Analysis: Davis Is Not Alone among Progressive Cities

One of the big questions that has arisen out of the discussion on race in Davis has been, “Do persons of color have a bigger problem in Davis than in other cities?”  That may or may not be the right question, but it is a reasonable question to ask.

One of the points I have made is that Davis has a bigger problem than one might expect, given the general heavily progressive bent of its politics.

As pointed out previously, Davis has never been as progressive as its reputation on issues like race.  For example, as UC Davis Sociology Professors John and Lyn Lofland wrote in the 1987 publication of “Lime Politics,” the politics in Davis has never been “that” progressive.

They looked in that publication at the 1984 council and district attorney elections and what they found is “a distinctive and distinctively selective variety of local progressivism” that they term “lime politics,” which they contrast with more traditional liberal concerns (they call “red”) and a newly emerging “green” perspective.

Indeed, in 1984 we saw a battle for DA between longtime Davis activist, former Mayor and Supervisor Bob Black, and David Henderson, who would become a longtime district attorney until he was replaced by his deputy Jeff Reisig.

Professors Lofland note that not only did Mr. Black run behind Mr. Henderson, a deputy DA, in the rest of Yolo County which was more conservative, he “did not even carry Davis, losing to Henderson 49 to 51 percent.”

With respect to the 1984 city council race, they found: “The revealing facts of the 1984 city council election were the failure of the quintessentially green candidates to win and the widespread appeal of the two candidates who watered down the green ideology into lime.”

The professors therefore concluded that in “the political life of the city of Davis, California, progressive political culture is composed almost exclusively of a green orientation.”

I have argued recently that politics have started to shift of late, and indeed, in the last DA’s election, Dean Johansson won in the city of Davis by a comfortable 56-44 margin – wider than both the 1984 race as well as the 2006 race where Pat Lenzi received about 52 percent of the vote in the city of Davis as she lost countywide to Jeff Reisig.

However, it turns out that Davis is not necessarily that unusual among other progressive cities.  In September 2015, Madison 365 published a piece that looked at Madison, Minneapolis, Austin, Portland and San Francisco.

They conclude: “These are America’s most progressive, forward-thinking, open-minded, and social-justice-focused cities. They also have the worst racial disparities in the nation and some of the worst racial segregation.”

They continue: “It just doesn’t make sense on paper. It’s not supposed to be this way. But the statistics don’t lie. Rampant black and brown poverty within blocks of white affluence. Eye-popping racial disparity numbers in employment, education, health, housing, and more. Black and brown people of all socioeconomic backgrounds feeling uncomfortable and unwanted in progressive cities that are often segregated as bad as Jim Crow Deep South.”

Tim Wise, described as “one of the nation’s most prominent anti-racist essayists, educators, activists, and pioneers,” told the story about talking to a man in his 50s about San Francisco.  Mr. Wise explained, “This man was in his 50s and had lived in Birmingham, Alabama. He’d lived in Dallas. He’d lived in St. Louis. He said that San Francisco to him was the most racist place he had ever lived.”

“At least if you’re in Birmingham, you know you ain’t X and you know how to protect yourself and prepare yourself,” Mr. Wise adds. “This guy was like, ‘It’s amazing living in San Francisco all the crap I experienced that these white liberals just didn’t see at all.’ He ended up moving back to the South, too, because it was so much easier to deal with the overt racism than the covert, colorblind racism that you deal with in liberal cities.”

That would jibe with my conversations with people of color in Davis as well.

Here is the snapshot of the five progressive communities:

Austin is top-10 in the most segregated cities in the United States … described as “a rich Texas town that holds on to its whiteness for dear life.” Austin is the only fast-growing United States city losing African Americans.

◆ In comparison to their white counterparts, black adults in San Francisco are much more likely to be arrested, booked into county jail and convicted, according to a racial and ethnic disparities report

Portland shows a persistent disparity between how often whites and blacks are stopped and searched.

Minneapolis has seen the formation of the some of the nation’s widest racial disparities,and the nation’s worst segregation in a predominantly white area

◆ … in Madison, African Americans in Dane County are 5.5 times more likely to be unemployed than their white neighbors. African American families are 6 times more likely to be poor with children 13 times more likely to live in poverty than their white classmates. This disparity in child poverty was the largest among any jurisdiction in the United States. Nearly three-quarters of black children in 2011 were poor compared to 5.5% of white children. 

