Sikh Community and Others Push for the City to Remove Gandhi Statue from Central Park

Across the country, we are seeing protesters and jurisdictions taking down statues of figures that are racist symbols, everything from confederate generals to Columbus.  But the protesters on Saturday at Central Park in Davis, largely from the Sikh community and totaling perhaps 50 or so, acknowledged that the legacy of Gandhi is more complicated—as he is viewed as a human rights symbol.

But to them he’s not.  As the community learned during the debate over the Central Park Gandhi Statue in 2016, the international symbol of non-violence protest and peace is viewed very differently by the Sikh community—to them he is their tormenter, with a legacy of racism, castes, and even sexual abuse.

“American needs to come together, we have seen so much suffering,” one of the organizers said.  “One of the symbols that stands in this park is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi commonly called Mahatma Gandhi.  Gandhi has never set foot in America.  Yet his statues are dawned in every city from San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, you name it.  Most prime real estate are lined with the statues of Gandhi.

“The mythological Gandhi, propagated by Hollywood and the propaganda by India, is a far cry from the actual Gandhi” he explained.

It was four years ago that an effort to bring in the statue produced multiple meetings and countless hours of debate and discussion with the Davis City Council before the majority finally approved it.

Pieter Friedrich explained in great detail the actual history of Gandhi.  He noted that all over the country, statues that represent the glorification of slaveholders “should be taken down.”  He said, “There is at least one useful thing about these statues, at least they stand for what we expect.  They symbolize what they are intended to symbolize.

“What you see is what you get,” he said, “a statue of a racist.”

But he said we “face a more complicated journey when we are confronted by statues of people who, we are told, represent the justice, quality and peace and yet actually and in fact represented the exact opposite.”

He noted that for Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, the basis for their non-violent resistance was based on Gandhi’s ideas and vision.

“Thus we are told the face of Black liberation from the United States to South Africa owes its various existence to Gandhi,” he said.  The 1982 film Gandhi is the vision most people in this country have of him, but he said “what is less well known is that the Indian Government funded the film”

Fredrick noted that at the same time India was funding these projects and readying to install hundreds of statues of Gandhi around the world, they were supporting genocide and ethnic violence against religious and ethnic minorities in India.

“The violent and supremacist rulers of that country today use ‘Gandhi-plomacy’ or propa-gandhi’ as a foreign policy weapon to conceal their atrocities and divert attention from their constant and most egregious violations of human rights.”

He pondered, “What if Gandhi has been able to whitewash the (Indian Government) atrocities because Gandhi himself has been whitewashed?”

Friedrich said, “The hard fact of the matter is that Gandhi was actually the champion of inequality.”  He said, “Gandhi’s anti-black racism is widely acknowledged today – although rarely closely examined and often quickly excused.”

Gandhi as Friedrich explained lived in South Africa for 21 years, spending a huge portion of his professional life there, only returning to India at the age of 45.

“When he was there, he said a lot of racist things,” Friedrich said.  “A lot of very racist things.”

He referred to Black Africans as “savages” and said “they are very lazy and of no use.”

He added, “Gandhi didn’t just say racist things, Gandhi demanded segregation.  He joined the white colonizers in a war to exterminate Black freedom fighters.”

Moreover, he argued, “Gandhi never changed,” saying it was not just a young and immature Gandhi who harbored these thoughts.  But Fredrick rejected this, noting this was an extremely well educated man in his thirties and forties.  Moreover, he “never acknowledged his words” and when he returned to India, he continued to push for the caste system.

He said, “Gandhi moved back to India and switched from promoting racism to promoting casteism.”

Among the other speakers was Dillan Horton, running for the Davis City Council.

He noted that his family members are the decedents of Central Texas slaves, “so Juneteenth has a deep meaning in my family.”

On the Gandhi issue, he said, “This should be an easy issue for the city of Davis.”  He said, “There is a statue right behind me of an anti-black segregationist.”  He added, “He set up multiple systems of oppression in multiple countries.”

He noted, “Most people in Davis if you ask them will say that doesn’t represent my values—yet the statue is here.

“The statue has to come down, it’s the only thing that’s consistent with our values,” he said.  “Obviously we are here today because we don’t have the leadership in our city that’s given it to us.  The statue has been here for four years—when the statue was put here in the first place, it was protested by people in the community.  Protested by people all across the state.  Yet the statue is here.”

