My View: Demands of Black Students Should Be Evaluated on Their Merits

Students silently march through Campus from the Memorial Union to Mrak Hall
Students silently march through campus from Memorial Union to Mrak Hall

Every time a racial issue occurs in our own community there are a number of parallel conversations that take place. First is a discussion about to what extent the racial incident was actually a racial incident. Second is a discussion about to what extent the incident does or does not mean that Davis is an overtly racist community. And third is a discussion of the merits of the remedies.

What becomes clear in these discussions is that, at least on the Vanguard, there is a wide variety of perceptions of what this community is like, and that whites and people of color have very widely divergent experiences, and therefore perceptions, about the community.

If you listen to blacks and Latinos describe their perceptions about their everyday experiences in this community, you might have trouble believing it is the same community that white people experience. That there is a racial divide in this country to this day is a point with which I think most would agree, but that it is as stark even in a small like community like Davis, many may not appreciate.

Part of my frustration over the last week has been that, for once, there has been a series of well thought out and articulated “demands” by African American students at UC Davis. While some of the new ones appear to be relatively non-controversial, at least in terms of racial issues, some of the initial demands from 2015 appear more controversial.

The notion of safe spaces appears to be at the center of a more national controversy. The right has pushed back on the idea of “safe spaces,” seeing that using the term “safe” connotes an image of fear of violence instead of being used to shield the students from ideas or statements that might be seen as offensive.

The ASUCD President used the term “unsafe” to describe how African Americans felt on the UCD campus. Some took this, in the aftermath of a violent attack on a student, to mean “safe” from violent attacks, but my read is that this is much more complex than either the conservative criticism or the ambiguous use of the term “safe.”

Over the years, what I have heard in conversations and discussions is that African American students, as extreme minorities in the population, feel “uncomfortable” in Davis. Some of this may be self-consciousness that they feel like they stand out in a heavily white town. But then there are allegations of racial profiling, walking and driving while black, and even disparate treatment in places of business and eating establishments.

In that context, safe doesn’t mean protection from physical attack or even protection from ideas, it means being in a place where they don’t have to be the extreme minority that everyone is looking at.

The problem we get into quickly is the pushback from those who see requests and demands for a safe space as a parallel to the desire for segregation, such as the Jim Crow exclusion laws in the south. Should whites have a safe space?

One answer to that question is that whites have many “safe spaces” as the numerical majority and the dominant group in society. Another point is that Jim Crow laws were meant to enforce segregation as a way to maintain white supremacy in society, whereas a safe space is a way to give a vulnerable minority a place to breathe without the social pressure of being the one African American student in class.

What a lot of the pushback is missing is that racism is not simply prejudice against another race, it necessarily entails power. Racism not only implies that someone holds a set of prejudices against someone from another race, but it specifically implies oppression. Jim Crow was a means to use separation between the races to specifically keep the black people of the south as second class citizens.

Safe spaces do not have the same purpose or implication.

It is in this context, then, that we understand the student Recruitment and Retention Plan.

The students articulately laid out their concerns: “Black representation at the UC has not increased from where it was twenty years ago. And while the rate of Black high school graduates in California has increased, there has only been a .3% increase in the enrollment of Black students into UC Davis since 2007.”

They continue, “Furthermore, since the passing of Prop 209 in 1994 that banned affirmative action, Black students have been underrepresented in the admissions pool with respect to our application numbers.”

They argue, “With low graduation rates (33% within 4 years for the 2010 cohort) and a small presence (3.2%), there is a critical need to retain and recruit Afrikan & Afrikan American students at UC Davis. Compared to Afrikan & Afrikan American students, white students’ performance level is 200% greater, demonstrating a distinct need to provide additional support.”

That seems to me, at least, that there is not only a legitimate concern, but an actual problem.

This is compounded by recent incidents of hate and bias that only exemplify, for the black student population, the need for additional support. Based on this, they push for retention and recruitment policies that they hope will help to remedy the problem.

The pushback came from the expected quarters. One poster: “I don’t think we should be admitting students or hiring teachers and staff according to a race quota system.” They would add, “Have you looked at the list of requests?  Are the things that they demand offered to all students?”

I think the more appropriate question is twofold. First, are the things they demand needed by the black students and, second, are they needed by all students?

That person continues, quoting from the report, “The drafting and implementation of an aggressive recruitment strategy plan by admissions to ensure the percentage of students among the Afrikan Diaspora at UC Davis is reflective of that of the population in California (currently 6%).”

They note, “UCD has 28% white students when the current CA consensus shows 38% white, should UCD then have to actively recruit more white students? UCD has 37% Asian students when CA consensus shows CA 14% Asian, should UCD stop Asian admissions?”

These are complicated questions. But I think the “demands” of the black students need to be evaluated separately from the questions about white and Asian enrollment. We should be asking whether the students have legitimate concerns about the underrepresentation of the black population and perhaps even more so about the low graduation rate of students once they are at UC Davis.

Is this low graduation rate due to student climate and the difficulties of being an extreme minority at an institution of higher learning? What can we do to improve their experience and increase the graduation rate?

To me this is not about a number, this is about whether there is a problem. The situation with black underrepresentation is very different from the issues of white and Asian enrollment.

But, instead of asking the question of whether there is a problem with African American students, the pushback is almost a variant of the All Lives Matter question. When protesters rallied in the face of police shootings of blacks, with the mantra Black Lives Matter, the pushback was that All Lives Matter.

The fact is all lives do matter, but stating that ignores the problems in the black community. It undermines the point made that in the legal system some lives appear to matter less than others. It ignores the inequity of the system.

And that’s what we have here. The black students are rising up because of specific problems that are occurring on the college campus. Those problems are not solved by the notion that all students should be offered all services, instead, universities need to figure out how to better recruit and retain African American students – because there is a problem there.

And if other problems are identified with other groups of students, then we need to figure those problems out and address them specific to their own situation.

Finally, there is the question that arises as to whether Davis is a very racist community. Honestly, I don’t think that’s even the proper question. If one incident occurs in Davis, and it’s a problem, we need to address it. One incident is too much.

