Actually, Chesa Boudin was voted out in the richest, whitest areas of San Francisco
Contrary to right-wing propaganda, and "liberal propaganda" by pundits like Jonathan Chait, many diverse neighborhoods in the city voted against recall.
Conservatives have built an impressive array of false narratives to kneecap the movement for police reform and racial justice. These narratives are readily parroted by conservatives who pose as liberals because otherwise it’d be awkward around the other Montessori parents.
One of the most common is that real criminal justice reform is the plaything of rich, white liberals safe in their fancy neighborhoods. A way to virtue signal without sacrificing anything. Oh wait, while sacrificing downtrodden people of color, who pay the price in blood so Karen can feel good about that time she clutched her wallet when a Black person walked by.
This narrative initially coalesced around opposition to the defund movement. Pundit after pundit after pundit scratched their chins and sagely observed that people of color are less likely to support defund. And that was largely true, according to polls. But polls were worded in a way that strongly suggested defund would mean even fewer resources for communities of color.
“Do you support defunding the police?” “Do you want fewer or more cops in your neighborhoods?”
Any reasonable person who’s asked that question would automatically think, “So no one comes if I call 911?” Of course people would oppose that.
I wish someone would put out the following poll: “10 percent of NYPD officers commit more violent crimes than they solve (based on CCRB data). Do you think they should keep getting raises with your taxes dollars? Or should they be fired so that money goes into schools?” Because the truth is, without the threat of real consequences (like the threat of defund) there is literally no incentive for police departments to change a thing.
But the narrative is effective. It taps into the perpetually self-flagellating, second-guessing tendencies of American liberals when it comes to race. Checking their privilege, if you will. And it’s an easy way out. In nice Brooklyn neighborhoods the BLM signs have mostly been supplanted by Ukrainian flags.
Given how effective this narrative is, it’s no wonder that it was gleefully trotted out after the recall of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin last week. While Boudin’s supporters pointed out that the recall campaign was funded by Republicans, cops, millionaires and billionaires, his critics countered that, actually, it was working class people of color who ousted the DA.
Here’s Jonathan Chait:
Boudin’s recall fared
bestworst in the whitest neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Chait reached this conclusion by doing
extensive electoral analysis citing a Tweet by Richie Torres before the final results had even come in.
And then for the liberal guilt trip: “The left’s response to these reversals has been to portray voters as the victims of brainwashing by conservative media.”
“Why Black, Latino and Asian American Democrats would be more susceptible to reactionary media propaganda than white Democrats, they have not explained,” he added in a smug little shiv.
Before the polls were even closed, we were off to the races, with everyone prophesying about what the recall meant for Democrats at the national level—even though in the actual midterm, tough-on-crime DA Anne-Marie Schubert and ridicoulous clown Michael Shellenberger were trounced.
This fucking narrative is so effective that last Friday, Zach and I, along with media critic Adam Johnson, tried to parse why people of color in poorer neighborhoods were convinced that Boudin was to blame for every problem in the city. After all, how many everyday people in places where there’s not a massive propaganda campaign against the DA even know who the DA is? I do this shit for a living and even I have to look it up. Quick, who’s DA in Columbus, Ohio?
But, all of that is irrelevant because it was actually the richest, whitest neighborhoods in the city that overwhelmingly voted Boudin out.
See for yourself here.
The Marina and Pacific Heights—the places you’re most likely to find a Karen (68% white) in the Bay Area wild—voted to recall Boudin by 69.2%. The Presideo (69% white) voted for recall at 64%.
Chinatown, painted as ground zero for the working class revolt against Boudin, voted for the recall, but turnout was far lower than in the Marina, and the “yes” vote was much lower, at 56%. And that’s the case even though Asian-Americans have seen a rise in hate crimes and the recall movement outright lied to connect Boudin to these incidents (for example, the widely trumpeted attack on Anh Le was presented as Boudin ignoring anti-Asian crimes—even though the attackers were prosecuted by Boudin’s predecessor.) Even in the dreaded Tenderloin residents voted to recall at 56%, far lower than the Marina, the Presidio, and Pacific Heights.
Meanwhile, the Mission—38 percent Hispanic—voted against recall, as did Diamond Heights, which is 23% Asian and 11% Hispanic. Inner sunset, 33 percent Asian, voted no. Bernal heights: 27% Hispanic, 21% Asian, voted no. Hayes Valley and Western Addition—which border the dreaded Tenderloin—voted no (23% Asian, 18% Black). To be fair, the Sunset and Lake Merced, neighborhoods where whites are a minority, also voted for recall at similar rates to the Marina.
But the narrative that the recall was powered by an organic revolution by working class people of color, and opposed by rich white liberals? A shameless lie like everything else about this sorry incident.
Why rich white people would be more susceptible to reactionary media propaganda than Black, Latino and Asian Democrats, Chait and his ilk have yet to explain.
Okay, first, it's "Presidio". Second, it has higher percentage of Hispanic population than Diamond Heights.
Also, Ctrl-F, "Visitation Valley". Not found. Oh, but actually I was curious about that particular neighborhood which is 6% white and voted for the recall. Let's pretend Asians don't exist and it wasn't Asian voters who kicked Boudin out.
He was voted out in SOME of the richest, whitest areas of SF. This is true.
At the same time, nearly ALL of his support was in the other richest, whitest areas of San Francisco, as well, such as Noe Valley, Haight-Ashbury, Cole Valley, Bernal Heights, Glen Park, the Inner Sunset, and, yes, the Mission (for as many people of Hispanic decent there are in the Mission, there are an equal number of white residents, both at around 37% of the neighborhood's population).
Meanwhile, he was soundly beaten in the poorest, non-white areas of SF, such as Bayview/Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, the Excelsior (the most Hispanic neighborhood in SF, by percentage of population), Lakeview, the non-bougie areas of Western Addition, Tenderloin, Chinatown, 6th Street. Not to mention the working middle-class Asian neighborhoods of the Sunset and the Richmond.
If you're going to tell the story of this election, tell the full story, not just the narrative.
This rant blog post is full of straw-man arguments. Disingenuous. Cope piece by a self hating white girl
I just visited SF from New York. I thought I had seen some tough stuff in my neck of the woods. Nope.
Whatever your "narrative" is versus the one you are calling out makes no sense to me. I saw a city in ruin, on its knees. Men defecating in the street. Tents. Addicts. People suffering from mental health issues, raving on the street, with nobody listening.
The last time I visited the city--about five years ago--change was afoot but there was no way to telegraph this nightmare. Forget about narrative: whatever the reforms, they are not working. And yes, defunding the police does mean less cops, which means less response.
Sometimes that happens in life. Put someone in office who will balance reform, stay true to the freedom of San Francisco and reclaim a great city.
I do find this piece interesting in that I spent four days among super-left liberals--all white, not a person of color anywhere in sight. San Francisco and the left is as full of crap as the conservative, idiotic right. (Help the black people, defund the police. Just not HERE!)
Stop blaming everything on "narrative", or get better at pushing one that makes sense. All I know is, seeing two men with dropped pants on a street at 12:30 in the afternoon in San Francisco, doing their is not a good look for a beautiful, historic city.