Things got ugly during a San Francisco mayoral candidate forum over the weekend when protesters began shouting racial slurs, KPIX-TV reported.
At the event featuring self-proclaimed “progressives” vying for office — supervisors Jane Kim and Mark Leno — a group of protesters shouted down Kim, who is Asian-American, the station said.
Video of the protest caught one of them calling Kim a “skinny-ass rice-eating m*****f*****,” KPIX reported. The man who uttered the slur had to be restrained by several other men in the room.
Other protesters shouted that whites should “get out of the neighborhood” and demanded to know why supervisor London Breed — who is black — wasn’t at the event, which was held in Breed’s Fillmore District, the station said.
‘It was a very racist’
Event organizer Agonafer Shiferaw told KPIX the protest appeared to have been planned.
“It was a very racist. Very xenophobic, homophobic,” Shiferaw told the station. “Also very dangerous. It could have gotten completely out of hand.”
‘Like somebody lighted a match next to a firecracker’
But Hugh E MC with the New Community Leadership Foundation — which showed up to raise questions about both Kim and Leno’s commitment to the Fillmore — told KPIX the protest wasn’t planned.
Although the group issued a news release asking Breed’s supporters to “gather peacefully outside the venue at 12:45 p.m. to voice concerns regarding the motives of Mark Leno and Jane Kim,” the station reported.
“People are tired of politicians promising them things, but with no follow up,” E MC told KPIX. “It’s kind of like somebody poked a bear, or like somebody lighted a match next to a firecracker.”
Gentrification and displacement
The Fillmore District — once known as the Harlem of the West — has been experiencing gentrification and displacement, the station said.
“There have been 14 businesses that have closed,” Shiferaw told KPIX.
“I can’t say that race was involved, but then I can’t say that it wasn’t,” E MC added to the station. “Because when you have these factors of class and race there is a tension there.”
Breed condemned the outburst. “I don’t condone racial slurs or divisiveness. Sad to say the same thing has happened to me throughout the course of this campaign. It definitely doesn’t feel good,” she told KPIX.
What did Kim have to say?
While Kim acknowledged it was “unfortunate” that “ethnic slurs were used,” she added the station that they weren’t directed only at her.
In fact, Kim issued a statement saying she didn’t take the words personally and noting that “race and gender are inextricably linked to poverty, economic insecurity and access to quality housing, education and even justice itself.”