San Francisco officials this week joined politicians nationwide in discovering widespread, heretofore undetectable racism and hate crimes. Ed Lee decreed San Francisco a hate-free city by saying…words:
We want to remain an open, welcome city. And some people may not feel that unless we enforce the very laws we put on the books that say ‘if you wear a hajib [sic] you’re going to be as protected as if you’ve got a nose ring. Or that you look different.’
I hope he didn’t say “hajib” and that’s just a misprint. Regardless, equating the wearing of a hijab with a nose ring or “looking different” is willfully obtuse at best because there are no laws on the books about protecting “different-looking” people with nose rings. Even if there were such laws, this is the same City Hall that shrugged off reports of white-supremacy groups in the Tenderloin, destroys encampments of homeless people despite promised shelter spaces not existing and maintains fraudulent backlogs to prevent the testing of rape kits. Their promises of protection mean little.
How do they propose to stop hate crimes? SFPD, of course:
The plan takes effect immediately, Lee said, and the undercover officers are already being deployed. Officers will be stationed in various neighborhoods in an effort to deter prejudiced based crimes and, should a crime occur, to make a swift arrest.
“San Francisco police officers will be proactive in addressing prejudice-based crimes and will vigorously investigate hate crimes with the goal of arresting suspects and bringing justice and support services to victims,” Chaplin said in the release.
City Hall certainly chose experts in hate crimes and acts of violence in general. SFPD excels at all of them. This racist and homophobic department profiles Black people, and dozens of its officers are connected to the trafficking of Celeste Guap. Anyone vulnerable to a hate crime is just as vulnerable, if not more so, to police terror. Law enforcement’s relationship with the Muslim community has been one of surveillance and suspicion. Police interactions with Black and Latinx communities often leave behind victims such as Jessica Williams, Mario Woods, Alex Nieto and Luis Gongora. The fact that these police will be undercover is no comfort, either, as SFPD undercover officers face lawsuit after lawsuit stemming from appearing from nowhere to savagely beat victims for no reason. This has nothing to do with protecting and comforting the vulnerable, and everything to do with steering as much positive publicity the police’s way, and ensuring they receive plenty of funding to continue “defending” the vulnerable.
Actual hate crimes in San Francisco have received little true response. A San Francisco man recently spray painted a swastika on the side of a Bayview business but hate-crime charges were dropped after he explained he was just drunk and needed to “work on my message big time.” Equally troubling is the fact that his “fuck white people” graffiti was considered racist and acceptable evidence of a hate crime. White people as victims of racism has long been a rallying cry for white supremacists everywhere, including all those Trump followers from whom we need protection. The goal here is to grant white people even greater protection under the law by extending hate-crime protection to them, which will inevitably lead to more profiling of nonwhite people because of “racism” towards white people. Because upholding white (male) supremacy is what it’s always about.