UC Davis Cross Cultural Center Holds Historical Black Joy Fest

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By Diana Zhu

DAVIS – Normally held on the main quad during the spring quarter, this year’s UC Davis Black Joy Fest, presented by the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center (CCC), continued its celebration of Black joy, accomplishment and legacy with a week-long virtual festival filled with contests, prizes, arts and crafts, games and laughter.

Black Joy Fest began during the spring of 1971 under the name of Black Family Day when students from the Black Student Union held a barbecue on the quad.

Their intent was to celebrate themselves and to take a stand against the historically and culturally exclusionary ideologies on campus.

In 2019, after consulting with current students, the student committee in charge of Black Family Day rebranded the event to Black Joy Fest to better encapsulate the spirit of Black joy for the current generation and to extend Black Family Day to an entire week.

Every year marks a monumental step towards Black empowerment and strengthening of Black communities.

Over the years, Black Joy Fest has hosted countless lectures, speakers, entertainers, groups and vendors to celebrate the achievements of the Black community and to educate others about contemporary issues, such as the initiatives of legendary civil rights activist and poet Maya Angelou.

Friday was Black Joy Fest’s Stand-Up Comedy Night, hosted by Ọgọchukwu Agali.

Agali is the program coordinator and is associated with UC Davis’ Black African Diaspora and UC Davis’ Indigenous Community, but Black Joy Fest hosts Olivia Taylor and Yanie were the main hosts for the evening.

The evening was filled with a compilation of short skits from various comedians and special clips from Netflix stand-up routines from famous comedians, such as Trevor Noah and Tiffany Haddish.

While the routines were based on having an understanding of Black culture, they were tastefully curated in a manner that anyone with a sense of humor could relate to.

UC Davis’ Cross Cultural Center held four weeks of virtual events throughout the spring 2021 quarter for each of their culture days, and last week was dedicated to Black joy.

UC Davis’ Black Joy Fest was the last of their 2021 culture weeks, but the CCC hopes to continue its tradition of celebrating all students at UC Davis, from all colors and creeds.

Diana Zhu is a fourth-year transfer student from Rancho Cucamonga, CA. She is majoring in Chinese and minoring in Professional Writing.


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32 thoughts on “UC Davis Cross Cultural Center Holds Historical Black Joy Fest”

  1. Chris Griffith

    The below is a racist statement.. in this sensitive world we live in today I think we should eliminate the word white and black when trying to describe  a race of people.

     

    In 2019, after consulting with current students, the student committee in charge of Black Family Day rebranded the event to Black Joy Fest to better encapsulate the spirit of Black joy for the current generation and to extend Black Family Day to an entire week.

     

    Every year marks a monumental step towards Black empowerment and strengthening of Black communities.

    Would the below be considered racist?

     

    In 2019, after consulting with current students, the student committee in charge of White Family Day rebranded the event to White Joy Fest to better encapsulate the spirit of White joy for the current generation and to extend White Family Day to an entire week.

     

    Every year marks a monumental step towards White empowerment and strengthening of White communities.

     

    1. David Greenwald

      The positions of Blacks and whites in our society are not interchangeable.  Failing to recognize and understand that is a huge problem here.

      1. David Greenwald

        A key point to make here – probably could use any family night EXCEPT white.

        * They have Christian family nights at ballparks

        * Asian Family Night

        * Italian Family Night

        * Jewish Family Night

        I suspect white family night is the only one that you couldn’t do and the reason is the connotation of white supremacy and how the term has been used historically.

        1. Keith Olsen

          A key point to make here – probably could use any family night EXCEPT white.
          * They have Christian family nights at ballparks
          * Asian Family Night
          * Italian Family Night
          * Jewish Family Night

          Any race can be a Christian, but on those nights are non-Christians not allowed?

          On Asian Family night are only Asians allowed into the park or are all races allowed?

          The same for Italian and Jewish Family nights, are other ethnicities, nationalities or religions not allowed?

