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Del Mar Diversity
Valerie Dufort-Roy | Klish Way

Being the nation’s 3rd most diverse city, San Diego’s population is 45% white, contrasting sharply against Del Mar’s 89%. Looking through the lenses of modern eyes, parts of our city’s history are troubling. Some explain that Del Mar’s steep property costs and the absence of affordable housing have remained prohibitive in welcoming diversity, assuming that visible minorities have diminished access to financial resources. Others identify the now-repealed covenants as a contributory cause to our poorly diversified demographics.

Covenants were embedded in property deeds throughout the United States, preventing non-Caucasians from buying or leasing land. Near us in La Jolla, people of Jewish origin were also prohibited from home ownership until 1960, when the UCSD campus development justified repealing the anti-Semitic rule. Since the beginning of Del Mar, racially restrictive deeds were part of home purchases. See below the Article 1, Section 1 of the “Del Mar Protective Covenant Declaration” of August 20th, 1938:

Deed Del Mar, 1938

Congress aimed to ban residential segregation with the Fair Housing Act of 1968, enacted following riots resulting from Dr King’s assassination. Whether our city’s current low diversity is caused by this sad part of history, when diversity was illegal, would require a thorough study.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, I have recently heard residents link Del Mar’s low diversity to absence of racism. Would Del Mar’s 11% minority population agree with this observation? Have they experienced subtle, covert racism, such as implicit biases, micro-aggressions, profiling, unwarranted sheriff encounters, or overt racism, such as blatant public harassment, slurs and violence, within our city? Has the city taken steps to identify if any of their policies unknowingly contributes to maintaining systemic racism or if their hiring process encourages inclusiveness and diversity?

Acknowledging and embracing diversity can only enrich our town by welcoming differences, eventually allowing assessment and adjustment of practices that might be detrimental towards people from visible minorities. Recent initiatives include local students with Encinitas4Equality submitting proposals to San Dieguito Union High School District towards more inclusive practices; Nicole Forrest, designing and distributing “Black Lives Matter, Peace & Justice Del Mar” signs around town; and councilmember and former Mayor Dwight Worden actively participating in conversations with the Sheriff and exploring the betterment of Del Mar’s practices.

People come to Del Mar for its breathtaking beauty. Let’s work on ensuring that they come by, and stick around, for our inner beauty too.


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