Leaders of the community have been “dismissed and rebuffed” when they have tried to have conversations about whether the statue is consistent with our community’s values has arisen.

“Obviously this is not going to change with your current city leadership,” Horton said.  He noted that the city council election will be on the ballot along with the presidential election, and he quipped, “We have a mayor right now who is the most unabashedly pro-police person on the current Davis City Council.”

He added, “He is a person who has been willing to sign a blank check to expanded policing and reduced police accountability every chance they got.”

In August of 2016, there was a long contentious council meeting on the issue of the statue.  In February that year, the council on consent voted to accept a Gandhi statue, donated from the Indian government for a placement in Central Park.

But it was then-Mayor Robb Davis and Mayor Pro Tem Brett Lee that brought the item back for consideration.

They ended up losing that vote 3-2, where Will Arnold, Lucas Frerichs and Rochelle Swanson voted to oppose reconsideration.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

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

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68 Comments

  1. Keith Olsen

    But to them he’s not.

    It seems today if anyone is offended by anything it must be removed or destroyed.

    In many cases with statues people are taking matters into their own hands and just tearing them down seemingly without any consequences.  Look at the statues of Francis Scott Key and Saint Junípero Serra ripped down in Golden Gate Park in SF yesterday.  Much of the beautiful park was vandalized but no arrests.  A small group decided the statues had to go and poof, they’re gone.  In this case it was mob rule.

    1. David Greenwald

      I think it’s dismissive to attribute this to being merely offended. Like Todd, as a Jew, I am very sensitive to the notion of honoring attrocities of the past. Could you imagine Germany leaving up statues of people like Goering or Hess? Germany for whatever you think has banned such things as a way to deal with their past.

      I view slavery as an atrocity visited upon the Black people, add in the fact that the Civil War was an act of treason to this nation, and the idea of honoring Lee or other traiters to this nation is shocking especially since they were put up in defiance to civil rights experts.

      As the historian points out in this article, Gandhi is a much more difficult question for me. But I think you need to be a lot more sensitive to the fact that Inda in Gandhi’s name according to the Sikhs who were there last night exhibited acts of genoncide against them. I don’t know where I come donw ultimately on Gandhi, but to attribute this to mere offended I think misses the point.

      1. Alan Miller

        I agree at the Germany analogy, also as a Jew.  I am very bothered by the attitude of many people involved in these movements forgiving looting and vandalism.  There is no excuse for that.  But these statues mean somehing — deeply so for many people.  It warms my heart to see the Confederate statues fall.  It seems to be a time of reckoning that these symbols come down.  I admit, I’m not thrilled about seeing George Washington fall, but I’m for considering anything these days when it comes to what these symbols stand for and for whom they stand for symbols of oppression.

        (I’m wondering when the Lincoln Memorial in Washington gets blowed up, and by whom?)

      2. Chris Woodland

        A whole lot of American Indian tribes on slaves.are we going to go around and tear down all the casinos because those Indians are evil 😊

        When the Spaniards came to California did they make slaves out of the Indians? should we tear down all of missions throughout California?

        How about the evil Catholic Church during the crusades should we wipe out religion?

        1. Alan Miller

          Mr. W, I’d say yes to all your questions.

          Well, not really, but I don’t think those items need to glorified as they are.  The slave part should be up front and center in the history.

          And I would like to see the casinos torn down, but not for the reasons you site.

  2. Todd Edelman

    I sat here for a bit trying to think of what might support an “As a Jew….” type comment… that would produce a result such as “What if Israel wanted to gift a statue of Golda Meir to the City of Davis?”. To be clear, I would be 100% against that.

    But instead I’ll suggest that statues of political figures are contrary to democracy, even if those statues are of people considered great democrats (lower case “d”). Even though they can be removed with a vote or something less formal – but no less democratic – they stand for something in a way that even a very powerful law does not. The latter is understood to be – in a sense – on paper, but stone is stone, and communicates permanence.

    Statues – in the West – are perhaps mostly significantly a very, very old school thing, until relatively recent put in by decree, not by direct or representative vote. Consensus is ideal, but it’s accepted that the population can vote for paper – as above – and lose, and then re-write the paper two or four years later. One could say that the stone (statue) can be a result of paper – as it was in the consent decision in 2016 – but that seems to be missing the point: There should not be any statue in place that is not the result of true consensus; no statue should oppress or be opposed by anyone.