Mr. Wise told the publication that “Madison, like over progressive cities, has been lulled into complacency that pretty much renders the entire city complicit in the segregation and racial disparities they face.

“I think that white progressive liberal folks outside of the South almost always got politicized and radicalized around issues other than race,” Mr. Wise told the publication. “So, if I’m a west coast, midwest, or northeast white liberal, I might be really progressive on the issues that I got politicized around which might have been the ecology, war, schools, health care, or LGBT issues. For most white folks, that’s their entry into progressive politics and race is oftentimes so far down the list of things that they get radicalized around that even for really well-intended people, it’s just a huge blind spot.”

That may explain things here as well.  As the Loflands noted, Davis’ progressive roots are green, not brown.

But it also may explain the change we are starting to see.  As I noted a number of times, when I started getting involved in 2006, the public simply did not want to hear that there was even a possibility of problems with the police department regarding race.

People of color, on the other hand, have anecdotes that go back for decades.  We saw more of this during the 2012 Breaking the Silence discussion where 60 people came forward during public comment to relate their stories.

But now in 2018, we saw from the 2017 Picnic Day incident which divided the city, the council was able to push through reforms to police oversight that were outright rejected just 12 years ago.

Part of that is due to a new generation of activists coming forward with a more national orientation, having witnessed the last five years of discussions on police practices and officer involved shootings.  The DA’s race outcome in Davis shows a small shift that has occurred in just 12 years and a broader shift in the last 30-40 years.

How that will transform politics in Davis remains to be seen.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


Get Tickets To Vanguard’s Immigration Rights Event

Eventbrite - Immigration Law: Defending Immigrant Rights and Keeping Families Together

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.

Related posts

63 Comments

  1. Ken A

    When David asks “Do persons of color have a bigger problem in Davis than in other cities?”

    The answer is yes, and the reason that most “progressive” cities are more white than other cities is that

    1. Most (but not all) white “progressives” don’t want to live around people of color and pay significantly more to live in areas with less “people of color”.

    2. Other than the small number well educated Prius driving people of color who do yoga that “fit in” most (but not all) people of color (and most white people) hate living around people who tell them how to improve their lives (like telling them that they should do yoga).

    https://www.bustle.com/p/the-yoga-community-neglects-people-of-color-the-very-people-who-need-wellness-the-most-50309

    1. Alan Miller

      No people of color are excluded from any Yoga class.  People who do Yoga, just like people who do drugs, love to proselytize their lifestyles.  If someone is specifically telling people of color they should do yoga, they are treating them as a person-of-race, not as an individual, which is just obnoxious.  I went to a Yoga retreat the other weekend and there were people there of all colors and from all over the world.  The only exclusion was having enough money to pay for the very reasonable cost of the retreat.

      So we get to the “progressive” argument I heard that “they” don’t “feel comfortable” or “fit in”.  Sorry, again, no one is restricted from yoga classes, and just like all of us, if you want to go, you’ve got to get up the courage to go. Going to your first yoga class isn’t necessarily easy no matter who you are.  We’re not starting a government program to help people of color feel comfortable going to a yoga class.  Just go!  (that’s said to persons of all colors and stripes, no color involved, just me proselytizing).

       

      1. Matt Williams

        I think Alan’s comment is spot on.  The reality Alan describes recently manifested itself in Bob Dunning’s wailing and gnashing of teeth about the June 1st migration of electrical power service provider from PGE to Valley Clean Energy (VCEA).  Bob lamented that he was automatically included in VCEA, and had to personally make the decision to opt out.  He didn’t like that “inclusive” approach.  Instead he wanted an “exclusive” approach.

        As Alan has said, everyone in Davis is “included” in the yoga community by default.  If you or I are not participating in yopga it is because we have chosen to “exclude” ourselves.

        Three Fridays ago I chose to join a local discussion group that meets once a week.  Today there were 10 participants in the group.  By background and life experience I am “different” from the other 9.  I could choose an “opt out” approach and focus on the differences between me and the others, or I could choose an “opt in” approach and focus on the topics of discussion rather than the fact that my background and life experience are different.

