Race & Ethnicity are often issues of great importance to those outside the majority population. Even in the most "tolerant" or accepting environment, people may not necessarily wish to be exoticised by the larger community. In communities claiming racial tolerance, covert racism still often occurs, even in our progressively bucolic town of Davis. Some prospective students choose not to attend UC Davis for both these reasons.

Compound these issues with the inescapable university presence, bringing with it peoples of different countries, religions, lifestyles and habits, and the conditions for a myriad of misunderstandings are set. Especially within such a small town, it can become difficult for local government to adequately address and understand the needs of all its citizenry. Yet this combination of different cultures and ethnicities also leads to many of the things that make Davis special and which are embraced by the entire community, including a wide variety of foods, DDR, tapioca drinks, International House, and various culture days.

This page is the seed of a forum for addressing issues of race and ethnicity within Davis and a place to document and present historical context. Because of the breadth of this subject, additional information and discussions can be found within the section titled Related Wiki Pages.


(Finding a definition that everybody agrees upon is a difficult, if not impossible endeavor. But for the sake of discussion, the following are presented as a basis.)


A race is a population of humans distinguished in some way from other humans. The most widely used racial categories developed based on visible traits (especially skin color and facial features). Some cultures have categories linked to socioeconomic status. Concepts of race, as well as specific groupings, vary according to culture and time, and are often controversial due to their impact on social identity hence identity politics. Viewpoints differ as to whether race is a folk taxonomy or a scientific classification. (Race)

ethnic group

An ethnic group is a group of people who identify with one another, or are so identified by others, on the basis of a boundary that distinguishes them from other groups. This boundary may take any of a number of forms — racial, cultural, linguistic, economic, religious, or political — and may be more or less porous. Because of this boundary, members of an ethnic group are often presumed to be culturally or biologically similar, although this is not in fact necessarily the case.(Ethnic_group)


noun (1936) 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2 : racial prejudice or discrimination —Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary


Mixed Race is a term used by people who wish to acknowledge their mixed race heritage. The term mixed race is used as opposed to biracial because people may be more than two races. Biracial tends to imply that one parent is one race and the other parent is a different race and can be leading, but both parents could be of the same mixed heritage (such as both parents being White and Black, themselves biracial and thus their children are biracial).


A term to acknowledge the mixed culture and history people have grown up with. Anyone who has to identify as (African, Asian, Mexican, Brazilian, Indian, etc)-American will have a multiethnic background because they are negotiating a mixed of cultures between their home/native/ancestral culture and the U.S. culture. "Multiethnic" can also be used by people who grow up as one race but identifies with another race's culture (such as a White person who identifies with Hip Hop or Mexican culture).

institutional racism

Institutional racism (or structural racism) is a form of racism that occurs in institutions such as public bodies and corporations, including universities. Institutional racism is distinguished from the bigotry or racial bias of individuals by the existence of systemic, pervasive and habitual policies and practices that have the effect of disadvantaging certain racial or ethnic groups. Institutional racism is often functionally integrated. Examples may include racism in the criminal justice system e.g. police profiling, racism in education e.g. racially biased materials, segregation by economic class and thereby race, and hiring from geographic regions with few minorities resulting in a glass ceiling. (Institutional_racism)

implicit bias

Implicit bias (also called unconscious bias or hidden bias) can occur in people who hold egalitarian values, but at the same time act upon racial or other biases without even being aware that they have such biases. Implicit bias can result in differences in hiring and promotion, or even differences in treatment as a customer in a store.

Races/Ethnic Groups in Davis

[see Demographics for a breakdown of ethnicities found within Davis as well as UC Davis]

No classification scheme is perfect, because there is no scientific evidence for anything resembling our culture's concept of "race".

In most cases, people use stereotypes based on appearance. Many of these may not be true for those who have assimilated into "mainstream" American culture; others may be blatantly false. Some may actually be true: white people do sunburn easily. However, these stereotypes do have an effect on people's thought processes, whether they want them to or not — putting things in groups is human nature. It is best to be aware of what stereotypes you believe, and be willing to change them or make exceptions to them at any time. In short, think for yourself.