    Conceptually, at least, this would mean that a statue of Gandhi would include imagery about his racism or sexual abuse. Obviously it then turns into something formally-advanced then a statue, more like a documentary film or some vehicle that shows multiple perspectives. Again, the stone, the statue… it’s a very-old school thing, at least in its standard, representative form, can’t do that. So new, political statues should be a no-go in the public right-of-way, the public space.

    As far as the existing ones go – and these needs to apply to street names and company branding as well, of which Davis and the region has a few that are worth re-considering – I think that context is everything. Gandhi should clearly go, but where to? In an exhibiton – very robustly re-contextualised – in the New City Museum Plaza in the former Bistro 33 etc. space, dumped into Putah Creek, dragged through town by bicycles once a year? (I like the idea that the toppled Junipero Serra statue in SF should be left as is, fake blood and all, he really was a racist pig, as was U.S. Grant.). What about street names? Can we change them in an economic way? I heard some negative stuff about Covell – perhaps this could be switch to “Velo”? Sutter Health got rid of its statue of their Indian-enslaving namesake… will they change their entire branding?

    The naturally returns me to my favorite local symbol to hate: The penny farthing – or high wheeler bicycle –  that supposedly captures “Davis”.  The reality is that this machine is an anti-egalitarian, anachronism that had its heyday well before 1900, and well before the modern Davis-entity was incorporated. The modern safety bicycle is the true liberation vehicle vehicle. Using the highwheeler to demonstrate “bike” would be like if Davis was the “US Reproductive Rights Capitol” with the symbol a chastity belt.

    1. Keith Olsen

      There should not be any statue in place that is not the result of true consensus; no statue should oppress or be opposed by anyone.

      Then all statues must come down because there’s always someone somewhere who feels oppressed or offended by everything.

      The naturally returns me to my favorite local symbol to hate: The penny farthing – or high wheeler bicycle –  that supposedly captures “Davis”.  The reality is that this machine is an anti-egalitarian, anachronism that had its heyday well before 1900, and well before the modern Davis-entity was incorporated. 

      Here’s a good example, someone is offended by the high-wheeler bicycle statues.

      1. David Greenwald

        “Then all statues must come down because there’s always someone somewhere who feels oppressed or offended by everything.”

        I don’t think that’s true. I think there are clear lines for most of them. Holocaust/ Germany – no statue. Slavery/ Confederate Traitors – no statue. Others – we can debate.

        1. Keith Olsen

          Not denigrating, I just never knew that the one wheeler bicycle was offensive to some.  You learn something everyday.

          If someone is suffering because of one-wheeler bicycle statues than that should be looked into and discussed and debated, as you say.

          Do you agree?

           

           

           

        1. Don Shor

          I believe you have thoughtful comments to offer on this difficult topic 

          I don’t believe he has thoughtful comments to offer on this difficult topic.

        2. Keith Olsen

          Here’s an example of one of the recent thoughtful comments from John Hobbs.

          John Hobbs June 19, 2020 at 9:14 am
          LOL.
          In another suit, Barr has filed wrongful termination claims on behalf of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, citing the inequity of allowing Col. Sanders and Mr. Clean to continue in their spokesperson positions.

        3. Alan Miller

          I don’t believe he has thoughtful comments

          Well, this is the first I’ve heard that comments have to be thoughtful.  Who’s gonna be the judge on that . . . the Thought Police?

          [edited]

    2. Todd Edelman

      I feel the need to clarify that my proposed restriction is only about political figures, and would only apply to new ones. The City of Davis rarely installs statues in public spaces, so it’s not like this would be a continual issue. It’s a safeguard that relates to a rare situation.

      Existing statues and those portraying non-political figures would go through a different process.

      The high-wheeler bike is simply not representative of our goals with cycling.

      Street names have the largest potential for discussion because there is lots of hardware and electronic communication involved.

  3. Ron Glick

    “We have a mayor right now who is the most unabashedly pro-police person on the current Davis City Council.”
    He added, “He is a person who has been willing to sign a blank check to expanded policing and reduced police accountability every chance they got.”

    That is exactly correct. I couldn’t have said it better. Go Dylan!

