Korematsu and The Struggle For Civil Rights in Davis

Madhavi Sunder poses with Vanguard Founder David Greenwald following the event on Saturday
Madhavi Sunder poses with Vanguard Founder David Greenwald following the event on Saturday

by Madhavi Sunder

(Editor’s note: this is the speech delivered by School Board President Madhavi Sunder at the Vanguard 10th Anniversary Party on Sunday night)

It’s an honor to speak here tonight, especially with the inimitable Robb Davis. Having a leader with a strong moral compass is more important than ever right now. It is equally important that we have media that holds our elected officials to account, especially when they use their power to abuse the rights of minorities in their community.

I want to tell you a story that highlights the lack of both leadership that demonstrates concern for minorities, and a critical press that sounds the alarm at such failings.

More than a decade ago, I along with my husband and fellow law professor at the UC Davis School of Law Anupam Chander led a campaign to name our newest elementary school in Davis after the civil rights hero Fred Korematsu. Fred Korematsu was an Oakland-born Japanese American who grew up an all-American kid, hanging out with his friends and girlfriend in the Oakland Hills, a proud American citizen with equal rights under the U.S. Constitution, which he studied in school.

But when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, everything changed for Fred and his family, and some 120,000 other Japanese Americans in California and the Western states, including women, children, and the elderly. Executive Order 9066 sent all persons of Japanese ancestry living in the Western states, including American citizens, to live in internment camps behind barbed wire.  This was one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history.

Fred Korematsu was one of a handful of Japanese Americans who refused to report to the internment camps – he sought to vindicate his right as an American to equal protection of the laws, instead. With help from a lawyer from the ACLU of Northern California, Fred challenged the constitutionality of internment in the courts.

But the legal process is long and tedious, and Fred was sent to live in the internment camp in Topaz, Utah with his family while his case wound its way through the federal courts for years. When his case finally did make it to the highest court of the land, Fred lost. Despite no evidence that a single Japanese American had been involved in espionage or treason, in 1944 the Supreme Court upheld the racial profiling of a whole group of Americans (including American-born citizens) on the basis of race alone in the name of national security.

But Fred never gave up on his belief that what our government had done was wrong. Decades later, Fred had his day in court again. In the 1980s, a federal district court in San Francisco vindicated Fred in a decision that laid the groundwork for reparations for all Japanese Americans who had been interned.  In 1998 Bill Clinton awarded Fred the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is often referred to as the “Asian American Rosa Parks.”

Fred died in 2005, the same year I was asked to serve on a committee to name the newest elementary school in my East Davis neighborhood. I learned a great deal about Davis and our community’s history while leading the effort to name the new school after Korematsu in that summer of 2005. Though I was 8 months pregnant, I went door-to-door in the August heat to talk about Korematsu and why he would be a powerful role model for our children. Fred’s life and message particularly resonated with the plight of Muslim and Sikh Americans after September 11. More than 300 citizens signed a petition to name the school after Korematsu. This was my first campaign!

As I walked neighborhoods and our committee organized citizen hearings, I met myriad Davis citizens who came forward to recount how internment had affected them personally. We heard from:

  • Alice Nishi, the first Asian American to serve on the Davis School Board and at the time a 37-year Davis resident, spoke of her years as an internee;
  • Grace Noda told of her family’s forced separation: her father was sent to one camp, her mother to another, and she and her four sisters to a third. Her youngest sister graduated from high school in “camp”;
  • Jerry Kaneko, former Davis city councilmember, recalled being interned at a racetrack, forced to sleep in horse stalls; and
  • My own neighbor Kim Welborn told us her father was sent to an internment camp as a newborn, essentially born into a prison in a nation that stands for freedom.

Their testimonies made it clear: Korematsu represented our own neighbors and civic leaders in Davis. In all, 1300 people from Yolo County were evacuated to internment camps.

But the then-school board was still not convinced there was enough of a local connection with Korematsu.

Then we learned a dark Davis secret. Anupam’s and my research revealed that in 1943 the Davis City Council led by then-Mayor Covell unanimously passed a resolution that not only supported the federal internment order, but also demanded that internees of Japanese descent be prohibited from returning to Davis once the war ended. Our Davis leaders had said to Japanese Americans: don’t come back.

Upon hearing of this injustice, Jim Provenza, now county supervisor, cast the third vote on the Davis School Board in favor of naming the school after Korematsu. The following year, the City Council formally rescinded the 1943 resolution.

The story is not only about the absence of moral leadership in our community in 1943—but the absence of a critical press. The Davis City Council resolution in 1943 was passed unanimously—and was reported in the local paper without any apparent concern for its display of virulent racism.

Today, there have been those who have targeted the Muslim members of our community as being particularly suspect. We have seen law enforcement act with lethal force against innocent African Americans.