There is a racial divide in America, and Davis is not immune to that. This is not the Jim Crow south, but it is also not the melting pot of diversity, and sometimes I think we are not conscious enough about the latter. I think I’m going to leave it at that for now.

—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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116 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    Is this low graduation rate due to student climate and the difficulties of being an extreme minority at an institution of higher learning?

    This applies to all students regardless of race when they don’t graduate:

    Is it because of not attending class?

    Not doing the work involved?

    Being accepted to a university when one’s prior grades and qualifications weren’t up to the usual standards of the institution?

    Spending too much time in activist activities instead of doing one’s college work?

      1. South of Davis

        Don wrote:

        > Unfortunately, those remain racially segregated

        > to a very large degree (then attached a link about Alabama).

        It is sad but true that in Alabama and other parts of the south fraternities and sororities are still mostly white.

        This is NOT the case here at UC Davis (or any other California school).  My nephew is a member of a major national fraternity at Cal and over half of the guys in his fraternity are members of a minority group (his roommate in the fraternity house is African and they laugh when people call him “African American” and he tells them that his family still lives in Africa)…

        P.S. When I was a student at a public college in California a Latino fraternity brother told me that he was getting free tutoring, but when I went in I was told that the free tutoring was for “minorities only” and that I would have to pay for it (as recently as 10 years ago this was still true).

        https://www.facebook.com/GreekLifeatDavis/

        1. Frankly

          Good point.  Which bright to light one the things that aggravates me about West-coast social justice people that are stuck on a racism narrative.  It is like they lost their nickle in a dark and stinkin’ sewer but cannot stop looking for it in the green grass of a sunny park.

          If you want to really fight racism move to the South instead of ginning up purpose in the most progressive and inclusive place on the globe.

    1. David Greenwald

      I think the point you are missing is that students suffering from culture shock, isolation, and alienation is going to perform subpar academically. None of your comments address these concerns.

      1. Frankly

        This is a “soft bigotry of low expectations” comment.

        I ask how material are these things really in explanation?    It is really good for people to establish an expectation that their life struggles should be made easier from legislation… that things stemming from what are really personal, cultural and social differences will somehow be made less from top-down legislation and persecution of those that might be critical?

        We have eliminated institutional racism and now we thing we need to legislate how people might make eye contact so as to not caused any hurt feelings?

        Give me a break.

        The way I see the world, your narrative is more harmful than helpful to the very people you would claim to be helping… but also it is a narrative that is suspiciously beneficial to your politics because it sets up the victim mentality… and of course victims need saviors since they are persecuted by bad people with power and are incapable of saving themselves.

        There are gaps that everyone needs some help with from time to time so they can progress in steps required to be come happy and successful in life.  I’m all for providing a hand-up when needed.  What you are doing is trying to make the gaps go away, or by creating a different and easier path for those you see as a group-victim that isn’t really representative of real life.  If you create enough different and easier path for group-victims you will effectively segregate groups and cause greater social and cultural divisions.

        Life is hard and it is full of idiots and insecure people.  Everyone has to learn how to create and maintain meaningful and productive relationships in this stew of human challenge.  You cannot legislate to make it easier without causing a social mess.  In fact, ironically, most of what you are critical of in terms of race relations today is the mess already caused by liberal policies already enacted in this failed line of thinking.

        I M O

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          We have eliminated institutional racism and now we thing we need to legislate how people might make eye contact so as to not caused any hurt feelings?”

          We are far, far from having eliminated “institutional racism”. Our judicial system and our prison system demonstrate this. And even if “institutional racism” were at an end, we are even further away from equality of economic opportunity. We have pockets of areas which remain “lily white”, not because blacks and Latinos would not like to live there, but because their parents and grandparents could not acquire housing in areas to build equity in their homes at the same rate as could whites because no one would sell to them or lend to them to buy. This was not about “hurt feelings” but real economic, material harm.

        2. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > Our judicial system and our prison system demonstrate this.

          If you feel the Judicial and Prison system in Yolo County is racist can you name some of the racists that work there and specifically what they do that is “racist”?

          > We have pockets of areas which remain “lily white”, not because

          > blacks and Latinos would not like to live there

          Can you name a couple of these areas that remain “lily white” where blacks and latinos want to live?

        3. Miwok

          We are far, far from having eliminated “institutional racism”.

          Dr Tia, you exaggerate a bit. UCD is one of the most accommodating places on Earth. There will always be one or two unhappy people and people who pick up on it to make their life miserable.

          There are also people who want to pick on people they don’t know anything except blanket statements like this. The people I know on Campus who are the most biased are the people who make statements like this, usually managers and others, and the ones who profit from it, the minorities. 35 years ago the UC decided they were going to get more women and minorities in the Staff and Student areas because of obvious bias. I worked with and for them. Last year I finally had enough, the actions were pretty much the same, but people of color were saying it.

          The Flashback was too much for me. They learned nothing from the exercise.

  2. Misanthrop

    “Being accepted to a university when one’s prior grades and qualifications weren’t up to the usual standards of the institution?”

    Scalia had recently made the same type of remark in a case pending before the court and drew this response:

    “Leading Democrats are condemning the words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as ‘racist,’ after he implied that African American students should be attending “slower-track” schools during the oral arguments of an affirmative action case focused on the admissions policy of the University of Texas.”

    You are probably going to miss him.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/top-democrats-bash-scalias-affirmative-action-comments-as-racist/

    1. Barack Palin

      Misanthrop, I gave some reasons why students may not graduate.  In all of your wisdom why don’t you educate us as to some of the reasons students do not graduate.

        1. Bojack

          Don’t a lot of people feel “socially isolated and unsupported”? You repeat that mantra as if you are trying to block out any dissentimg opionion. You cannot connect dots between feeling outcast a school and bad grades/dropping out, otherwise myself and certain people I know would never have graduated. Tutoring/mentoring and some money thrown their way for such things is the answer. Not so much a mural and not so much apologizing for students not immediately fitting in.