Many of these common names have been adopted by different groups, which use these names as a way to unite people and build community behind a common ethnicity. Example groups include NAACP, APIQ, and various fraternities and sororities.

Incidents of Racism

Detailed below are some publicly reported incidents of racism which highlight a community problem. See also Police Misconduct Stories.

(please include references)

  • Swastika (vandalism) at W 14th St. 2/14/2015. Source: Davis Police Daily Activity Log February 14 2015.
  • Racial slurs yelled at employees by white male adults at Mace Blvd. 2/14/2015. Source: Davis Police Daily Activity Log February 14 2015.
  • UC Davis students wearing head scarves called "terrorists" on campus. Source: Sacramento Bee 2/6/2015.
  • Man banging on someone's door yelling racial slurs. Previously he had bothered victim with a knife and cut victim's screens. 2/2/2015. Source: Davis Police Daily Activity Log February 2 2015.
  • Two red swastikas were painted on Alpha Epsilon Pi, an off campus Jewish Fraternity affiliated with UC Davis, on 1/31/2015.  Shortly thereafter, a janitor at Hillel House reported that the phrase "grout out the jews" had been etched into the grout on the tile wall of the men's room in a toilet stall.  The vandalism was believed to have occurred between 1/22/2015 and 1/23/2015.  Sources: City of Davis Police Reference case 15-0511, City of Davis Police Reference case 15-0574.
  • Racial slur written in dust on victim's car parked at UC Davis 7/16/2014. Source: Campus Crime Alert Bulletin, case C14-0800.
  • Disparaging racial remarks scrawled on exterior windows of 1515 Newton Court with black felt tip pen. 5/12/2014. Source: Campus Crime Alert Bulletin, case C14-0559
  • Cinco de Drinko party encouraging stereotypical costumes. Similar event held for two years prior. April 2014. Source: Davis Vanguard
  • Vandalism including racial slur scrawled on blackboard, damaged cars and 31 broken windows across seven buildings during week of 50th anniversary of civil rights March on Washington. August 2013. Source: Davis Vanguard
  • White male adult shouted racial slurs at two pedestrians. April 2013. Source: UC Davis Crime Alerts C13-0486 Threats
  • White male adult yelled racial slurs at couple and kicked in the side of their car. The attacker was with a group of three. Couple used mace in self-defense. April 2013. Source: Davis Police Daily Activity Log April 23 2013
  • Racial slurs spray painted on Sproul Hall. April 2013. Source: UC Davis Crime Alerts C13-0433 Damage to Property to Violate Civil Rights
  • While male adult yelled racial slurs at someone. April 2013. Source: Davis Police Daily Activity Log April 17 2013
  • Man followed someone in a vehicle. When the person stopped, the man in the vehicle yelled a derogatory slur. April 2013. Source: Davis Police Daily Activity Log April 16 2013
  • "KKK" etched onto car hood, October 2012. Source: Davis Patch
  • Swastika burned into a picnic table at Holmes Junior High School, July 2012. Source: Davis Vanguard

    This was the third reported hate incident in 2012; see two entries immediately below this one for the other two.

  • Swastika and n-word painted on the I-80 underpass, June 2012. Source: Davis Vanguard.

    These were found just days after the noose incident at DHS; see item immediately below. They were found by Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven on his morning run, under the bike and pedestrian underpass connecting UC Davis with South Davis.

  • Noose hanging from goalpost on the Davis High School football field during the Juneteenth celebration in 2012. Source: Davis Vanguard. (See also Davis Enterprise).

    Juneteeth is an international day celebrating Freedom and Emancipation from slavery, and many people believe that the timing was not accidental. The DPD are investigating.