This week, one immigrant lawyer sought to draw attention to the efforts of some to treat people differently on the basis of religion. Speaking to the nation at the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan, a Pakistani American lawyer whose son was killed fighting for the United States in Iraq asked a politician who had sought to treat Muslims differently than others: have you even read the Constitution?

Here in Davis we must command the moral leadership that stands up to racism and xenophobia that threaten our neighbors and children. As President of the Davis School Board, I ask that we commit our Board and district to Principles of Community. From Orlando to Davis, our kids are watching, and we need to do everything we can to ensure all of our kids feel safe, included, and loved.

I want to commend the Davis Vanguard for its decade-long focus on social justice in our community. The Vanguard has focused a great deal of attention on the criminal justice system, as well as on our educational system—to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment for all members of our community. Thank you, David Greenwald, for the early mornings and the late nights reporting on our community. Your voice—and the forum you give to amplify all of our voices—makes our community better. Happy 10th Anniversary to the Davis Vanguard!

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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87 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    Here in Davis we must command the moral leadership that stands up to racism and xenophobia that threaten our neighbors and children.”

    I wanted to thank Madhavi for her lovely and inspiring presentation on Fred Korematsu and the ongoing importance of inclusivity and equality of treatment for all individuals in our society.

     

  2. MAli

    “Here in Davis we must command the moral leadership that stands up to racism and xenophobia that threaten our neighbors and children.”

    “I want to commend the Davis Vanguard for its decade-long focus on social justice in our community. ”

    Does Sunder have any sense of the irony in both praising the Davis Vanguard while calling for moral leadership? The Davis Vanguard comment section has been a platform for all sorts of racist and xenophobic hate speech over the course of its existence. David Greenwald has allowed this to go on in an effort to build his brand. His board hasn’t had the strength to put a stop to it and his moderator has been incapable of controlling it.

     

      1. Tia Will

        Hi Grok,

        I started to post the names of all of us, and then realized that this is not really what you are asking for since I believe that you would be better informed with both name and brief bio or resume.  I also noted that the last time I tried to address Vanguard related questions here the conversation went rather far astray.

        What I will do is to suggest to David that he post a brief article or update on the current board, our backgrounds and special interests.

        1. Grok

          Thanks Tia, noticing the inconsistency between number of board positions and number of board members spurred the question yesterday, then MALi’s post today about the board renewed the question. Please do post a list of names of board members (assuming that is public information), then by all means someone can certainly update the about us page later with more information.

        1. Grok

          OK, I get it, your busy, so just list who is on the board even if you don’t have time to put up pictures and bios. I can’t imagine that would take you very long. Looking at the Internet archives, it looks like the board was recently expanded from 5 people to 10, but the disclosed members went from 5 to 3. If the board membership is public, then publish the membership.

          1. David Greenwald

            Right now: Bob Fung, Tia Will, Alan Hirsh, Leanna Sweha, Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald, Rob White, Sean Raycraft, and Anya McCann. We have two open spots.

          1. David Greenwald

            Usually either the people who are interested reach out to me, or I reach out to people I think can add something to the board. Anyone who might be interested can send me an email and we can go from there.

    1. Barack Palin

      The Davis Vanguard comment section has been a platform for all sorts of racist and xenophobic hate speech over the course of its existence.

      I say this statement is crap.  Just because some of the commenters may not espouse your views it doesn’t make their views “hate speech”.  Please give some examples of this so-called hate speech that you say the Vanguard has been a platform for.  I haven’t seen it and I say it’s not there.

        1. hpierce

          BS… no reason to respond to an untrue comment [yet, here I am doing it, because the “cricket” thing… long in the tooth, I remember “Jiminy Cricket”, a voice of conscience…]

      1. Justice4All

        Hate speech may be too strong of a wording, but I agree with the sentiment. There are comments here I consider to be hateful, racist, bigoted, and at best ignorant of fact. The problems come with what individuals define hate speech as. For example, the poster known as Frankly has often referred to the “Black Lives Matter movement as racist”. That is a patently ignorant statement, not based in fact, but its the truth as he sees it. Someone else may say that statement is in fact hate speech or something else.

        1. Barack Palin

           The problems come with what individuals define hate speech as

          And there you have it.  It comes down to mostly what one’s political leanings are as to how one sees hate speech unless someone is outright being over the top blatant.

  3. Frankly

    Social justice liberal will never advance to their social equality utopia because they keep one foot rooted in an irrational historical reference applied to the present.   It appears to me that they have a insatiable need to fee sad as a call to action.   And since history tends to be the saddest of references, it is there they keep going to re-motivate.

    1. Justice4All

      There is history, and there is the 6 pm news. You speak as if racial injustice is somehow over in this country, when it is clearly not. True, progress has been made, but progress on racial issues is not equality now is it?

      1. Frankly

        “Racism” is defined as the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

        That no longer exists in institutions.  And it is rare in individuals.