    2. zaqzaq

      Misanthrop,

      You cannot have an honest discussion about the high black failure rate without including the quality of the high school educatoin recieved by the students coming into UCD.  How well their high schools prepared them for college is a fair question.  Affirmative action was designed to admit under represented ethnic minorities in whose academic qualifications were inferior to the rest of the applicant pool.  This created a stigma that individuals in certain ethnic groups were only admitted based on race and not academic qualifications.

      Other relevant questions surround why black UCD students dropped out.  Was it based on academic performance,  lack of financial resources, substance abuse, mental health issues or because they are uncomfortable as an extreme minority?  There may be other relevant questions.  You cannot eliminate one area under the guise when someone calls it racist.

      Having racial preferences for one means taking from another.  At some point we need accept that a system based on qualifications and performance may have certain ethnic groups over represented in certain activities based on a number of different factors.

  3. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > One answer to that question is that whites have many “safe spaces”

    > as the numerical majority and the dominant group in society.

    So are you in favor of “whites only” safe spaces in parts of South Sacramento where they are not the “numerical majority” or “dominant group”?

    Things are not perfect today but they have been basically getting better for 50 years.  Putting up a bunch of signs at a public building that say “blacks only”  will be a step backward.

    P.S. Any idea what will happen when someone like Jennifer Beals (who is half black) or my friend Craig (who is 1/4 black) comes in to the “safe space” and someone does not “feel safe” with a “white looking” black person?

    http://a.abcnews.com/images/Social_Climber/GTY_jennifer_beals_tk_140310_16x9_608.jpg

      1. South of Davis

        David wrote:

        > I think I addressed this point in the piece

        Think again, I just re-read the piece and you did not say if you are in favor of white safe spaces where whites or the minority or what people should do if someone does not feel “safe” around a mixed race person.

        1. David Greenwald

          End of the ninth paragraph, “Should whites have a safe space?” The two points I make are that whites already have numerous safe spaces and while whites may be in numeric minorities, they are never in the vulnerable power deficit that blacks find themselves in on a daily basis.

        2. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > whites already have numerous safe spaces

          Please tell us where these “numerous” “whites only” safe spaces in Davis and on the UCD campus.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          I think conservative students need “safe places” on liberal college campuses, but we wouldn’t have any racial criteria.

          While that at first was posted as a joke,m I do know of 3 conservative individuals who don’t feel safe voicing their beliefs on the Davis campus. Dinesh DSouza and Ann Coulter get shouted off / out of liberal college campuses.

  4. Misanthrop

    I haven’t seen a description of what one of these “safe spaces” would be like. I think its important to know what is being talked about so that the concept can be fairly evaluated.

    I do find the references to Jim Crow, in typical Davis style, described as something that happened somewhere else revealing about our vision of Davis’ history on race. Davis had the harshest race related restrictive covenants on deeds of anywhere pre-Rumford. Ask anyone who owns property downtown who has thoroughly read the title report for their home. The restrictions are still in the records just no longer enforceable.

    1. hpierce

      The author’s point,

      Davis had the harshest race related restrictive covenants on deeds of anywhere

      is untrue, as written… it is true that like MOST communities, primarily white in the 40’s/50’s, there were many CC&R’s were pretty damn racist… I’ve personally read many of the same deeds referred to… Davis was neither unique, nor worse than other communities.  The language was “boiler-plate”… copied time and time again pretty much everywhere in those days.  Even prior to the Fair Housing Act, have NEVER seen ANY indication that they were ever enforced

      Strongly suspect 95% of all property owners, even at the time, were unaware of those provisions… I’m into history, and so knew about them…
       

      1. Misanthrop

        I heard a UCD professor who had studied restrictive covenants on the radio, and I’m sorry that I don’t remember his name, say that the fines associated with the covenants were the worst he found anywhere. So it might be in the ordinance instead of the covenants. I can’t remember if he said the fines were $1000/day or $10,000/day for violations  but in pre 1960’s dollars they were serious fines.  My point however, whether we were the worst or simply as bad as everyone else, is that Davis had its own sort of Jim Crow era and that by only looking for racism elsewhere we forget that it wasn’t that long ago when it was common here.

  5. Tia Will

    A different perspective.

    I am conflicted about the concept of “safe spaces” designated by race. My hope would be that eventually the entirety of UCD and Davis would be a “safe space” for all of us. Obviously, we have not yet achieved that state. This is clearly demonstrated by the number of protestors who do not share the feeling of safety that I, as a white woman in my sixties, have clearly expressed here on a previous post.

    So what is my objection to “safe spaces” provided for distinct groups whether it be by race, gender, religion, sexual preference… ?  They tend to be isolating. As such they tend to provide not only “safety” but also disempowerment, derision, distrust, and dislike from those who already enjoy more power. Consider the most extreme examples that I can conceive of, “protection” by physical separation, the women of extremist religious cultures. Two examples the first quite small, the second societal.

    1. Women being ask to change seats on a plane so that a man of an extreme faction of the Jewish faith might not be tempted into sexual thoughts or feelings by the mere presence of a woman in the seat next to him. The most recent case making the news involving a man estimated in his 50’s and an 81 year old woman. The actual effect of this desire for separation by the man ?  He is not asked to change seats, or book a different flight. The burden is on the woman to accommodate the entirely irrational belief on the part of the man.

    2. In Muslim extremist controlled societies women are segregated from unrelated men at all times. While this may feel “safe” to women who have been raised with this as their norm, it completely removes them from the power structures within their societies. Their isolation may “protect” them in a very superficial sense, but it robs them of the daily interactions in which decisions are made affecting their lives and those of their children, particularly their daughters.

    I understand the feeling of not being safe, or welcomed. I grew up in the 50’s, a time when women were largely relegated to the home and certain “appropriate jobs” such as teaching, nursing, secretary, waitress) and were prescribed certain “modest clothing”, “ladylike behaviors”, and not going outside alone at night. I do know what it is to not be fully accepted as an equal in my own society having been told repeatedly as a woman that I would not be able to become a doctor. I also understand that success is often dependent upon demonstrating personal merit, proving to the individuals who do hold power that you are strong, independent, knowledgeable, and resilient and will provide a strong and unique contribution to their group.  It is very hard to demonstrate these attributes from a place of concealment no matter how much more comfortable you may feel there.

