Commentary: Gay Homecoming Court and the Meaning of Diversity

This week I got an interesting email from New York with a link to the Sacramento Bee article describing the fact that the Davis High Junior Homecoming court was comprised actually of two princes–as the honor went to a gay couple, elected by the student body.

Now what was interesting about this email is that this individual had discovered Davis and the blog last year during the incident where a Junior High School student was harassed because he had two gay parents.

He asked how the same district that was somewhat indifferent at least originally to the issue of harassment of a student could also be so path breaking as to honor a gay couple.

From the Sacramento Bee article:

“People were so excited for us,” Gatewood said of the couple’s victory, announced a few weeks ago. “We were a little surprised, but Davis …”

“Is a liberal town,” interrupts his boyfriend of four months, Raphael. “Go 10 miles in any other direction and you’ll get some other feeling.”

Indeed, the news might surprise few in Davis, a city embraced and, at times, mocked for its liberal leanings.

In my opinion, this fits very neatly into my perception of Davis. In many ways it is on the surface very liberal, very progressive, very tolerant. That manifests itself in many very overt demonstrations that are strong on symbolic value, but very weak in terms of actual policy matters.

There is what I have termed: the dark underbelly of the People’s Republic of Davis. Everyone asks me what that means, to me the People’s Republic of Davis implies that Davis is some far left Utopian. The dark underbelly is one of ugly reactionism. It is the voice of hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism. It is the part of ourselves that we all deny and try to hide away in the dark recesses of our minds and souls.

But it looms there at every step of the way. We support diversity when it is easy, simple and symbolic.

But when we talk about hiring a more diverse faculty, there is a strong voice of dissension.

We had a long discussion earlier this week on the Vanguard as to whether we really need a more diverse teaching workforce.

There was a strong undercurrent that a more diverse teaching workforce means having to hired less qualified teachers.

Jann Murray-Garcia, one of the organizers of the Diversity Forum on Monday, wrote on the blog:

“Here we are again…when we ask for racial/ethnic diversity in the teaching workforce, for the good of all students..some folks are assuming we NEED to settle for lower quality teachers. Wow.

I don’t know what to say, Neighbors. It’s 2007. A diverse teaching workforce does not HAVE TO mean a less qualified teaching workforce. Give us as applicants and as parents a little more credit than this.

Hear the implicit notion screaming from many of the comments: racial/ethnic diversity means inferiority. “

So we go back to square one: how does a city that will celebrate, not just tolerate, but celebrate the fact that it has a gay couple for the junior homecoming couple, at the same time argue that we do not need diversity in the teaching force and that such discussion is really looking at PC. At the same time there has been lack of follow through regarding issues of diversity and tolerance in the school district. We have a pervasive achievement gap between whites and Asians on the one hand and African Americans and Latinos on the other–even in households where the parents are college educated. We have tough problems, that require tough solutions.

I do not have answers to these questions, but for a town that is so firmly liberal or perceived as such, there are many non-liberal opinions that end up posted on this blog from people who claim to be liberals. These are not liberal views that I know, support, and believe in. These are not the values that I was taught to embrace and celebrate.

If Davis can have a gay homecoming couple, we can certainly find a way to hire more minority teachers. We can certainly find a way to make minorities feel more safe in their homes, our community, and in our schools. I do not think that is such an unreasonable request.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    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.

Categories:

Elections

140 comments

  1. I was pleased to learn that Davis High School administration has “grown” since indifference to the past abusive situation toward gays. However, you are right about the underbelly of racism and other darknesses in Davis. Our town is way too impressed with itself. We, as a community, need to develop a little humility.

  2. I was pleased to learn that Davis High School administration has “grown” since indifference to the past abusive situation toward gays. However, you are right about the underbelly of racism and other darknesses in Davis. Our town is way too impressed with itself. We, as a community, need to develop a little humility.