        True racism has been materially eliminated.  Sure there are a small minority of ignorant twerps that think whites are superior.  There are blacks that think blacks are superior.  There are Asians that think Asians are superior.   But this will always exist because of human nature and tribalism.

        It is the 90-10 rule.  Why spend 90% of our social capital for problem-solving on this 10% remaining lack of utopian perfection.  What a waste.

        1. Justice4All

          Your statement is inherently contradictory at worst, or woefully ignorant at best. (in the sense of argumentation) Institutional racism is still something that happens every day. This isnt to say that its caused by some misguided few who actually believe in white supremacy, rather its couched in different words and actions. For instance, Steve King Republican of Iowa recently made comments about the superiority of western european culture and accomplishments while implying that other groups had not contributed anything significant to human progress. Its dog whistle politics at its finest.

          Ironically, this isnt the institutional racism I was talking about earlier. Its more about generational poverty and inequities in the education and health care systems that disproportionately segregate and otherize communities of color.

        2. quielo

          “inequities in the education and health care systems” Can;t agree more. For example in clinical trials to test new medications African-Americans have been significantly under-represented. Extensive out reach in the past decade has not changed this as African-Americans have a much lower participation rate in trials. That is when offered an opportunity to participate they refuse at much higher rates than whites. However blacks still expect to benefit from the clinical knowledge thus gained. What is your plan for lowering the risk burden on white people?

        3. Frankly

          Ironically, this isnt the institutional racism I was talking about earlier. Its more about generational poverty and inequities in the education and health care systems that disproportionately segregate and otherize communities of color.

          “color”

          Great.

          Conveniently leave out Asians as a minority group because it is inconvenient to your  race-obsessed “white supremacy” blame addiction.

          I actually agree with that these things you mention are problems.  But you and your political ilk are the ones perpetuating it.  You think Hillary Clinton if elected is going to push for inner city school reforms?  After 7.5 years of the messiah of hope and change… a black man… the inner city schools have gotten worse.  The economy of those urban black communities has crashed even further.

          You are on a “racism is the explanation for all of this” treadmill and it is taking us nowhere.

          I know how to fix the problems in the black community.  But the first step is to get enough people like you off your treadmill.

  4. Tia Will

    MAli

    I do not pretend to speak for David, however, I see a principle role of the Vanguard not as a moral compass for the community, but rather as a place for the exploration and sharing of ideas. Some of those ideas meet a very high moral standard, some clearly do not, and others are quite ambiguous as there is no consensus here on morality.

    1. tribeUSA

      Tia–good clarification. Each culture and person has differing sets of moral standards; and moral arguments tend to get heated–the facism of leftist censorship is no more justified than the facism of rightist censorship. Perhaps when there are strong disagreements about moral viewpoints in the Vanguard posts; we can strive to criticize (heatedly if felt) the ideas, while refraining from attacking the person posting and stooping to personal name-calling (as an anonymous poster I have endeavored to hold to this standard; though admittedly I have several times strongly criticized the verbal behavior and viewpoints of some of the people posting).

      1. Tia Will

        tribeUSA

        Perhaps when there are strong disagreements about moral viewpoints in the Vanguard posts; we can strive to criticize (heatedly if felt) the ideas, while refraining from attacking the person”

        It is precisely because I strongly believe in this kind of exchange and believe that we can do it that I have continued to participate in the Vanguard.

    2. hpierce

       

      Sorry folk… lest we go down to the lowest common denominator as to the american english vocabulary, can  we at least differentiate between the words “principal”, and “principle”? Pronounced the same, WAY different meanings… or should we take our model on the “pidgin english” of some?

  5. Alan Miller

    in 1943 the Davis City Council led by then Mayor Covell unanimously passed a resolution that not only supported the federal internment order, but also demanded that internees of Japanese descent be prohibited from returning to Davis once the war ended.

    Sounds like it’s time to rename Covell Boulevard.  An added advantage is finally having an excuse to dispense with that ridiculous Covell/Cowell thing that has plagued Davis for decades.

    1. Alan Miller

      Possible candidates to rename could include former, current and future mayors:

      Greenwald — the Boulevard could be named after both our former mayor and Davis’ decade-old blog editor, without distinction.  That would annoy both of them.
      Wolk — no, this naming should be saved more appropriately for a major pedestrian path.
      Davis — no, that would be a bigger mess than Covell/Cowell; or having a mayor with the same name as the town.
      Lee — possibly, but the “Boulevard” would have to be change to “Way” so the street name would be a pun; necessary in a town where everyone takes themselves too seriously.