    So my concern is not that the establishment of “safe spaces” is unfair to whites, who already enjoy a feeling of safety here in Davis and on the UCD campus. It is that there may be unintended negative consequences for those who avail themselves of these safe spaces rather than using their college years to interact as fully as possible with those who are favored by our current institutions.

     

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        As to your point one… do you mean this?”

        I was actually referring to a NYT article from 2/26/16 regarding a discrimination law suit being brought the the affected 81 year old woman asked to move. But the issue and underlying principle are the same.

        1. Misanthrop

          I had just the opposite thing happen to me on El Al once when I was in my 20’s. I was settling in for the long flight from NYC to Tel Aviv when a security guy came up and asked the beautiful Israeli actress that was sitting next to me to move. The security guy apologized and sat down next to me. They didn’t know who I was and it being El Al they took no chances.

    1. Barack Palin

      So my concern is not that the establishment of “safe spaces” is unfair to whites, who already enjoy a feeling of safety here in Davis and on the UCD campus.

      How do you know this?  Feeling safe or unsafe is an emotion.  “Unsafe” is the new buzzword of activists because there’s usually no way of proving that a person does indeed feel unsafe or are they just saying that in order to play the victim?  If a group of whites were to come forward and say they felt unsafe on campus, for whatever their reasoning, they should be allowed the same special treatment as all the other groups.

       

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        How do you know this?  “

        You are correct. I do not “know” it. But I have the evidence of my own experience, and the statements of conservative posters here on the Vanguard that there is no significant racism in Davis as perceived by them ( you being one) . Since there seems to be fairly broad agreement across the ideologic spectrum that racism is not an issue for us personally, I over generalized to state that I believe that this is the majority white experience. My apologies for stating as fact what is only my opinion.

        I would certainly stand corrected if anyone who is white feels unsafe in our community based on the color of their skin alone. I will publicly stand corrected if any white individual is experiencing fear based on racism in Davis, but I would need the assertion made by an identifiable individual first.

    2. David Greenwald

      “So my concern is not that the establishment of “safe spaces” is unfair to whites, who already enjoy a feeling of safety here in Davis and on the UCD campus. It is that there may be unintended negative consequences for those who avail themselves of these safe spaces rather than using their college years to interact as fully as possible with those who are favored by our current institutions.”

      I think while you raise a good point, the question is how the space will be used – periodic chance to relax without social pressure is one thing, camping out in there to avoid the outside world is another.

      1. South of Davis

        David wrote:

        >  whites, who already enjoy a feeling of safety here in Davis

        Sounds like David is “dismissing the“emotion” of any white people who don’t feel “safe” as “invalid.”

        1. David Greenwald

          As Tia noted, you’ve created a false narrative by failing to lay the foundation that such a group even exists, and then you wish to attack me by saying I’m dismissing the emotion of a fictional and unidentified group of people.

        2. hpierce

          David… a “false” narrative, or an “undocumented” one?  There is a difference, you know…  I agree that, to date, the ‘narrative’ is not documented… that doesn’t mean it is false…

      2. Tia Will

        David

        periodic chance to relax without social pressure is one thing, camping out in there to avoid the outside world is another.”

        I absolutely agree. And,I think that it may be very hard for students in this age range, with very little experience in the “outside world” beyond their homes, to judge the difference. It took me until I was 24 to gain the maturation and self confidence to shed the cultural expectations of my upbringing and the dominant culture of my time sufficiently to follow my personal dream. I doubt that I would have done so if I had joined a sorority or in any way shielded myself from the male dominated pre med courses and interactions of my day.

        1. David Greenwald

          That’s the problem overall, we are thrusting young and inexperienced people into a difficult position where they have not only their challenging coursework to deal with but social pressures of this sort. In fact, on Monday, this point was made by the speakers repeatedly as a concern.

        2. wdf1

          B.P.:  Every student is thrust into the same situation with challenging coursework and social pressures of one sort or another.

          When you had kids in college, you could give them background as to what to expect, and why they should go to college.

          But if you are a first generation college student, then they’re not having those conversations and experiences with their parents, and the burdens are higher.

        3. hpierce

          Not all who are first generation college students are ‘minorities’… I was ‘first generation’ in my family… and yeah, freshman year was rough, but you make a good point… ALL first gen college students should be targeted for more support/encouragement… even if they’re “white”…

        4. Barack Palin

          In fact my oldest daughter caught mono her freshmen year at UCD.  She wanted to come home to us in the Bay Area but decided to stick it out.  It was a long hard six weeks for her but she got through it.

        5. wdf1

          hpierce:  ALL first gen college students should be targeted for more support/encouragement… evenif they’re “white”…

          Point taken.  But what campus staff (campus police, for instance) need to be aware of is not picking out blacks or Latinos for extra scrutiny or comment because they don’t fit earlier profiles of what a typical UCD student looks like or should be.

          An example from my earlier years in Davis: a professor in the UCD Spanish Department made a disparaging comments about Chicano literature because it included “spanglish,” a mix of English and Spanish that starts sound a little unrecognizable to speakers of more pure English or Spanish.  He called it “barrio crap.”

          Before you take the side of the UCD Spanish professor, keep in mind that was the very same criticism leveled at Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” because he wrote it in imitation of both contemporary black dialect of his time, but also a less educated white dialect. That is a work that is more broadly considered a masterpiece of American literature these days.

          There are assumptions made about students who come from newer cultures to the college environment that are unwelcoming and build up resentment. This is in addition to being a first generation student.

        6. hpierce

          wdf1… your 12:13 post… what made you think I’d back the professor or the police?

          Sounds similar to the same assumption you rail against… and you are right to rail against those assumptions, yet you apply assumptions to me… mirror time…

          Was that a racist assumption because I’m “white”?  I actually was raised “color-blind” as to individuals… I was taught to recognize that others didn’t believe/act that way, and that I should “buck that”… I have… my spouse and I have raised our children the same way…  as Billy Joel sang, “I am an innocent…” Yet you and others accuse me as guilty…

        7. wdf1

          hpierce:  I didn’t think you would back the police behaving that way.

