Community Once Again Breaks the Silence of Racism and Other Indignities

Facilitator with Assistant Chief Darren Pytel (center) and UC Davis Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed (right)
Facilitator with Assistant Chief Darren Pytel (center) and UC Davis Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed (right)

While the third annual Breaking the Silence of Racism event did not come close to matching what occurred in 2012 when 200 people packed Davis Community Chambers, the crowd on Saturday, closer to 60, still delivered some poignant and at times heart-wrenching stories.

The panel of community leaders consisted of Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel, UC Davis Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed, Jennifer Mullen, a Counselor at DJUSD, and school board Vice President Madhavi Sunder.

The panel began with brief comments about what is going on in their jurisdiction and then sat back and listened to the dozen or so public commenters tell their stories.

Panel Discussion

Davis Assistant Chief Darren Pytel speaks as panel (from left to right): Rahim Reed, Jennifer Mullen, and Madhavi Sunder look on
Davis Assistant Chief Darren Pytel speaks as panel (from left to right): Rahim Reed, Jennifer Mullen, and Madhavi Sunder look on

Assistant Chief Darren Pytel talked in his introductory remarks briefly about hate crimes and the message of “it’s not going to be tolerated here, and we don’t want it here.” He then stated, “Let’s face it, in some communities the police are also a flashpoint for claims of discrimination, and we can’t ignore that.”

He talked about the new conflict resolution program with the police department. Five community members came to work with five police officials to address the issue of “how is it that we can build trust with various segments of the community – sometimes minority, sometimes just people who have had some negative experiences with the police department.”

They worked through a year-long process to figure out how to do things better.

“The most important thing that the group worked on was an alternative conflict resolution program,” he said. When people do file complaints, Assistant Chief Pytel noted, “not everybody is completely satisfied with the way that we have resolved citizen complaints.” He said, “People walk away – even though oftentimes a complete and thorough investigation has been done, people are just feeling that their voices actually weren’t heard by the police department employee who dealt with them on the street.”

Rather than an investigation, the employee and the complainant, using trained facilitators, can work through the conflict engaging in face-to-face dialogue.

“We’re really excited about this,” he said.

UC Davis Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed
UC Davis Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed

UC Davis Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed said, “We want to promote a very robust environment for the discussion of differences,” whether that be different opinions, thoughts, attitudes, perspectives, of cultures. “But we want to do it in a very civil, very respectful way.”

“We recognize that our principles of community, although they’ve served us well over the last 25 years, that in fact the UC Davis campus today in 2015 is different than the UC Davis campus was in 1990,” he said, as they are larger and much more diverse.

Rahim Reed said, “We are part of the Davis community.” He said they recognize that the various streets that separate us “are not borders, you can freely cross from one side to the other.”

“Recently we’ve had some incidents occur on our campus around Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism,” he said, acknowledging that they have been very challenging to deal with. A committee has been set up, chaired by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Adela De La Torre and himself, inviting key members of the community to join them.

DJUSD Counselor Jennifer Mullen with Madhavi Sunder (right)
DJUSD Counselor Jennifer Mullen with Madhavi Sunder (right)

Jennifer Mullen, a Counselor at the high school at DJUSD, said that the theme “restorative” is “the major focus in the school district right now. We are working towards building capacity for understanding in the district for restorative practices, by training teachers and students and staff.”

“Our intention in that is really to make a paradigm shift,” she said. “It’s not just a set of tools or programs, but it really is a shift in thinking.” They want to “create safe spaces for dialogues” to “have conversations and to really listen to one another, hear each other’s narratives and stories.”

She said that the disproportionate rate of suspensions and expulsions of students of color is the “most blatant form of racism in our schools.” She said, “We are working towards restorative practices.” She said that the disproportionate rate decreases in schools that adopt these practices, however, she stressed that doesn’t mean kids won’t be suspended or that there is no discipline.

“It actually means there’s a much higher level of accountability when you need to hear someone’s story,” she stated.

School Board Member Madhavi Sunder
School Board Member Madhavi Sunder

School Board Member Madhavi Sunder talked about the “Hate is not a Davis Value Campaign,” and added, “Hate is not a DJUSD value either.”

“School climate is a high priority,” she said. “In fact, it is the priority when you talk to principals and teachers. The community recognizes if students do not feel safe and welcome, they cannot learn and thrive.”

