The black vice president of the San Francisco school board is refusing to resign amid fierce backlash over a series of racist tweets she made against Asian Americans in 2016 – including that they use “white supremacist thinking” to “get ahead.”
The school district’s entire senior staff on Sunday denounced vice president Alison Collins, saying she hasn’t adequately taken responsibility for the shocking tweets, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
In the thread of tweets from Dec. 4, 2016, Collins said that Asian American teachers, students and parents had used “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’”
Collins explained that she was seeking to “combat anti-black racism in the Asian community” and “at my daughters’ mostly Asian Am school.”
Her posts also contained racial epithets, including a reference comparing Asian Americans to “house n—-s.”
In one tweet, Collins described a situation in which her daughter “heard boys teasing a Latino about ‘Trump, Mexicans and the KKK.’ The boys were Asian-American,” KGO reported.
On Saturday, Collins expressed regret for the pain her words caused — but declined to admit her tweets were racist and insisted they 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,” she said in a tweet.
“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 are experiencing. Words have meaning and impact,” she said.
“… 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,” Collins said.
But on Sunday, all 19 top administrators at the district’s central office — including deputy superintendents and department heads — said in an open letter to district staff and the school board that they are “united” in a responsibility to share the “grave concerns” of their colleagues and the community.
They said they agreed with board members Jenny Lam and Faauuga Moliga, as well as former board members and city officials, that Collins’ tweets “perpetuate gross and harmful stereotypes and leave no room for nuance or potential misunderstanding.”
On Saturday, Mayor London Breed and other top elected officials and several community groups called for Collins’ resignation, according to the Chronicle.
Schools Superintendent Vince Matthews declined to address Collins’ tweets specifically Saturday, but sent a note to district staff saying, “We have to band together and speak up when we see or hear racist actions or behaviors perpetrated against any member of our community.”Meanwhile, board president Gabriela López defended Collins, saying she appreciated her colleague’s apology.
Several of the tweets were published by the recently formed Recall SF School Board group, which was founded by two school district parents who have launched a campaign to recall Collins along with two other board commissioners, KGO reported.“It kind of seemed to be judging Asian Americans for wanting to like study hard and work and give the kids an education,” Siva Raj, who co-founded the recall group with Autumn Looijen, told the outlet.The posts were republished on their website as part of a slideshow called “30 Reasons to Recall the SF School Board.”
Collins did not return requests for comment by the Chronicle on Sunday about the letter.
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