San Francisco Democrat under fire for repeated use of N-word during committee meeting
A civil rights attorney, local Democratic Party official and former San Francisco city supervisor is in hot water after repeatedly using the N-word during a public meeting last month.
Angela Alioto has apologized but is facing calls for her removal from the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee over the incident during an April DCCC meeting with African-American union members. Without self-censoring, Alioto had used the N-word during that meeting while responding to a remark from an African-American woman about hearing the racial epithet in the workplace.
“Full disclosure, I’m a civil rights trial lawyer,” Alioto said in a video of the meeting. “It’s what I do.”
Alioto said: “It’s the law that the word n—– in the workplace is racial harassment and racial animus. It’s a direct animus.”
She added: “You very rarely have direct evidence of discrimination. You very rarely have, ‘I’m not going to work with this n—– I’m not going to work with that n—–.’”
Alioto went on to talk about a case she worked on against Wonderbread, where a book called “How To Kill A N—–” was found in the cafeteria.
After her sixth use of the word, those in the crowd began to ask her to stop using the slur.
The news of Alito’s use of the N-word drew quick condemnation from Republicans in the Bay Area, who questioned why Democrats have not been more vocal in criticizing the lawyer and called Alioto’s use of the word “tone-deaf.”
“When it comes to racism in their own party, they remain quiet,” Jason Clark, the chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, told Fox News, while referencing the recent blackface scandal surrounding Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who remains in office despite bipartisan criticism. “If this had been a Republican, the Democrats would be outraged.”
San Francisco Democratic Party Chair David Campos did not respond to any request for comment, but following Alioto’s comment during the meeting, Campos did reprimand her for the repeated use of the N-word.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to say the word,” Campos said. “As a person of color, if anyone actually said a word that’s derogatory to my kind, I think hearing it has a certain effect.”
The DCCC is currently deciding how to handle the situation amid calls from meeting attendees to have Alioto removed from her post on the committee. The local GOP also put out a statement Monday calling for her removal.
“The San Francisco Republican Party is disgusted by Angela Alioto’s choice of insensitive and racist words at the recent San Francisco Democratic Party Central Committee (DCCC) meeting. There is no place in our city, nor anywhere in America, for such insensitive and brazenly racist language, which goes squarely against San Francisco’s values of inclusiveness and social justice. We therefore call on the DCCC to do the right thing and remove Ms. Alioto from her committee position without delay,” the statement said.
The DCCC bylaws for removing a member require a formal hearing and a two-thirds vote of the committee’s 33 members, and the issue is scheduled to be discussed at the DCCC’s upcoming meeting this month.
Alioto, who also did not return to a request for comment, apologized earlier this week for offending people – saying she was not using the word to be offensive, but as a means of showing how pervasive racist terms are in San Francisco’s city government.
“I went too far, and I am profusely sorry that I offended anybody,” Alioto said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I get passionate, no question. I was in a teaching zone. I started giving examples of that word in my other cases to show everyone in the room that (discrimination) is pervasive in San Francisco government. But I feel so horribly that any person, especially any African American woman, was offended.”
Alioto, however, did not back down from her rationale for using the N-word.
“My clients say the word. ‘The N-word’ doesn’t mean anything. You do not sugarcoat or whitewash that word when you’re in litigation mode,” she said.
Phelicia Jones, an African American woman and an SEIU 1021 member who was at the meeting, does not see it that way.
“I just really couldn’t believe it,” Jones said, according to the San Francisco Examiner, which first reported on the incident.
Jones added: “What comes with that word? ‘Not good enough. Suspicious. Animalistic’ … It’s PTSD. It’s Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. Why wouldn’t it affect us?”