          That’s my “key” point.

          1. David Greenwald

            I have attended Black Family Day at UC Davis. They have never excluded anyone. So not sure your point to be honest.

  2. Alan Miller

    CG, I hear what you are saying, and with some events I’d agree with you, especially if exclusive. 

    But did you read how it started?  A barbecue on the Quad in 1971.  My sister was here then, and very active in the civil rights movement of the 60’s.  I talked to a friend of hers a few years back who started just before her and the year he started (maybe 1966 or 1967) he said he was one of seven black people at UCD.  So yeah, from that perspective, a group of black people having a barbecue on the Quad in 1971 to celebrate their commonality is kind of understandable.  Likely my sister was at that barbecue, because she knew almost, if not every, black person in Davis back then. 

    If Black Family Days was some exclusive no-whites-allowed event I might agree with your critique, but it’s a great even (most years – there was shooting one year, so not that year), but after it matured it was huge and would attract black people (and others) for miles around.  I always thought it was pretty cool.  So yeah, your point isn’t a bad one for some political stuff, but this is just a open, public event celebrating black heritage at the core.  Nothing to criticize here.

  3. Ron Oertel

    A key point to make here – probably could use any family night EXCEPT white.

    * Italian Family Night

    I believe that Italians are considered “white”.  As would most other “European-Americans”. Some people also make that claim regarding some Jewish people.

    One thing I wouldn’t defer to is the Vanguard’s “approval” of what’s appropriate – even in those increasingly-rare instances where I agreed with it.

     

     

    1. Carlos Garcia

      The problem I think is the term white itself used in this context connotes white supremacy.  I think Alan Miller actually explained it very well why other groups do not have the same stigma attached to them.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I think Alan Miller actually explained it very well why other groups do not have the same stigma attached to them.

        Think about that comment, for a moment.  And, “who” is applying that “stigma”.  (Here’s a hint – it’s not Alan.)

        So much for attributing problems to “systems” (as claimed), rather than “people”.

        Perhaps the most revealing thing that you or David have ever said.

        1. Carlos Garcia

          The common thread here is white supremacy.  See my example below.  Whites congregated together excluding people of color.  People of color congregated together out of being excluded and segregated.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Imagine we are in the south during Jim Crow.

          I suspect that the folks applying a “stigma” to white people will be “imagining” this, forever.

  4. Carlos Garcia

    Imagine we are in the south during Jim Crow.  The whites have a pool, blacks are not allowed.  So the blacks raise money and build their own pool.  Whites can’t use that pool.  So are both sides to blame in this example?  Of course not.  The problem is that we have a world that is de facto segregated but we try to pretend its not.  That is the error that Chris made.  The two situations are not equivalent.

    1. Hiram Jackson

      “The whites have a pool, blacks are not allowed.  So the blacks raise money and build their own pool.”

      I can appreciate the effort at a constructive metaphor, but that’s not typically how it happened.  Whites in city government built large public swimming pools for everybody (imagining mainly whites).  Blacks insisted on having fair access to the public swimming pools, so eventually city government either shut down the pools or sold them to private organizations that could be more exclusive in whom they allowed.  That way they didn’t have to allow Blacks and Whites in the pool together at the same time in the public pool.

      “The problem is that we have a world that is de facto segregated but we try to pretend its not.”

      We actually have historical de jure segregation (segregation by law) and we try to pretend that it is de facto segregation.  Check out the research of Richard Rothstein (link to podcast).

  5. Chris Griffith

    A good litmus test for racism is this: If you replace one ethnic word with another, will people find it to be racist/ethnocentrist? If we set up a “White Lives Matter” protest, will people find it racist? What about “National Association for the Advancement of White People?” Or maybe “White Scholarship Fund,” “White Caucus,” “White History Month?” If those are considered offensive because they are exclusionary to other ethnic groups, why should an equally exclusionary organization be considered a good thing when supporting some other ethnic group?