  4. Edgar Wai

    The city should not accept symbolic gifts when the symbol offends some of its people. The underlying principle is similar to separation of state and religion.

    Maybe the city could auction the statue. When the auction period is over and no one wants it, the city could accept bids for its removal.

    1. Bill Marshall

      The city should not accept symbolic gifts when the symbol offends some of its people.

      Criteria for judging “some”?  50%?,  25%?, 10%?, 1%?, 4 individuals?

      Some clarity would be useful to that aspect of the discussion…

      1. Alan Miller

        You know the new rules:  if anyone is offended, it doesn’t happen.

        Of course, I’m offended by the new rules, so how does that play out?

        Like when Spock told the android he was lying, most likely.

    2. Edgar Wai

      How about this:

      “The city council is not allowed to accept any symbolic gift. Any symbolic gift displayed in public area may be removed from city custody by anyone after a 30 public notice. The city council may auction the object before the due date.”

      Symbolic Gift is intended to mean non-monetary and non-functional gifts that exists for for it represents (examples are statues, art pieces, flags, etc…). The world “Gift” is used to emphasize objects that were not previously approved and paid by the people.

      A law like this is intended to allow the people to act directly without depending on “city council approval”.

      If this law is in place, I would consider the Sikh community had given Davis the public notice. Because I consider the Gandhi statue is a symbolic gift. I would allow anyone to remove it in a month. Within that month, the city could auction, sell, donate. The city is not allowed to store or relocate the statue within the city. (The city must relinquish custody.”

      Because this law didn’t exist before, I wouldn’t hold the city accountable for the cost of removal. People who want it removed might need to pay for the removal.

      1. Alan Miller

        I can’t.  I don’t see Edgar’s comments.  Been about two years now.  I have to send an email to DG to be reinstated into the world of Edgar.  Just haven’t got around to it.  It’s so important that we keep the “Ignore Commenter” feature.  So useful, for those who can’t simply not read what they don’t want to read.  Such a tough, tough world.

  5. Jeff Boone

    I am so happy that I developed a thicker skin through a life of REAL individual struggle and perseverance instead of being triggered of my own inadequacies, insecurities and victim mindset at benign symbols of history that have no relevance to my current existence and then mistake my activism for removing those symbols as being restorative to my plight.  What a waste of time, energy and resources to pursue these mirages of assistance.   They are torn down and nothing improves… so what next?

    But what I see going on with this irrational mob demand that we tear down statues is not too difficult to understand from an observant psychological perspective.  In fact, most of the unrest we see today with the protesters and anarchists is connected in the same cause of the disassociated societal stakeholder.

    The mid-late 1970s began the degradation in the percentage of the population that felt belonging and ownership in general American society.  Prior to that the country has been on growth and development slope where opportunity sprouted like weeds for anyone with ambition enough to grab for it.   The health of a single monolithic American middle class with robust income mobility was the norm… and it has always been a key to social health for the great Melting-Pot of America.

    But we allowed the looting elites to pick it apart and give it away.  These over-educated, under-experienced, ivory tower “thinkers” of the ruling class thought that we could prevent wars by treating our enemies with our abundant earned resources so they too would get a taste of the very system we enjoyed… failing to understand that our system was primarily successful BECAUSE we were all individually able to benefit from those earnings… earning that had costs us dearly in accumulated blood, sweat and tears… and that all these statues serve to represent.  And also failing to understand basic human nature of tribalism.

    The hollowed out economy has separated the country into the haves and have-nots.  While China accelerated at double-digit GDP growth from a treasure-trove of American inventions and production that we veritably handed over to them for their near-slave labor offering, and Mexico moved up from 3rd-world status from the same… we destroyed the economic opportunity path for millions of our own people.

    Remember the excuses from these elite rulers… that we would go from a low-tech industrial society to a leader in services and high-tech… that there would be renewed economic opportunity for all!

    It did not happen.  Our trade deficits soared.  American and international business grew more fat and happy, while American small business contracted and began to die.  Meanwhile millions of poor and uneducated immigrants flooded the country.  They overwhelmed the remaining low and moderate-skill job market.  Soon it was three people at the top making almost all the wealth, a top 20% of professional upper-middle class… and the rest were stuck living pay-check-to-pay-check without the past dream that they too might access the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

    We enabled a new global competition where America became the platinum consumer market that everyone else in the world targeted… while these other countries blocked their own domestic market with tariffs and other administrative road-blocks to keep American producers out.

