Guest Commentary: Standing Against Hate

By Gloria Partida

This week was a week of immersive social justice opportunities. Or as immersive as it can get in the Zoom era. Starting with an insight session at I-House on the 11th, facilitated by Advocates for Action, followed by the Vanguard LGBT forum on the 14th, approval of a resolution against Asian hate and a shooting of Asian women in Atlanta the same night. There was a League of Women voters discussion on racial equity, a Yolo Community Foundation discussion on housing insecurity and to finish the week, a vigil for the shooting victims in Atlanta. Depending on how you see the level in your glass, this week was powerfully hopeful or depressingly hopeless.  The common denominator this week was that if you were living on the margins, life was decidedly inequitable. It was wonderful to see the level of energy and organization happening throughout the community. It was also hard not to see how thinly stretched our activist community is. Many, work in multiple areas of activism. The question heard often and which I heard after the vigil was, are we making a difference?

It is a fair question. I especially felt this on Tuesday evening when I left the City council meeting after approving the resolution only to learn of the shootings. How much good do resolutions, vigils and protest make? It is sometimes difficult to remember that some of the biggest changes on the social justice front came in part from these symbolic gestures. The work can be soul sucking. Through these gatherings people support each other, exchange ideas, and strategize. They keep the issue that is being worked on visible and eventually, as we saw with the civil rights movement and the BLM movement, moved to the mainstream. It is a frustratingly slow process, which requires constant push and vigilance to prevent backsliding.

The move to the mainstream is critical. It is at this stage that it is taken up by policy makers. The prevention of backsliding is aided greatly by having policy written that gets to the root of the problem. Reversing Jim Crow, giving everyone access to vote, allowing same-sex marriage, all have improved the lives of people at the margins considerably. All were considered radical ideas when first presented. All started with organized conversations and the constant drumming into the broader community that change was needed.

In the facilitated I-House conversation with Advocates for Action the remark that stood out to me was that their organization does not spend their energy trying to change the hearts and minds of people. They focus on policy. I would argue that a certain amount of critical mass is needed in the hearts and minds area to vote policy makers into office that are sympathetic to social justice causes. None the less this philosophy makes a lot of sense. Identifying what policies move the needle the most to make a difference is tricky. Often revisiting is in order and naysayers take this as an opportunity to point out what a bad idea it was.

In conversations about the shootings in Atlanta a myriad of policies were suggested. Everything from stronger gun laws to equitable hiring practices to Ethnic study requirements were mentioned. What combinations will stop racially motivated violence? At the League of Women Voters discussion, a question posed was “how did you begin working on racism?”. It reminded that racism was not in fact where I started my activist work. I began my activism working on issues of poverty and environment. These were the biggest impacts on peoples lives in the area I grew up in. I still see economics as a thread that runs through all social justice issues. Lifting people out of poverty and preventing them from falling into it must be a top priority.

Much of the institutional racism in the world keeps people of color in poverty. It is effective at disenfranchising people of color. Poverty also perpetuates stereotypes and amplifies xenophobia. Xenophobia and implicit bias can be mitigated with education. We are wired to be wary of strangers and to be at the top of power chain. Being aware of these drivers and continuing to have dialogue around how best to place safeguards in place to prevent our bias from causing harm will go a long way. The work needed to end racism is multipronged and never ending. Everyone is needed in the work.

For examples of how policy can make differences in equity see examples at this website: Act, Strategies, Policy and Legislative Change.

Gloria Partida is the Mayor of Davis and founder of the Davis Phoenix Coalition


Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link:

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.

Related posts

35 Comments

  1. Alan Miller

    The question heard often and which I heard after the vigil was, are we making a difference?

    How much good do resolutions, vigils and protest make?

    Great questions to ask.  I’ve attended some Davis events and online forums with a progressive flair because I care about the issues, only to find a single narrative, inclusive language and a narrow belief system that one must adhere to to be part of the discussion.  What good is activism if it only appeals to an inclusive crowd?  Shouldn’t the idea be to bring in more people?

    Even beyond that, in reading up on various attacks against Asian persons recently, many of those, going from what was reported, were by criminals looking for an easy target or people with clear mental problems.  Outside of the raging debate over the Atlanta shootings, the real question is what can actually be done?  Does a deranged person or a criminal, such as those perpetrating these recent crimes, pay any attention to hate crime laws, gun laws or punishment?

    Does the sort of awareness being put out into the ether these days actually help?  Many people in the country, read 75 million or so, feel threatened by progressive politics and activism.  For a fringe element, they are stockpiling weapons and almost all are feeling a greater divide from their fellow Americans.  For a deranged person with ‘other’ politics, is the polarization of the current political atmosphere helping them get better, or is it triggering them to lash out?