School climate, she said is safety and the relationships with peers, teachers and counselors. She said they are taking a holistic look at what climate is. She talked about a lot of the programs that are currently offered at some of the schools.

Ms. Sunder said, “A new direction that we’re going (is) restorative justice programs. When you look at the literature on school to prison pipelines and what is one effective way of breaking out of that – the idea of restorative justice, bringing the parties together to help develop mutual understanding.”

Community Comments

Rick Gonzales of the Yolo County Concilio and past chair of the HRC talks about the 1989 Civil Rights report
Rick Gonzales of the Yolo County Concilio and past chair of the HRC talks about the 1989 Civil Rights report

Rick Gonzales of the Yolo County Concilio, and a past Chair of the Human Relations Commission, talked about the history over the last 30 to 40 years. He said that when Thong Hy Huynh was killed in 1983, the HRC was formed and he was among the founding members.

He said that a group of UC Davis students came forward and asked why the police were following them and the stores weren’t serving them when they went into the downtown stores. “The city council gave us the duty to a do a year survey,” he said. A lot of people talked about the schools, “and we had no jurisdiction over the schools.”

“The result of that was we started a report that was written John Meyer, who was our city manager at the time,” he said. “He wrote a very comprehensive report of fifty recommendations, it was called ‘Racial Issues of 1989’…”

He said we do not need to reinvent the wheel, some of those recommendations have been implemented, many have not. “It is as valid in 2015 as it was in 1989 when we put it together,” he said.

Community Member Teresa Geimar talks about her experiences
Community Member Teresa Geimar talks about her experiences

Teresa Geimar got to know a man on a bus in Davis who was from India. He would often complain to her about his treatment. Later, she said, she saw him and he had moved to Sacramento. When she asked how he liked it there, he said, “It’s much better.” People were not making the kinds of comments to him that they did in Davis.

She then described her experience as a female civil engineer. There was one guy, she said, from whom “I kept getting digs all the time. I talked to the other women in our group and they didn’t see it at all because it wasn’t happening to them.” She said, “The light came on, if it doesn’t happen to you, these subtle things, you don’t see them. But if it’s happening to you, it’s a slap in the face each time.”

After that experience, she said, “I want to make sure I’m not doing that because I think that the guy who was doing that to me and the people that were doing it to my friend on the bus, they may not have even realized that they were doing it because it’s so subtle.”

Franky Woods talks about being an African-American coach when the noose incident happened
Franky Woods talks about being an African-American coach when the noose incident happened

Franky Woods said he was one of the coaches at Davis High when the noose was hanging from the goalposts.

He said, “We woke up to that and it was a reality that these kids they’re starting off young and they’re subject to this discrimination and this threat. We had a majority of black coaches for the first time ever, and it was a very frightening moment at the time.”

James Martinez relates about his experience with the Davis Police
James Martinez relates his experience with the Davis Police

James Martinez said “I was the victim of a malicious intentional act by a public safety officer belonging to the city of Davis.” He said the officer “caused my accident and left me on the ground without providing any type of emergency response.”

Very emotionally, he stated, “I don’t know why I wasn’t afforded the services in this community, I don’t know whether I was seen as inadequate for services in this community whether it be my race, my facet of life, or whatever it may be.”

He said he suffered a serious injury and had just had back surgery. He has suffered this for a whole year. Mr. Martinez said he was a pedestrian on the ground and that the officer left because he was pursuing an emergency.

“I just cannot understand any of this on how it happened,” he told the panel. “I want to understand. That’s why I’m here.”

The panel listened intently to some of the stories they heard.
The panel listened intently to some of the stories they heard.

Tia Will shared the same story she told on the Vanguard  two weeks ago.

“About ten years ago, I was the senior physician on duty on our high risk labor and delivery unit in Sacramento.  I was called to the room of a self-avowed white supremacist and separatist. She was due for a blood draw to obtain information critical to my decision making regarding her care and that of and her in utero child. She was refusing the blood draw because the phlebotomist was African-American. She requested that I write an order and entry into her chart stating that no one other than Caucasians were to participate in her care or enter her room. I stated that, while she had the right to refuse any care for any reason, I could not and would not make such an entry into her chart.