    And our idiot politicians just kept allowing it to happen.

    The protesters are protesting what they don’t understand.  They feel outside of mainstream American society and thus and trying to destroy it and reform it into something the feel more ownership of… more a stakeholder in… more connected to.   The statues are only a placebo for this disassociation.  It won’t stop with the statues… because they are not a solution… only a cry.  The solution is 100% economic.  That is were everything evolves from.

    Before the virus, the nation was heading in the right direction to repair the damage.  But for the US to get it and start fixing what our elite ruling class has broken inconveniences the elite ruling class and also the global economic competition of the US.  These cohorts are made wealthy by preventing a resurgence of American middle-class prosperity.   The virus response destroyed the tenuous sense that more people were being brought back into the societal ownership fold with greater economic opportunity.  The little saving they had started to earn got wiped out in a few months.  Hope vanished. People exploded.  The American political establishment, the international globalist political establishment and all the global big business interests… well they are happy with the result… so much so that it really does support a conspiracy theory.

    And those that participate are either part of the elite ruling class architects of American destruction, or they are useful fools assisting in the creation of their own greater misery.

    The reason to resist this demand to bring down statues is not only that it is not actually restorative in healing, but it is destructive in the distraction for what the real problems are and what the real solutions should be.  The problem is not that idea of America is suddenly wrong and thus its history must be wiped out.  The problem is that America is no longer America because those in charge have raped, pillaged and plundered her to fill their own pockets at the expense of too many other Americans that have been left without enough hope for a good life.

    1. Edgar Wai

      Statues in public places has the same or similar effect as “state endorsed narrative of history.”

      Since history is often contested, the information could reside in libraries or digital archives. The government should not have an agenda on promoting any one side of history assuming that it cannot simultaneously promote all sides of history using one statue.

      As a result, each citizen could erect a statue they like in their own private property, they could endorse any historical or fictional figure by wearing a T-shirt featuring them. But the government should not be allowed to do so.

      1. Jeff Boone

        they could endorse any historical or fictional figure by wearing a T-shirt featuring them.

        Yeah right.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/sports/ncaafootball/mike-gundy-apologizes-oklahoma-state.html

        I think ya’ll don’t know how dangerous this line of thinking is.  You rationalize the irrational and absurd.  Because it is irrational it does not stop.  By justifying the absurd you give it license to never stop.

        Next up all of our other war memorials.  Mosques.  Churches.  Universities.   Why stop when the destruction is rationalized by leading academics and politicians?

      2. Edgar Wai

        Churches are normally not government owned.

        I thought about the Statue of Liberty. A solution I propose is to let it be privately owned (people who likes the statue can buy shares and become a shared owner).

        The same could work for national monuments and memorials, mount Rushmore, etc.

        The catch is that the initial transfer of ownership must be some type of auction. The government may not have discretion to transfer ownership to a group that wants to preserve the landmark. The opportunity must be equal to those who want to preserve or destroy.

        Once the initial transfer happens, the new owner is responsible for its maintenance and may collect revenue from tourism, copyrights, etc.

        1. John Hobbs

          “I thought about the Statue of Liberty.”

          Not enough. It is only controversial to elitists and plutocrats.

          The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

          Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
          With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
          Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
          A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
          Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
          Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
          Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
          The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
          “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
          With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
          Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
          The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
          Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
          I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

          Luckily for most of us, she is more inclusive than some modern small minds.

        2. Edgar Wai

          It seems New York State is paying for the $65K/day maintenance of the Statue of Liberty.

          If not for the shutdowns that Statue would be a money maker for the state. NY will take care of the Statue.

          * * *

          An alternative to removing statues could be adding statues. Doing so could lead to many statues. Which might not be “bad” but would certainly change the character of the town.

  6. Chris Woodland

    I heard a rumor that we’re going to be invaded from above and they’re going to come wipe out our planet for being insanely stupid because the human race is not worth saving 😊

  7. John Hobbs

    “Here’s an example of one of the recent thoughtful comments from John Hobbs.”

    It’s called humor, Keith. In that case “satire: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”

    In times of such upheaval, the need for humor is greater than ever. Thankfully, you and Boone give me quite a few laughs with your cartoonishly Trumpian comments.