          But in my experience, I have had a lot of conversational response backing the UCD professor.  I gave the qualification of Huckleberry Finn pre-emptively to give you or anyone else the chance to opt for the high road and point out what an ignorant racist bastard I must be, and thoroughly school me.  Well played.

          My apologies.

        8. Frankly

          Interesting post from wdf1.  Sounds to me like a new progressive expectation that we eliminate assimilation and adjust for multiculturalism so all students from everywhere feel immediately accepted.

          I was thinking about US students that attend school abroad… exchange students and those that attend college overseas.   Do they expect that the local culture will be altered so that these kids automatically feel completely “normal”?

          I remember Bhupinder.  He worked for me about 25 years ago.  He was from India.  Smart guy.  He complained to me all the time that he wasn’t treated well.  The other employees would tell me that they could not understand him, and he did not listen.  He had a very thick accent.  And he had not been in the US long enough and had not put enough effort into assimilating to the cultural norms.  He was often in conflict with the standards of the work culture.  He was often frustrated.

          So was it the responsibility of the company and the employees to change so that Bhupinder felt more accepted and “safe” and less stressed?  Or was it just Bhupinder’s challenge to learn how to fit in?

          I can tell you that progressive business is all about diversity but aslo collaboration and teamwork.  Someone that rejects assimilation into the norms of the team will not be considered a strong performer.  These are the soft skills that we all need to develop.

          Are you doing kids a diservice with a bleading heart over these struggles?   I think so.  The better approach is to work with them to help them develop these skills so they can effectively assimilate.

        9. wdf1

          Frankly:  I was thinking about US students that attend school abroad… exchange students and those that attend college overseas.   Do they expect that the local culture will be altered so that these kids automatically feel completely “normal”?

          I attended a university in Latin America for a year in an exchange student program.  No, I didn’t expect to be treated with any extra-ordinary deference.  I knew why I was there — to learn to speak Spanish better, survive on my own in a foreign country, and have interesting experiences.  I was offered the chance to room with other Americans while I was there.  I said no thanks and roomed with other students from Latin America.

          Nevertheless, I was sometimes treated with some deference at times because of being a fluent English speaker.  I was a science major.  English is the international language of science.  Scientists from around the world who write major publications of their research in science journals write them in English, whether they are Chinese, Russian, French, Brazilian, or whatever.  Sometimes I was consulted to explain some terms or phrases from papers that weren’t easily understood.

          Somewhat the way Spanish Immersion is a sought after program to some degree in Davis, better off families in this country sought to have their grade school kids enrolled in English immersion programs in private schools.

          But my college classes were conducted in regular Spanish.  I usually spent twice the time as native students doing homework and outside studying, mostly because of dealing with the language.

          There are a lot of ways in which Americans live more comfortably and with privilege and don’t realize or appreciate it.  That was one of the major things I learned. And one of those privileges is having a great public school system. If you have nothing to compare it to, then you don’t know how good you’ve had it.

  6. Tia Will

    SOD

    Sounds like David is “dismissing the“emotion” of any white people who don’t feel “safe” as “invalid.””

    I doubt he would if any such individuals were to be identified. I eagerly await the identification of any such individuals.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I doubt he would if any such individuals were to be identified.

      > I eagerly await the identification of any such individuals.

      Just this week someone posed that his girlfriend did not feel safe alone at night at UCD so he drove to pick her up. Every year there is a “take back the night” march where men and women march in Davis to raise awareness of sexual assaults (I have been to one of the marches and heard women publicly talk about feeling “unsafe”. Google even found that there is a “Davis Neighborhood Safety Walk”

      https://localwiki.org/davis/Davis_Neighborhood_Safety_Walk

      Rather than “dismissing the“emotion” that there are any white people who don’t feel “safe” “invalid.” like David I suggest that Tia call the UC Davis police department and/or Woman’s studies department and ask if they know of any white people who have ever felt “unsafe” in Davis.

      1. Tia Will

        SOD

        Rather than “dismissing the“emotion” that there are any white people who don’t feel “safe” “invalid”

        I do not dismiss anyone’s emotion. As a woman in my early 30’s, I did not feel safe going home from labs or study late at night. I did not feel safe specifically because of my gender and the concern about rape. However, the fact that I had a specific fear would never make me dismiss the fear of another, nor would it mean that I would not recognize that a black woman might have an additional basis for fear based on the color of her skin.

         

  7. Tia Will

    BP

    Do you truly doubt there are any white people in Davis or on campus who don’t feel safe for one reason or another?”

    Certainly I agree that white people may feel unsafe “for one reason or another”. That does not mean that minorities do not have all of those reasons…..plus the color of their skin as an additional burden. I do not believe that whites share this burden, unless of course you have examples or evidence in which case I would reconsider.

    1. hpierce

      You do realize, of course, Tia, that those of Indian/Pakistani descent, and pretty much all those whose origins are in the middle east are “white” and/or Caucasian by pretty much all official standards?

      You seem more focussed on “skin color” than almost anyone I have personally known in my 60+ years on this planet…

      Yet, David and others on this site imply I am racist, and/or a ‘denier’… my children talked about their friends… they didn’t call them their Black friends, nor their Asian friends… they were just friends… yet many label all who are “white” racist or deniers… that’s BS…

      Yes there are jerks out there… but I resent being painted with the same brush… just because of my race… are you like a reformed smoker who rails against those who smoke?  [a metaphor]

      1. Barack Palin

        Good points Hpierce.  Who are the true problem, those that see everyone the same and want all people treated equal or those that continually point out different races and want special treatment for people of a different skin color?

      2. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Tia, that those of Indian/Pakistani descent, and pretty much all those whose origins are in the middle east are “white” and/or Caucasian by pretty much all official standards?”

        Having been married to a very swarthy Turk for years, I am keenly aware of how they consider themselves and how they are considered by “pretty much all official standards”. However, this did not stop him from being targeted on multiple occasions being verbally attacked as whatever nationality or race the aggressors erroneously judged him to be. It likewise did not stop me from enduring “n…..lover” shouts and the like from those who decided I should be called out for being with an individual of what they decided erroneously was a different race. This was not “a few jerks” it was common when we lived in Arizona and Southern California. In Northern California, we got this much less in Santa Clara and then here in Davis, but it still happened on occasion.

