The Talon

Opinion: Dear Mr. Sanjay Dave,

Courtesy Sanjay Dave

Courtesy Sanjay Dave

Evelin Diego, Staff Writer

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My name is Evelin Diego. I am a proud first generation Latina. I am an AP student. And I am calling for your resignation as an MVLA School District Board Member.

At the April 16th MVLA Board Meeting, you implied that the rigor of AP classes would have to be sacrificed to meet the needs of underrepresented minority students — students like me. I was initially furious. Since then, we have spoken, and I will admit that after speaking with you, I began to question my own stance on the issue. Though your apology seemed sincere, and while I do believe that you are regretful that you “misspoke,” I cannot accept your apology because in doing so I would be accepting the racially insensitive comments that you made.

Someone who isn’t an underrepresented minority student (URM) may have considered your question to be the start of an intriguing academic discussion. But as a Latina student who has experienced more than her fair share of racial prejudice both inside and outside the classroom, I was infuriated to see that you, a fellow minority, and the only racial minority on the board, could be so careless about your choice of words.

You said that your comments were made in a “disorganized” and in a less than “eloquent” manner, which would indicate that your perpetuation of racial stereotypes was not intentional. But in my eyes, behaviors like this are even more dangerous than conscious discrimination. One should not have “unorganized thoughts” about these sorts of things. The issue now is that your subconscious was finally voiced and you have to face the consequences.

Your time spent tutoring for AP students and starting a chess club at Castro Elementary—known for its dual immersion program and high Latino population— does not negate what you said, and I do not think your charitable actions should be used as a defense for your words. Taking time out of your day to come and visit the AVID classes is a step in right direction, and while it is admirable, I hope you come ready to listen to the concerns of the students that you have possibly harmed in this process.

Your goal should not be to persuade students into believing that you are not prejudiced but rather serve as a learning process for you to realize that your words have real implications for your constituents. As someone who for years has questioned her academic ability because of her race, I can tell you that I do a good enough job of doubting myself all on my own.

Though your fellow board members and supporters may have been swift to forgive you for your actions, no URM student has an obligation to accept your apology. We students have a right to be upset with you because you are not fit to represent us.

We students deserve better. This community deserves better. You need to resign.

6 Comments

6 Responses to “Opinion: Dear Mr. Sanjay Dave,”

  1. Enzo Sapojnikoff on May 22nd, 2018 8:42 pm

    Triggered much? The dude made a mistake. It seems like he realized the mistake. He APOLOGIZED for the mistake. How does this translate into him not being fit to represent you? And to sacrifice his livelihood? Nah, that just isn’t right, in my humble opinion.

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    I agree with the poster above… first of all before you go calling for someone to resign you better make sure you have all your facts in order. It seems to me like you are saying he implied that the rigor of AP classes may need to be lessened to help miniority students, the keyword being implied. Now since he is just “implying” he never really said anything directly, so thus you don’t understand his intentions. He could have been saying, that since minority students are at a economic and social disadvantage they have a lot more things to do around the house, for example. Which in my opinion is perfectly fine, as oftentimes that is the case. On the other hand, he could have also been saying that minority students need the classes to be less hard because they are not as intelligent, which in my opinion is 100 percent wrong and something nobody should say. Obviously his words were taken out of context by you, which is why he apologized, and in your words “sincerely”. I would have loved to have seen a direct quote from him, which was no provided whatsoever. How can we as readers understand and make up our mind without a direct quote from him? Additionally, listing off all his achievements and saying this is no excuse for him to racist was absolutely useless, and it makes it seem like Sanjay thinks that all the volunteer work he does makes it okay for him to be racist, which I highly doubt. You need to calm down and realize people’s words can be taken out of context. Next time, make sure the man you are asking to resign actually did something bad and then make an article like this.

    [Reply]

    MB Reply:

    Implicit or unconscious bias is extremely important, especially when it comes to informing educational decisions that impact REAL students. It is unacceptable that someone who is able to impact policy decisions has these real beliefs. These beliefs represent MANY parents in this community and he should take this as an opportunity to be a leader in changing those viewpoints or he should resign. Apologizing is not the solution. He needs to be a part of the solution or he needs to step down. (also, this is not his “livelihood” – he has a high paying day job)

    [Reply]

    In response Reply:

    Your humble opinion is nice, Enzo, however I feel as if your comment just invalidates what Evelin has personally experienced outside and inside the classroom in regards to her race and feeling discriminated against. It is not hard to see that this very much ties into what this person of power has had to say about minority students. Now, of course, we can forgive him..but that does not mean that he should not be held accountable for his demeanor towards students that are not enlisted in AP classes, etc.

    [Reply]

  2. Daniel on May 22nd, 2018 10:31 pm

    I’m with Enzo. This guy made a mistake and you’re asking him to resign from the board. What he said is a little insensitive but can be true for some people. However, he should of been more uplifting and been a little more careful with his choice of words. If you don’t agree with his statement, then prove him wrong instead of trying to get him to resign. People resign from there positions for sexual assault, rape allegations, criminal offenses, etc. This doesn’t seem to be a reason for this man to lose his position on the board.

    [Reply]

  3. Anonymous on May 24th, 2018 12:42 pm

    The comments in response to this article are just sad. It makes me frustrated to listen to what other people, who I do not think can even put themselves in the writer’s shoes, have to say. I feel as if these comments just invalidate what the writer felt when expressing feeling discriminated against. This man of high power and status, who is supposed to take advantage of his leadership position, has used micro-aggressive rhetoric in regards to minority students. A leader is also a representer- the mentality should be more so like, “your struggle is my struggle.” A leader’s job is to speak up for all communities within the institutions- he/she should be able to give a voice to the communities and people who, often times, feel as if their opinions are silenced because they can not be apart of the parent board. A leader should be mindful of what he/she says or does because everything that they do, given such a significant position, is extremely impactful. Yes, people makes mistakes and no one is 100% all of the time- and good for him for apologizing- but he should still be held accountable for his actions by reaching out to the community that he disgraced with his words. The writer mentions visiting the AVID environment, as an example. This could have been prevented. The man is no “rapist” or “criminal” but the words he used to express himself were not correct. He needs to do better. The reason why I think people don’t seem to understand where the writer is coming from is because, perhaps, they have not experienced discrimination outside and inside of the classroom like she has. The experiences that women of color must face are hard and bitter to swallow..when a prestigious academic board leader uses discriminatory rhetoric, it just makes it harder to do so. Your opinions on this article are welcome but please do not try and diminish the impact, especially when you can not relate.

    [Reply]




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