  8. John Hobbs

    “I am so happy that I developed a thicker skin through a life of REAL individual struggle and perseverance”

    So tough on a white male in our society.

    “instead of being triggered of my own inadequacies, insecurities and victim mindset at benign symbols of history that have no relevance to my current existence”

    I can see where Lee, and the other Confederate heroes’ likenesses wouldn’t bother you, since THEY NEVER ENSLAVED WHITE PEOPLE!

    ” What a waste of time, energy and resources to pursue these mirages of assistance.

    Interesting turn of a phrase, mirages of assistance.”  Care to explain exactly what you meant there?

    You know, I grew up in logging camps and dam construction sites mostly, working along side with my family acquiring much of my education from The Encyclopaedia Britannica and classical literature until I reached high school age.  Over those years I had a few injuries and a pretty bad illness to work through. When I was 14  my Dad developed a debilitating illness and I had to take odd jobs and care for my sister to help my mom pay the bills. Still, I managed to get through school, get into college and make a pretty good life. I almost never reflect on the “struggles” other than the odd humorous anecdote. I also cannot recall a single time in 67 years that I have ever felt discriminated against because of or impeded in anyway by my race. I can sadly recall a few times when I was given a job or promoted over someone else because of it. I find your tales of oppression difficult to comprehend, since you represent yourself as such a paragon of American manhood and values. Perhaps if you were more forthcoming with details of “Your Struggle” I would find more empathy, but frankly, I find your continual whining about your “struggle” to be just more Trumpian snowflake Merde d’ Boeuf.

    1. Jeff Boone

      So tough on a white male in our society.

      Why go racist?  Are you one, or do just keep making the mistake bring race into the discussion where it does not belong?  White guilt?

      So much broken in this current racial  narrative.  Destructive soft bigotry of low expectations.  A victim mindset.  Human suggle is the norm, not the exception.  If you know history you should know this.  Only in the last century or so has the struggle been materially reduced.  You paint a picture of some life struggle.  And yet you claim the attainment of a good life.  Because you are white?  I don’t know that you are.  I don’t care if you are.  I suspect that you are human… even though at times I question that assumption.  But assuming you are, that seems about the only differentiating qualifier.  You struggled and perseverred, so why are others victims unable to do the same?  What a terribly destructive message to deliver to another… especially a child.

        1. Jeff Boone

          There is a such thing as reverse discrimination, but that’s different from systemic racism.

          The remaining existence of this thing you call systemic racism is too small to be recognized as anything other than basic human psychology.  It is micro-cultural bias.  Race isn’t a material factor today.  Behavior, values, opinions, interests, perspectives… all of these things combine with an individual personality to become the essence of the individual person.

          I don’t have any racial bias, but I have a very STRONG bias for these other things.   For example, I would likely have a bias about hiring you because all of those other things would be an impediment to you being able to perform well enough on the job.   The same with many recent liberal arts college graduates having their heads stuffed with all of this identity politics social justice nonsense.   This stuff would not fit into the business world I lead… where people of all races, ethnicity, genders, sexual orientations, etc… just get along because they all have similar cultural perspectives.

          With all due respect, they see you and your culture as being about as foreign as they come.  You would have to be programmed into seeing things differently or else you could not even function in this domain.

          Venus and Mars.

          It can be similar for a person raised in the low-income urban areas.  That cultural imprinting would be a probable impediment to integration into mainstream professional class existence.  It would require a significant initial investment to develop the individual to the required level of confidence and competence.

          We once had another path to mainstream in a robust blue-collar economy.  But our academic elites in control of government partnered with American big business interests to give it away to China and Mexico primarily, while they also flooded the nation with millions of poor and uneducated immigrants that provided cheap labor and expensive votes.  And at the same time we have technology advances that push more available jobs into the skilled arena.

          That is where we are today… not racism, but a broken and bifurcated social and economic system where the people of the mainstream good life culture pulled away from the rest.

          Reading about George Frank and Derek Chauvin, neither had what would be characterized as having a model childhood and upbringing.   There is a good article in the WSJ that covers the history of these two men.  Floyd grew up raised by a single mother in a public housing community in Houston and had once written that he wanted to become a Supreme Court Justice.  According to the article he had a big and friendly personality, substantial athletic gifts and had a lot of friends.