         

    2. zaqzaq

      Whites are also a minority on a campus.  There appear to be more Asians than any other ethnic category.  I wonder if any Asians don’t feel safe due to the color of their skin?

      I wonder if the only white guy on an NBA team feels unsafe?  Could he ask for a safe space or safe locker room?  Could he demand that the franchise hire more white players in order to make him feel safer due to the ethnic under representation on the team.  Can the concept of safe spaces be applied to the business world or is it solely applicable only to the academic.  Should Davis High School create a safe place for black high school students?  Once we start down this road where does it end.

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          Maybe it’s time for the men to start protesting.”

          Men already do. Please see the articles regarding men requesting that women change their seats on airplanes, both in the US and on foreign carriers. Apparently these men, and all of those of whatever religious persuasion that are so sexually intimidated by women that they feel that women have to be segregated in order for the men to “feel safe” with their own sexual feelings.

        2. David Greenwald

          Actually men have been a minority in college for twenty years now and that is something that bears scrutiny.  But it is not based on lack of opportunity, so it is a somewhat different issue.

  8. Tia Will

    Frankly

    If you want to really fight racism move to the South instead of ginning up purpose in the most progressive and inclusive place on the globe.”

    The perfect merger of hyperbole and irrelevancy. I sincerely doubt that Davis is the most progressive and inclusive place on the globe. But more importantly even if it were, that certainly does not mean that there is not room for improvement, nor that the best place to work on improvements is not exactly where you happen to be.

    1. Frankly

      Then name that place you see as more inclusive than Davis.

      And yes, it very well can be that there is no room for improvement from the top-down legislative social engineering approach.  When you are done pounding in all the nails you will only damage the wood by continued pounding.

        1. Frankly

          Wow.  Really?  Sacramento?  Fairfield?

          Have you spent much time in the working-class neighborhoods of S.F.?

          Vancouver B.C. is not more progressive and tolerant than Davis.

          There are bigots everywhere, but there is a smaller percentage in Davis than most other places.

        2. South of Davis

          Misanthrop wrote:

          > Sacramento, Fairfield, San Francisco, Vancouver B.C.

          > just to name a few. are “more inclusive” than Davis

          Sacramento, Fairfield and San Francisco all have racist white gangs (I don’t know much about Vancouver BC since I have only been there twice, but I didn’t see a single person that looked black or latino either time).  I have talked to many Davis police over the years and they have mentioned a tiny tiny bit of ethnic gang activity in town but no police officer I have talked to have ever mentioned white racist gang activity.

          http://archive.adl.org/nr/exeres/59ba6da7-fe3f-4994-971c-3e4cec4e1060,db7611a2-02cd-43af-8147-649e26813571,frameless.html

        3. Tia Will

          Then name that place you see as more inclusive than Davis.””

          My daughter and her SO have lived in Sacramento for the past three years and both of them consider it much more inclusive than Davis. I know because we were just discussing it at dinner last night.

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          Just curious as to what racist white gangs are in San Francisco? I lived there for many years. There were some small biker gangs in Martinez (refinery there), Castro Valley, and a few other places, but I’m not even sure they were racist per se. I’ve seen several so-called “white gangs” with Latino, Asian, and black members flying their colors on their bikes.

          Last I checked, one small wine country town had 22 known gangs, 21 were Hispanic.

        5. South of Davis

          TBD wrote:

          > Just curious as to what racist white gangs are in San Francisco?

          The Hells Angles have a “clubhouse” in SF and Sunset District Inc. have been beating up people of color in the Sunset District for decades (I went to summer school in the 1970’s in SDI “turf”).  There are also some smaller white gangs in SF (like the Russian/Eastern European guys in the Richmond Dist.).  If someone thinks a place where bikers have been sporting swastika and 666 tattoos and white trash punks have been beating people of color (and gay guys) for decades is “more inclusive” than Davis I guess their definition of “more inclusive” is different than mine (just like their definition of “safety” is different than mile)…

        6. TrueBlueDevil

          SOD, to be honest I’ve heard little of the Hells Angels the past years / decades. Yes, I’ve heard rumors and stories about the Russian gangs, but at present won’t comment. The crimes I’ve heard them commit (or assertions of crime) had nothing to do with race.

          As far as attacks against gay citizens, last I recall it was individuals from Hunter’s Point (young black men) who engaged in violent crimes in the Castro and North Beach. I’m unaware of this was part of gang activity. This was a big reason why the formerly open event of Halloween in the Castro was canceled (it is still held, just not on Halloween, and not publicized to outsiders do to valid safety concerns). Yes, I’ve gone to it several times.

        7. Frankly

          My daughter and her SO have lived in Sacramento for the past three years and both of them consider it much more inclusive than Davis. I know because we were just discussing it at dinner last night

          I have lived in the area since 1972.  Lived in Dixon and then Davis and commuted to Sacramento for my job for 24 years.  I know both Davis and Sacramento very well.  Sacramento is not more inclusive than Davis unless you are just talking about certain neighborhoods and the superficial counts of the number of people of certain victim groups.

          I am beginning to see the hypersensitivity light here.   It isn’t that Davis people are actually racist or intolerant, it is that they are primarily white.  That really upsets some people apparently.

          Evidence of diversity is not the same as evidence of inclusion.

          Something is broken here and it isn’t Davis.

  9. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Except for the fact that the flight originated in Newark, NJ, don’t think that “reflects” on America at all…”

    You are correct about the case I was referencing. I disagree that this does not “reflect” on America at all. While the specific case does not apply, the principle ( and you might note that I specified that I was discussing extreme cases) of harm inadvertently done by choosing isolation as a protective strategy remains universal. We are not exempt from unintended adverse consequences of isolation regardless of the groups choosing this strategy.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Glad you realized your example fell far short of “making your point”… progress”

        Except that I don’t agree that my example fell short. I felt that you did not understand my point and therefore I needed to clarify. We will truly see progress when we quit making assumptions about what the other is thinking and about our motivations.