    2. hpierce

      Alan… there is also a Covell Place…. not particularly near either street you reference… and yes, looking for crash data (and lousy handwriting by police in the past) you’d have to know the cross streets to be able to put crash records in context… artifact of ‘history’ in this “burg”…

  6. Justice4All

    There is a fine line between moderation and censorship, and its important that people feel free to post their opinions in this space. There is also a fine line between hate speech and free speech. Any line is inherently arbitrary, and the Vanguard board is working to come up with clear guidelines on commenting policy to improve the reading experience for everyone while preserving an open and free exchange of opinions and ideas. Its a difficult task.

    1. Barack Palin

      That’s fine as long as the V board comes up with a policy that’s fair to all and doesn’t just lean left.  While you guys are at it maybe the board should also look into doing something about the multiple alias posters on here.

      1. Justice4All

        Believe it or not, I usually side with the lack of censorship point of view. What angers me is the incredulity of some people who get called out for saying outrageous things. For example, poster A will say something racist. Poster B will say “Hey that was racist”. Poster A then whines and complains about it asking the moderators to take it down. Either youre for free speech or youre not. You dont get to say offensive things then get upset when people call you on it. Thats not how it works.

        1. Barack Palin

          For example, poster A will say something racist. Poster B will say “Hey that was racist”. Poster A then whines and complains about it asking the moderators to take it down. Either youre for free speech or youre not. You dont get to say offensive things then get upset when people call you on it. 

          Once again that’s all subjective.  I don’t think anyone has a problem with someone disagreeing with them.  The problem is when someone might not agree with another’s comment and gets nasty or belittling with their rebuke.  Then those posts should be moderated, do you disagree?

        1. Justice4All

          I agree with this wholeheartedly. I also would personally prefer we do away with relative anonymous posting in general. People should own their words.

        2. Frankly

          Don’t understand… “people should use their own words?”  I am a people and I use my own words?   Unless I use someone else’s words, and then I make sure to post them as a quote.

        3. Justice4All

          Don’t understand… “people should use their own words?”  I am a people and I use my own words?   Unless I use someone else’s words, and then I make sure to post them as a quote.

           

          As in people who post in these forums ought to say who they are. No hiding behind anonymity

        4. Frankly

          As in people who post in these forums ought to say who they are. No hiding behind anonymity

          Been there.  Done that.  Had people threaten my place of business over things they didn’t like reading from me.  Also had the governor’s staff harm my business over things I had posted as a private citizen.

          The political correctness Nazis are real.

          There is really no general purpose served by eliminating anonymous posting unless your goal is to set up the persecution of people for having opinions different than the collective… or if your aim is to reduce the number of people posting.

          For those that know me, I’m sure that they will agree that my posting isn’t any different as a pseudonym than it was my real proper name… just as contrarian.  After the threats I wanted to pay David to have all my posts removed and he convinced me to stay on and convert to a pseudonym.

          I find it interesting that you criticize this practice posting as a pseudonym.

        5. Justice4All

          Well, I didnt realize at the time of creation of this account that it was common practice to create a profile as one’s name. I make no attempts to hide my identity here. My name is Sean Raycraft, and I am on the board here at the Vanguard. I own what a write here, because I am not afraid to speak my mind publicly about my opinions.

          The political correctness Nazis are real

          I do believe you have just invoked Godwin’s Law.

           

        6. Frankly

          I own what a write here, because I am not afraid to speak my mind publicly about my opinions.

          First, I didn’t know your real name.  I really don’t care.  As far as I am concerned you are Justice4All.

          But you would not have the same opinion living in and blogging in central Texas.

          Your “bravery” here is cheap.  You live among liberal like-thinkers.

        7. Barack Palin

          Your “bravery” here is cheap.  You live among liberal like-thinkers.

          Well said Frankly.  I post under an alias because my wife is a teacher in Davis and she prefers that I do.  Over the years she has had many liberal professor’s kids in her class plus the fact that we live in a very left leaning town.  She doesn’t ever want to chance that type of a confrontation because of my views.

        8. Matt Williams

          Sean Raycraft said . . . “Well, I didn’t realize at the time of creation of this account that it was common practice to create a profile as one’s name. I make no attempts to hide my identity here. My name is Sean Raycraft, and I am on the board here at the Vanguard. I own what a write here, because I am not afraid to speak my mind publicly about my opinions.”

          Sean, it is easy to change your profile so that your public Display Name reflects something other than Justice4All.  If you would like that change to happen contact David and he can do it or have it done.

           

        9. Sam

          “I own what a write here, because I am not afraid to speak my mind publicly about my opinions.”

          I would not be afraid either if I lived in a town where 90% of the people agreed with me. You might be afraid if this was Mesa, AZ though and almost nobody agreed with most of your views.