          The article describes Chauvin as an awkward child that did not stand out and was somewhat of a loner.  He was not good at athletics, and he was not gifted academically.  He was teased by other students.  His parents were divorced, there was not much money in the family.

          But here is where the two lives took their separate paths that ultimately led to this fatal and terrible encounter.

          Floyd got a basketball scholarship.  But he left after two years to return to Texas because of worry about his mother’s money problems.  According to the article his childhood friends and other family members put pressure on him to help his family out.  He had problems with drugs and was arrested and convicted of a violent home invasion of a pregnant woman.

          Chauvin did not get any scholarship.  After high school he worked flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s.  At some point he got interested in law enforcement and attended a community college and then eventually earned a Bachelors degree in that discipline.  Chauvin also served as an Army Reservist.  A supervisor from his early policing days describes him as buttoned up and clean… but otherwise unremarkable.  Chauvin’s wife is Hmong and was the victim of domestic abuse from her first marriage.  She has two sons that she was raising with Chauvin.   She has said she believes Chauvin is a good person.

          This story is good to read and understand.  From my perspective Floyd was blessed with greater privileges in his God-given talent and personality… that led to a basketball scholarship.   But ultimately he was pulled back into the old neighborhood… the non-mainstream culture where drugs and crime were common and accepted.  Chauvin did not have these same gifts.  But he ended up working to earn a spot in a mainstream professional career.  That same spot was available for George Floyd if he wanted it.  In fact, Floyd likely would have had the advantage over Chauvin all things being equal in their education and other related credentials.   Evidence of systemic racism would require that Chauvin be selected OVER Floyd in this case.  There is really no evidence that this type of bias materially exists.  Racial outcomes are not evidence of racial bias.  This is where you and others are off the rails.

          Floyd disqualified himself from being an acceptable candidate with his criminal record.  This wasn’t the fault of law enforcement that he made this mistakes that would result in significantly diminished career opportunities.  It isn’t racism, it is bias against people with a criminal record.  And ironically for you, the Trump Administration Second Chance Bill is exactly the type of thing we need to help mitigate this problem where urban black men end up with criminal records that hampers their access to mainstream American prosperity.

          Getting to Floyd’s pull back into the old neighborhood over family money problems… the other thing we need is to bring back more of our manufacturing and service jobs and provide incentives in Promise Zones and other disadvantage economic region  public policy goals… something else that the Trump administration is doing.  Lastly, we need school reform in these troubled inner-city neighborhoods.   Again, a Trump commitment.

          Systemic racism is a myth promulgated by the left that knows that their entire political system crashes if the black community wakes up to the reality of real source of their plight.

  9. Robb Davis

    I am not totally surprised that this issue has resurfaced at this time.  So… a perspective.  When the installation of this statue came to the City Council on consent calendar it was clearly stated that it was a gift of the Indian community of Davis to the City and people of Davis.

    When some opposition later emerged, and I asked for a pause in the installation so we could bring the two-sides in the dispute together for a dialogue, I received a visit (!) from the Indian Consul General from San Francisco.  He made it very clear to me in a short, tense meeting, that the statue belonged to the Government of India and that if the City of Davis did not want it, then they would take it back. I was, to say the least, shocked.

    I had been to India many times and was fully aware that the then and current Prime Minister was a divisive person who had stood by when he was State Minister in Gujarat while Hindus slaughtered Muslims.  I was also aware of his strong commitment to Hindutva (look it up).

    A bit of further research revealed how his government was distributing statues of Gandhi to cities all over the world and that these statues were part of a “brand India” strategy to hide the arguably extremist Hindu nationalist views of the BJP.

    It was after the Consul General’s visit that I realized that the issue in Davis was not about Gandhi, per se, but rather the playing out of modern Indian politics in our small, but very international town.  It was an amazing study of the effects of a globally interconnected world on a small town: effects we saw more recently on campus in the Hong Kong/Chinese student disputes and, just before the COVID-19 SIP, conflict over the policies of the Modi government among Indian students.

    The reality is that having a global university in our town means that the conflicts of our world come home to Davis in many interesting ways.

    Many of the well meaning actors involved in the statue dispute were, I am convinced, not aware of the true source of the conflict, but, despite my efforts to have people speak to these underlying challenges in a CC meeting, people stuck only to their well-rehearsed positions: Gandhi great/Gandhi evil.  It was a missed opportunity.