      2. Rik Keller

        It seems odd that people are commenting on the article that Kan A posted on discrimination in yoga seemingly without having even read any of it. Take this quote: “Bustle spoke with Jessamyn Stanley, yoga teacher, body positive activist, and author of Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, and Love Your Body. “The [yoga] industry is rife with size and race discrimination and it can be difficult for many minority teachers to find employment,” she says. As a result, she witnesses far too many POC who feel uncomfortable stepping foot into a yoga studio, because it’s just one more place where they expect to be discriminated against.”

        These are specific allegations from a long-time practitioner and author. But apparently to some commentators, unless there was a “whites only” sign on a studio door, they wouldn’t think that discrimination was happening.

        1. David Greenwald

          My general observation in Davis is that many white people who live in Davis, while well-intentioned, are simply not aware of how people of color are treated differently in this community.  Vastly different.

    2. Rik Keller

      Ken A said:

      “most “progressive” cities are more white than other cities…”

      Do you have data on this assertion? Just as one example, this study contradicts your claim: “A number of important demographic factors determine whether cities vote for liberals or conservatives, with race being the most important factor. Cities with predominantly large African American populations ended up as the most liberal cities in America, while the cities with the largest Caucasian populations wound up as the most conservative. ” [https://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/metro/081205libs.pdf

      David Greenwald has written an important article here that tackles one aspect of segregation and discrimination in the U.S.: exclusion of minorities from certain areas (or from places as a whole) in even supposedly “progressive” cities and towns. The flipside of this, however,  is not that non-progressive cities/towns are less exclusionary.

      A large part of the history of geography and communities in America from last half of the 20th Century to the present involves “white flight” from urban areas to more homogeneous suburban and exurban areas; continuing exclusion of minorities from specific enclaves of cities themselves aided by redlining, mortgage discrimination, racially-restrictive covenants, and restrictive low-density zoning (i.e. de facto exclusion by income); concentration of minority populations in deteriorating areas with a lack of resources and public investment; and, more recently, “white return” back into selected inner-city areas through gentrification and displacement.

      As to this last point:

      “In earlier generations, the pattern of segregation was white suburbs surrounding black center cities. Today, more whites are living downtown, while others are moving to suburbs beyond the ones being populated by minorities. [http://www.governing.com/topics/urban/gov-white-flight-suburbs.html]
      “Urban neighborhoods are increasingly young, rich, childless, and white.” [http://jedkolko.com/2016/03/30/urban-revival-not-for-most-americans]

    1. Ken A

      It is important to remember that just because someone does not live around people of color or spend any time with people of color does not make them “closet racists”.

      Most people in Davis that stop in for yoga after work and go to a Surfrider Foundation beach clean ups on the weekend are not “racist” just like most guys that lives in rural Placer County who stop for a beer at the local saloon on their way home from work and go duck hunting on the weekend are not “racist”…

      1. Alan Miller

        just like most guys that lives in rural Placer County who stop for a beer at the local saloon on their way home from work and go duck hunting on the weekend are not “racist”…

        My guess is you didn’t run your highly insensitive comment by any ducks.

    2. David Greenwald

      Strikes me how similar Davis and Madison are in some ways.

      I think this is closer to where I would lean: “Wise says that Madison, like over progressive cities, has been lulled into complacency that pretty much renders the entire city complicit in the segregation and racial disparities they face. What perplexes people the most is that it is simply incompatible with everything the progressive platform represents. Wise believes the problem is that northern progressives came to their politics in other non-racial areas and have trouble seeing racial problems in their day-to-day lives.” That gibes with the Lofland observation from the 1980s that the focus in Davis has been on environmental rather than racial policies. Again, as I note in my article, there is recent shift here.

      1. H Jackson

        “That gibes with the Lofland observation from the 1980s that the focus in Davis has been on environmental rather than racial policies.”

        That might apply more to City politics and focus.  I think the school district has probably had a little more focus on racial issues since then, starting with Thong Hy Huynh’s murder in 1983, which was interpreted as having a racial component.

        1. Howard P

          Thong Hy Huynh’s murder

          Committed by someone borderline socio-path, from all credible accounts… race might have been the excuse/trigger to “act out”… but not the cause… anyone laying that on the community as a “racial problem”, is seriously deluded… about the same time, Mockus was murdered, even more brutally (murder by train)… was SPRR responsible?  Was race involved?… no, on both counts… were teenagers who had shown socio-pathic tendencies involved?  YES!