    As well, those that are supposedly being helped are sometimes being harmed.  A friend who is a person of color was being seriously affected by the politics during the height of the BLM.  They told me all the woke white people where they worked were driving them crazy because they were were being treated like some exotic creature who needed to be treated special, and were always wanting to engage and ask annoying questions.  They said they just wanted to be treated like any other person at work and wanted everyone to F off.  This was taking a toll on them.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Good points, Alan…

      And, as on another thread, many criminal, impaired person crimes, and jerk behaviors (“incidents”) would occur regardless of the ethnicity of those involved… but if between two or more folk of different ethnicity, the latter gets reported more often… yet it gets to the ‘enhancement’ of a “hate” crime or incident.

      Your last point, Alan, rings true from the accounts I’ve heard from may friends and/or co-workers over my years on this orb.

    2. Dave Hart

      all the woke white people where they worked were driving them crazy because they were were being treated like some exotic creature who needed to be treated special, and were always wanting to engage and ask annoying questions.

      Sorry your friend has to put up with white fragility on top of the rampant white supremacy and its more dangerous sibling white nationalism.  These “woke” people are not woke.  They are woke in the same way someone who hears the alarm clock buzzing but tries to ignore it so they don’t have to wake up. But I have to believe that your friend recognizes the need for that alarm to keep buzzing, annoying as it is, so that those who are still asleep can begin to wake up.  The alternative is more of the same with no end in sight. What your friend really needs is an ally in the workplace to take on some risk and get people to lay off so your friend doesn’t have to do it.

      1. Alan Miller

        someone who hears the alarm clock buzzing but tries to ignore it so they don’t have to wake up.

        I resemble that remark.  Every morning.

        My friend doesn’t need anything, except for people to leave them alone and not treat them as an exotic freak in need because of their skin color.  My point is that I disagree with much of the current narrative because of outcomes like this.  I’m not at all saying there shouldn’t be a narrative.

  2. Tia Will

    Does a deranged person or a criminal, such as those perpetrating these recent crimes, pay any attention to hate crime laws, gun laws or punishment?”

    The point of many of these laws, especially eligibility verification and  red flag laws, are not aimed towards “the attention” of the potential shooter. They are geared towards making it more difficult for them to obtain a weapon easily or quickly.

    1. Alan Miller

      Law enforcement said there was nothing on the shooters record in Atlanta to be a red flag for buying a weapon.  As well, illegal weapons are easy to obtain.

  3. Ron Oertel

    From article:  “What combinations will stop racially motivated violence?”

    Since the Atlanta shooting is mentioned a bunch of times in the article above, it’s probably important to note this, again:

    Federal and local law enforcement investigators have yet to find concrete evidence that would be enough to build a federal hate crime case against the man accused of killing eight people at three Atlanta area spas, several law enforcement officials told NBC News.

    No evidence yet of federal hate crime in Atlanta-area spa killings, officials say (yahoo.com)

    Maybe folks should stop assuming things, one way or another. And really, that goes for all of the other attacks, as well (which often don’t involve “white” people, at all).

    1. David Greenwald

      I think you need to read the AP article carefully.  (1) The federal hate crime statute is very stringent.  Not sure why they are even looking in the federal courts on this case anyway.  (2) The AP notes that state officials haven’t ruled out state hate crimes charges which have a lower standard.

      You are taking a small piece of information and inferring a lot from it without considering what the laws require in order to prove beyond a reason doubt.  What I saw posted on social media from him suggests there is anti-Asian bias here.  Whether that’s enough for a federal hate crimes charge is of less concern to me frankly than understanding potential underlying motivations.

    2. Dave Hart

      Maybe folks should stop assuming things, one way or another

      I agree.  We should focus on the facts.  The guy shot up Asian owned businesses, shot Asian individuals at close range in the head (non-Asians appeared to be ‘collateral damage’ victims) drove many miles in between locations to other Asian owned places with Asian employees and targeted Asian persons.  Those are the facts.  Gosh, wonder what we might conclude from that using regular old common sense? He has a racist outlook and acted on it.

        1. Dave Hart

          Two of the eight victims were not Asian, but most likely “collateral” victims, not primary targets.  He was targeting Asians.  There are non-Asian massage parlors in the world and in Georgia.  Why is it so hard to accept the facts?

        2. Carlos Garcia

          (From the Washington Post)

          But asking if the Atlanta shootings were a hate crime misses the point. As someone who’s worked as a victim’s advocate for Chinese women in spa businesses, I already know that the illicit massage parlor industry is built on hate crimes against Asian women.

          There is also this.  Seems to me this whole debate is in fact at best a microaggression and at worse outright unconscious bias against Asians.

        3. Alan Miller

          Two of the eight victims were not Asian, but most likely “collateral” victims, not primary targets.  