“However, because the information was necessary for her health, I requested that the white nurse who at that time had been assigned to her care do this one single blood draw. Please note that this is common practice, well within the nurse’s scope of practice and frequently done in special circumstances such as when there is urgent need for the information and a phlebotomist is not available or when a patient is particularly needle phobic and the nurse has already established rapport, thus lessening the patient’s anxiety.”

Tia Will tells her story
Tia Will tells her story

Ms. Will continued, “Unfortunately, this simple, everyday request was overheard by an African-American nurse also working on the unit at the time. Instead of addressing her concern directly to me, this nurse chose to call the Sacramento Bee to report the racist behavior of the attending physician (me) on the Labor and Delivery unit. This could easily have turned into a PR nightmare, but did not due to the adroit handling of the situation by Kaiser’s public relations specialist.

“I leave it to you to determine which acts were actually racist and which acts were discriminatory,” she said in closing. “But what it pointed out to me is that racism is clearly alive and well and has many complexities.”

The most heart-wrenching story is the indignity of dying and the last moments of his wife's life.
The most heart-wrenching story is the indignity of dying and the last moments of his wife’s life.

Douglas Samea-Reed told the heart-wrenching story of the death of his wife. He asked, “Why are we so willing to turn a blind eye to the needs of the dying, to discrimination against the dying.”

His wife had breast cancer that metastasized, spreading to her lungs where she had over 30 tumors and her spine was broken into three pieces. “Cancer left her totally paralyzed but able to feel every drop of pain,” he said. She was hyper-sensitive to pain medications and liquid morphine would put her into a coma.

He said that Hospice came in and insisted “that she be rolled on her side.” He said that anyone with an ounce of common sense would know that “you can’t do that” with someone in her condition, “that person is going to go into arrest and die.” He said, “She did.”

He said that because “she wouldn’t allow them to turn her so they could look at her back, they revoked her contract.” He said this was a crime.

He said he complained to the DA’s office and they told him, after investigating for two weeks, “You can’t prove that she suffered enough for us to take action. The rest of what you have are misdemeanors, so there’s nothing we can do for you.”

The public comments were followed with a brief wrap up by the panel and then some informal discussion by those remaining in the chambers.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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62 Comments

  1. Anon

    Here is a potential problem I anticipate with “restorative justice”.  Suppose you have a situation where one of the parties in a dispute feels they were truly wronged, and they were wronged from any objective standpoint.  Too often in a mediation model like restorative justice, mediation advocates insist that each side “give a little” or “come to a compromise” or “put themselves in the other’s shoes”.  Mediators are trained to get both sides to concede a little, so neither side will become intransigent.  Rarely do these models allow for clear black or white views of who was right or wrong in the circumstances, even if a particular case cries out for it.  If you are a truly injured party, that hardly may seem like a satisfactory solution and restorative justice may do nothing to make you feel any better about what happened to you or about restorative justice as a solution.

     

    1. David Greenwald

      As I understand it, the ARC process doesn’t preclude other remedies either formal or a lawsuit. They wouldn’t be able to use the confidential discussions for those purposes, it doesn’t preclude them. Also of course in a VORP situation you have a victim and an offender, and it’s possible that the individuals involved in this situation would objectively be victims and offenders. I’m no expert on this, but I’m not convinced this is automatically a problem.

    2. Robb Davis

      RJ conferencing is voluntary and does not seek to achieve something that both sides can “live with.”  Rather, it is designed to give the victim–if they choose–the opportunity to name the harms they experienced in a safe environment.  An agreement on what should be done to make the harms as right as possible is part of a facilitated conference but it does not always happen and that helps avoid the problem of pushing the victim to “accept” some outcome.  Indeed, conference facilitators are not acting as a traditional mediator in this sense.  They are assuring that the process of listening and exchange that both parties have voluntarily agreed to uphold are practiced.  Keep in mind, conferencing is only 1/3 of the RJ process. Part 1 is preparing both sides to assure they understand what is expected in the process; Part 2 is the process and; Part 3 is assuring follow through on any agreements that were made.  Experience has shown that in an overwhelming proportion of cases, victims merely want to have the opportunity to express the harm and what the act has meant to them–they want to be heard.

      1. Barack Palin

        Add to that some of the stories were very dated, one being 10 years old.  I see you had to add
        “and Other Indignities”to the Break the Silence of Racism because some of the stories had nothing to do with racism.