      2. Ken A

        At least UW Madison has been making an effort to seem more “diverse”:

        http://archive.jsonline.com/newswatch/237991911.html

        P.S. I don’t know if David has ever been to Madison WI (if you haven’t do go in the summer when you will sweat like a pig) but it has a lot more in common with Sacramento (State Capital with a college and neighborhoods as different as Del Paso Heights and East Sac)  than Davis (Sleepy College town where unlike Madison and Sac people of color almost never shoot each other)…

  2. Ron

    I’m probably the most “growth-averse” commenter on here (does that make me “progressive”, “green” or “lime”?), but I accept the fact that people of color may feel uncomfortable in enclaves that are dominated by white people. (I don’t feel particularly comfortable walking around African-American enclaves, either. In fact, I suspect that I’m in real danger if doing so, at times.)

    I often wonder what it would feel like to walk around (say Tiburon), as a young black male.  Probably not in danger, but perhaps looked at “askance”.  Does that mean folks are racist, or just afraid (based on their perception of reality)?

    I don’t have a particular “solution”, other than discussing it. In any case, the demographics of many areas will eventually change, over time. It’s already happening throughout the state.

  3. Jim Hoch

    Progressives will tribalize into communities that are like minded. Most POC do not care about straws for instance and like driving huge SUVs. Therefore progressives prefer POC in the abstract. As an example the nations largest and most influential AA advocacy group in the NAACP. Membership in the NAACP is open to all ethnic groups and the NAACP is highly influential in the AA community.  Have you ever met a progressive who belongs to the NAACP? No, they prefer BLM which has almost no actual AA members and has little or no support in the Black community.

    NAACP endorsement is a big deal in Baltimore Democratic politics. The best known BLM guy ran for mayor and got less than 3% in the Democratic primary. How is that for community support?

    Yet progressive uniformly support the Black Empowerment group without actual Black people instead of the Black Empowerment group with actual Black people.

     

    1. David Greenwald

      “Yet progressive uniformly support the Black Empowerment group without actual Black people instead of the Black Empowerment group with actual Black people.”

      Is this actually English?

      1. Howard P

        Are you actually following the “language” you approved as VG policies?  Something about not criticizing spelng errers, grammer. or je n’est sais crois?

        “Is this actually English?”

        C’mon!

        I suggest, “foul” should be called by the ref…

  4. Ron

    Keith:  “Hispanic income hits all time high.”

    One of the problems with the “person of color” label is that it lumps together all “non-white” races (with the “exception” of Asians, I guess).  I’m not sure what “category” they’re in, according to some. (Let alone the fact that there’s many Asian countries/cultures.)

    The other problem with the label is that it divides/separates “white” people, from everyone else.  In other words, it’s a divisive term.  (Not to mention the fact that everyone has “color”.  That’s why I am not able to see my internal organs, through my skin!)

    It seems to me that the biggest hurdle regarding racism/full integration into society as a whole specifically involves African Americans.  It must be related to the history of this country.

    1. Alan Miller

      The other problem with the label is that it divides/separates “white” people, from everyone else.

      Ya THINK!?!!??!!!

      In other words, it’s a divisive term.

      Ironical . . . no, PURPOSEFULLY.

      (Not to mention the fact that everyone has “color”.)

      Me, I refer to myself as a DARK PINK JEW.

      It seems to me that the biggest hurdle regarding racism/full integration into society as a whole specifically involves African Americans.

      American Natives aren’t, as a whole, a small hurdle for racism/integration neither.  (and others, yes.)

  5. Alan Miller

    One of the big questions that has arisen out of the discussion on race in Davis has been, “Do persons of color have a bigger problem in Davis than in other cities?”

    Says no one.  (Outside the comment section and other echo-chambers of the internet)

      1. Ken A

        David, have people of color really been telling you that they have a “BIGGER problem in Davis than other cities”?