        10. Justice4All

          I would not be afraid either if I lived in a town where 90% of the people agreed with me. You might be afraid if this was Mesa, AZ though and almost nobody agreed with most of your views

          True, but lets not conflate the liberalism of your average Davisite with my views. If 90% of the people of Davis shared my views, Bernie Sanders would have won in Davis by a landslide, we would have had a 15$ minimum wage in Davis last year, Katehi would have been fired ages ago and we would have rent control. Lets also not pretend like there are not consequences for holding progressive views in a theoretically progressive city. I have been called out multiple times by name in the Davis Enterprise, in local media etc for my views. “perpetuating the communist agenda” and the like. As if thinking and advocating for people of all classes to be treated with dignity and respect is somehow a bad thing. I think David and Cecilia can relate to this with their fights with the city and Enterprise over the Human Relations Committee. In fact that incident in a large part is why the Davis Vanguard exists, and why Madhavi wrote that speech and published this article.

          I want to live in a society where ideas and policies are discussed freely, and the only arguments that occur are attacking the merits of those ideas and policies, and not impugning the character of the advocates.

  7. MAli

    “Mali, I have an even simpler description of the Vanguard’s principle role . . . it is a dialogue space for the community.”

    A space that allows a lot of racism to be expressed but I guess perhaps that is reflective of the community.

    Its interesting the narrow discussion by a few  misses what people have said to me  about it.

    One elected official told me recently that David allows this racism to be expressed because David wants the support of those posters.

    Another elected told me that they know there is lots of racism posted on the Vanguard but that rather than censoring it that person wants to know what these people are thinking.

    One email I received from a friend said: “Klan Rally on the Vanguard today.”

    Today I received an email with that Sunder quote: “I want to commend the Davis Vanguard for its decade-long focus on social justice in our community.”

    All the email said was “Amazing” and then there was a link here.

    That incredulity is what made me want to post. While the Vanguard community wants to congratulate itself and others choose to play dumb or sail on down the Denial River people in the community see the  Vanguard for what it is, a safe space where racism is allowed to flourish.

    1. Justice4All

      What is posted on the Vanguard and what is posted in the comment section are two very different things. Its a delicate balancing act between censorship, and creating a community where everyone can expect to be treated with dignity. I am not sure I have all the answers as to what the best policy is on moderating commentary here, or how any such policy can be reasonably and effectively be implemented while maintaining a degree of freedom of expression. I for one would be interested in hearing ideas from the community as to what could be done better to include more people in the discussion.

      1. tribeUSA

        Justice4All–good clarification, well expressed.

        I’m a bit sorry to see that MAli expresses that “people in the community see the  Vanguard for what it is, a safe space where racism is allowed to flourish.” It has been my experience that when racial issues are brought up and examined on the Vanguard; there is vigorous and often heated debate between so called ‘politically correct’ and ‘politically incorrect’ views on this matter. I would encourage MAli to stoke-up that self-righteousness and chime in with your own voice in Vanguard comments on articles dealing with racial and other civil rights issues; explain in detail how it is that those you disagree with are in the wrong!

        1. Barack Palin

           It has been my experience that when racial issues are brought up and examined on the Vanguard; there is vigorous and often heated debate between so called ‘politically correct’ and ‘politically incorrect’ views on this matter. I would encourage MAli to stoke-up that self-righteousness and chime in with your own voice in Vanguard comments on articles dealing with racial and other civil rights issues; explain in detail how it is that those you disagree with are in the wrong!

          Exactly, until then I see Mali’s posts as nothing more than trying to shut down free speech and the views that he/she may not agree with.

          I see where Ben Shapiro was not allowed to speak at DePaul University because the administraters were afraid that students would cause violence.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYqUt3AKt9A

           

        2. Matt Williams

          tribe, from what I know about MAli’s perspective on this subject, it approaches religious fervor.  Gut feelings are often hard to put into the language of “why” those you disagree with are wrong.

        3. Frankly

          Well he/she needs to work on that. Unless you can put your gut feelings into “why” words, you might as well move to an island and live only with people that are completely the same.

          I think the posters on this blog are more than interested in his/her perspective.   But if all he/she can do is demand censorship over things he/she does not agree with, then please go away.

        4. Barack Palin

          Yes Matt, I feel that Mali would rather shut down opposing views than have a true discussion on the subject.  It’s interesting that Mali still hasn’t come up with any examples of racists posts.  I have a feeling if he/she did they wouldn’t be racist at all, just a differing viewpoint than what he/she considers PC.

        5. Justice4All

          Off the top of my head, I seem to remember Frankly stating as fact that

          “The Black Lives Matter movement is inherently racist”

          Which at best is a profoundly ignorant statement.

          I also seem to remember him calling for an end to the “Black Lives Matter art show” instead calling for an “All Lives Matter” art show, which again is at best profoundly ignorant, as it misses the point of Black Lives Matter in its entirety. Just so we are clear, All lives cannot matter UNTIL Black lives matter.