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          I don’t consider ten years a long time in terms of racial relations.

          Although the orders of magnitude are completely different, bear in mind that 9/11 was more than ten years ago and is still being cited as a reason to maintain the Patriot Act and other restrictions of our individual freedoms.

  2. Tia Will

    Anon

    Robb Davis would doubtless be able to address this much better than I, but knowing how busy he is, I will give it a try. It is my understanding that “restorative justice” and “mediation” are two different processes. In a mediation, the process does indeed involve getting each side to “give a little”. In “restorative justice” the goal is to have the “allegedly offending party” understand what impact their actions have had on the other party and on the community. These seem to me to be to be different processes to achieve different goals.

    1. Anon

      Okay I’ll bite.  How do you get both parties on the same page as to what impact their behavior had on the other or the community, unless you get them to concede a little on their positions?  Even in restorative justice, if each side is entrenched that they were unfairly treated, some sort of “mediation” has to bring them to a mutual understanding.

      1. Tia Will

        Anon

         How do you get both parties on the same page as to what impact their behavior had on the other or the community”

        I don’t think that one has to “get them on the same page”. Understanding and compassion are not synonymous with agreement. I believe that these are worthwhile goals even if the two parties do not end up in complete accord.

        1. David Greenwald

          Anon: What I can tell you is that while I will never specifics about the police-community mediation center, I was told that they were able to reach an understanding on things and work through past disagreements. I don’t think that means they completely agree on what happened, but reaching an understanding can mean at times, in your own words, agreeing on points of disagreement.

    2. DurantFan

      “…. If we do not see discrimination, whether racial, or gender based, or religious based as a problem because it does not affect us or we minimize it because again, if it does not affect us personally, it must not be very important, we are denying the impact that it has on other members of our community. …”

      Let’s not so quickly overlook (forget) economically based discrimination within Davis , as the “Laundering While Poor” situation so clearly demonstrated.

      1. Tia Will

        DurantFan

        This theme was not touched upon during first section of community sharing and I left before the second session, however, I truly appreciate you bringing up this topic as economic discrimination touches many aspects of our lives. This I know from having been ,during my life ,at nearly the full gamut of the economic range within our society.

  3. Tia Will

    BP

    It sounds like the Breaking the Silence of Racism event was well, pretty silent.”

    I think that your comment speaks with more eloquence than you may have intended. One of the themes of this year’s event was the presence of indifference in our community. If we do not see discrimination, whether racial, or gender based, or religious based as a problem because it does not affect us or we minimize it because again, if it does not affect us personally, it must not be very important, we are denying the impact that it has on other members of our community.

    While it is not so difficult for me to speak in public having done so on many occasions, it is clear that it is a tremendous effort for some people to get up and tell their stories. Just because we are not personally affected, does not mean that others are not. Perhaps they are just silent out of fear, or shame, or embarrassment or just plain not wanting to stand out as being different.

    1. Anon

      Remember however, in hearing these stories, you are hearing only one side.  I can tell you that in at least one instance in regard to the speakers, there was definitely another side to the story.

      1. David Greenwald

        There are always other sides of the story. I think it’s important to understand people’s perceptions and how the experiences make them feel.

  4. Frankly

    I was initially skeptical about restorative justice but a close family member serves as a panelist on the current Yolo County Neighborhood Court and the reports coming from that person have convinced me that it is a useful new appendage to the larger criminal justice system.

    But like many great ideas coming from the government / public policy side, the problem is that the initial brilliant design is coopted and corrupted by future politics.  The key to prevent this is to cement the primary goals that justify the program, and the measurements that support the goals, into perpetuity… unless there is an open and comprehensive debate to change those goals and measurements in the future.

    And what are those goals and measurements?

    One should be to reduce the cost of processing so many minor misdemeanor offenses though the regular court system.  What we don’t want to happen is for the regular court system to just devolve to a lower case capacity at the same or greater expense.

    Another should be to see a reduction in the rate of subsequent offenses for the people processed through the restorative justice program.

    A third should be to reduce the overall occurrence rate for the types of offenses mediated through the restorative justice program.

    A forth should be to reduce the average community opinion for feelings of bias within the criminal justice system.