        P.S. Does anyone else find it funny that less than a minute after telling Alan he is wrong because of what David has personally heard a few people say at “public discussions” “in the last few years” he tells Jeff that he is wrong based on what he has seen, heard and experienced over the past few decades and says: “Maybe you can try using some data rather than anecdotes”

        P.P.S. Maybe David can post some “data rather than anecdotes” to show that Alan, Jeff and I are wrong and that people of color really do have a BIGGER problem in Davis and live a dream life in neighboring towns where they can easily open B&Bs and are never shot by the cops…

         

        1. Ron

          P.S. Does anyone else find it funny that less than a minute after telling Alan he is wrong because of what David has personally heard a few people say at “public discussions” “in the last few years” . . . 

          I wouldn’t listen to Alan, anyway.  As noted in his response to you above, he’s apparently one of those obnoxious “Yoga people”.  🙂

        2. David Greenwald

          “David, have people of color really been telling you that they have a “BIGGER problem in Davis than other cities”?”

          In some ways, yes.

          “Maybe David can post some “data rather than anecdotes” to show that Alan, Jeff and I are wrong and that people of color really do have a BIGGER problem in Davis and live a dream life in neighboring towns where they can easily open B&Bs and are never shot by the cops…”

          I need a good word to describe what Ken has done with this post.

        3. Howard P

          I know a lot of “people of color” in Davis… many are neighbors… had to think long before writing that, because I see them as neighbors, friends… didn’t really think of their ethnicity, until someone who either sees “race” all the time, and might be a closet racist, or doing the “racial guilt” thing because of their past, their family’s past, or former community’s past thing, brought it up.

          Sells controversy, “blog hits”, etc., perhaps…

          But I just am “in denial”, right? That’s just what white males do?

           

        4. Ron

          Truth be told, I’m “jealous/envious” of Yoga people and those that ride their bicycles, regularly. But, it’s a lot easier to make fun of them, than to join them. (So, until such time, if ever – that I get motivated, I’ll choose the former.)

          A “man bun” – pretty good!

        5. Alan Miller

          Perhaps because he called a “spade” (one of four card suits, and garden tool) a “spade”, and you seem intent on calling it a “freaking shovel”…

          I don’t think you can say that anymore . . . lest the race police will come after you.

  6. Jeff M

    They continue: “It just doesn’t make sense on paper. It’s not supposed to be this way. But the statistics don’t lie.

    LOL.

    Reality bites doesn’t it?

    It is really easy to explain with some anecdotes.

    Say you are a transgender female of color with rainbow dreadlocks, a nose piercing rainbow and Obama stickers on your hybrid car and you live in a working class neighborhood in a small city in the Midwest.  Your neighbor would tell you directly that he does not approve of your lifestyle and your politics, but if you got sick he would clear the snow off your sidewalk and driveway and his wife would make you soup and cobbler.

    Say you are conservative black woman working for Chevron with a Bush sticker on your Mercedes 700 series living in an upper-class neighborhood in San Fransisco.  Your car gets keyed, you are called names by people on the street and your rich liberal neighbors smile at you in the morning as you are leaving for work but would never socialize with you because of your politics.

    Liberals tend to focus on identity-markers first and foremost and allow it to define who they think you are and their relationship with you.  In this way liberal communities demonstrate a superficial crust of inclusion while their actions are those of significant intolerance.

    Conservatives, while they might focus on identity markers first, will hold that second to your individual character after they get to know you.    And in this way conservative communities tend to be more inclusive after getting over the superficial crust of intolerance.

    You can live in a liberal community and never get to know your neighbors.  That would be highly unusual in a conservative community.

    If you are a person that seeks to live in a rich, educated, white and exclusive community… you might need to virtue signal like crazy to satiate the pangs of self-loathing and guilt that would otherwise overwhelm you.  And in doing so, you can feel better about your work behind the scenes to keep your community rich, education, white and exclusive.

    1. Howard P

      And, those neither “conservative” nor “liberal” are the majority of the ones who volunteer their time and money to feed, clothe, support the poor, the disabled, the homeless, regardless of race/politics/whatever… words are words… acts are acts, and a better measure of people.

      Conservatives and liberals are both digging deeper holes, and the moderates/real people of conscience, of humanity, will, at some point, grab a shovel and return the tailings from the digging, back into the holes… hopefully, the “uber liberals” and “uber conservatives” will climb themselves out of the holes they are digging before that…

  7. Ron

    From article:  “As I noted a number of times, when I started getting involved in 2006, the public simply did not want to hear that there was even a possibility of problems with the police department regarding race.”