      1. Keith Olsen

        The first point is flawed, see Carlos’ example of the swimming pools in the Jim Crow south.

        We’ve come a long way since the Jim Crow south.  This crap gets old.

         

        1. Ron Oertel

          We’ve come a long way since the Jim Crow south.

          Not only that, but most of “we” are not responsible for that in any way, shape or form.

          Even if “our” direct ancestors were responsible for it – which is rarely the case in the first place.

          Pretty sure that I can provide an extremely long list of atrocities and discrimination of past generations, many of whom are not “white”, as well as ongoing occurrences.

        2. David Greenwald

          Except that we haven’t. Patterns of residential segregation remain. Concentrated areas of poverty remain. The legally required segregation has been lifted but replaced by a de facto order almost as strong. That’s the problem. You’re right – this crap does get old, but not how you mean it.

        3. Keith Olsen

          You’re right – this crap does get old, but not how you mean it.

          David, as a journalist how would you feel if you were excluded from covering a story or giving an interview simply because of your skin color?

        4. David Greenwald

          I’ve attended the Black Family Day at UC Davis a number of times, never had a problem.  Have you ever attended in your long time in this community?

        5. Keith Olsen

          You didn’t answer my question.

          As a journalist how would you feel if you were excluded from covering a story or giving an interview simply because of your skin color?

          1. David Greenwald

            I’m making a point here that you keep missing. No one is excluding you because of your skin color, you’re doing it all by yourself.

        6. Ron Oertel

          I’m making a point here that you keep missing. No one is excluding you because of your skin color, you’re doing it all by yourself.

          You (and others, no doubt) believe that white people are indeed “excluded” from having a similar celebration, due to the stigma that you and others attach, as stated in one of the comments.

          Unfortunately, it appears that some white people have “internalized” this stigma, as well.

          This is how racism works.

          But it is rather strange to group all “white” people into one group in the first place, just as that’s true with any other skin color. Many different origins comprise these groups. And “membership” in one skin color group or another seems to be fluid, to some degree.

          1. David Greenwald

            Reminds me of the old joke, February is Black History Month.

            Someone pipes up, when is white History Month?

            Answer: the other 11 months.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Sounds like an old, racist joke all right.

          But, I thought that it was originally made in regard to women (of all skin colors).

          Seems like some on the left are making a nice living from purposeful division, at this point. And, are largely ignoring those who are actually at the top of the economic ladder. (Probably too hard for them to reach.)

    1. Alan Miller

      “The Black House”

      Everything went into a white box.

      The red, black & blue.

      A black out.

      A white out.

      Red red I want red there’s no substitute for red.

       

  6. Alan Miller

    The problem I think is the term white itself used in this context connotes white supremacy.

    White itself?  What context?  Connotes white supremacy how?  White supremacy defined how?  What does ‘connotes’ mean?

    I think Alan Miller actually explained it very well why other groups do not have the same stigma attached to them.

    Alan Miller explained no such thing.  Rule #1 – never say what you think Alan Miller said and then explain it wrong to everyone implying your interpretation of what Alan Miller said is what Alan Miller said.  It isn’t.  Not even close.  Rule #2 – WTF?

  7. Edgar Wai

    Once upon a time I was taught that referring to race by color was racist. But if a race insist that they be called by a color then following their norm is not being racist. That is the Platinum Rule.

    As a result, different colors gain different connotations become not interchangeable. But Chris’s litmus test is valid if you use it with the platinum rule:

    “If you replace one ethnic word with what people in a race want themselves to be called, would it become racists?”

    If you use the Golden Rule then it does not work, as the Golden Rule already routinely fail in general:

    “If you replace one ethnic word with another word in the same class in the dictionary that could denote an ethnic group, would it become racists?”

    I think of all colors, “Black” is the least racist. You don’t see people calling their gathering Red family, Yellow family or Brown family nights.

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