    One big fear I have is that the public employees of the court system exploit the restorative justice subsystem to reduce court caseload that eventually results in a higher cost-per-case for the regular court system.  If we are going to see a higher cost-per-case, then politicians and the judicial leaders need to commit to the improvements in the regular court system that we should expect after the caseload reduction.

  5. Tia Will

    Anon

    Completely understood. I understand that there were at least four completely different versions of the story that I told.  This experience would have been far richer if the white separatist, and both nurses involved had been there to tell their stories as well. The whole point of these events is to share “our” stories told as we experienced them.

    And I also understand that the dominant message in our culture is the story of the majority. Although this will soon be changing in California as we move towards a majority of individuals of Hispanic background, the predominant “story” in our culture is still that of the white middle class nuclear family. When Frankly posts about the need to defend “our”culture as he has in the past, he is referring to such traditions as “Christmas” and the universal use of English. What he and others here do not seem to be including is the wealth of other cultures and other beliefs and other familial structures that are now common here. There is a still predominant view of our culture as a “melting pot” in which everyone will adhere to the preferences of the  still dominant culture. I think that this is a mistake and that it is the minority voices that are those that are most typically ignored or silenced.

    What I see as a shame is that those with the “majority” point of view rarely bother to show up and either listen or share at these events. I cannot help but feel that some of this lack of participation comes from indifference to the points of view of others.

    1. Anon

      Tia: To your point about cultures.  What I have a problem with is the banning of the Christian culture from everywhere, including private venues that serve the public.  Around Christmas time, there is also Quanza (spelling?), Hannakah, and probably some others.  I have no problem allowing people to bring culture into public places – I personally find it enriching.  One of the more charming aspects to CA culture is Cinqo de Mayo and Day of the Dead.  The more the merrier!

  6. TrueBlueDevil

    I thought it interesting that the campus representative mentioned Islamaphobia first, when I have heard no direct statements or proof of such, yet we know that there were some vile and hurtful language and chants towards our Jewish brothers and sisters, including hurtful / hateful comments published on the Internet, and two racist graffiti incidents. These are current events.

    1. David Greenwald

      While I have not seen anything specific, there were a number of complaints of a barrage of hateful, Islamophobic attacks have been launched against Arab and Muslim students — including the infamous senator. I don’t find his comment that interesting or surprising. Arab and Muslim students have been yelled at and called “terrorists” while they walked through campus. Other students have complained of anti-Islamic social media messages and emails.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        “Islamophobic attacks have been launched against Arab and Muslim students” – physical attacks?

        Or they claim hurtful words / terms?

        I have seen nothing specific either, yet there were 5-6-7 postings / chants / graffiti / threats towards Jewish students / Israelis.  Prior to this, Israeli speakers were prevented from sharing their message on campus, and there have been other specific confrontations / issues on campus.

        Chancellor Katehi did comment about three Muslim individuals who were attacked recently, but that was clear across the country, and looks like it concerned a long-running parking space disagreement, nothing to do with racism or anti-Islam ideology.

    2. Don Shor

      This is what he said:

      “Recently we’ve had some incidents occur on our campus around Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism,” he said, acknowledging that they have been very challenging to deal with.

      So, yeah, he “mentioned Islamophobia first.” Then he said “and anti-Semitism…” Maybe you missed that part.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Missed nothing. His comments seemed to miss the fact that the Jewish / Israeli students seem to have been repeatedly on the end of hateful comments / actions while there hasn’t been any reports of similar anti-Muslim behavior.

  7. LadyNewkBahm

    If a white student gets up and insults a black person uttering the word “ni……r” are you going to brush that off because “hateful comments are going both ways?”

    1. David Greenwald

      What did the black person say in your scenario? Also who said it was being brushed off? The Vice Chancellor is expending great energy and convening community and campus groups to deal with the issue on the basis of the comments going both directions.

  8. Barack Palin

    We have proof that a Jewish speaker was shouted down and not allowed to talk at UCD on video, we have seen the Facebook postings of the Senator, we have the swastikas painted on the Jewish student’s house and we have the video of the chants of Allah Akbar as the Jewish students left the auditorium before the vote.  I have yet to see any proof of the hateful comments that the Muslim students are claiming.

      1. Barack Palin

        And who sent them, they could easily be a plant.  Saying that, which I’ve stated before, the swastikas could also be a plant.  But the other examples are irrefutable.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        BP nails it. It is possible that there are email or Facebook plants to help either side, but what we also have here are a series of anti-Jewish, anti-Israel comments / actions in public by official leaders of the Muslim students – Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Azka Fayyaz.