    Not a comment regarding Picnic Day, but the reason that there’s more concern (nationwide) is due to the relatively recent proliferation of cell phone cameras (which show some pretty disturbing events, at times).

    Without that, nothing would have changed.

    1. David Greenwald

      I agree.  People of color for years complained about disparate treatment by the police, only to receive blanket denials.  Only when the incidents started being captured on video and shown on national TV, was there traction.

    2. Howard P

      What’s missing is acknowledgement of “jerks” … “racism” is also seen in “job-ism”, etc.

      Stereotyping of folk is wrong.  Acting on stereotyping is wrong. Using exceptions to claim a “rule” to stereotype is both wrong and stupid… foolish… idiots…

    3. Alan Miller

      Not a comment regarding Picnic Day, but the reason that there’s more concern (nationwide) is due to the relatively recent proliferation of cell phone cameras (which show some pretty disturbing events, at times).
      Without that, nothing would have changed.

      On that, I quite agree.

  8. Cindy Pickett

    If you are a person that seeks to live in a rich, educated, white and exclusive community… you might need to virtue signal like crazy to satiate the pangs of self-loathing and guilt that would otherwise overwhelm you.  And in doing so, you can feel better about your work behind the scenes to keep your community rich, education, white and exclusive.

    This reminds me of one my colleagues research on “credentialing.” What he (Benoit Monin, Stanford University) finds is that people are more willing to express attitudes that could be viewed as prejudiced when their past behavior has established their credentials as nonprejudiced persons.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11474723

    1. Howard P

      Cindy, with all due respect, and only because you have cited your multi-ethnic heritage on your web-site/other media…

      As someone who has two “minority” backgrounds, how do you feel being in Davis?  Understood if that’s too personal… but you have a perspective that many others posting do not…

      Oh, you have my vote in November…

    2. Jeff M

      This matches my experience and observation.   I would also conclude that some people, noting their own periodic sense of social, intellectual, moral and economic superiority, would be compelled to over-compensate in continuing to establish their credentials as non-prejudiced without impacting their own sense of social, intellectual, moral and economic superiority.

      There in lies the problem… it is quite difficult to be non-prejudiced when continuing to need a sense of social, intellectual, moral and economic superiority.

      I think full human development is achieved when a person can shed their insecurities to disconnect their self-worth as a human from the superficial pursuit of social, intellectual, moral and economic superiority.  This is one benefit of religious faith.  Believing in something much bigger than these superficial achievements would tend to allow a person to degrade the importance of most of those things, and be comfortable living in a more social, intellectual and economic diverse community.  However, this might come at the cost for seeking a more strict and narrow moral acceptance… and result in posturing just another type of moral superiority.

      Liberals tend to amplify this posturing of moral superiority from religions conservatives as a sting of rejection.  But it is generally not so much that as it is simply a criticism of different values.  After all, if a liberal does not believe in the religious faith, why would it sting to be criticized for not believing… unless there was some deeper insecurity?    And often there is.

      The data seems to support this “dark underbelly of bias” existing in more liberal communities even as the community sings Kumbaya and protests for more inclusiveness and equality for all.