    My speech at the installation was hated by many, and appreciated by few but it was about the things that divide us and the need, per Gandhi’s teaching, to come together.

    Among other things, the whole thing taught me, again, the power of symbol—and aren’t statues very powerful symbols of what we value and love?

    The conflict over statues today is an important one.  It forces us to ask whose story counts, which stories define us, and what we will revere as a result.  A mature society knows how to have these conversations.

    1. Alan Miller

      A mature society knows how to have these conversations.

      Nice dig at our society.   Well deserved, too.  Thank you, RD, for this fascinating deeper-look into the Davis Ghandi Statue dispute.  I’d always wondered what was really going on.  What a fascinating experience to have a visit from the Indian CG.

  10. Chris Woodland

    I have a question for all you knowledgeable history buffs. Can anyone name me one civilization or country that it did not want to dominate enslave or Wipeout another country or civilization in the past thousand years?

     

  11. Chris Woodland

    And if there ever has been a civilization our country that is so Lily White (no pun intended)how long did they last before they were conquered or enslaved or completely wiped out

  12. Chris Woodland

    That is just the point. But we are we not trying to cleanse history or trying to rewrite history don’t you kind of feel that that is kind of bizarre. How are future generations going to learn what happened in the past and to make sure and they don’t make the same mistakes that the people before them made. What’s next are these people going to go in and start burning books also.

    1. David Greenwald

      But this isn’t trying to cleanse history. It’s about not honoring people who don’t deserve it. Honestly don’t understand why we don’t regard history the same way we regard the holocaust. What was done to the Black people really is just as bad. Again, I’m more on the fence about Gandhi.

        1. David Greenwald

          It’s an irrelevant point.

          1619 to 1865 – about 250 years

          At the height it was 4 million people, so we are talking about at least 10 million

          People were kidnapped and shipped over here under horrific conditions

          People were kept in chains, beaten, raped, mutilated, killed

          People lived entire lives as slaves for several generations

          I recently re-read Fredrick Douglas’ account.  I think people whitewash the brutality of slavery.

          I don’t care who else did, the US has committed mass atrocities and even after slavery ended, they actually re-enslaved people – you should read Slavery By Another Name, which lasted well into the 20th century and again – appalling conditions and in some cases for minor debt, people were enslaved for 10 to 20 years.

        2. Chris Woodland

          David, slavery has been around since the beginning of time. I would be all for putting plaques in front of these statues describing the atrocities that these individuals did. this isn’t going to stop with tearing down statues this is going to evolve in a very very ugly way.

           

          1. David Greenwald

            You might be fine with it, but then again, you weren’t on the receiving end of it in this country. I’m certainly not fine with that solution.

        3. Jeff Boone

          You might be fine with it, but then again, you weren’t on the receiving end of it in this country. I’m certainly not fine with that solution.

          Just curious… would you expect to be on the receiving end of reparation payments, or else members of your family?

          Your rhetoric on this topic has blown through rational and it seems you are much more aggressive in your position.  What changed?

  13. Edgar Wai

    Statues have the same effect as endorsing a narrative about the figure (promoting a favorable view of the figure while ignoring unfavorable views). I don’t think the state or the government shall have a monopoly on defining what “true history” is and which figure shall be placed on a pedestal.

    Individuals should be allowed to place statues and promote their truthful interpretation of history. Individuals are also free to write history books and promote them. I don’t want to promote a reliance on the government to “show us the great historical figures and what we should know about them”. I think that is risky.

  14. Chris Woodland

    As we progress into the election cycle I hope this is going to be a topic of discussion I wonder if the Democrats will be defending the issue. For me it’s going to be very fun to watch.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Chris… this is about how Davis should proceed on the subject statue… there has been a lot of drift, to be sure… not primetime entertainment on a national level…

  15. Keith Olsen

    I don’t understand why my comment was removed here.

    It was about more symbols of America under attack as activists are trying to get them removed.

    Shaun King, BLM activist has asked for:

    ‘Gross form’ of ‘white supremacy’: Real Justice PAC co-founder calls for removing statues of ‘white Jesus’

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/gross-form-of-white-supremacy-real-justice-pac-co-founder-calls-for-removing-statues-of-white-jesus

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