  • Truck with KKK and Confederate flags and military-dressed occupant parked outside International House during an International House event, March 2012. Source: Davis Patch
  • Note stating "KKK Fu## off were full" duct-taped to dorm room door. January 2012. Source: UC Davis Incident Report C12-0102
  • Yellow Veteran's Day ribbon marked "Use this as a noose" during UC Students of Color Conference. Swastika spray-painted on UC Students of Color Conference 'graffiti cube'. November 2011. Source: California Aggie
  • Russian store clerk assaulted. Peter Lloyd Zuniga charged with Felony Assault and hate crime. September 2011. Source: Davis Enterprise
  • Napkin folded into KKK hood taped to wall of Campbell Hall African American themed floor. 2011. California Aggie
  • Derogatory language and images drawn on picture of victim on a Tercero dormitory hallway whiteboard. December 2010. UC Davis Crime Alerts 121310 Hate Crime; Vandalism
  • Two men assaulted people while yelling about the victims' race and sexual orientation. October 2010. Source: UC Davis Crime Alerts 100510-Hate Crime Update
  • Swastikas on campus in 2010. source: March 16th, 2010 JTA News

    A swastika was carved into the door of a UC Davis student's residence hall room and four spray-painted swastikas were found around campus. A protest was held in response to these events (as well as to concerns over budget cuts). A sixth swastika was found carved into a hallway bulletin board in a residence hall; it was discovered after the protest.

  • Then there are the everyday incidents of racism in Davis, such as a white woman in front of CVS telling an Asian-American woman to "get out of my country" on 8/14/12.
  • Claims of racial profiling by the Davis Police. source: November 16, 2005 Davis Enterprise

    White people make up 70.1 percent of the Davis population, according to 2005 figures, and in 2004 they received 61 percent of the 6,762 traffic citations issued by Davis police, Hyde reported. Hispanic people comprise 9.6 percent of the population and were issued 14 percent of the citations.

    African Americans make up 2.3 percent of the population and were issued 5 percent of the traffic citations. Asian people comprise 17.7 percent of the population and were given 16 percent of the tickets. People whose race was unknown by officers were given 4 percent of the citations.

    But, when comparing traffic citations with total population, the statistics appear to show that 9 percent of Davis' white residents were cited in 2004, 15.1 percent of Davis' Hispanics were, 9.4 percent of Davis' Asian people were and 23.4 percent of local African Americans were.

    Those conclusions, however, do not take into account the possibility of repeat offenders or people who do not live in Davis.

    Among Davis residents, the data appears to show that 4.7 percent of Davis' white residents were cited, 5.6 percent of Hispanics, 4.6 percent of Asians and 9 percent of African Americans.

  • Hate-motivated vandalism: 2003

    On October 26, 2003, four young people tagged with graffiti and threw more than 10 dozen eggs at the cars of an openly gay man, Robert Russell, and that of an African American family. Witnesses who reportedly heard the youngsters shouting racist and homophobic slurs led police to the arrest of a 16-year old Davis High student who refused to cooperate and was later offered a plea bargain by the District Attorney.

  • Attacks on Asians: 1999

    While arranging rocks at the Yolo Causeway levee, members of a Sac State Asian American sorority are assaulted with threats and racial slurs by a group of white male members of a UC Davis fraternity. Later in the month, 15 white males affiliated with Kappa Sigma fraternity broke into an apartment and assaulted five Korean Americans, calling them "chinks" and ransacking the apartment. Then in December, a fight broke out at the levee between at least 70 members of Kappa Sigma and three Asian American fraternities — students reported that the frat guys pushed one Asian student, saying, "Get off the hill, chink." Campus officials attribute this to "drinking" rather than racism, and dealt with these attacks as "private, individual matters." Revolutionary Worker #1109, July 1, 2001

  • Seven white students appeared in KKK robes during a Davis High School pep rally in 1978. Source: Davis Vanguard scan of Third World Forum.

    The group included members of the football team. In addition to the Klan robes, they were carrying ropes.