      1. Richard McCann

        Jeff M

        You wrote: “I think full human development is achieved when a person can shed their insecurities to disconnect their self-worth as a human from the superficial pursuit of social, intellectual, moral and economic superiority.  This is one benefit of religious faith.  Believing in something much bigger than these superficial achievements would tend to allow a person to degrade the importance of most of those things, and be comfortable living in a more social, intellectual and economic diverse community.  However, this might come at the cost for seeking a more strict and narrow moral acceptance… and result in posturing just another type of moral superiority.
        Liberals tend to amplify this posturing of moral superiority from religions conservatives as a sting of rejection.  But it is generally not so much that as it is simply a criticism of different values.  After all, if a liberal does not believe in the religious faith, why would it sting to be criticized for not believing… unless there was some deeper insecurity?    And often there is.”
        If only religious faith really worked this way. While I see that believing a God (or some type of spiritual interconnection that we cannot be physically directly aware of) brings can bring together a community, too often, as pointed out in “End of Faith”, it drives tribalism. At the root of tribalism is the sense of superiority that you identify. So I do not see religious belief, at least how it is practiced in the majority of churches now in America, as a better solution.
        And you need to be much more specific in identifying when liberals are being “stung by rejection” through criticism by religious conservatives. That’s a misunderstanding of how “liberals” critique religious conservatives. It’s about how religious documents and theology are interpreted. Religious conservatives appear to believe in a largely singular interpretation, and then one that tends to rely on authoritarian compliance. Ironically, for Christians, much of that interpretation comes from the conditions imposed by the Roman Empire to end persecution and have the Empire adopt it as the official religion 300 years after Jesus’ death. I’m not sure where the question of faith comes into play. (I’ve read extensively on the early history of the Church.) Instead, much of the liberal movement started with more religiously fervent members (e.g., abolition, civil rights, poverty relief), but as the religious institutions maintained socially and economically conservative postures, liberals left churches and then realized that they even questioned their faith (like my Catholic parents.)
        (And Jeff M, I’m pretty sure I know who you are and I’m not sure why you hide behind the shield of anonymity when (1) your friends already know your political views and (2) you would have much more credibility if you openly identified yourself.)

        1. Jeff M

          Religious conservatives appear to believe in a largely singular interpretation, and then one that tends to rely on authoritarian compliance.

          Breathtakingly inaccurate… especially for most Christian.  You don’t appear to understand faith, and that is fine.  But don’t then attempt to rationalize what you don’t understand.

          (And Jeff M, I’m pretty sure I know who you are and I’m not sure why you hide behind the shield of anonymity when (1) your friends already know your political views and (2) you would have much more credibility if you openly identified yourself.)

          The fact that I don’t use my full name is in response to previous threats against my business and my family from people that cannot handle differences of opinion and like the Nazis knew and know that threats can silence opposition.  Since my opinions are mine personally and not the opinions of my family nor my place of business, it because necessary to prevent direct threats to my family and place of business.

          The fact that you criticize anonymity is indicative that you too might see the benefit in weaponized opposition to the liberal and socialist new world order… if only the names of the opposition are known.  Am I wrong?  If so, then why would you care?

        2. Howard P

          The fact that you criticize anonymity is indicative that you too might see the benefit in weaponized opposition to the liberal and socialist new world order… 

          Scary… truly scary…

          Guess I need to buy weapons to compensate…

        3. Jeff M

          I worded that poorly…

          Should have written:

          The fact that you criticize anonymity is indicative that you too might see the benefit in weaponized opposition to anyone that opposes the liberal and socialist new world order…

    3. Cindy Pickett

      Howard – Thanks for your question. Honestly, most of the time, I feel great about living in Davis. There are many positive aspects of living in this town that have kept me here. Ironically though, that’s why the potentially racists incidents take me by surprise and are jarring.

      At a heated city council meeting, I gave public comment and an angry resident approached me after the comment and called me “ignorant.” In fact, I was actually very knowledgeable about the issue at hand and this person did not approach other individuals giving public comment. Questioning the intelligence of Blacks is a form of racism. Was this particular person acting out of racism? Who knows. But I do experience the nagging fear that I will be taken less seriously because of my appearance and background (perceived age, race, gender, etc).  In social psychology, we make the distinction between subtle racism and overt racism. I’d say that overt racism is relatively rare in Davis compared to other places that I have lived (e.g., rural Illinois).

       

      1. Howard P

        Thank you…

        Don’t worry about your “appearance”… trust me on this…

        There are jerks… those in the public (and private) sector have to deal with them… reality….

        Has little to do with “issues”….

      2. Matt Williams

        Thank you for the candid response Cindy.  What you have described is pretty close to what I see as the “norm” for Davis residents of color.  I’m really looking forward to viewing video that David has volunteered to share (see http://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/09/analysis-davis-not-alone-among-progressive-cities/#comment-394244) that shows that “[Davis residents] of color are treated differently [than people of white racial heritage] in this community.  Vastly different.”

        When I read it That was a pretty incendiary and polarizing and judgmental statement by David.

