is rescinding the invitation and is calling his words unacceptable.
Johnson was supposed to speak Thursday about educational issues in the African-American community at the Self Enhancement Inc Academy that contracts with the district, and at Jefferson High School.
One day earlier, the Oregonian, showed Portland Public Schools videos on the web where a man identified as Umar Johnson shares his views on gay people.
I see homosexuality as a mental illness just like drug addiction or anything else. I believe in treatment. I never advocate extermination, Johnson said in a video posted to You Tube.
In another video he says, How in the hell do you prepare for a war with white supremacy when most of your men want to have sex with the man who he is supposed to be fighting? .
After watching the videos, the district s Chief Equity and Diversity Officer canceled Johnson s appearances.
I was so appalled and offended by it because it clearly doesn t reflect the position of this district, Lolenzo Poe said.
We asked why Poe s office, which approved the speaker, didn t know about Johnson s views which are easily found through a basic web search.
We will take full responsibility, I will for my office, in not vetting it as well as we should have so that we got to this place, Poe said.
Late Wednesday night, Umar Johnson landed in Portland and spoke to KGW on the phone. He called the district s decision unfortunate adding that he wanted to provide critical information as to how they can improve education and academic outlooks for African-American children in general, our boys in particular.
KGW asked if Johnson still believes gay people have a mental illness, one of the reasons the Portland School District says it canceled the speeches. Johnson told us he could not provide a yes or no answer.