          Based on what?

          There are non-Asian massage parlors in the world and in Georgia. 

          I know.

          Why is it so hard to accept the facts?

          Those are the facts.  2/8.  The rest of what you said was speculation. 

           

          I think what people don’t understand is that the whole Asian massage parlor excuse is itself a racial stereotype.

          I don’t know what you are defining as an ‘excuse’, so I don’t know how you are tying in as a racial stereotype. 

           

          But asking if the Atlanta shootings were a hate crime misses the point.

          I didn’t ask.  That is up to the police to decide, based on both federal and state law.  If you don’t want the police deciding that, that’s a different issue.

          I already know that the illicit massage parlor industry is built on hate crimes against Asian women.

          I know the person who quoted this didn’t write this, but can you explain what is meant by that statement?  It appears obvious to the person who wrote it, but that doesn’t explain what the person means by the industry is built on hate crimes.  Connect the dots please.

          Seems to me this whole debate is in fact at best a microaggression and at worse outright unconscious bias against Asians.

          I think what you are saying is that if you are engaged in a debate with someone about this issue and they disagree with your point of view, you are labeling them a racist, or at least a micro-racist.  That kind of shuts down the conversation, when the “r” word is released.

      1. Bill Marshall

        DH… I believe you will find that his other targets were massage parlors… “spas”…

        Timeline and graphics explain the Atlanta spa shooting (usatoday.com)

        He apparently was headed for FL next, to remove the temptations of his self-reported “sexual addiction”… the fact is, many massage parlors are staffed with Asian employees…

        It appears, although the investigation continues, and more facts may be discovered, that this was intended more as ‘cleaning up’/eliminating ‘massage parlors’, rather than an ethnic ‘cleansing’… and so far, it appears that Fed and local authorities have tentatively come to the same preliminary opinion (without making “conclusions” at this point).  THOSE are the facts, DH.

        But I guess you see your ‘common sense’ as superior to the judgements of the professional law enforcement folk who have “boots on the ground” who are still in the process of investigating.

  4. Ron Oertel

    You are taking a small piece of information and inferring a lot from it without considering what the laws require in order to prove beyond a reason doubt.  

    Actually, I’m the only one who is “not” inferring anything.

    If I had to pick out what appears to be a “hate” crime, it would probably be the unprovoked attacks on elderly Asians, in which they are pushed to the ground (more often than not, by young black men).  And where robbery isn’t even involved.

    What I saw posted on social media from him suggests there is anti-Asian bias here.  

    Post it, as I haven’t seen it.  Again, I’m not putting forth any conclusions regarding motivation, but there may be more than one.  Two of the people who were murdered were not Asians.

    Whether that’s enough for a federal hate crimes charge is of less concern to me frankly than understanding potential underlying motivations.

    Nothing wrong with that.

    In any case, there is a bias in the media, regarding the message that we are hearing.  I think this guy (Matt Walsh) sums it up pretty well, even if I don’t agree with everything he says.  Have you ever watched his videos?  (Some are quite amusing, as well.)

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

    In my opinion, the school board member in San Francisco (who used the n-word and referred to them as the “help” – for whites, I assume, when referring to Asians) is probably the most egregious, local example of how black racism is purposefully overlooked, until it comes up for other reasons. In that case, seemingly due to her support to do-away with merit-based enrollments at the top public high school, which is dominated by Asians (and who would likely suffer as a result of that decision – which was approved).

      1. Ron Oertel

        I’m not seeing it.  Can you quote it, or be more specific?

        Also, did you watch that Matt Walsh video (in reference to the link I posted)?  Seriously – it’s a pretty damning video, regarding media coverage (regardless of the ultimate outcome of this particular case).

        Understanding media coverage is of paramount importance to understanding issues. My concern is that some people don’t realize that, or choose to resist an examination of it.

        As Matt Walsh says, the “story is already written” before the events even occur (something like that). And, events which don’t fit the narrative are purposefully ignored.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I saw that, but did the suspect post it?  Look at the name on the post.

          And if the suspect did not post it, why are you bringing it up in regard to the motivation for the crime itself?

          Regardless – in my opinion, this would be pretty weak evidence regarding a hate crime.

          I believe this is my fifth comment (having wasted a couple of them, asking you more than once to clarify).

          1. David Greenwald

            Apparently that was the Sheriff not the suspect. I’ll have to find the suspect’s social media stuff. (That’s reassuring btw – the people in charge of investigating a hate crimes are themselves racists).

        2. Alan Miller

          I didn’t see it either, RO.  You are not going crazy.

          DG, tha post with the t-shirts is from the cop who was at the podium and used some very poor choice of words (possibly influenced by poor choice of how they were viewing the motivation) that has resulted in backlash.  My understanding is that cop was removed from the case.

