The entire senior staff of the San Francisco schools has denounced a black school board member’s tweets that claimed Asian Americans use ‘white supremacist thinking’ to get ahead.
In her tweets, she also referred to Asian Americans as ‘house n***ers’.
On Sunday, 19 top administrators at the district’s central office condemned the 2016 tweets from the board’s Vice President Alison Collins, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The city’s top elected officials including its mayor, nearly all city supervisors and the area’s state legislators all called for Collins to resign – but she hasn’t.
The school officials said the tweets ‘perpetuate gross and harmful stereotypes and leave no room for nuance or potential misunderstanding’.
Their statement addressed Collins’ tweets that she shared on December 4, 2016.
On Sunday, 19 top administrators at the district’s central office condemned the 2016 tweets from the board’s Vice President Alison Collins (left and right)
The officials said the tweets ‘perpetuate gross and harmful stereotypes and leave no room for nuance or potential misunderstanding’. Their statement addressed Collins’ tweets that she shared on December 4, 2016
In the thread, Collins said that she was seeking to ‘combat anti-black racism in the Asian community’ and at her daughter’s mostly Asian American school.
Collins said that Asian Americans had used ‘white supremacist thinking to assimilate and “get ahead.”‘
She also included a reference comparing Asian Americans to ‘house n***ers’.
‘Where are the vocal Asians speaking up against Trump? Don’t Asian Americans know they are on his list as well? Do they think they won’t be deported? profiled? beaten? Being a house n****r is still being a n****r. You’re still considered “the help,'” she tweeted at the time.
Collins has not resigned from her position and would not return calls from the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday. Instead she directed people to an op-ed she wrote that was published on Medium in which she claimed her past statements were taken ‘out of context.’
‘A number of tweets and social media posts I made in 2016 have recently been highlighted. They have been taken out of context, both of that specific moment and the nuance of the conversation that took place,’ Collins tweeted on Saturday with a link to her article.
A fellow board member, Jenny Lam, called the post a ‘non-apology.’
The controversy comes as San Francisco’s school board has been slammed recently for voting to rename 44 of the city’s schools that were alleged to have insensitive names. The person in charge of the renaming effort admitted he researched the topic on Wikipedia and didn’t consult historians.
In January, the board voted 6-1 to strip the schools of their current monikers because they honor ‘racist’ figures from American history. Schools named after politicians including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln are now set to be rebranded in the coming months.
Meanwhile, a gay white father of a bi-racial child was denied a spot on the San Francisco Board of Education’s volunteer parent committee in February because his race doesn’t bring enough diversity to the group.
And the district of 52,000 students has been in a bitter dispute with unions over re-opening of the schools, which have been closed since the height of the coronavirus. Some schools will open April 12, but it’s not clear how many.
Collins, the school board’s vice resident, said in the Medium posting that ‘as a Black woman, a mother, an educator and a fierce advocate of equity in our schools I utilize my social media platforms to speak out on race and racism. Even when these conversations are difficult in our very divided society.’
Collins (right) has not resigned from her position. Instead she directed people to an op-ed she wrote that was published on Medium
In the Medium piece, Collins wrote: ‘As a Black woman, a mother, an educator and a fierce advocate of equity in our schools I utilize my social media platforms to speak out on race and racism. Even when these conversations are difficult in our very divided society’
In the post, Collins noted that then-President Donald Trump had just won an election when she made the remarks on Twitter.
‘Meanwhile one of my daughters had recently experienced an incident in her school in which her Asian American peers were taunting her Latinx classmate about “sending kids back to Mexico” and the KKK. It was a time of processing, of fear among many communities with the unknown of how the next four years would unfold,’ Collins wrote.
‘But whether my tweets are being taken out of context or not, only one thing matters right now. And that is the pain our Asian American brothers and sisters and siblings are experiencing. Words have meaning and impact.
‘Trump showed us that clearly with his sowing of hate and pitting communities of color against one another for political gain. I acknowledge that right now, in this moment my words taken out of context can be causing more pain for those who are already suffering. For the pain my words may have caused I am sorry, and I apologize unreservedly.
‘What matters more than anything is showing up and supporting Asian American communities and victims of hate crimes. Let me be clear: I stand with the Asian American community against acts of violence. I have spoken with leaders in the Asian American community over the last 24 hours and I acknowledge the pain they are feeling,’ she added.
Collins’ tweets resurfaced just days after eight people, mostly Asian women, were shot dead in Atlanta, Georgia.
Police in Atlanta are still investigating suspected gunman Robert Aaron Long’s motive in connection with the shooting on Tuesday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation.
All eight deceased victims have been formally identified as: Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Soon C. Park, 44; Hyun J. Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69, and 63-year-old Yong Yue.
Police in Atlanta are still investigating the motive in connection with the fatal shooting of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, on Tuesday. People embrace by a makeshift memorial outside the Gold Spa following the deadly shootings in Atlanta
Robert Aaron Long (pictured), a 21-year-old Atlanta-area resident told police that sexual frustration led him to commit the violence
The shootings have stoked fears among those in the Asian American Pacific Islander community, which has reported a spike in hate crimes since March 2020 when Trump began referring to COVID-19 as the ‘China virus’.
Long, a 21-year-old Atlanta-area resident who is white, told police that sexual frustration led him to commit the violence.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jay Baker, who told the media in a press conference that a sexual addiction may have fueled the crime and said Long had ‘a really bad day,’ has since come under criticism from political leaders and civil rights advocates for making insensitive comments, noting such remarks only help fuel stigmas about race, gender and sex work.
The sheriff’s office later acknowledged the remarks had sparked anger, but said Baker never intended to offend anyone. Baker is no longer serving as a spokesman for the case.
The incidence of hate crimes against Asian Americans rose by 149 per cent in 2020 in 16 major cities compared with 2019, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visited Atlanta on Friday to offer support to Asian-Americans and meet with leaders of the community.
Biden on Sunday also highlighted the need to prevent gender-based violence and keep women safe.
‘In the past few weeks, we’ve seen too many examples of horrific and brutal assaults on women, including the tragic murders in Georgia. And we’ve seen the broader damage that living under the daily specter of gender-based violence does to women everywhere. It hurts all of us, and we all must do more to create societies where women are able to go about their lives free from violence,’ he said in a statement.
The Justice Department has previously said it will be stepping up investigations into hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.