    1. hpierce

      managed to drive away any new voices to the conversation…

      Your evidence (causation)?  Perhaps the solution is to filter out any poster who posts more than once a day… would be an interesting experiment…

  10. Misanthrop

    “Misanthrop, I gave some reasons why students may not graduate.  In all of your wisdom why don’t you educate us as to some of the reasons students do not graduate.”

    First I wouldn’t speculate on why people are not succeeding. I would want to know more before spouting off on the reason.

    The University of Texas has had some success increasing graduation rates among first generation college and minority students. Two approaches they have used are coaching students about the isolation they often feel being a normal thing and common to most students who are away from home for the first time. Simply letting them know that what they are feeling isn’t unusual  seems to reduce drop out rates.

    A second approach is to place at risk students into small tutorial learning groups where they are taught the same rigorous curriculum but with more support.

    These are two strategies that come to mind and I’m sure UCD is trying things to support struggling students whatever the issues. Don’t forget that large numbers of students come to the universities today in need of remediation in math or english as they have for at least the last 40 years. My guess is that remediation has been around as long as schools have existed.

    1. hpierce

      Agree with you and BP on this… the academics were pretty easy… the social issues were the biggies, but that ended up messing with the academic side… I was terribly shy/introverted… it resolved with time.  Took about two quarters @ UCD…

  11. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Ok… your experience/reality is just that… why is that projected on all?”

    I was responding directly to your question about what I do or do not understand about dark skinned people from the Middle East, not making any projection what so ever.

  12. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Please note you said “Men do.”  You chose not to say “some men” nor “many men”.  ‘All men are the same’, right?”

    Oh for heaven’s sake. If it applies, own it. If it doesn’t then why make a point ? I  said “men”, not all men or 25% of men, or 50 % or 75%…..you just decided to interpret it as you wanted.

  13. Tia Will

    SOD

    If you feel the Judicial and Prison system in Yolo County is racist can you name some of the racists that work there and specifically what they do that is “racist”?”

    I said nothing at all about the judicial system in Yolo County. Since there is no prison in Yolo County, I certainly could not have been addressing that which does not exist. What I was referencing was the California prison practice of sending prisoners from California State prisons out of state to private prisons located elsewhere in response to the lawsuits of Coleman vs Schwarzenegger and Plata vs Schwarzenegger the result of which were in part the establishment of a state prison receivership with the mandate to end the overcrowding of the California prison system.  If you are not familiar, just Google it. This has been going on for decades. Wikipedia has a clear summation.

    > We have pockets of areas which remain “lily white”, not because

    > blacks and Latinos would not like to live there

    Can you name a couple of these areas that remain “lily white” where blacks and latinos want to live?”

    Well, I can certainly name one. My home town of Gig Harbor, Washington was a good example When I was growing up there in the 50’s and 60’s there were no blacks and no Hispanics although both groups were present just across the Narrows Bridge in Tacoma. I know that there is now one black couple who run a Cajun restaurant in the town, and one Hispanic family who run a Mexican restaurant. I do not know where they live and whether or not they own property.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I can certainly name one. My home town of Gig Harbor, Washington

      It looks like Gig Harbor, WA is about 90% white today (with over 800 people that are non white that means there are a lot more minorities than the black couple that run the Cajun restaurant and the Hispanic family that run the Mexican place)…

      http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/53/5326735.html

      Since you were the one that brought up the pockets of areas which remain “lily white”, not because blacks and Latinos would not like to live there” can you try and name one more of these “pockets”?

       

      1. Tia Will

        TBD

        Or do you want racial cookie cutter towns?”

        I actually could not care less about racial composition of a community as long as no member of that community feels uncomfortable or fearful within that community do to threats and aggressive behavior or others.

  14. tribeUSA

    Good article that helps to define what some minority students mean by feeling unsafe; but I would still like to get to the bottom of this issue!

    Looks like this is more of a cultural than a racial issue–the culture of university campuses such as UCD is mainly derived from a white tradition, and the majority of attendees are of Asian descent who have also largely adopted the traditions of white american culture.

    And it seems to me this feeling of unsafety is nothing more than a feeling–I believe the statistics would show that the % of black students who have been victims of violent crime on/near university campuses (at least in CA) is not significantly different from that of other races (low for all races, including blacks). We do want our perceptions to conform to reality, do we not? So if the perceptions are inaccurate, education about the statistics of violent crime on campus should help alleviate any feelings of disproportionate physical unsafety due to race.

    I don’t know what to say about the feeling of being unsafe due to concerns about not fitting in as well, which may mainly be due to cultural issues–the choice is there to adapt to the majority culture on campus (which is now mainly white/asian) or to stick with your own background culture and thus not fit in as well with the majority–all individuals of all races face the choice of how much they want to conform to the dominant culture that surrounds them–I think you will find that most students are OK with interacting with someone from a different cultural background.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      At least one professor on campus believes black students are under-represented as victims of crime as they are seen as stronger, more independent and assertive, maybe more “street smarts”, and asian and white students are seen as “easy targets” (asian students moreso).

      We need facts. Where are the city and campus statistics on crime?

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Facts would allow us to ascertain whether these hurt feelings and raw emotions are based on factual risks, or hysteria whipped up by the Left / George Soros / BlackLivesMatter crowd.

          Why are you wary of facts?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Am I missing something, or is this word games?

          A young black woman was attacked in some manner at 3 AM, and black students now say they don’t feel safe. This emotion didn’t come from rain, or solar flairs, or a KKK march. Further, they asked for a number of things – like additional lighting and call boxes – that were in response to a fear about crime.

          1. David Greenwald

            What you’re missing is you are too narrowly interpreting the reaction to this event as the driving factor in safety, whereas I see the attack as just one more point of concern. A lot of what the students talked about at the rally was not about physical safety but rather the need for institutional support from the university.

  15. Tia Will

    tribeUSA

    I think that you are describing the problem in dichotomous terms when it reality it should be seen as representing a spectrum. You have cited the fear in terms of violent crime and in terms of unsafely as “nothing more than a feeling” as though feelings were not in themselves very powerful.