        Can our community do better?  Absolutely.  Your experience with the angry resident is evidence of that fact.  But doing better starts from an attainment level that you have described quite well (in my opinion) when you say overt racism is relatively rare in Davis compared to other places that I have lived (e.g., rural Illinois).  I have found the same thing to be true in the places I have lived (e.g. Philadelphia suburbs, Dallas, Nashville, rural Upstate New York, rural Eastern Pennsylvania)

  9. Ron

    Jeff:  “If you are a person that seeks to live in a rich, educated, white and exclusive community… you might need to virtue signal like crazy to satiate the pangs of self-loathing and guilt that would otherwise overwhelm you.  And in doing so, you can feel better about your work behind the scenes to keep your community rich, education, white and exclusive.”

    Most folks that I know don’t “virtue signal”, and don’t seem to feel pangs of self-loathing and guilt.  They just go about their daily lives, without purposefully trying to harm or help others based upon race (including their own).

      1. Ron

        Most people that I meet in Davis (or the Bay Area).  I don’t know anyone from Houston.

        I can tell you that the one time I travelled to Texas (San Antonio), I was shocked regarding some of the cultural differences.  For example, I met an African-American man when I was trying to find the Alamo, and he “befriended” me, while walking with me to the Alamo.  (I realized he was probably homeless.) At the Alamo, he asked me for some money, and I obliged.  A policeman (or was it a security guard?) witnessed that, and immediately started giving the guy a hard time.  (I then used that distraction to get away from the whole situation).  I’ve never witnessed anything like that in California.

        In general, I got the feeling that Texas is not a place to mess around with law enforcement.  (I seem to recall learning about the Texas Rangers while there, as well.) Truth be told, I also got the “feeling” that it’s not such a good place to be an African-American (not just based upon that one experience).

  10. Mike Adams

    Anyone else uncomfortable with characterizing all people of color, or all African Americans, in a single way (particularly in a conversation that seems to lack diversity)? I do understand that there are potentially aspects of experience, like the overall response of a particular police department, that may discriminate against groups by race/ethnicity and age and gender, but the response of individuals in that community will be varied, depending on their backgrounds, experience, and opportunities. I suppose that the purpose of this discussion is for the larger community to assess the nature of the situation and to agree that this discrimination, both conscious and unconscious, constitutes a problem, but more to the point is what can we do to improve the situation, if we see the problem?

    The goal is not to make the white community to feel better or worse about itself, but to put into place ways to document racism as it exists and take corrective action. I also think it is detrimental to reaching solutions to put problems in silos. A lack of affordable housing and limited jobs that aren’t tied to the university are barriers to all people with limited incomes. So while people of color associated with the university may choose to live in Davis, working class folks are priced out, independent of their color (though admittedly race presents an additional barrier).

    1. Ron

      Mike:  “Anyone else uncomfortable with characterizing all people of color, or all African Americans, in a single way (particularly in a conversation that seems to lack diversity)?”

      What “single way” is that?  (Other than categorizing/grouping together “people of color”)?

  11. Matt Williams

    Ken A. asked . . . “David, have people of color really been telling you that they have a “BIGGER problem in Davis than other cities”?”

    David Greenwald replied . . . “In some ways, yes.”

    Honestly David, I am having a really hard time wrapping my mind around your answer.  If one compares the quality of life (for people of all colors) in Davis to the quality of life (for people of all colors) in other cities, there really isn’t any comparison.  Davis residents themselves are more educated, and they are surrounded by people of all colors and creeds brimming with incredibly creative ideas that serve as a plethora of intellectual challenges that keep Davis residents healthy in mind and body.

    The Davis culture of active outdoor activities, especially biking and walking on our wealth of greenbelts, keeps Davis residents healthy in mind and body.

    The quality of Davis housing is above average, and compared to the rest of California it is of average cost … compared to nationwide though, the cost of housing it is definitely above average.

    We have an amazing climate that is the envy of 99.9% of the other cities in the US. And the fertile soils combined with that climate means that the quality of fresh foods we enjoy produces a diet that is one of the very best in the nation, and at a price that is lower than most other cities nationwide.

    So I ask you, what is the cause of the BIGGER problem in Davis than other cities, that people of color have been telling you about?

    1. David Greenwald

      Matt – Honestly one reason you are having a hard time wrapping your mind around my answer is that you are asking the wrong questions.  You talk about quality of life in Davis, but not the treatment of people of color.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for