  3. I was pleased to learn that Davis High School administration has “grown” since indifference to the past abusive situation toward gays. However, you are right about the underbelly of racism and other darknesses in Davis. Our town is way too impressed with itself. We, as a community, need to develop a little humility.

  4. I was pleased to learn that Davis High School administration has “grown” since indifference to the past abusive situation toward gays. However, you are right about the underbelly of racism and other darknesses in Davis. Our town is way too impressed with itself. We, as a community, need to develop a little humility.

  5. The worst crimes of “hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism” committed at DHS is perhaps forgetting to give a Kwanzaa gift on time…

    The pecking order in Davis appears to devolve to the person with the greatest attitude of outrage wins. Since only a rounding-errors worth of minorities actually participate in this game it comes down to a comical game of white, well-educated former hippies (driving $30,000 cars and living in $500,000 homes) trying to show their sense of outrage. Clearly, this is the semi-finals of the game and I should sit quietly and wait for the next performance.

  6. The worst crimes of “hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism” committed at DHS is perhaps forgetting to give a Kwanzaa gift on time…

    The pecking order in Davis appears to devolve to the person with the greatest attitude of outrage wins. Since only a rounding-errors worth of minorities actually participate in this game it comes down to a comical game of white, well-educated former hippies (driving $30,000 cars and living in $500,000 homes) trying to show their sense of outrage. Clearly, this is the semi-finals of the game and I should sit quietly and wait for the next performance.

  7. The worst crimes of “hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism” committed at DHS is perhaps forgetting to give a Kwanzaa gift on time…

    The pecking order in Davis appears to devolve to the person with the greatest attitude of outrage wins. Since only a rounding-errors worth of minorities actually participate in this game it comes down to a comical game of white, well-educated former hippies (driving $30,000 cars and living in $500,000 homes) trying to show their sense of outrage. Clearly, this is the semi-finals of the game and I should sit quietly and wait for the next performance.

  8. The worst crimes of “hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism” committed at DHS is perhaps forgetting to give a Kwanzaa gift on time…

    The pecking order in Davis appears to devolve to the person with the greatest attitude of outrage wins. Since only a rounding-errors worth of minorities actually participate in this game it comes down to a comical game of white, well-educated former hippies (driving $30,000 cars and living in $500,000 homes) trying to show their sense of outrage. Clearly, this is the semi-finals of the game and I should sit quietly and wait for the next performance.

  9. “The dark underbelly is one of ugly reactionism. It is the voice of hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism.”

    Yes, Davis is a terrible, intolerant bastion of evil. We would never, for example, elect a lesbian to the school board or a minority to be mayor. Never.

  10. “The dark underbelly is one of ugly reactionism. It is the voice of hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism.”

    Yes, Davis is a terrible, intolerant bastion of evil. We would never, for example, elect a lesbian to the school board or a minority to be mayor. Never.

  11. “The dark underbelly is one of ugly reactionism. It is the voice of hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism.”

    Yes, Davis is a terrible, intolerant bastion of evil. We would never, for example, elect a lesbian to the school board or a minority to be mayor. Never.

  12. “The dark underbelly is one of ugly reactionism. It is the voice of hatred, division, corruption, and conservatism.”

    Yes, Davis is a terrible, intolerant bastion of evil. We would never, for example, elect a lesbian to the school board or a minority to be mayor. Never.

  13. Davis Hater:

    “We support diversity when it is easy, simple and symbolic.”

    What’s easier, simpler, or more symbolic than elected an establishment and somewhat safe and conservative Filipino Mayor?

  14. Davis Hater:

    “We support diversity when it is easy, simple and symbolic.”

    What’s easier, simpler, or more symbolic than elected an establishment and somewhat safe and conservative Filipino Mayor?

  15. Davis Hater:

    “We support diversity when it is easy, simple and symbolic.”

    What’s easier, simpler, or more symbolic than elected an establishment and somewhat safe and conservative Filipino Mayor?