    However, what you have left out is the middle ground. The queasy feeling of threat and the possibility of escalation to physical violence that occurs when one is the target of verbal threats and demands. I know that when I was with my ex husband, and the “n….lover” phrase was used, or it was demanded that he “go home” as though he was not already there, I would become very nervous if we were not in a well lit or crowded location. I think that it is these kinds of non reportable, but verbally abusive and threatening encounters and the thought that one may be subject to them at any time that causes this degree of discomfort and should not be discounted or trivialized.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Facts please, not feelings.

      What are the yearly statistics on campus and city crime per victims and criminals (in all crimes), so-called “hate crimes”, etc., broken down by race?

       

       

      1. Tia Will

        TBD

        While “feelings” may not matter to you, they clearly do matter to the 300 or so students who showed up to this rally. Please note that the major discussion was about “feeling safe” not about crime statistics. That is a topic for a different article.  While it is true that parts of our lives are governed by numbers, facts and evidence, and it is certainly true that I am an advocate for looking to this realm when we are considering issues that center around public policy making, there is an underlying realm that is essential to our humanity and that is the realm of emotion.

        We all value emotion. Some of the most important decisions of our lives are emotion driven. In our society we tend to select our life partners on the basis of the emotion of love rather than a spread sheet of their pros and cons. We tend to treat our family members differently than other members of the community because we love them and feel closer to them. Is there anyone reading who has not become so angry as to say or do something we wish we had  So we would probably all agree that emotions matter.

        But they do tend to manifest themselves differently based on where we fall on the political spectrum. Conservatives tend to use the emotion of “fear” differently than do liberals. Conservatives tend to use fear to promote more aggressive responses. If we have “rapists and criminals” crossing our borders, then the answer must be to make Mexico pay for a wall. If we have “criminals” in our society ( except white collar of course) then the answer must be to lock them up in inhumane conditions. If we have people who use guns to commit crime, then the answer must be to all arm ourselves, regardless of the possibility of self or unintended harm. Liberals tend to favor a protective, less aggressive response being willing to assess risk on a case by case basis. This is branded as weakness, and “bleeding heart” by many conservatives. My view is that it takes great internal strength to stand by one’s own peaceful principles unless their is imminent, immediate threat. Fear is not in and of itself weakness. It is, like pain, a warning signal to the individual that some form of action is needed. Fear can be life saving. But fear, like all emotions is a two edged sword. It can save our lives, but it can also cause us to act irrationally causing harm to ourselves or others who mean us no harm.

        Fear, just like love, or hate, or anger is in and of itself a signal to prompt us to action. That action may be constructive or it may be destructive. My goal would be that no individual in our society would ever experience fear or hate simply because of a physical trait.

         

         

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > Conservatives tend to use fear to promote more aggressive responses.

          > If we have “rapists and criminals” crossing our borders, then the answer

          > must be to make Mexico pay for a wall. If we have “criminals” in our

          > society ( except white collar of course)

          Just about all “conservatives” want to lock up the “white collar” criminals (who pay off both “liberal” and “conservative” politicians.)  The rise of Sanders and Trump has a lot to do with both liberals and conservatives getting sick of big government letting white collar criminals off.

          Edward Snowden tweeted yesterday “2016: a choice between Donald Trump and Goldman Sachs.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Tia, aren’t statistics away to ascertain whether these “emotions” are based on a consistent reality, or to see if they have been whipped up by opportunists and hysteria?

          BTW, where are we “inhumane” to our prisoners? Even prisoners in Gitmo get books, videos, health care, exercise, and halal food.

          SOD – Correct. Didn’t we learn in the book Clinton Ca$h that the Clinton’s made $321 Million giving speeches and raising money for the Clinton Foundation?

  16. Tia Will

    Miwok

    There will always be one or two unhappy people and people who pick up on it to make their life miserable.”

    I think that you mean 2-300 people who are feeling this kind of discomfort.

  17. TrueBlueDevil

    These allegations from the Left are typically driven by emotions and few facts. What are the yearly statistics on campus and city crime per victims, criminals, so-called “hate crimes”, broken down by race? Last I read, Jewish citizens were the number one target of hate crimes, though whites rarely have such labels placed on their crimes.

    I read articles about white and asian students in Davis assaulted with a pipe, gun, knife, raped, and there is no outcry. More often if looks like whites and asians are the victims, and people of color the perpetrators. But now we have George Soros, and the new fad of #BlackLivesMatter.

    What in the heck is an “extreme minority“? Has David trademarked this, or is this the new jargon from the Left? Last I looked Davis is a highly diverse campus, which includes many international students from all over the world.

    Our President, his Attorney General, wife, George Soros, and many others on the Left have pushed us back as far as race relations. As a Senator, he said “A white man’s greed runs a world in need.” How silly. When a prominent black teacher created a commotion in Boston, before the investigation even started Obama said “the police acted stupidly”. He and his minions attend the funerals of young black men with criminal histories who attempt to murder police officers, but don’t attend the funeral of a white Supreme Court Justice. That’s called – at least – petty.

    As far as black students under-performing asian, white, and other students, maybe the academic work of anthropologist Dr. Ogbu from UC Berkeley in Cleveland might help add some different facts.

    Interesting that a very liberal town like Davis is seen by the Left as “racist”, whereas I don’t read these complaints about Dixon, Woodland, Sacramento, or UC Irvine or UCSB. Only liberal campuses with liberal activism like UCLA often with large ethnic studies majors.

    1. David Greenwald

      Why do you keep bringing in crime?  My commentary didn’t mention crime.  In fact it specifically argued that “safe spaces” is not in reference to a violent attack.  Also, what is your preoccupation with George Soros?

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Hello, is anybody home?

        I thought the prime issue was a crime that was then labeled a hate crime, which the Left now see being solved by segregated safe places. The only way to see if there is a community pattern of ethnically disproportional crime is to see the crime statistics.

        1. David Greenwald

          I think you’re somewhat mistaken. The May 2015 requests by the students resulted from a number of factors. The recent hate crime led the students to ask that the university among other thing honor their commitments promised previously.

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