  5. Eric Gelber

    From the article:

    How much good do resolutions, vigils and protest make?

    About as much good as “thoughts and prayers” unless they are followed up by a concrete action plan. Attention spans are short, and the impact of resolutions and vigils quickly fade or are replaced as soon as the next atrocity occurs.

    I was disappointed in the Council’s resolution in support of the API community because it stopped short of including any proposals or actions the City would take to address the issue locally.

    Take a look at the examples listed in the link the Mayor cites at the end of her article. They each contain specific actions and proposals for addressing inequities. Resolutions and vigils may make people feel like they are doing something to address the issue; but, without follow through, they are just thoughts and prayers.

    1. Alan Miller

      I believe some awareness of historic local hatred towards Asians in Yolo County post WW-II would be a start towards some local reflection on the issue.  As I mentioned, I lived here for 40 years before I learned that locals burned down Japanese sections of both Winters and Woodland after the war to try to prevent interred Japanese-Americans from returning, and there was a sign in Winters that said “Japanese not Welcome” right after the war.  This should be brought to light.

  6. Bill Marshall

    Well, between the ‘headline’, the photo in the article, the text of the article, and some posts I’ve seen from extended family, I offer the following:

    Stand against hate. (period)

    Whether directed at Asians (proximate issue), Blacks, Latinx, Whites, LGBQT++, Jew, Catholic/Christian, Moslem, Atheist, ‘druggies’, etc., etc., etc… I believe reasonably normal folk should accept that concept.

    Then there is the MH aspect… even if that (getting ‘normal people’ not to hate) succeeds, there are those who have been tormented, abused, have other health issues…

    It (basic issue) will not “go away”… the best we can do is prevention (education and modelling), intervention (treatment), and mitigation.

    I expect a lot of “blowback” from posting this, as I did from when I posted awhile back on another thread, that it should be “All Lives Matter”, rather than “Black Lives Matter” (and expect, Asian Lives Matter?)… but I believe we can not solve the puzzle if we just focus on each piece of the problem… I expect some will say I have the perspective of a ‘privileged white’, middle-class, male, catholic (the word means ‘universal’)… so be it…

    If there is ‘blowback’, don’t be surprised if I do not respond to it.  The blowback will actually ‘prove my point’…

     

     

    1. Dave Hart

      A lot has been written about this idea that All Lives Matter is somehow taking the high road.  In a non-racist society, that would be true.  But in the society we live in, white supremacy says we who identify as white are All Lives and all those other categories are just that…other.  So white people can innocently believe that All Lives Matter while POC have a daily experience that tells them they do NOT matter or do not matter as much.  That is why All Lives Matter is a slap in the face to anyone who isn’t white and has been on the receiving end of racist violence and racist treatment in general.  I don’t know what you mean by blowback because you’re not in a position to really suffer over the issue other than being lectured by other white people who you can simply dismiss as easily as POC.

  7. Bill Marshall

    OK… Boulder CO, late afternoon… gunman killed multiple folk… little detail, at this point (but gunman is in custody)… if POC’s were killed, does that make it a “hate crime”?   Place your bets…

    1. Dave Hart

      Boulder is very much like Davis, a college town with similar demographics and I would be very surprised if this were a racist motivated shooting.  I would not be surprised if the shooter is a racist whack job because a general sense of hating fits in with that, but it isn’t likely a primary reason.  I’ll place that bet. I mean, he obviously hates somebody, but hating everyone in general, not a identifiable class of people, doesn’t make it a hate crime even though it is a crime of hate.

  8. Bill Marshall

    Two of the eight victims were not Asian, but most likely “collateral” victims, not primary targets.  He was targeting Asians.  There are non-Asian massage parlors in the world and in Georgia.  Why is it so hard to accept the facts?

    So, “collateral” victims lives don’t matter?

    True, as to “non-Asian massage parlors in the world and in Georgia”… but perhaps those were the ones he frequented?

    “Why is it so hard to accept the facts?”… to which I respond, “Why is it so easy to come to conclusions that portend to be ‘facts’, this early in the investigation?”

    Were you there?  Did you know this guy?  Are you a psychic?

    1. Dave Hart

      So, “collateral” victims lives don’t matter?

      Nobody has said that.  Are you suggesting we focus on that instead of the six Asian women he killed at close range?  The news reports I’ve seen did not indicate he shot the two non-Asians at close range in the same manner.  We can wait for the reports.  But that still doesn’t minimize who he targeted over a couple hours or the framework of racism in Georgia that’s just as racist as California.  I’m sure you hope there will be some hard evidence that this little creep was non-racist, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

       

    2. David Greenwald

      “So, “collateral” victims lives don’t matter?”

      I think the point is not that they don’t matter, it’s that they don’t point towards motivation.

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