One of America’s biggest flaws is how racism has managed to carry on through the centuries and has unfortunately determined the country’s history multiple times. The result is discrimination against certain groups just because of the color of their skin. Even after the civil rights movement in the 20th century, and other countless attempts to erase hatred from our society, racism is still as present as it was decades ago. From the shootings in Ferguson, to the unequal hiring rates among those with ethnic names, racism is alive and well: and we can see it right here in San Francisco.
The Chinese community is thriving in this city, but it has faced its fair share of discrimination as well. In the early 1900’s, the Chinese in San Francisco were not even allowed to leave Chinatown – and if they did, they faced the threats of having rocks thrown at them or being beaten. What is most disturbing though, is that even today, the Chinese community faces racial bigotry. In San Francisco’s Portola neighborhood, new racist graffiti has popped up in various locations stating “No More Chinese.” Portola and Sunset are known to have large populations of Chinese people, and it might be possible that other races, specifically Caucasians, who were dominant before, now feel as minorities. Can these horrible actions be seen as their way at lashing out against the influx of immigrants and Asian-Americans? What a horrible way to express such terrible emotions. These people are vandalizing neighborhoods, family homes, schools, parks. Every day, thousands of people, including children, will walk past these signs and see the hatred and racism that these slogans portray. People of Chinese descent have as much a right as anybody else to be here, and they should not be subject to overt racism.
I wish I could say that this event is surprising, but as I said before, racism is still thriving and prejudice that Asians and Asian Americans have faced is not a new topic. However, this outright protest and condemnation of one racial group is astonishing. One would think that in a city as liberal, open-minded, and accepting as San Francisco, people would not have to deal with this kind of hatred. I like to picture San Francisco as a haven for everybody just looking for a better life. But as long as these acts of hatred exist, this city will never be able to become that safe sanctuary which people of all ethnicities can call home.
Thankfully, there is a tiny silver lining to all of this. Some neighbors came together and painted over the “No” portion of the message in order to simply say “More Chinese.” These people help keep the messages of acceptance and equality in our society, and are the impetus that drives tolerance into the spotlight. The Bay Area, and San Francisco especially, is a melting pot of cultures. Everybody has the right to a happy life, a home, and most of all, respect.