Let’s End Hypocrisy In San Francisco

It’s not enough to condemn racism elsewhere.

My home town of San Francisco is justifiably proud of its reputation as a mecca of tolerance that is fiercely intolerant of racism. But more and more our fidelity to those principles takes the form of lip service, not actions.

Websites run by members of and candidates for the SF Board of Supervisors and School Board shout fidelity to the principles of diversity, tolerance and justice and fierce resistance to racism. One candidate reminds us that “talk is cheap — especially from politicians — and that a leader is judged by his or her actions.” So let’s take his advice. Let’s judge by actions. How are minority and low-income kids faring in San Francisco’s public schools? The answer: Not well.

Words alone cannot fix problems. Only actions can. For that to happen elected officials must enact reforms, some of which will put their political careers at risk. For that to happen they must know the public has their back.

It starts with you. All of us — not just elected officials but also the people who support them — need to walk our talk. If you’re supporting officials who only pay lip service to important issues, then you are part of the problem. It’s not enough to talk about racism and inequality. You must support elected officials who actually attack problems. It won’t happen unless you do.

Written by

Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California

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