Mayoral candidate Ellen Zhou speaks with media in front of a controversial billboard put up by her campaign at Howard Street and Dore Alley in the South of Market neighborhood that community leaders are calling a racist depiction of Mayor London Breed and should be taken down on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Who is backing Ellen Lee Zhou?

San Francisco cannot let Trump cronies divide us

According to mayoral candidate Ellen Lee Zhou, as a woman and as a Chinese American, she cannot be racist; therefore her billboard depicting Mayor London Breed, which was denounced by public officials before it was taken down this week, is not racist or sexist.

Well, I’ve got news for you.

I am a woman, I am a proud Chinese American, and I am certain that Ellen Lee Zhou is racist.

Not only that, I am also certain that a national group known as the Chinese American Alliance that backs Lee Zhou is racist.

The Chinese American Alliance sent out a message titled “Comrades don’t stay silent and support San Francisco mayoral candidate Ellen Lee Zhou,” in which it trashed San Francisco and asked for donations and support for her campaign.

According to the group’s website, they have 19,000 registered Chinese members in 41 states across the country. On their website they have articles dating as far back as 2017 and 2018 demeaning individuals benefiting from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as immoral and irresponsible people, describing members of the LGBTQ community as “deviant” and invasive to conservative Chinese family values, and even saying that Chinese, along with whites people, are victims of affirmative action and arguing that only if African Americans and Hispanic students could humbly learn from the success of the Chinese then they too would reach academic and career success.

In addition, in their most recent publication, they published an article praising Vice President Mike Pence, detailing his home life and his Christian faith. The article’s title is “With only $15,000 in the bank, and borrowed loans to support his three children through school, it is an ‘Amazing Grace’ that he became the vice president of the United States.” The title is telling, in that you’re considered “poor” if you “only” have $15,000 cash, and it is a shame to borrow so you can send your children to school – but Pence is anointed by God to be our Vice President.

This entitled and obviously fairly wealthy group that worships the current racist, sexist, and xenophobic White House administration is no different than the white supremacists that worship the very same administration.

Perhaps they are worse, because they stand among the communities of color and say they are not racist simply because they are one of us.

In my previous column, “Is San Francisco Racist?” I talked about how we need to have an honest conversation about the fact that there is racism among communities of color too. This is not to divide us, but so that we can unite against the racism that pits us against each other in the first place.

Fortunately, while the Trump administration and its cronies and backers are attacking San Francisco through a group like Chinese American Alliance, our City still leads with shared values and a vision of racial equality.

Sing Tao Daily, our longtime local Chinese newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area, has endorsed Mayor London Breed as the sole endorsement for mayor in this election. They also went beyond the sometimes simple black-and-white politics of identity and withheld a second-choice endorsement for Lee Zhou, the most prominent Chinese American candidate in the race.

In addition, World Journal, another longtime local Chinese newspaper, published an editorial column asking Lee Zhou to apologize to Mayor London Breed for the billboard, and arguing that the Chinese American and African American communities must work together to fight for equality.

Now the question is, this November, will San Francisco voters allow the Trump cronies to divide us the way they did the country in 2016? Will we allow the perception that Mayor London Breed will coast through to re-election to persuade us to either skip voting or to throw away our vote with a write-in protest, and let someone like Ellen Lee Zhou win?

Maybe these don’t seem like legitimate questions or concerns for San Franciscans, but I also didn’t think Trump could win. Please get out and vote.

Connie Chan has worked for more than a decade as a communications and policy advisor. In that time she has held positions with the District Attorney’s Office, Recreation and Parks and City College of San Francisco, and has served as a legislative aide to two city supervisors. She is a guest opinion columnist and her point of view is not necessarily that of The Examiner.

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