May Ann Hsu’s Words Lead to Understanding, Healing, and Growth

It’s time to grow up, for the sake of young people and our future

San Francisco Parent Action School Board Candidate Forum July 16, 2022

What Ann Hsu wrote is harmful, inaccurate, and racist, and demonstrates that she is not ready to serve as a School Board member.

And my greatest hope is that all this leads not to canceling and vilifying Ann Hsu, but to an imperative conversation about who actually is responsible for Black and Brown students not achieving at the same level as their white and Asian peers.

Once we’re clear on that, then we can heal and build a multiracial coalition of stakeholders who see all SFUSD students as our children, all schools as our schools, and want the best for all of them.

Right now, communities in San Francisco are pitted against each other and it’s harming everyone, especially our young people.

Let’s be honest. Ann expressed widely held racist beliefs.

She said the quiet part out loud.

Growing up in an almost entirely white community that had been a Sundown Town, I heard the same ideas repeated many times: “we used to have terrible racism in our country, but then there was a Civil Rights movement, and now opportunities are distributed equally. Some families like ours choose to work really hard, and that’s why we have what we have, and others choose not to, and that’s why they are in the situation they are in.”

My parents taught me racist beliefs while teaching me racism is terrible.

My life’s work is to unlearn these racist beliefs and help others do the same. I am here for Ann Hsu and anyone else open to learning and transforming.

Facilitating conversations about racism daily, I witness how widely-held these ideas are, in San Francisco and throughout the United States, among people with a wide variety of life experiences. Organized white supremacist groups including the Ku Klux Klan and the United Daughters of the Confederacy have long used public schools to teach children racist beliefs, a movement that continues today.

Yes it’s true my great grandfather was a hardworking immigrant who came to the US with nothing. And it’s also true he acquired 160 acres of land for $60 through the Homestead Act, land that was the traditional territory of the Cheyenne Arapaho and Kiowa people, land that he had access to because the government killed them and forced the survivors to live on far-off reservations. Land he qualified for because he was a white Protestant man.

Please San Francisco, let’s learn from this experience, grow up, turn towards each other, and work together for all students to have access to transformative education.

Our future and theirs depend on us.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store