        Then their own words posted on their own  Facebook account(s) further supporting those uncivil comments. Then excuses that it was my ‘private Facebook account’. Then an article excusing some of the harshest statements as “sarcasm”, while doubling down on the mindset.

        The SJP have caused havoc across the country, and they are barred from protesting on some campuses due to their extreme tactics. Ms. Fayyaz even telegraphed her actions the previous year by stating that if your cause didn’t draw a lot of commotion and trouble, you weren’t doing enough (not the exact quote).

        As one post I read said, we have supposedly “tolerant” pro-Palestinian students chanting “allahu akbar” at Jewish students as they leave a student senate meeting in silence. We had a peaceful Israeli citizen here for dialog, shouted down and barred from speaking. Support for Hamas and the PLO seem normal, and many question the marketing of this organization as their goal being “social justice”. Are we being played?

        The Vice Chancellor’s statements which I read here seem to be some kind of moral equivalency. And what happened to our “Principles of Community”?

        1. David Greenwald

          “The Vice Chancellor’s statements which I read here seem to be some kind of moral equivalency.”

          The VC’s statements were a prelude to a discussion about the working group he set up with people on both sides of the issue.

    1. Davis Progressive

      so if you’re not aware of something on the ucd campus, it didn’t happen?  you need proof for the vice chancellor to act?  just curious on your thinking here.

  9. Davis Progressive

    “Recently we’ve had some incidents occur on our campus around Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism,” he said, acknowledging that they have been very challenging to deal with. A committee has been set up, chaired by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Adela De La Torre and himself, inviting key members of the community to join them.

    a lot has been made about this comment.  it seems to me that what the chancellor is saying is that there have been incidents on both sides of the issue and they have been challenging and we are looking to set up a committee to hopefully deal with them better.

    but some of the posters here have extrapolated that he is calling them equivalent or not equivalent, it seems to me he is suggesting that there needs to be dialogue on both sides of the issue.  seemed like a very harmless statement to generate so much controversy.

  10. Alan Miller

    I am underwhelmed.  The things talked about were incidents that happened to people.  They told one side of a story.  Some of the events may have been caused by racism.   I see no evidence in any of the stories one way or the other.  The implication, due to the name of the event, is that the events were caused by racism.  Some of the events may have happened if the people were white WASPS.

    This does not mean there are not racist jerks in Davis.  That there are need not brand Davis as a racist community.  That some people feel the need to label Davis a racist community for everyone else serves no purpose to the community.  It is a weird and meaningless way of thinking.

    We can all agree racists suck, can we not?

    1. Davis Progressive

      i guess you never had to experience it yourself.  my daughter went through the local schools and was mixed race, so we saw a lot more than most.

      “That there are need not brand Davis as a racist community.  That some people feel the need to label Davis a racist community for everyone else serves no purpose to the community.  It is a weird and meaningless way of thinking.”

      not sure that’s what people are doing.  though i will say i have heard from a lot of people of color who feel it very intimately in davis in ways they don’t elsewhere.  it’s not just race though, it’s also or maybe primarily elitism.

      1. Alan Miller

        “i guess you never had to experience it yourself.”

        a)  Not true.

        b)  What does that have to do with anything I said?

        “though i will say i have heard from a lot of people of color who feel it very intimately in davis in ways they don’t elsewhere.”

        I have heard this (if I understood what you said), but only as implied from a person or incident that leaves me unconvinced that there is anything inherently racist in the “community culture”, whatever that is.

        “it’s not just race though, it’s also or maybe primarily elitism.”

        Are elitists equal to racists?  Is elitism something we need to condemn or pass laws against?

        I say the same thing I said before about racism:  can’t we all agree that elitists suck?

        1. Davis Progressive

          from what i understand of the event – i wasn’t able to make it this year – they invited people to speak about their experiences.  not everything had to do with racism clearly.  so what?

          if you’ve had to deal with it – why aren’t you more sympathetic to those who have to deal with it?

          elitists suck.  great.  that doesn’t help very much.  i think awareness and understand are critical here.

        2. Alan Miller

          “not everything had to do with racism clearly.  so what?”

