58.4 F
Davis

Davis, California

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Column: “Get Fucking Angry”

If you ask UC Davis student Sarah Raridon how she feels about the recent vandalism of the UC Davis LGBT Resource Center, she doesn’t mince words.

“Get fucking angry,” she advised the crowd of students at Monday’s anti-hate rally. When I asked for her input about fresh examples of bigotry on UC campuses over the last few weeks, she told me with exasperation about homophobia, “It’s not new.”

These most recent incidents may have been big enough to draw the attention of higher authorities – Chancellor Katehi, UC President Yudof and Gov. Schwarzenegger have all made statements to the effect of “plz advise: racism and homophobia are bad,” – but that does not mean they are unique. Yudof, et al, may have made their proclamations against hate, but these proclamations are in direct conflict with a system in the midst of privatizing education.

What I mean by that is, the administration has found a way to have its cake and eat it, too. By stating it has joined forces with student activist movements but allowing fees to crank up and resources to deplete, the UC administration (and the establishment itself) can say it’s on our side and still increase fees.

Vandalizing the LGBTRC is certainly shocking, but it’s not the only way to assault a community. By now you’ve heard of attempts by organizations and individuals to oppress marginalized groups with such tactics as the so-called “Compton Cookout” at UC San Diego, the appearance of a noose at the UCSD library, a swastika carved into the door of a UC Davis student and the destruction of ceramic pots in front of the Islamic Center of Davis (across Russell from campus), which happened Sunday morning.

A lot of talk about “intersectionality” has been taking place, most recently at the town hall meeting hosted Monday by the LGBTRC.

“This homophobia is very interconnected with other issues,” Raridon explained. “Systems of homophobia serve to hold up systems of racism,” and other methods of oppression, including sexism, that serve to disempower those who are not rich, white, heterosexual and male.

For all of the assurances of UC administrators and elected officials, and for all the lip service paid to such concepts as diversity, there are people who are suffering because they do not have access to the resources they need, especially in situations, like the aforementioned vandalism, that they are needed most.

The increase of fees and the cutting of programs limit everyone, but has special impact on people marginalized because of their ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, citizenship status and financial resources.

President Yudof condemned the “Compton Cookout,” and displays like it, but what solutions has he offered? “[It’s] really an insult to everyone, especially for African American students and faculty … We just have to work harder. Some of it is working on admission, some of it is working on campus processes.”

Vague exhortations to “work harder” are not what we need; concrete promises and acts to the effect that programs and fees for the most disenfranchised will be supplied is what we need.

Hearty encouragement for the student activists is coming from every imaginable source, but the conservative nature of the establishment is not with us, as much as it claims to be. To preserve itself, it must continue to find ways to reinforce elitism, to deny access to education to marginalized populations, and to maintain the primacy of the patriarchy. While they do what they can to deflect criticism, they do little else to actually help. What are you going to do about it?

HALEY DAVIS can be reached at hrdavis@ucdavis.edu.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Also, one or a few people do a stupid act to provoke this kind of response. Stop giving them the attention they don’t deserve.

  2. Um, as a gay male, I totally disagree with Ms. Davis. Being a victim is empowering now — just look at university admissions, jobs, scholarships/fellowships, etc.

    No doubt Ms. Haley is aware that the noose was left by a MINORITY STUDENT. No? Well, well, who’s the bigot now?

  3. I don’t think her point was that rich, white, heterosexual males are bad. She was saying that the societal system we have in place now only really serves the interests of rich, white, heterosexual males — at the expense of marginalized groups. And she’s saying that the racial and homophobic incidents of the past few weeks are an expression of that preferential system. The fact is that rich, white, heterosexual males are privileged, and society constantly reinforces that privilege.

  4. What do you have against white heterosexual males? Just because a couple hundred years ago there was the tragedy of colonialism, and (yes there will always be some racist jerks) doesn’t mean that all white people, strait people, and males are racist, evil colonialists whose sole purpose in life is abusing other people.

    Being racist against a white person still makes you racist. If you’re beating down a straight person for being straight, you’re still beating down a person for his or her sexuality, and being sexist against men STILL makes you sexist.

    In every single article you rant against “prejudice”, and yet all you ever write is a prejudiced rant about the people you don’t like. You “not liking” someone doesn’t justify beating them down for who they are. It’s exactly against the behavior that you so often demand!

    Most the people of European descent, heterosexual people, and males that I’ve met have been kind, good people, just like in every other possible grouping of people! You may be surprised to learn that there are a lot of underprivileged white people in the world, too. Claiming that all white people in the world are privileged jerks who hate other people is insulting and only makes it harder for marginalized “white” immigrant groups to make their way in society.

    Could your next article be a more positive one that doesn’t target people of a certain race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender? Maybe you could write about all the positive, good people of the UC Davis community?

    Sincerely,

    one of those evil, white, heterosexual people you’ve been complaining about

  5. I hate t’ say somethin’ that might be offensive to some of your readers, ma’am Davis, but I just feel like I need to ask: is the presence of a noose in and of itself racist? Out here in the frontier, we use ropes and knots and loops for all kinds o’ uses. Wouldn’t it be a shame if a student was thinkin’ of using a noose to harm himself, and nobody noticed because we automatically assumed it was a racial symbol?

    And as far as the pots in front of the Islamic Center, well, I just happen to have observed that Russell Blvd. is a prime route for young hellraisers goin’ to and from downtown to go drankin’. Since this vandalism happened late Saturday night or Sunday morning, are we sure it’s racially-motivated, and not just the activities of a couple’a young bucks with too much whiskey in their bellies?

    Now havin’ said that, I’m just nitpickin’. The other examples are terrible instances of people not acceptin’ other people for their differences, and I think that’s just plain sad. But I don’t know why you go about blamin’ the “rich, white, heterosexual, and male” for these problems. Why, I’m three out o’ those four (and I sure wouldn’t mind havin’ some extra dough so’s I could make it all four).

    I thought the whole idea here was that people should be judged based on who they are, not what’s on the surface. And any person is capable of falling into bein’ prejudiced, not just one small group. Black people can be homophobes. Gay people can be racist. Women can be elitist. Poor people can be sexist. It’s everybody who should take responsibility for their own actions and beliefs, not blame one group for bein’ the source of the trouble. Because if we do, then we haven’t really gotten anywhere, have we?

  6. I would ask Mademoiselle Davis, before she complains about budget cuts to the LGBTRC and others, to read the following editorial, conveniently placed in the same periodical as she has written her rant!

    http://theaggie.org/article/2010/03/04/editorial-town-hall-meeting

    I am quite certain the university, and administration value the LGBTRC and the CCC by showing them the lowest amount of budgetary cuts, a meager 5%, during a time of funding shortages. Hm. Preferential treatment for student affairs programs? Scary thought. – TJM

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here