    2. Barack Palin

      Mail, once again please point out the racist comments that you and your friends say they see on the V.  I have a feeling the comments that you find racist aren’t really racist but more of a matter of you not agreeing because they don’t fit with your views.

    3. Tia Will

      MAli

      the  Vanguard for what it is, a safe space where racism is allowed to flourish.”

      I find this a very interesting comment in view of the frequent criticism that David takes from those that feel that he writes and dwells on the issue of racism far too much and has been accused on a number of occasions of “seeing racism where none exists” or more bluntly “playing the race card”.

      So I am a little confused. Do you feel that reporting on perceived racism as David frequently does promotes racist comments ?  Do you feel that his reporting constitutes racism itself ? If the Vanguard were to stop reporting on racial issues altogether, would that not be considered a “cover up” of an important issue in our society ? Would you favor censoring comments that differ from the point of view of an article espousing racial equity as the author sees it ? I am genuinely unclear what you and your friends are seeing as the basic problem. Can you clarify ?

      1. MAli

        David often writes articles that inevitably bait the usual suspects about “Social Justice.” Then sits back while they take the bait. This could be managed by moderation, if the goal is to truly have an honest discussion of these important issues, that was effective and consistent at identifying and eliminating posts that cross over from the topic at hand into cliche or outright bigotry and racism. I’m not opposed to a discussion of racial issues but with the Vanguard’s dedication to allowing anonymous posters it creates a platform that is ripe for abuse and therefore needs a firmer hand at moderation if it wants to be a place for a community forum that is engaging and welcoming to the community. I sincerely believe that the racism that is pervasive in the comments section dissuades people from participating thereby reducing both the quality of the comments and the number of people participating in the discussion. What the Vanguard is often left with is the same few people constantly expressing the similar viewpoints while many in the community give up in disgust.

        This is currently the best case scenario. Another, even more disturbing and common scenario, is where commenters interject offensive racially inflammatory or gratuitously insensitive comments into a discussion topic where there is no reason for doing so. You would think that these remarks would be easy to identify and remove but for some reason they are often ignored. This light handed approach often  allows the conversation to go off track in an nasty direction that turns off many in the community.

         

        1. Frankly

          Me too.

          I am guessing that he/she can’t come up anything backing his/her claim.

          I detect someone that has grown accustom to protected speech… allowing him/her a one-sided rant on topics while anyone with an opposing view gets oppressed and shut down.

          I suggest that he/she stop visiting the comment section of blogs then and stick to reading any of the wide-variety of “news” sources that scrub their articles to be politically correct.

        2. Justice4All

          Barack Palin
          August 2, 2016 at 9:04 am

          Still waiting for your examples of these racist comments that you so abhor.

          Off the top of my head, I seem to remember Frankly stating as fact that
          “The Black Lives Matter movement is inherently racist”
          Which at best is a profoundly ignorant statement.
          I also seem to remember him calling for an end to the “Black Lives Matter art show” instead calling for an “All Lives Matter” art show, which again is at best profoundly ignorant, as it misses the point of Black Lives Matter in its entirety. Just so we are clear, All lives cannot matter UNTIL Black lives matter.

        3. Frankly

          Racism: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

          So, “Black Lives Matter” is inherently racist since it singles out one race as worthy of superior consideration.

          Just so we are clear, All lives cannot matter UNTIL Black lives matter.

          Again, this is a racist statement because it infers that black lives require superior consideration.

          Just to be clear, we are a racist nation as long as there are those putting making race a criteria to be a factor in any consideration.

          1. David Greenwald

            More actually it points out that one group of people are being disproportionately mistreated by police and their lives are systematically undervalued, I fail to see how that can be defined as racist.

        4. wdf1

          Frankly:  So, “Black Lives Matter” is inherently racist since it singles out one race as worthy of superior consideration.

          Before on this blog you have said you are Christian.  In the Book of Matthew, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor.”

          Does this mean that Jesus was fomenting class warfare?  Would you respond, “All people are blessed, Jesus!”  What is the political conservative interpretation of this?

          Would you show up at a Muscular Dystrophy  telethon or a Run for the Cure event and protest with signs and chants of, “All diseases matter!”

        5. Frankly

          wdf1 – Jesus did not say “Blessed are the blacks”.   “Poor” is a ubiquitous human circumstance.  That is why I believe in our democratic free market capitalism system because it is the best system for minimizing that circumstance.

          Jesus also did not pit classes against each other for political gain.  But we need to give Jesus some break given he had not experienced the American great experiment and what it would do to lift out billions of the world’s inhabitants from the crushing poverty they would otherwise experience.

          The topic is racism.

        6. Matt Williams

          MAli said . . . “Another, even more disturbing and common scenario, is where commenters interject offensive racially inflammatory or gratuitously insensitive comments into a discussion topic where there is no reason for doing so. You would think that these remarks would be easy to identify and remove but for some reason they are often ignored.”