          That wasn’t my point at all.  I’m talking about the things that were alleged to be racism.

          “if you’ve had to deal with it – why aren’t you more sympathetic to those who have to deal with it?”

          Sympathy is irrelevant.  Racism is an ugly energy in any person.  There is a tone in the article that implies that because those that spoke thought the incident they experienced was race based, therefore it was.  I am unable to ascertain that from any of what was said.  I am not saying it isn’t true.  I find someone speaking at such an event about one side of an incident unhelpful to do anything about preventing a recurrence should the incident be race based.  That is the goal, is it not?

          “elitists suck.  great.  that doesn’t help very much.  i think awareness and understand are critical here.”

          I didn’t say it helped.  This is the first time I can recall that someone questioned if an event was racism, and the answer was, well maybe it isn’t, maybe it is elitism.  I was rather perplexed by the answer, and what you meant by it, and what the connotations of that would be — if it were a call to further have Davis examine itself for elitism as well as racism?  And is elitism something that needs to be stamped out, like racism, or are elitists merely another form of jerk, and it’s better to just avoid them, as they don’t really hurt anyone but themselves?

    2. Barack Palin

      Alan Miller, my feelings exactly.  Why are the race baiters always trying to drag us through the mud.  I get so f’ing tired of the continual shopping for race related problems.  If we have a problem it will get dealt with harshly and swiftly, but all these borderline stories or things that happened 10 years ago serve no purpose except to keep the race baiting cottage industry going.  Like you said, there’s no need to brand Davis as racist, it serves no purpose. And yes, racist jerks suck.  We agree.

      This isn’t a racist community by any stretch of the imagination. There are a few very isolated incidents, we aren’t perfect, no community is. But for outsiders looking in they probably think we’re a terrible community because of all the bullshit being spewed.

      1. Alan Miller

        BP, agree.

        I believe that those you refer to as “race baiters” posses a way of thinking so ingrained that they do not see themselves as such even as you speak of them.  Similarly, I doubt racists would see themselves as such even as you speak of them.

        Logic fails in either case.

      2. Alan Miller

        By the way, I’ve meant to ask:  from your picture, I assume you to be a mixed-race hermaphrodite?   If therefore assume if anyone could speak on the subject of racism and discrimination in Davis, it would be you.

        1. Alan Miller

          I guess I’ll have to wait for the next “Community Breaks the Silence of Racism and Other Indignities” forum.

          BP, you are the MAN!

          . . . I mean WOMAN!

          . . . I mean HERMAPHRODITE!

    3. Tia Will

      Alan

        I see no evidence in any of the stories one way or the other.”

      I am a little confused. You see no evidence of racism in the story of a self avowed white supremacist who will not allow a blood draw because the phlebotomist is African American. What other mechanism do you think would be operative in this case if not racism. What other than racism would account for the request to write into a chart an order saying that no one other than whites could participate in her care ?

      1. Alan Miller

        That is obviously a racist jerk you encountered.  As I stated in a previous article, I thought you handled it well.  Yes, that is a case where you encountered a racist.  There are of course racist jerks in Davis and everywhere.   Relating that is good as an example of how an individual could handle such a person.  Do we need a forum about “breaking the silence” to do so?  What silence?  I don’t think it’s a secret that racists exist, everywhere.  I am thankful that racism is not as extreme as it once was (well within my lifetime).  My belief, from my encounters with younger people, is that they are less racist as a whole than older generations and therefore this trend of more people seeing people as people will continue.

         

        1. Tia Will

          Alan

          Relating that is good”

          I don’t think it’s a secret that racists exist, everywhere.  I am thankful that racism is not as extreme as it once was (well within my lifetime)”

          It is my belief that a large part of the reason that racism has become less extreme is because people are willing to speak out about it on a regular basis. And how better to do that in forums where individual stories are told ? I believe that racism might still be as extreme had the Rosa Parks and Selma and Birmingham stories not been portrayed as not just an illustration of what we all know, that racism exists in the abstract, but rather how it continues to affect individuals. We see it less here in Davis than in some other communities. To me this does not mean that it should not be called out publicly when we do  see it so that we can continue to address the issue rather than rest on our laurels.

  11. Tia Will

    BP

    I would like to point out to you that the child of the supremacist is very likely today a 10 year old who is being raised as a racist. This seems quite current and applicable to me today.

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