Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Packaging the Mission for tourists

It's true; the Mission is colorful. We paint our history on our walls. We don't like everything that happens here, for example police raids that pick up young Brown men. But we're lively.

Several weeks ago Erudite Partner joined a group of her students from the University of San Francisco on a tour of the 'hood. Shaping San Francisco, a "participatory community history project documenting and archiving overlooked stories and memories of San Francisco" leads walking tours in the neighborhoods; USF arranged to make several of these available to students to help them appreciate where they live and study.

The student group included a few young white people, at least one African American, others of various Asian origins, some from Latin families, and EP who has lived in the Mission over 30 years. They walked much of 24th Street, then along Mission St., and north on Valencia, viewing murals and listening to their guide recount the history of the area they were seeing.

Along the way they were accosted by a middle aged man shouting: "Go away, go back where you came from! The Mission belongs to Latinos."

EP reports the students were taken aback, but also had learned enough from the tour to have some idea why they were intruders.

I wonder whether tourists organized on package "Journeys" by Airbnb will understand why natives in the 'hood may consider them unwelcome interlopers.

The neighborhood web-based news outlet, Mission Local, reports via Next Web that Airbnb has plans for us:

The tourists might indeed want to dress down to try to avoid hostile encounters. According to the description,

Airbnb specifically offloads the liability for the experience to the guest and host, saying the contract is made between them and not the company.

The news site Mission Local emphasizes that it is "completely unaffiliated with Airbnb and the Journeys service."


Rain Trueax said...

Humans tend to behave that way-- from many or maybe all racial groups. We had been in SF many years back when my husband had a business meeting and the kids and I came along. Our daughter was almost 20 and son say 17, although my certainty for their ages is indefinite but they were young adults. The four of us stayed in a nice hotel in SoMa but where the neighborhood around at that time was rough. While husband went off to his business meetings, my daughter and I did fine walking the town and did it all, but son left us to do his own thing. The rest of us got back to hotel and I worried some as it got dark and son wasn't showing up. Finally he was there and told us he'd gone places we hadn't-- as in the black district although he didn't know it's where he was until he was getting yelled at by black youths with insults and comments like-- your daddy buy you those clothes? Finally a black man in a suit asked our son if he knew where he was. When he said he didn't, he told him it wasn't a good place for him to be and how to walk to get out of the area.

I think the resentment of one race for another seems something some overcome but others relish. Some can be the fear of loss from the 'outside' group (not always paranoia as sometimes it is about taking over). Some, who knows. Animals can be that way even domestic ones like cattle where a new cow is threatening to the herd.

Susan Leone Starr said...

Hello Rain Trueax. I need to respond to your post simply to say that even the phrase "the resentment of one race for another" shows me that you do not understand at all what is being expressed here. you seem to want to pretend we are on some kind of level, post-racist playing field here, when the truth is that the resentment on the part of people of color towards white people is BASED ON CONTINUING REALITY. Just ask yourself, for example, what would happen if a bunch of colored folk started "touring" some of the gated white "communities" in San Fran...It's about white people/structures having illegitimate power in the lives of communities and individuals or color, and the anger people are expressing about that MAKES SENSE!

Rain Trueax said...

They do tour ritzy communities unless there are gated entries. But we won't agree on this. This is a very divided nation with everyone wanting to blame someone else for what's gone wrong. That's typically human. There are those who are doing all they can to make this resentment bigger and excuse any misbehavior on either side by someone else. I am expressing my own opinions based on what I have known of the people in my life, who happen to be from many racial groups but not so much economic. When people can discuss the issues without insulting each other, the dialogue goes farther... that's not so easy to attain right now.

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