Friday 18 February 2022

Recalled San Fran school board member decries ‘white supremacy,’ but reporter hits her with quick fact check

 Gabriela López, the San Francisco school board president who was recalled in an election on Tuesday, invoked "white supremacy" while decrying the election outcome.

What is the background?

Upset by board members who pursued their progressive agendas while keeping city schools closed, San Francisco parents fought back and successfully recalled three board members — López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga — on Tuesday.

Election results showed that nearly 75% of voters supported removing López, while 78.5% of voters supporting removing Collins, and 72% of voters supported removing Moliga. The movement against the school board members was the first successful recall effort in San Francisco in nearly 40 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

What did López claim?

López claimed Thursday that "white supremacy" was aligned with the effort to recall her and her progressive colleagues.
"So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence. Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this," López wrote on Twitter. "And the support of the recall is aligned with this."
López also retweeted a comment from SF Progressives that attributed "white supremacy in San Francisco" to the power behind the successful recall effort.

But what is the truth?

Progressives love to invoke "racism" and blame "white supremacy," but the idea that white supremacy fueled the recall campaign is completely unfounded.

In fact, as Washington Post reporter David Weigel noted, the cohort of San Franciscans who voted "yes" on the recall "was racially diverse" and included "hundreds of non-citizen immigrants who were eligible to participate" (Non-citizens have been allowed to vote in San Francisco for several years).

Demographically speaking, if López's allegations are true that white supremacy was behind the recall, that means San Francisco has an unusually high number of white racists in a city where, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, "white alone" residents comprise just 40.5% of the city's population. Considering that more than 95,000 people voted to recall López, that means more than 10% of the city's population of approximately 874,000 people are white racists.

Racism, it turns out, was not behind the recall. Rather, as the New York Times observed, the successful recall "appeared to be a demonstration of Asian American electoral power, a galvanizing moment for Chinese American voters in particular who turned out in unusually large numbers for the election."

Four issues in particular drove the recall:

  • The school board keeping schools closed for one of the longest durations in the country. Schools in San Francisco did not return to full-time in-person learning until August
  • The school board pursued progressive agenda items — like renaming 44 schools in the district — while keeping schools shuttered
  • The school board permanently eliminated merit-based admission for Lowell High School, the city's most prestigious high school
  • Rampant anti-Asian prejudice by Collins

Meanwhile, Mayor London Breed (D) — who is black — both supported and celebrated the recall, an odd move if it had truly been motivated by white supremacy.

"The voters of this City have delivered a clear message that the School Board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else," Breed said in a statement after the election. "San Francisco is a city that believes in the value of big ideas, but those ideas must be built on the foundation of a government that does the essentials well."

David Lee, a lecturer at San Francisco State University, summed it up best.

"It’s been an opportunity for the Chinese community to flex its muscles," Lee told the New York Times of the recall effort. "The community is reasserting itself."

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