          MAli, I understand your perspective in concept, but am having a problem mapping the conceptual to the specific.  Rather than asking you to review the past, perhaps it would be easier to simply reply to any post that you believe is offensive, racially inflammatory or gratuitously insensitive with the following simple “The following content of the comment above ____________ is offensive, racially inflammatory and/or gratuitously insensitive” 

          That will provide us all with a dynamic real time educational tool.

      2. MAli

        David often writes articles that inevitably bait the usual suspects about “Social Justice.” Then sits back while they take the bait. This could be managed by moderation, if the goal is to truly have an honest discussion of these important issues, that was effective and consistent at identifying and eliminating posts that cross over from the topic at hand into cliche or outright bigotry and racism. I’m not opposed to a discussion of racial issues but with the Vanguard’s dedication to allowing anonymous posters it creates a platform that is ripe for abuse and therefore needs a firmer hand at moderation if it wants to be a place for a community forum that is engaging and welcoming to the community. I sincerely believe that the racism that is pervasive in the comments section dissuades people from participating thereby reducing both the quality of the comments and the number of people participating in the discussion. What the Vanguard is often left with are the same few people constantly expressing similar viewpoints while many in the community give up in disgust.

        This is currently the best case scenario. Another, even more disturbingly  common scenario, is where commenters interject offensive racially inflammatory or gratuitously insensitive comments into a discussion topic where there is no reason for doing so. You would think that these remarks would be easy to identify and remove but for some reason they are often ignored. This light handed approach often  allows the conversation to go off track in an nasty direction that turns off many in the community.

         

        1. tribeUSA

          MAli:

          Re: “eliminating posts that cross over from the topic at hand into cliche or outright bigotry” It seems to me that cliches are hardly the monopoly of any one side on civil rights topics; nor is bigotry.

          Re: “Another, even more disturbingly  common scenario, is where commenters interject offensive racially inflammatory or gratuitously insensitive comments into a discussion topic where there is no reason for doing so.” Please identify which specific statements qualify (in future posts) for these categories and why, and as for “gratuitously insensitive”; get a backbone!–why not respond to and vigorously refute such statements?

          Why not view the Vanguard discussions as a teaching opportunity directed toward those who do not share your views? With the caveat that this is not an undergraduate classroom in Civil Rights where you had better agree with the professor or else! Deal with the real world, where there will be a huge variety of diverse opinions and viewpoints–perhaps diversity needs to be understood in a broader sense as also applicable to the viewpoints that people have on a topic. It seems to me that society can most rapidly evolve from the huge mess of conflicting ideas and viewpoints by giving air to all these viewpoints; and in time the most accurate fundamentals underlying such viewpoints will settle out and help lead toward a higher social evolution.

           

        2. MAli

          “get a backbone!–why not respond to and vigorously refute such statements?”
          Its not my job and I don’t have the time. I’m actually trying to help the Vanguard make itself better by pointing out a persistent problem. Fixing it is up to the Vanguard itself although it seems the Vanguard is not up to the task. If the Vanguard wants to live up to Sunder’s praise of it for its commitment to social justice it could start by cleaning up its own platform from the insidious racism and bigotry that gets posted here regularly.
           

        3. tribeUSA

          OK MAli, it’s certainly your perogative to pursue a forum that meets your approval; and I leave it to you. Though you can travel far on them; parallel straight lines never meet (so perhaps there’s no further point to the discussion).

        4. Tia Will

          MAli

          MAli

          I’m not opposed to a discussion of racial issues but with the Vanguard’s dedication to allowing anonymous posters it creates a platform that is ripe for abuse and therefore needs a firmer hand at moderation if it wants to be a place for a community forum that is engaging and welcoming to the community. I sincerely believe that the racism that is pervasive in the comments section dissuades people from participating thereby reducing both the quality of the comments and the number of people participating in the discussion”

          I do not doubt your sincerity in hoping to promote an engaging and welcoming conversation space. This has been one of my major goals since joining the Vanguard 5 years ago. So I would like to share my experience about commenting with you. There was a time not so long ago when a particular poster who has a very different world view from mine was arguing that my posts were causing people to not want to participate on the Vanguard, not because of my “racist” comments ( of which there have been zero) or even because any one particular position, but rather because this person did not like the number of posts that I was making.  This person was essentially arguing to censor me on the basis of volume. So there will always be some who want to shut down the voices of others. Within the confines of the commenting guidelines as posted, I say let them speak. All views should be heard. Hate should be heard, and then disavowed, and called out for the venomous negative influence that it is, not buried or censored.

  8. Biddlin

    ” All views should be heard. Hate should be heard, and then disavowed, and called out for the venomous negative influence that it is, not buried or censored.”

    Call it out and there is a better than 75% chance that your comment will be removed. Remember, you value all commenters’ opinions equally, even when they are racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and just plain ignorant. Point any of those qualities out and bada-bing bada-boom, the censor is in the room.