  • Graffiti painted over murals on the UC Davis campus. Source: Berry, Margaret J. 1997. Hate crime hits campus. The California Aggie (March 31, 1997), p. 1.
  • City Resolution Opposing Return of Japanese to Coastal Areas: 1943

    On June 21 1943, Mayor CA Covell proposed and the Davis City Council unanimously and officially protested return of "Japs to the coastal areas of the Pacific" and sent this resolution to US Senators Hiram Johnson and Sheridan Downey, Representative Leroy Johnson and President Franklin D. Roposevelt. The Davis Enterprise supported this position, stating in the June 25 issue, "If It's For the Good of Davis the Enterprise Is For It." The Council commended the internment and urged amendment of national laws to prohibit the return of Japanese. Resolution No. 1 Series 1943 declared:


    the City Council of the City of Davis

    believing further that a return of said Japanese Nationals to the State of California, after cessation of hostilities, should be prevented by enactment or amendment of the laws of the United States of America;

    NOW THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Davis, hereby commend the action of said Military Authorities in evacuating said Japanese Nationals and hereby urge such legislation or amendment of the laws of the United States of America as will prevent the return of said evacuees after cessation of hostilities.

  • On December 21, 1940, the annual Faculty Club Goose Stew at the old UC Davis Recreation Hall featured a blackface minstrel show for the evening's entertainment. (Lofland, John. Davis: Radical Changes, Deep Constants. 2004. pg. 118.)
  • On January 26, 1940, a group of white store owners requested that the city council disallow the opening of a grocery store that was to be owned and operated by Asian Americans. There was a belief that the Asian Americans would work longer hours for less money, thus potentially putting the less competitive and less industrious white American grocers in jeopardy. The council stated that they could not create a law to specifically ban the Asian grocers, but they compromised by establishing an ordinance that restricted the hours a grocery store could be open. The ordinance specifically exempted every other type of business from such restrictions, thereby emphasizing the racism underlying such an action. (Lofland, John. Davis: Radical Changes, Deep Constants. 2004. pg. 117.)

Public Commentary

Related Wiki Pages


Campus Organizations


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Why the revert war, AlphaDog?JosephBleckman

It's only a war if you choose to declare one. Your edits appeared to be more about airing thinly veiled personal insecurities of feeling "surrounded by Asians." The examples, e.g. Hispanic in an African university, were originally inserted to mollify those in the "majority" who would cry reverse racism. Based on your edits, that approach has failed. If every individual insists on an example specific to their perceived environment, the page loses focus. Perhaps there is some value in your edits that isn't evident, but that you can clarify. As this seems to be a personal issue, I'd welcome continuing this discussion on either your personal page or mine rather than further muddying this page. —AlphaDog

What the hell man? I suggest not trying to misplace your own "thinly veiled personal insecurities", as you so imaginatively phrased it, onto other people. I added in that line, because far too often I've noticed that people assume that people in the alleged "majority" (usually assumed by them to be European-Americans) never exist as minority groups in a region. A position you seemed to be reinforcing by your repeated unexplained reverts, hence why I asked for clarification. Secondly, how exactly do you get the impression that my "perceived environment" is "surronded by Asians"? I don't know about you, but I go to UC Davis, a place of uber-diversity, not one dominated by any one ethnicity. JosephBleckman

  • Ha UCD "uber-diversity"?? Check your facts first. UCD is white dominated in students, faculty and staff. — JR
    • Actually, you're part wrong. Same site!. For undergraduate students, there's actually 2% less whites then asian people...if that makes a difference. But how is that diversity? Or how isn't it? Is diversity only measured by numbers? Is it only considered diverse if white people aren't the majority? I don't understand the point of this, or the meaning of measurement. I mean, if it's a numbers game, the state of California is 63% white, and 12.3% asian (2000 census). (I believe the entire country is 75 and 3%). So I'd venture to say UCD is more "diverse" than the state, in terms of white vs whatever. What I'm really trying to say is: what would it take for you to consider UCD diverse? I agree with Joseph below and that I do feel there are many groups and that the campus is diverse. I don't consider the fact that it's "white dominant" to be that it's less diverse. It's not exactly a huge, staggering domination, and at the undergraduate level, they're not even the majority for the 05 fall count anyway.
  • I consider the mix that the campus has to be uber diverse, since there are so many groups represented in such significant amounts. But, I guess that your point makes me even more perplexed as to what AD was saying. JosephBleckman