    1. Matt Williams

      I personally agree with much of what Biddlin has said.  The Vanguard Editorial Board needs to determine if its current “off topic” moderation policy is working.  Don Shor is performing his moderation duties in a manner that is consistent with the current Vanguard policy.  I personally believe what is needed is a change to the Vanguard site that makes it possible for Don to move the off topic comments to a new thread rather than delete them.  Word Press currently has that feature.  It isn’t free, but if all the people who want it added are willing to support it financially, that will make the Vanguard Editorial Board’s decision about next steps a lot easier.

      JMHO

  9. Jerry Waszczuk

    “Fred Korematsu was an Oakland-born Japanese American who grew up an all-American kid, hanging out with his friends and girlfriend in the Oakland Hills, a proud American citizen with equal rights under the U.S. Constitution, which he studied in school.” 

    It was  no equal rights during the war time . The country was racially segregated during the war and long time after the war . The racial segregation  is the darkest period of time in US history. I think personally that Pearl Harbour ,  Nagaski and Hiroshima were  a lot worse than internment camps. Looking only at 1943 the Davis City Council resolution it could get a lot worse than internment camps .  God only knows what could happen to Japanese -Americans if they would not be moved and guarded in the internment camps with due to all respect I have to Fred Korematsu and his cause . I am not saying that it was the best what US government did to Japanese -Americans but I am looking objectively to worse scenario.

  10. Biddlin

    “God only knows what could happen to Japanese -Americans if they would not be moved and guarded in the internment camps”

    They would have gone on being the good American citizens that they are and were. Some local cops would have been bothered by having to deal with dumba$$es harassing them and sadly some situations would have been even worse, but any rationalization to justify the practice of internment is deflection and deception.

    1. Jerry Waszczuk

      They would be have gone on being good American citizens if  they would be not killed by mob agitated by war propaganda and people like Davis Mayor Covell. Only God knows today what would happen and what could happen . You don’t know and I don’t know but America at that time had a lot worse folks than Mayor Covell . 

      Look at uprising in LA when mob attacked Koreans and we were not at war . Read how mob was chasing Mexicans after 9/11 because these guys thought Mexicans  were  Arabs . You did not learn much from your father about  civil war in Spain .   Today is easy to criticize what was done  70 years ago . It was not so easy than and nobody was giving damn about Japanese people . Americans called them Japs. Save your  political correctness for better time . Japanese -Americans were compensated  for internment and it was a very positive step .

      1. rwf1945

        “Japanese -Americans were compensated  for internment and it was a very positive step.”

        Japanese-Americans suffered tremendous hardship because of the internment and many lost their homes and property.

        Anyone who justifies it is just a despicable human being.

        1. Jerry Waszczuk

          rwf1945

          Nobody is justifying suffering and the hardship, The action was dictated by fear of possibility of  Japanese invasion on the  West Coast  and Japanese -Americans were viewed as a potential spies and  the 5th column . It happened in Europe when Hitler invaded other countries and  German population in the  invaded countries became a 5 th column adding German troops . American intelligence knew about and  what was going on in Europe because WW II  started on September 1, 1939 not with attack on  Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. American government did not  send Japanese -Americans to camps   to have fun on their expenses and suffering. When Pearl Harbor happened , Nazis were occupying  Europe already for two years and extermination of people in occupied countries was  going on with full speed . Don’t talk to me about suffering because you apparently don’t know much about  suffering .

  11. rwf1945

    “Nobody is justifying suffering and the hardship, The action was dictated by fear of possibility of  Japanese invasion on the  West Coast  and Japanese -Americans were viewed as a potential spies and  the 5th column.”

    Of course, that’s why Americans looted everything that they could get their hands on, the homes, businesses and personal possessions of Japanese-Americans that could only take two suitcases to their internment camps.

    I have friends whose family went through this experience.  I remember what one of them told me, prior to her family’s departure, African Americans in South Berkeley came to by to express their sadness about what was being done to them, but whites were nowhere to be seen.

    edit

    –Richard Estes

    [moderator] edited. No attacks on Vanguard participants, please.

    1. Jerry Waszczuk

      rwf1945

      This means that if they would not be not  taken  to interment camps than mobs would attack  them and kill them and loot their properties and businesses  and people like Davis Mayor would be turning their head to other direction .  They became  POWs in their own country .  Black folks  came to express their sadness but whites were nowhere to be seen .   What this i fact is telling you ?    Whites did not live in same neighborhoods  with Japanese- Americans or Blacks . It was a time of  the racial segregation and  Blacks were called Negros or Blacks  not African -Americans .  You have to understand a little better what caused the interment camps . The  war hysteria and  hate   was stronger than law  was which should  protect Japanese -Americans and their properties .

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